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Mike is a certified PMP project manager and a certified ScrumMaster. Mike was involved with the creation of the DSDM Agile Project Leader certification, holds this certification at the Foundation, Practitioner, and Examiner levels. Mike was named an honorary member of the DSDM consortium and served on the board of APLN and the Lean Software and Systems Consortium. He currently co-leads the PMI Agile Community of Practice. Mike is a DZone MVB and is not an employee of DZone and has posted 138 posts at DZone. You can read more from them at their website. View Full User Profile

The Two Faces of Agile

03.18.2013
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Some folks are using agile to invent. They are trying to figure out the right products to build for markets that don’t even know what they want. They are experimenting, learning, and adapting their approach based on super-fast feedback cycles… and the outcomes, the products they are trying to build, are emergent. The end goal isn’t necessarily clear at the start.

Other folks are using agile differently.

These guys are also trying to figure out the right products to build, but their markets have a predetermined notion of what to expect. These teams also experiment, and learn, and adapt their approach on super-fast feedback cycles… but the outcomes, the products they are trying to build, need to converge around set expectations and emergent outcomes aren’t always valued.

To effectively introduce agile into your organization… you need to know what kind of organization you are living in. An organization that needs emergent outcomes may reject keeping a fine grained story backlog or doing any kind of long term release planning. Likewise, companies that need convergent outcomes may reject sitting with a client and figuring it out as you go.

It always, always, always comes down to context.

Both an emergent approach and a convergent approach can work just fine, depending on your particular context. The trick is knowing the goals of your business and adapting your language and approach accordingly. If you are struggling to get senior leadership to see the merits of agile, maybe your are selling emergence when that’s not what your execs are really buying.

Published at DZone with permission of Mike Cottmeyer, author and DZone MVB. (source)

(Note: Opinions expressed in this article and its replies are the opinions of their respective authors and not those of DZone, Inc.)

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