Essence - Agile Software Development Best Practice

Future-proof your agile ways of working with Essence!

For decades, organizations have switched from one agile method to another, in search of the latest and greatest ways of working.  With each switch, dollars are burned and the benefits of changing never really materialize.  Sound familiar?  If so, it’s time to take a serious look at Essence.  Essence removes the baggage of over-commercialized methods from the great Practice advice contained within. Freedom to excel at last!

What is Essence?

Essence is a simple model of the challenges that all software development teams face, coupled with a visual language to capture practices to help teams address those challenges.  The model contains things to work with (shown to the left), areas in which development activities are needed and the competencies required for success.  It is a free-to-use industry standard that thousands around the world have contributed to.

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Why Use Essence?

In the past it often made sense to standardize on a single development method for an entire organization, inhouse or off-the-shelf. Today’s world is increasingly Volatile, Uncertain, Complex and Ambiguous. Not only does one size not fit all, often it doesn’t fit anyone particularly well. 
Yet within those big methods are individual practices that offer incredible value to teams, if only they could be accessed without the overhead and bureaucracy of the method that encloses them.

That’s what Essence does. It frees the practices from their method prisons.

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Getting Started with Essence?

Ultimately, anyone can just get started with Essence! It is a free-to-use industry standard available from the Object Management Group (OMG) Standards Development Organization.  Starting from the Essence specification itself however is unnecessary. At Ivar Jacobson International we have done masses of work to accelerate your take up and adoption of the ideas.  We have all sorts of assets ready to go; essentialized practicesserious gameplay, coaching, consulting and productivity tools to get you going fast.  We have assembled a set of Essence based tools and services in our Essence Starter-Pack to help you get going. 

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Essence Productivity Tools

To support the use of Essence and the creation and usage of Essentialized practices, we have created state-of-the-art tools and practice assets to support teams and organizations.  Essence in Practice WorkBench™ is used by practice authors to create rich and engaging content. Essence in Practice TeamSpace™ is used by teams and practitioners to explore and enact chosen practices. Our Coaching Card Download Hub is where freely available practice cards are available for download.  

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Serious Gaming with Essence

One powerful feature of Essence is how easy it is to create and play serious games. A ‘Serious Game’ is a type of game that does not have entertainment, enjoyment or fun as its primary purpose. Instead, they employ many of the same attributes of games and gaming for serious, professional purposes like learning a technique, analyzing a problem, designing a solution or building a stronger team. 

Essence enables this by describing practices on poker sized cards and having a common syntax that allows multiple practices to be mixed together.

Find out more about Serious Games here and visit the Serious Games page to start playing immediately.

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Alpha State Games Guide

This instructional guide provides a brief introduction to the Alphas and presents seven different games that can be played with the Alpha State Cards by software development teams.

The use of the Alphas, and the Alpha State Cards, has many benefits for individuals, teams and organizations. These include helping you to:

  • understand where you are
  • understand what needs to be addressed
  • track progress and health
  • keep projects in balance and avoid catastrophic failures
  • form good sprint goals and other objectives
  • define practice independent checkpoints, milestones and lifecycles.
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Better Scrum Through Essence Training

Check out our new course, Better Scrum Through Essence.  The course is designed to help teams and Scrum Masters improve their use of Scrum!  Essence certification is included following successful completion of a multiple-choice exam.  Now available for private company delivery, either on-site or on-line!

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Browse all Essence Resources

Jump into the content of our full Essence Library.  Contains articles, white-papers, blogs and more!

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