Archive for the ‘Simon Voice’ Category

Agile in the Public Sector – Kensington

Tuesday, September 15th, 2009

Wednesday 16th September – Agile in the Public Sector – Kensington (London) 

I’m now confirmed to attend Agile in the Public Sector next Wednesday. Slightly sceptical to start with, I’m actually really looking forward to going. Having been to many refactored conferences over the years, this is something fresh and new. The next wave of growth I believe will come in two particular sectors: 

1) Public Sector / Government

2) Business Coaching, incorporating Agile & Lean. 

It will be intriguing to see who turns up, attitudes that turn up and most importantly how open to a new way of working are the notorious Waterfall managers in Government. If I was one of these managers I would be looking at this as a winning ticket to future, providing I can lead the change. Government spending will have to change, services budget will have to decrease and the traditional consulting companies will have to be more and more accountable for their actions.

If the person(s) within government can embrace new ideas and change the way of working their projects, everyone is in a win-win situation – except for the big legacy consulting companies. Next week I’ll be adding some pictures, comments and summaries as to how it all went. If you know anyone in the Public Sector / Government world, please point them to the show. 

Back soon.
The Agile Voice.

Agile Conferences – Is there a future for them?

Wednesday, March 18th, 2009

Having participated in the Agile Conference scene for the past 5 years, it’s remarkable how things have changed. Last week I went along to the QCon show in London and to be honest was left feeling quite let down. It seems to me that there is a real void of fresh ideas, challenging speak and volatile discussions.  

Maybe a re-factored and faster version of Waterfall is the current acceptable norm, compared to the available hardcore Agile element out there. Friends of mine have said that they will be avoiding the whole conference scene, as there’s only so many ways you can talk about planning boards and story cards without it being repetitive and most of this was probably presented 5yrs ago.

Has Agile reached its peak in terms fresh ideas, or have the conference folk run out of ideas ? Well, I don’t believe it is merely a lack of  ideas……’s the level of interest, attendance, participation of the large corporate. (You can probably guess who.) These big flag waving companies come along and take the ideas from the smaller individual companies and simply generalise the ideas as processes and standards – All of a sudden we have Corporate Agile! 

I’ve taken the baton and have given myself the mission of pushing and pulling the right people into presenting at the Agile Business Conference in October 2009. Should the powers that be at these shows support the corporate invasion,  then I may well organise a conference for Agile people myself and continue with those that care…….. 

Come on, let’s hear your thoughts.

Kanban – Simplistic Agile?

Tuesday, February 3rd, 2009

Sitting quite a distance from the technical coal face, I hear many views and opinions aimed at many topics. For three years I’ve heard Kanban mentioned in discussion, blogs and conferences, with really little explanation or air time. So I took it upon myself to read 3 articles from well known Kanban authors and form an opinion. Instantly I thought this is just another refactoring of Agile, another play on the same thing, a buzz word in the making! I went back and read through this again and seemingly there are some positive differences to be mentioned and be impressed by. Interestingly enough there was a mention of time boxing, which automatically put’s me into DSDM mode. Maybe this is deliberate, maybe not, but it sure does keep it all conveniently linked to everything, but with a spin. Someone somewhere will one day have a radical new way! 

Is Kanban a revolutionary idea?

No, just a different take on a subject of which has no clear measures, i.e. Agile Fundamentally the differences or positives that I spotted are: 

  • Kanban is not just for the Agile experienced; it is for everyone at all levels (providing you understand the three levels of Kanban)
  • Kanban can be described as focussing on improving, rather than Scrum focussing on being Agile which may lead to improvement.
  • Too many people concentrate on being Agile (they don’t really understand Agile in most cases), where Kanban takes the hot air away and strips the process back to the bones.
  • Kanban allows for iterations to be delivered for what they are in terms of time, not just being put into a week because everyone works on a 1 week iteration.
  • Kanban planning works on a one piece flow, rather than the Agile grouped batches. ie WIP
  • Priority given to the importance of each card, thus the most important card gets delivered first.
  • Task estimates are taken away – they just get delivered.
  • Flexible build and release, again time constraintless.
  • There is commitment to deliver at an agreed output, ie. Rate of stories/release, rather than Velocity

Arguably Kanban makes Agile even more lightweight as a method, allows freedom to deliver alongside freedom to develop. So often new ideas come along that complicate or simplify process or delivering product.
Personally I think that if we lived in the ideal world, this would be a natural progression to the modern day Agile, but reality tells me that extreme Agile is still very unique and niche and the true worth of Kanban will only affect the small minority. It’s taken many years to get the world Agile, but with rife Waterfall greyness still dominating our world, Kanban will be a one hit wonder. 

I hope I’m wrong!

A Happy & Prosperous 2009 from the Agile Team

Friday, January 2nd, 2009


Agile Chat – What is it all about?

Thursday, December 11th, 2008

What do I write, what can I say, how can I say it?

Well simply this Blog is all about expressing views and opinions and the ability to contribute value to the Agile Community.  My aim is to generate discussion and from there on, let’s just see how it all flows…..

In the past blogging has led to some great introductions to people across the world, and guess what? After 10 years , my agile world is still growing each day.  Engage with me, engage with my community, let’s have some strong views and opinions.

Remember, in the agile world, nobody is right and nobody is wrong, that is the beauty of the world that we are part of.

Welcome to the newly launched Agile Voice website.  I am Simon Voice. The purpose of this site is to stimulate discussion within the agile community, not only do we want to challenge and develop ideas but also exchange ideas and improve the way we all work. 

These pages will be updated regularly to contain new ideas and review your feedback. Please add comments or raise ideas which you think the community should discuss.