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Industrial Scale Agile

From Craft to Engineering

Today agile software development is more craft than engineering.  It is based on practices formulated as rules of thumb instead of practices standing on a scientific foundation.

Organizations need the dedication, innovation and invention of craft but underpinned by the codified knowledge of an engineering discipline.

  • You need skilled professionals, passionate about their subject and committed to mastering new, complex, fast-moving technologies
  • You need local experts who understand complex problems in depth and respond rapidly to changing needs, perceptions and challenges
  • You need to sustain and grow our delivery capability through changes in technologies, suppliers, contractors and full-time employees
  • You need to be able to predictably scale our operations from early prototypes to global rollouts
  • You need to be in control of our investments and know when to switch resources to endeavours more likely to deliver favourable returns
  • You need to systematically grow the levels of reuse and interoperability of our solution components and systems
  • Making health and progress understandable and visible to everyone (inside or outside of the team) independent on the team’s selected way of working.
  • Organizations can evolve their organic knowledge-base – capturing collective learning in a persistent and reusable form, and evolving by adding or swapping-out outmoded or obsolete practices over time.
  • Teams can rapidly agree a tailored and coherent way of working that can easily be communicated to stakeholders so it is clear how the team will fulfil its commitments and its governance obligations.

We have Different Ways to Do Things and That’s OK!

In this talk, Ed Seymour from Red Hat looks at how Essence helps Red Hat manage an assortment of approaches when working with varied and disparate clients; how it provides a consistent view across all projects irrespective of the approach taken, even if Essence was not considered during project initiation. Furthermore, he looks at how Essence is helping Red Hat patch the holes in existing approaches, and providing a framework for developing new practices to support evolving techniques, and emerging technologies.


Applying the Essence standard helps organizations move from relying on software development as primarily being a craft to primarily being an engineering discipline - still of course being agile. In both cases we need craftsmen, but standing on proven knowledge, techniques and tools. The path from craft to engineering progresses from ad hoc practice, through scientific learning, leading to codified professional engineering practices.

Essence Cards
Essence Cards