Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Success Gains a Toehold

Your team is a island. Off to the side. Away from the process police. After all, the process police are busy enforcing compliance on the big important projects. Never mind that the important projects are late. Over budget. Their business partners frustrated.

Your business partner is in the room along with everyone else. The room is abuzz. Noisy. People look busy, engaged. What is going on? How can people work like this? How can they concentrate?

But it is working.

The business partners knows what has been delivered. Likes what she sees. Has plans for more features. Is excited.

The team's reputation spreads. It is big news when a project is released on time. When the business is delighted.

How is this possible? After all, they are not using a real process. They don't have a project plan. There are no artifact that have been signed off. They don't even have detailed design documents. And what are all those things on the wall? "They just sit in a room and get stuff done" as an executive put it.

"This is fine for simple projects", says one defenders of the enterprise process. "It will never work on a real project", says another. It is the corporate immune system kicking in.

It is hard to deny success. You can't argue with excited users and business partners. Success stands out on the rough sea of failed projects.

The team has delivered. The business partner is happy, They have more work lined up for the team. There is even talk about starting another team. No one wants to stop what is working ... except the process police.

The challenge has just begin. The team is practicing agile. Doing so in a waterfall world. They're so few in number, just about 20 people.  What chance do they have against the system? How will they ever survive?

We shall see.

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