Agile: The end of innocence

Agile: The end of innocence

A study by 6point6 on April 2017, based on a survey o 300 CIOs (average company size: 1,300 people) shows that the perception of Agile is changing. CIOs are often disillusioned, finding (usually the hard way) that some (12%) agile projects fail completely, that Agile is not easy to scale, and that distributed agile teams are often underperforming. This is good news. Agile never was, and never will be a silver bullet. Struggles with Agile adoption and a decent share of failures, show us that Agile will work only when carefully customized for the specific organization. This should shift our focus from advocating Agile to making it work – without expecting/demanding that the organization changes its culture overnight to become ‘Agile’. Established Agile scaling Frameworks such as SAFe can help with that. The age of agile innocence is ending. Finally. The report For the massive effect it has had on the software industry, there are surprisingly few industry reports analyzing the extend of Agile adoption*, compared to Waterfall, the older standard. Moreover, we have little data on the perceived success of the adoption efforts. Is Agile considered successful by the companies adopting it, after all? Most reference reports (such as the ‘State of Agile’ or the ‘State of Scrum’) base their data on surveys conducted on people already interested in or practicing Agile, a fact which obviously limits the sample and creates a strong positive bias towards Agile. This report published recently by 6point6 (a UK consultancy), tried to measure the perception of Agile success and the most common adoption roadblocks, by conducting a study on 300 CIOs, half in the...
CSM, PSM, PMI certifications explained

CSM, PSM, PMI certifications explained

In our agile work, we all hear acronyms about CSM, PSM, PMI certifications. What are these acronyms, do I need such a certification, how can I get it? A short and sweet post by Dimitris. There are two well-known Scrum Master Certifications in the Global Market + 1 and some smaller initiatives. Certified Scrum Master (CSM) by Scrum Alliance Professional Scrum Master I (PSM I) by Scrum.org Project Management Insitute’s ACP (Agile Certified Practicioner) Lets see them in more detail: Certified Scrum Master (CSM)  by Scrum Alliance Prerequisites: Attendance of a CMS course by a certified Scrum Alliance partner Cost: Included in seminar cost, which is rather pricey (last course in Greece in 2014, cost 950 Euros) Certification test type: Online Passing score: 24/35 Questions (69%) Duration: No time limit Expiration: Two years from test Renewal prerequisites: None Renewal cost: 100$, for 2 years. Market perception: CSM was the first Scrum Master Certification on the market and had the ‘first mover’ advantage. Until March 2012, the certification was awarded to all course attendees regardless of score. The certification is still considered ‘very easy’ to obtain and, I believe, is perceived by the job market more as a ‘certificate of attendance’ of a Scrum Alliance course, and less as a professional certification. Nevertheless, it is by far the most popular. At the time this article was written, Dec 2015, 319.385  CSM certifications had been awarded. Professional Scrum Master I (PSM I) by Scrum.org Prerequisites: None Cost: 150 $ Certification test type: Online Passing score: 68/80 Questions (85%) Duration: 1 hour Expiration: Never Renewal prerequisites: N/A Renewal cost: N/A Market perception: PSM I was introduced...
Using Scrum for Fixed Price Contracts

Using Scrum for Fixed Price Contracts

The first question I usually get when teaching or preaching Scrum is “Sounds nice, but you surely can’t use on a Fixed Cost/Price contract, can you?” Well, let’s see. Note: for this article’s context we will assume that your company is implementing IT projects for external customers.   The problem with contracts The problem with contracts is that: You have to keep them, and You can’t change them Why not? Because contract change usually requires escalation to top management and involves a lot of people not directly related to the project implementation, like Sales & maybe Legal (your side) and Procurement and maybe Legal (customer side).   The problem with Fixed Price contracts A Fixed Price/Cost contract is created to legally bind a supplier with a customer, fully defining all three basic project aspects: Cost, Time, and Scope. The problem with this type of contract is that it assumes full predictability on all three aspects, something that is, in all but the simplest projects, not realistic. The reason Fixed Price contracts are the norm is that Customers prefer them, falsely believing that they transfer the risk to the supplier (i.e. if the project proves to be twice more difficult than originally expected, it’s the Supplier’s problem –or so they think).   Is it really Fixed? So, a Fixed Price Contract has a Fixed Price, a Fixed delivery deadline, and a fixed scope, right? NO. Let me explain: As contracts are usually signed well before the project has really started, the scope is not, can not be adequately broken down, analysed and clearly defined. What is usually included as “Scope”...