Things I say often: Improving means changing

· January 20, 2015

I’ve already written about this before, but Hey - this was a series about things I said often.

Basically, but please read the other post instead, many times I’ve been at companies that want to improve but don’t want to change. This is impossible. Improving means changing. Changing doesn’t necessary means improving though.

To me this is one of the biggest misconceptions about agile; that it would be something that the IT-guys can start working with and we’ll all be better. It’s not. If you change something locally the impact will also just be local.

In the great book This is Lean the authors defines Lean as a business strategy. I like that and the same goes for agile:

  • it’s a strategy - there are many ways to reach your goal, this is just one
  • it’s about business. It’s not about the robots in your factory, just the developer or just the deployment script. it’s about how we do Business here.

My favorite example of this was at Swedish insurance company where I was invited to “help them get started with agile, to get faster time to market”. I’d say! When we started it was 9 months from idea to production, 22 different steps or decision points. Out of this time ca 4 days was spent coding.

Where did we start optimize? Yes, you guessed it. The other things was not IT and hence agile was not for them. “We can’t change that - it’s always been like this.” and “Hey kid, we’ve done projects like this for 25 years. Don’t come and change it now. Just get it better.”

That’s not only a tall order (like the kid-reference though, 39 years old at the time). It’s impossible. Improving means changing.

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