SPA Conference session: So Now You're an Agilist... What's Next?

One-line description:Turning "agile" and "formal" into 12 Laws of Software Development
Session format: Tutorial (75 mins) [read about the different session types]
Abstract:Doing projects better doesn't stop at agile. In this session I attempt to distill new advances in software development from the field of complexity science.

Complexity science is the study of complex systems, like ecosystems, biological systems, economic systems, etc. "Complexity science" is the scientific approach to "systems thinking". It can be used to understand and explain why complex systems behave the way they do. Ken Schwaber, Jim Highsmith and other experts have explained in their books that a lot of agile concepts have been copied from the study of complex systems. However, agile software development has not covered all there is to learn.

I will show why practices must be agile (self-organized) *and* formal (controlled), why any software development method is doomed to fail, why managing scope is a too simplistic interpretation of the principle of “embracing change”, why most process improvement initiatives are linear and wrong, and why some sets of practices will be show chaotic behavior when combined.

I will go a step further than what has already been described in mainstream literature, linking some of complexity theory with down-to-earth experience from the trenches in my role as chief information officer for a software development company.
Audience background:The session is intended for those who already know many (agile and formal) concepts and practices, and want to hear some additional ideas that they can try to translate to their own projects.
Benefits of participating:- Learn a new way of thinking, in terms of systems, agents and connections.
- Learn how to see best practices in a new light, from a "complexity science" point-of-view.
- Learn how to change process improvement initiatives.
Materials provided:A very *visual* presentation (with lots of photo's, and no boring bullet points).
A list of challenging statements that the participants may or may not agree with.
Process:- The audience will be given a list of statements that will be covered in the presentation.
- During the presentation the audience is asked to document their own opinion on these statements.
- In the last part we will be tallying the results, to see which statements are most controversial.
- Discussion with the audience about the findings.
Detailed timetable:00:00-00:05 introduction of myself and the list of statements
00:05-00:10 introduction to complexity science
00:10-00:55 presentation of theory, findings and the statements
00:55-00:60 tallying the results of people agreeing or not
00:60-00:75 discussion with the audience about the results
Outputs:A very *visual* presentation (with lots of photo's, and no boring bullet points). Plus a very simple checklist of the "Laws of Software Development".
History:A related presentation has been given at XP Day Benelux 2008, but with somewhat different content and in a different form. I have also given other presentations on complexity science, at several other occasions.
1. Jurgen Appelo
ISM eCompany
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