Monday, August 17, 2009

The What More Than The How

I read a really good blog post on Mike Cottmeyer's Leading Agile blog titled "Why the Re-think?". I originally found Mike's blog via a link on Twitter (if you're on Twitter, I'm michael_maham, if you're not on Twitter, you're missing a great stream of information)

It is on getting the important things right- not a methodology or process improvement for their own sakes (the HOWS) , but because you're trying get value delivered to your customer (the WHAT).

One quote really stood out to me: "Its the value behind the practices... the WHAT behind the HOW... that is really important. We believe this is the secret to sustainable agile adoption in the enterprise."

I think the last sentence understates the case. It's not just the the secret to sustainable agile adoption (or CMMi based improvement or any other process improvement), but is the secret to sustaining your business. Great businesses know that- even as they are trying to find the next WHAT or a better HOW they don't lose sight of continuing to deliver that value to the customers. If a new WHAT is too fanciful, it won't benefit customers and should be dropped. If a new HOW delays, rather than delivers, value to the customer, it is not right for them. Even if that HOW has a fancy label like "Agile" or "best practice".

Fortunately, for those of interested in the HOW, when we keep our eyes on the goal of delivering value, there are lots of improvements devoted teams can make that really are remarkable and don't become dogmatic headaches.

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