@MIT, Career, IT is business

@MIT: Cloud & DevOps – Part 7

August 8, 2020

@MIT series is a group of articles being written to describe my learning path attending to the Cloud & DevOps: Continuous Transformation at the MIT.

This article at a glance – TL;DR

Several cases of Agile adoption in a set of big and mid-size companies. Also presented key benefits, challenges and outputs of an agile adoption

The content

Today, over 50% of the Fortune 500 companies from the year 2000 no longer exist. GE is stumbling. BlackBerry (RIM) is gone, and so is most of Nokia, raised to a $150 billion corporation. (…) John Boyd developed a methodology for operating in such situations, called the OODA Loop. The speed of executing the loop is the essential element of survival. It involves testing one’s premises by actual Observation, Orienting your corporation with respect to the situation. Then Deciding on a course of action, and then executing that plan by Acting. This is the meaning of being Agile. (…) Data is the new gold.

MIT – Cloud & DevOps course – 2020

Agile Adoption

Pros of agile software development:

  • Customers have frequent and early opportunities to see the work being delivered and to make decisions and changes throughout the development of the project.
  • The customer gains a strong sense of ownership by working extensively and directly with the project team throughout the project.
  • If time to market is a greater concern than releasing a full feature set at initial launch, Agile is best. It will quickly produce a basic version of working software that can be built upon in successive iterations.
  • Development is often more user-focused, likely a result of more and frequent direction from the customer

Cons of Agile Software Development:

  • Agile will have a high degree of customer involvement in the project. It may be a problem for some customers who simply may not have the time or interest for this type of participation.
  • Agile works best when the development team are completely dedicated to the project.
  • The close working relationships in an Agile project are easiest to manage when the team members are located in the same physical space, which is not always possible.
  • The iterative nature of Agile development may lead to frequent refactoring if the full system scope is not considered in the initial architecture and design. Without this refactoring, the system can suffer from a reduction in overall quality. This becomes more pronounced in larger-scale implementations, or with systems that include a high level of integration.

Managing Complexity of Organizations and operations

As companies grow, their complexity grows. And they have to manage that complexity, otherwise, it’s gonna turn into chaos. The problem is that they usually manage that putting processes in place: you have to sign X docs, follow Y procedures, etc. The problem is that we tail employee freedom, and the side effect is that the high performing employees tend to leave our company.

Netflix’s solution to this scenario was different. They decided to let the smart workers manage the complexity instead of putting processes in place.

The problem for the traditional approach is that when the market shifts we’re unable to move fast. We have had so many processes and fixed culture that our teams won’t adapt and innovative people won’t stick to these environments.

That leads us to three bad options of managing our growing organizations:

  1. Stay creative and small company (less impact)
  2. Avoid rules (and suffer the chaos)
  3. Use process (and cripple flexibility and ability to thrive when the market changes)

Back to Netflix case: they believed that high performing people can contain the chaos. With the right people, instead of a culture of process adherence, you have a culture of creativity and self-discipline, freedom, and responsibility.

Comparing waterfall and agile software development model

Source:

Exercises and Assignments

  • Assignment: Write a summary about two articles suggested by the MIT that highlight the complexity of turning Agile that some companies faced and how they are thriving.

Resources

All the resources used to reach the results above are stored in this GitHub repository: https://github.com/guisesterheim/MITCloudAndDevOps

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