Contact

White papers

This article explores the synergy of Scrum and Essence, a domain model of software engineering processes, intending to become a common ground for software development methods, bringing clarity into the composition of methods from individual practices.

Written by Dr. Ivar Jacobson, Paul E. McMahon and Roland Racko Over the years, collective experience of the authors has revealed many questions on the SEMAT and Essence initiative. To bring clarity of the initiative to our readers, the authors have answered 24 of the most common questions.

The way we develop software struggles to keep pace with changes in technology and business. Even with the rise of agile, people still flip-flop from one branded method to another, throwing away the good with the bad and behaving more like religious cultists than like scientists. This article explains why we need to break out of this repetitive dysfunctional behavior, and it introduces Essence, a new way of thinking that promises to free the practices from their method prisons and thus enable true learning organizations.

The way we develop software struggles to keep pace with changes in technology and business. Even with the rise of agile, people still flip-flop from one branded method to another, throwing away the good with the bad and behaving more like religious cultists than like scientists. This article explains why we need to break out of this repetitive dysfunctional behavior, and it introduces Essence, a new way of thinking that promises to free the practices from their method prisons and thus enable true learning organizations.

The Industrial Internet Consortium predicts the IoT (Internet of Things) will become the third technological revolution after the Industrial Revolution and the Internet Revolution. Its impact across all industries and businesses can hardly be imagined. Existing software (business, telecom, aerospace, defense, etc.) is expected to be modified or redesigned, and a huge amount of new software, solving new problems, will have to be developed. As a consequence, the software industry should welcome new and better methods. This article makes the case that to be a major player in this space you will need a multitude of methods, not just a single one. Existing popular approaches such as Scrum and SAFe (Scaled Agile Framework) may be part of the future, but you will also need many new methods and practices—some of which aren’t even known today. Extending a single method to incorporate all that is needed would result in something that is way too big and unwieldy. Instead, the new OMG (Object Management Group) standard Essence can be used to describe modular practices that can be composed together to form a multitude of methods, not only to provide for all of today’s needs, but also to be prepared for whatever the future may bring.

ABC of Essentialization

To be agile as teams, we need to adjust our approach to meet our immediate challenges and needs. To be agile as an organization, we need to learn collectively and evolve our approach over time to support our evolving mission, so that we continue to excel in an ever-changing environment. We would not call a TV set “adaptive” if, in order to adjust the volume, we had to throw it away and replace it with a model with a different volume setting. So why are we prepared to accept process frameworks that leave us in a similar predicament every time we want to improve our product development performance as an organization?

Every agile organisation aims to run successful programmes that demonstrate true value and IT results, presented in a way the business can understand. But many struggle with showing how IT and the business are better, faster, cheaper or that their customers, users and other stakeholders are happier since going agile? The single biggest problem we see organisations continuing to grapple with in their agile transformation programmes is not understanding why they are changing the way they work – not visualising the goal, setting targets, measuring improvements, or demonstrating the benefits generated. The key here is to establish a set of actionable measures to drive the change and inspire the teams. These should explicitly support the principles and values being promoted and challenge the teams to improve.

Industrial-­scale agile requires much more than just being able to scale agile. It also means taking a disciplined approach to ensuring that our IT investments are resulting in sustainable benefits for both the producing organization and its customers. This involves adopting a different approach to many aspects of agility. We need to look beyond small-­scale agile, beyond independent competitive islands of agile excellence, beyond individual craftsmanship and heroic teams, and beyond the short-­term, instant gratification that seems to be the focus of many well-­intentioned but self-­centered agile teams. It is this adoption of a more holistic approach that we call moving from craft to engineering. This paper is published at acm.org.

Industrial Scale Agile White Paper

Industrial-scale agile means that agile at any-and-every scale is business-as-usual for an organization, across its entire portfolio, and that this capability is continuously sustained and strengthened. This paper examines two leading frameworks that provide guidance on how to achieve success within this kind of “complexity at scale” challenge space - David Snowden’s Cynefin framework and Max Boisot’s I-Space framework.

Alpha State Card 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.

Contact Us