[ Agile ]
> Mentally quick or alert: an agile mind.
> Characterized by quickness, lightness, and ease of movement; nimble.
[ Sweet ]
> Pleasing or agreeable; delightful.
> Fresh; free from odor, staleness, etc.
> Easily managed; done or effected without effort.
[ Sweet Spot ]
> A sweet spot is a place where a combination of factors suggest a particularly suitable solution.
Economics is the allocation of scarce resources amongst competing ends.
Unlike most in IT, I studied economics, then political science, at university.
I was first introduced to agile in the form of a method called ‘MaxEvo’ in 2002 after seeing a very large, ‘best practice’ Rational Rose waterfall project fail.
The agile principles and tactics MaxEvo described made sense, so I put them into practice, with varied success, and started thinking about what made it work in terms of the constrained optimisation analysis.
My first version of the economic optimisation framework was:
VALUE = DESIGN = COMMUNICATION, CREATIVITY, PRODUCTIVITY
max. VALUE = max. DESIGN
Value delivered, (given quality standards, time and cost) is directly proportional to design quality.
max. DESIGN = max. CREATIVITY and max. PRODUCTIVITY
Design quality is directly proportional to creativity and productivity of the team.
optimised COMMUNICATION drives max. CREATIVITY and max. PRODUCTIVITY
The most significant factor in maximizing team creativity and productivity is communication.
There is no such thing as a bad team. Only bad leaders.
I’d spent so much time thinking of methods but it wasn’t until I worked another contract, at a large organisation that was as devoid of leadership as I’ve ever seen, while binging on Jocko podcasts that I swapped from Communication, Creativity, Productivity to Leadership, Creativity, Productivity.
The practical agile method recommended is relatively standard with some important tactical and philosophical nuances.
What I hope to highlight here, what I think is largely missing in most agile methods and theory, is that agile implementations will be sub-optimal or outright fail without true leaders, and a constrained optimization framework.
This means leaders who genuinely lead, not simply manage checklists, and understand that uncertainty – risk and opportunity – pervade everything. Leaders who know that innovation is competitive advantage, so the mindset must be that they are digging gold mines not building bridges.
The AgileSweet method is an economic approach to agile enterprise IT projects.
AgileSweet frames software development projects as constrained optimization problems with the objective function of maximizing business results subject to constraints of cost, time, input resources and knowledge.
AgileSweet is an agile method in that it features lightweight requirement capture, early start to development, short layered iterations, embedded business involvement, pervasive acceptance of requirement and scope change and a focus on team communication and the frequent delivery of production ready software.
AgileSweet views development objectives and practical methods in terms of the micro-economics optimisations involved so giving managers a deeper analytical understanding and control over the forces at work.
AgileSweet drives project managers and system producers to optimise communication, creativity and productivity and allows development teams to sustainably focus on design and quality assurance so as to optimise business objectives.