Monthly Archives: July 2013

Waterfall Works

In a discussion about the future of Software development I was saying that Waterfall just doesn’t work quoting statistics from the Standish and Forrester reports. 

From this discussion came one of the best quotes I have heard to date:

 ”Waterfall works, its just slow and expensive”

Companies cannot survive by being slow and expensive. (that is for government ;)

“The measure of intelligence is the ability to change.”
― Albert Einstein

“Those who cannot change their minds cannot change anything.”
― George Bernard Shaw

“It is not the strongest of the species that survives, nor the most intelligent, but rather the one most adaptable to change.”
― Leon C. Megginson

by Michael Badali

Planning Sucks

A friend told me about a company the worked at: Their planning cycle was 2 years long,  meaning that the moment work was started, it was already obsolete…

Here is the reality plain and simple:


A little planning, enough to get you started, has some value. Mapping out the future equals failure.

Having an inspiring vision of the product that leads people to do the right thing, now that is valuable…

by Michael Badali

Metrics are dangerous

I have seen things go terribly wrong from unintended but logical results of KPI, bonus conditions et al.

I recall having a very difficult time with a team lead who fought everything Agile tooth and nail. Finally one day the truth came out: He told me that his annual bonus required him to do the opposite of everything I was suggesting and there was no @#$%^ way he was going to give the money up.

Be careful what you ask for, you might get it!

by Michael Badali

Don’t Try Agile

Don’t Try Agile. Why create a massive disturbance in your organization unless you are going to make a big gain?

Don’t try Agile – if your Leadership does not really understand what is required of them.  - It will become something that technical people do and it will frustrate everybody and will be a miserable failure. Agile is not an SDLC is it a philosophy about how to get the whole company to work well together. Everyone who connects with the teams must embrace it to succeed.

Don’t try Agile – you will be miserable!

Don’t try Agile – if your Product Managers and Architects cannot break things down into logical bite size scalable modular pieces. – things will come to a grinding halt as they try to cram extras into a release and quality will drop as you try to push out as much out as you can amidst the noise and confusion.

Don’t try Agile – you will be miserable!

Don’t try Agile – if teams are not supported, in constant flux, don’t have a complete skill set. - Your work life will become hell, you will get nothing done and everyone will be unhappy including the customer.

Don’t try Agile – you will be miserable!

IF you do have leadership who understands and does what is needed from them to support the new way of doing things and the journey there, if you have excellent product ownership and architecture who focus on what is most valuable now and don’t try to plan the unknown future but create modular scalable requirements and guidelines, and if you have permanent self-managed cross-functional teams and they are the building blocks of the organization, you will find you are productive and happy and the customer is delighted. I have been there and it is awesome!!!

Agile is like pregnancy, you can’t be a little bit pregnant,  you can’t be a little bit Agile. Do Agile and you will have a joyful experience.

Do or do not there is no try - Yoda

by Michael Badali

Measure and Improve Throughput

The best descriptions I have ever heard for throughput or time to market were: “Customer to Cash” and “Concept to Cash”.

Minimizing the time between the customer go ahead and payment is an increase in revenue. Analogy: Right now you get paid a certain amount every 2 weeks let’s say. If you can find a way to get paid that same amount ever 12 days…every 10 days…if you get paid every 7 days you now make twice as much. Same for a company.

Reducing time from “Concept to Cash” gives you a serious competitive edge. The ability to put new products on the market before your competitors, the ability to adapt to changes in the market to keep your product relevant.

TTM is a holistic metric. It includes both the tech and biz parts of your company. It is an opportunity to get them to work together to be more profitable and competitive. This does not mean other metrics are completely useless but all too often companies focus only on the techies and how long it takes them to build when in reality the waste between steps have more impact to the throughput of the whole system.

Have the whole company see its throughput as something everyone is responsible for, have the whole team row in the same direction.

“If you could get all the people in an organization rowing in the same direction, you could dominate any industry in any market, against any competition” – John Kotter, Heart of Change

by Michael Badali

Being a Great Product Owner – Domain Knowledge?

Too often good product ownership is assumed be based on domain knowledge accumulated through many years in the same domain. In reality it is really about listening, observing, asking the right questions and truly understanding what is needed. A great Product Owner is always aware of what is important to the customers RIGHT NOW. Domain knowledge even from 2 years ago is not particularity useful. In markets that shift constantly such as those with 3-6 month product cycles knowing what is needed now is critical and continuous.

Product Ownership is a separate and valuable skill. 

By Michael Badali


Agile vs Lean

Agile and Lean are like Yin and Yang. Consider your left and right hands – Which hand do you want to keep? Both of course. Agile is a minimalist philosophy and Lean is waste reduction practice. They go hand in hand.

Agile and Lean!

by Michael Badali