The Agile regime change

Thoughts on Agile 2009 by Tom Grant and Dave West


Agile is dead, Long live agile.

That’s how the Agile 2009 conference in Chicago opened. In the keynote, Alistair Cockburn cleverly paraphrased Marc Antony’s funeral oration from Shakespeare’s Julius Caesar: “I come to bury Agile, not to praise him.”

A very narrow definition of Agile has passed away, to be replaced by a mature, expansive version that has now joined the mainstream of development methodologies. Agile with a capital “A,” with its vision limited to the development team, died of natural causes. Its successor still worries about build scripts, daily Scrum meetings, and IDE plug-ins, but it recognizes the sovereignty of business objectives, and governs jointly with other methodologies. While we might talk more about agile with a small “a,” the significance of this change is big.

Read more


Tech Mahindra Prepares for Success in 2010

I had an interesting briefing with L. Ravichandran, the Executive Vice President and COO of Tech Mahindra this week.  This was quite a nice briefing to have from the company, given the dramatic changes that have taken place over the last year.  In January, Forrester analyst Sudin Apte and I wrote about the drastic consequences of the accounting fraud at Satyam (“What the Events at Satyam Mean For Service Providers”). Sudin has continued to write about the subject with great research that would interest virtually anyone in the IT services industry (clients and tech professionals) on


Mr. Ravichandran stressed a few key points to me:

Read more Gets Kids: Attack to the Small Business Market

Salesforce pic introduces today the Contact Edition and is approaching for the first time the small enterprise segment.

Read more

Workshop on social media for development teams

In October, I'm doing a workshop in the Foster City office about social media for product teams. How can social media fill in the gaps left by traditional requirements? Which social media outlets should you use to answer particular questions? What skills and investments are required? What's the tangible business benefit?

A big part of the workshop is hands-on experience with the questions your team faces. Bring an example of a burning question that the product team needs to answer (e.g., What's the impact of dropping this feature? Is our product a good fit for similar business problems in other markets?), and we'll explore how to use social media to find substantive, useful answers quickly.

For more details, click here. Also, in a couple of weeks, colleague Laura Ramos is doing a workshop, "Making B2B Marketing Work," that chock full of useful content.

[Cross-posted at The Heretech.]


The Heretech, episode 19: Steve Johnson on PM, pre- and post-Agile

Hot on the heels of Agile 2009, I talk with Steve Johnson of Pragmatic Marketing, who has been training PMs for over a decade. Steve gives his overview of the PM track at Agile 2009, and I give a quick review of the event. (c) 2009 Tom Grant

Old projects and new mainframes

A long time ago (about 35 years), I was the project leader and main designer of what was probably the first true distributed solution. It started with one of the largest bank in Europe, which went through a one month strike of its data center. In what was probably the Jurassic period of IT (which makes me a dinosaur), the centralized mainframe reigned supreme and of course the whole commercial part of the bank ground to a halt, and with it millions of customers who could not get to their money.. The CIO (the title did not exist at the time, but the function did) came up with the brilliant idea of putting a server in each branch, connected to the central mainframe through a network. Each local server had to be able to process locally, on a local "database" all the typical operations of the branch. This would guarantee that, in case of a repeat strike, the basic banking needs of customers would be covered. So armed with the latest minicomputer from Honeywell and several $Millions in project money, we set up developing everything in sight: network protocols, transactional languages and supervisors, local file structure, etc. Even intelligent virtual terminals.

Read more