Look How Far I Have Come: An Agile Journey

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Assistant Vice President, U.S. Bank
Business Process & Technology Management Expert in Financial Services, Logistics & Supply Chain, Retail IT. Cross functional and Global Leader in diversified industries. Process Mining expert.

Have I grabbed your attention? Yes, ‘Look How Far I Have Come’ is a song title from the renowned Broadway Musical, Hamilton, but it is also a phrase used by many of us to highlight or showcase their careers and their life progression.

An example perhaps is “I am the CIO now, and this did not happen overnight. Look how far I have come.” In IT, this is used in a similar fashion. From legacy systems, even before, to today—it’s human nature. Look how far we have come, and where we have come from. We were once students getting in line at the University’s computer science dept’ to punch cards for a lousy Fortran IV application, which may have been for a homework or for a midterm/final, and now we drag and drop to put together an app or a UI (a GUI) for iOS or Android. A huge progress, a long journey (not that long ago actually), on our path to excellence, right?

How does this happen? Everywhere we look we see a Product or a Service. I don’t know who created the first product or gave the first professional service, but I can guarantee you that it is not the first product and/or service you are using right now, whatever that may be. Hackers, good ones (aka white hat vs black hat), take a product or service and make it better by exposing you. What is this called? Product Management (PM, not to be confused with a Project Manager), or Process Management (BPM). Hacking (in computing world slang) is also a term used for, shall we say, product/process improvement via Agile Methodology framework. Are we on the same page now?

We all know what Agile is, but what we don’t know is what will come after Agile? Now, I can hear you jump into the conversation. You may say it’s already here, such as Kanban. I am going to reference and remind you all of a website—scrum.org. The Home of Scrum, where there are the framework and many other tools for Agile Scrum Methodology. There is even an Open Assessment for PSM, PO, and many others. Of course, there are no predictions, or future telling about what comes after Agile methodology, Scrum, Kanban, etc. The whole idea is to do it faster, and better. Observe and adjust, always be open. Transparency is key, right? It is a safe place, no need for a Project Manager and our old reports are obsolete. Where am I going with this? Look how far I have come in the software development lifecycle—and Agile is not only applied to software development.  DevOps uses it and it had probably made a bigger impact. Product development benefits significantly from it.

Agile implementation also eliminates some job titles (the positions), and it has no need for those people who were only doing those specific tasks. I think it either eliminated CTO roles in many corporations or is in the process of eliminating it—that may be a very good thing. Again, look how far I have come. I am the CTO, and now, I am made redundant. This can’t happen within Agile or due to Agile only, and you have to use cloud computing as well. When you use cloud computing and you are Agile, then you don’t need a CTO. Product Owners can make those decisions, and since they don’t own any infrastructure or platforms, they only pay as they go, there is no need for a CTO. CIO is needed for sure, for now. Do we feel very bad for that? Not really, as a CTO is very well rounded and versatile and they have come from far. Thanks to Agile and Cloud, that person who had come from far is now eliminated. If you are a cloud computing entity, then things may be slightly different, and you can always share that position (the CTO position) with someone else, or pay as you go. So, let’s agree that we are not feeling bad or sad about eliminating our good old CTO position.

Look how far I have come, I have come from Agile to OKRs. I can’t remember what was before Waterfall, can you? If you do text me, or write me a handwritten letter and send it off with a pigeon. When we look back at Agile’s past, we see accounting. We are using Agile now, and that’s now! So, we can write, talk and practice many things about Agile, and Kanban which is really good and relevant to its purpose, as that discussion would only make Agile practice better, not worse!

You talk, practice, and observe, and then make adjustments and make it better. You are all in this now, and then all of a sudden you realize that you may not need a scrum master anymore. What does one (a Scrum Master) do anyway? A scrum master only has to do two things. Make sure that team attends to scrums, and make sure they are happening. The team is engaged—they are actively participating, and they voice their feedback. If that is happening, a scrum master does not even have to attend to those daily, weekly, or monthly meetings. We all have many meetings in our daily work life, look how far we have come from rarely having a meeting every day, to back-to-back meetings which sometimes overlap. The term double, or even triple booked, was a term used in the travel industry and was certainly a very bad thing. Now, it is a common thing that happens to many of us. Microsoft has a feature called “Insight” in Office, and it analyzes your calendar, emails, tasks, etc., to make you a better, mindful worker bee so you don’t tender your great resignation.

So, what comes after Agile? We eliminated jobs, made improvements with Agile, now what? Do you know what could, should, would come after Agile? What is it? Some don’t even understand Agile very well, and here I am asking this question. This certainly needs some discussion and input, a perspective, yes, a perspective is what we need. Will machines take over and deliver Agile 3.O with AI/ML? Will that be good? It may already be happening for many, or not, for some perhaps. Marc Zuckerberg said he was a human once! What???

I don’t know what is after Agile, as I am not a fortune teller. Drink some Turkish coffee and get a coffee reading, or shall we say Java script to learn that, or just continue to observe, collab, communicate, and execute on your common findings…you will eventually get to what is after Agile.

See, you have come from very far!

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