Wednesday, July 31, 2013

BigLever and the Agile Product Line

BigLever’s recent introduction of the Gears PLE (Product Line Engineering) Lifecycle Framework and PLE Methodology – adding to its long-time BigLever Software Gears offering for product-development management – is as important, I believe, for its potential ability to foster the “agile” products of the future as for its immediate benefit in extending product management to multiple inter-related product lines.  BigLever ably describes its offering’s immediate benefits to present customers.  I’d like to dwell here on the broader implications of its new capabilities in evolving software development to support not only agile development but also agile solutions.
What do I mean by an agile product/solution?  I mean one that is exceptionally and quickly customizable (not just modifiable as the product evolves) at all points in the product/solution lifecycle, both before and after its delivery to the customer.  In other words, agile development allows you to change as customer needs change right up to the point of delivery, and then iterate in the next product development lifecycle; agile products allow you to create product lines of multiple related products in which somewhere in the welter of choices is the right version for a “customer of one”, and that customer of one is a large company that needs multiple versions for multiple customers inside the firm.
I would argue that this is an inevitable outcome of today’s trends in software-infused products and product lines.  The marketing approach that seeks to leverage one successful product in related areas is now reflected in software-containing products that share a great deal of features, whether the results are presented to the outside world as one product line or several.  Increasingly, a marketing and Big-Data focus on customer individuality, and customers’ desire to achieve greater usefulness via customization after solution receipt, makes customization both before and after the sale more and more frequent. I would also assert that most of today’s software development tools assume the old reality of one linear product development lifecycle.  Yes, programmers and code are shared across related projects; but across multiple product lines, less so.

Step 1:  BigLever PLE and Cross-Product-Line Customization

Again from my point of view, the BigLever offering simply takes a project management/product-lifecycle-management framework and infuses it with the notion that multiple related products and product lines are involved.  That’s not as simple as it sounds; for example, doing change management on multiple related development streams is more complicated than doing branching of code versions in a single stream.  In any case, the BigLever software predefines a set of “variable” building blocks that represent features, and runs through a checklist for a particular version that determines which customer gets which feature set on which customization of which product – and allows for further post-production customization by the customer.
The rest is details, but important ones.  There is a traceability mechanism, a “product configurator”, a “tiered” Methodology (supporting products, product lines, and muitiple-product-line “portfolios”) and the ability to store code sets representing customizable features – a characteristic that effectively creates for the developer a base of industry- and firm-specific software from which he or she can semi-automatically populate a product line.
And it is this last detail that especially excites me, and leads me to talk about agile products.

The Other Shoe:  Automated Development With Embedded Customization

It seems to me that the ability to store a “code data store” of feature variations across products and product lines is much like the ability to create a library of object classes:  It forms a natural basis for rapid, flexible development.  Granted, Gears is focused on managing development across multiple projects, not on creating code itself.  Still, taking that code data store and using it to semi-automatically generate new software based on the old is an obvious next step for somebody.  And that new software retains the flexible customization of the previous version of a product, product line, or product “portfolio”, baked in, as it were. 
Consider such an approach when wedded to agile development.  Techniques such as refactoring already ensure that it is exceptionally easy to modify software as you develop it, as needed.  Building blocks with customization built in allow not just modification, but also variation/customization to fine-tune for the customer of one.  Together, they maximize the agile developer’s ability to go in any direction needed at any time.
That’s why I call the result an agile product, not a flexible one.  The distinction between flexibility and agility is key to getting an agile approach’s true benefits.  Flexibility can simply cement a sub-optimal solution in place, rather than encouraging major changes as customer needs change.  Agility, instead, encourages incremental adjustment that eventually add up to major new functionality, well adapted to the customer.  The combination of development agility in modifying existing software, and the kind of customization agility resulting from semi-automated development using building blocks with embedded customization, makes both the process and the result (the product) more agile.

Bottom Line:  The BigLever Approach is Worth Incorporating

Let me be clear:  BigLever does not force any approach on you. Its Gears solution has a long tradition of working with development toolsets of all stripes.  It is my own view that it or a similar solution will in the long run pay off best when paired with agile development.  And, of course, the details of the merger of the two have yet to be fully worked out.
Still, given the promise of the BigLever PLE approach, it seems reasonable to me that medium-to-large IT organizations with an array of software development needs that approximate “multiple related product lines” should at least take a close look at the new BigLever offering.  Savvy implementers might well go further, and begin to amass a “war chest” of feature customizations for later use in automated development.  In either case, the only thing you have to lose is an illusion:  The idea that we can go back to the good old days when each project aimed to create a new version of one and only one product.
But back then, you couldn’t even dream of the customer of one. Maybe those good old days weren’t very good, after all. You’re probably better off exploring the brave new agile-product-line world that BigLever’s offering represents.


Sunday, July 28, 2013

A Methane Scenario

In reading recent posts about the methane “Arc tic time bomb” on the Neven Arctic blog (, I realized that no one was developing a full-fledged scenario for how a serious methane emissions uptake from Arctic deposits could occur.  So here’s my (amateur) stab at it.


When, around 2007, the Northeast Passage opened up, few worried about the implications for methane emissions.  True, there were 50 Gt of methane locked up in methane clathrates (CH4 in a “water cage”), mostly under the shallow waters of the Arctic above Siberia, but it seemed there were several reasons not to worry:
  • ·         Methane has a short half-life, unless it attains a concentration well above its concentration as of now;
  • ·         It seemed then that even if the permafrost in which the clathrates resided melted, methane would only be released in a “bursty” manner by landslides caused by the loosening of the icy bonds of the underwater permafrosted land – certainly not in a steady stream such as would be needed to overcome the short half-life;
  • ·         It also seemed that even if the methane was released from the clathrates, it would “pop” before reaching the surface, which in turn would mix more carbon with the water and hence put it in the atmosphere, or feed “blooms” which when they died each year would likewise release their carbon in the water and thence to the atmosphere – a fraction of the carbon already being emitted;
  • ·         At present, the methane released (if any) was no more than a small fraction of the man-made amount of methane emissions – and that was still not near the danger point.

However, the warming water poured in from the North Atlantic along the western part of the Siberian Sea during the summer, and when Soviet researchers checked during the summer of 2012, methane bubbles hundreds of meters in diameter were coming up.  That meant that both the idea of “bursty” methane and the idea that all the methane would “pop” before reaching the surface were not accurate.  And yet, even during summer, the fluctuations detected amounted to less than 1% of methane emissions measured in the Arctic.  Clearly, some scientists argued, the other two factors (short half-life, small fraction of the total) meant that there was no immediate cause for concern.

And then el Nino arrived.


The splashier effects of el Nino distracted attention from its effects on methane emissions.  While it did indeed raise the temperatures down south significantly, its main effect was to warm the air in the Arctic (already in record-breaking territory) by 3 degrees in summer and by 10 degrees in winter.  The initial effect was to extend summer “insolation” (heating of ice and water from above) and above-freezing average air temperatures for 2 weeks on either end, so that the Arctic water was now just about completely ice-free and accumulating a “storage bank” of heat with which to melt the permafrost.

Now, the period of methane bubbles was lasting twice as long, and the pace of melting was four times as great.  Moreover, towards the end of the period, the small but steady warming of the Beafort Sea from the south was beginning to push into the eastern end of the seas above Siberia.  These, too, began to see bubbles and spikes in methane usage.

At the end of this period, another “distraction” arrived:  adjacent permafrost in Siberia began to thaw.  Although it was not clear in the beginning how much of that thaw would be methane and how much carbon, it turned out to be perhaps a 2/3-1/3 ratio.  Still, compared to human-caused methane emissions (which had gone up another 10% since 2007), the emissions from clathrates and the small contribution from Siberian permafrost were still much less.


Soon after 2025, la Nina arrived; but it had surprisingly little effect.  True, the ascent of temperatures in the Arctic slowed; but the warming water from previous years continued to pour into the Arctic.  That, in turn, extended the iceless Arctic period well into November, and the increasing energy in the air likewise extended the melting-out period over the Siberian seas into June.  And so, having quadrupled the last period, methane clathrate emissions tripled over this period, so that by 2033 worldwide methane emissions were up by 25% compared to 2007 – 15% from humans, 6% from methane clathrates, and 3% from land permafrost melt, which was undergoing its own steep climb.

Still, for a little while, the world could still file methane emissions in the Arctic under “lesser concerns”, at least compared to carbon emissions.  And there, as well, the contributions of carbon from permafrost were still minor compared to human emissions – not to mention the almost full effect of the decreased albedo of the Arctic.


These were the years when things got really serious.  El Nino returned, and the Arctic became ice-free year-round by around 2039.  The warm water year-round plus the increased insolation and the increased energy in the air year-round, transmitted to the water via storms, meant a quintupling of methane clathrate emissions – to a 30% increase over 2007.  Add on 10% from land permafrost and the 20% from human emissions, and methane emissions were up 60% -- an effect of much less than one degree F globally, but nonetheless significant.

And still the worst effects held off, until …


Methane clathrate emissions had reached somewhat of a “steady state”, in which melt reached progressively deeper into the permafrost, but the adjacent melted sediment continued to warm faster, as it penetrated to areas of greater pressure.  However, this “steady state” was adding about 50% more methane emissions than in 2007, at a steady pace.  Meanwhile, the permafrost contribution was steadily climbing, as melted permafrost converted to swamps which produced their own methane.  By about 2060, the result was a 100% increase in methane emissions in total – and that’s when the second shoe dropped.

Doubling methane emissions meant that the methane in the air was now saturated – it was far less likely to decompose into water and/or carbon dioxide.  As a result, the half-life of methane shot up, first to 20 years, and then to 40.  Now the other aspect of methane – that it is 70 times as powerful a greenhouse gas as carbon for the same half-life – began to come into play.  Effectively, the effect was 1 degree F of average global warming; but this was equivalent to the effect of the entire increase in carbon ppm in the atmosphere pre-2007.  To put it another way, methane added perhaps 33% to global warming up to 2070.

In the longer run, of course, carbon emissions continued to dominate for the next thousand years.  However, the land permafrost methane now assumed center stage, continuing the saturation for perhaps 300 of those years.  Global warming baked us; methane clathrates in the Arctic were the trigger to ensure that we were truly well done.

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Some Fascinating If Minor Effects of the Ocean and the Air on Global Warming

Over the last four years, I have seen some reports on scientific research into climate mechanisms involving the ocean and the atmosphere (lower and upper) that I regard as both fascinating and (apparently) often misunderstood.  So here’s a quick note on what I understand in general to be the import of these mechanisms.  As always, there will probably be mistakes in my summary:  Caveat lector.
The Fate of Greenland
That actually was the title of a book by (iirc) MIT researchers that summarized the first, and imho most major, of these mechanisms.  It works like this:  warm surface water flows in the Gulf Stream current northeast.  Off Greenland, it dives down to the deep ocean, and becomes a current flowing south through the Atlantic.  When it reaches Antarctica, it flows as a current halfway around the world and starts flowing north again, to surface somewhere around the Bering Strait – a journey of maybe 100-150 years.  This current is therefore continually refreshing the warmth of the deep ocean, and is one mechanism by which the heat of the surface water is transmitted to the deep ocean.
What causes the Gulf Stream to sink is that it becomes relatively salt-heavy compared to the water around it.  However, periodically, when temperatures get too warm, sea ice in the area melts.  Sea ice when it originally forms expels the salt; when it melts, therefore, it releases relatively non-salty water – and the Gulf Stream stops sinking.  This, in turn, stops the ocean “conveyor” of deep-water heat and, 100-150 years later, stops the warming of the Bering Strait (and therefore Arctic) water as well – which causes the water around Greenland to cool again and the Gulf Stream to dive again.  You may remember that this is the phenomenon that caused many to fear just such a Gulf Stream failure due to global warming – and so you had doomsday predictions of a collapse of temperatures in northern North America and northern Europe, which are today warmed beyond their latitude by the Gulf Stream.  Alas, all indicators are that such a stoppage, if it is happening, is happening only slowly, and by the time the Gulf Stream stopped a rise in temperature that would more than compensate may well have happened.
So how has this ocean current played into global warming so far?  I believe it has played a minor but significant role in Arctic melt.  Bear in mind that Arctic sea ice never extends to the bottom of the Arctic sea, and below it is salt-heavy water that flows (bearing the ice with it) more or less from the Bering Strait across the North Pole to Greenland and Iceland and the North Atlantic.  The warming of 1910 is now surfacing in the Bering Strait and going to warm the ice in the Arctic from below and the side – a small warming, according to measurements in the Bering Strait, but I believe a significant factor in the melting of Arctic sea ice we have seen over the last 20 years, along with increased summer heat melting the ice from above.  That effect, while still minor, can only increase as, over the next 50 years, we begin to enter the period of more rapid ocean-surface/Gulf-stream warming from 1913-1963. And, of course, the warming of the waters around Greenland will grease the skids of Greenland’s land glaciers, accelerating the raising of ocean levels.
Boys, Girls, and Oscillations
By now, probably, many have heard of the El Nino (“the boy”) effect, and some of the contrary La Nina (“the girl”) effect.  Briefly, periodically an unusually warm ocean-surface current (el Nino) arrives in Ecuador from the Pacific.  This is the crest of a decade-long or so period when this current is unusually warm.  Likewise, periodically an unusually cool current (la Nina) arrives, and is the trough of a decade-long or so period when this current is unusually cool.
The ripple effects of an el Nino are global.  We see higher global temperatures, especially in places like the US western seacoast.  It may affect a characteristic of the northern latitudes called the North Atlantic Oscillation (basically the location of a place of low [?] pressure in the Atlantic near/in the Arctic), which when “positive” brings hotter weather to northern Europe and cooler weather to North America, and when “negative” brings cooler weather to northern Europe and hotter weather to North America.  An el Nino seems to be mostly associated with a “positive” NAO, and a la Nina with a “negative” NAO.
A recent study shows that in the period of today’s global warming, an el Nino period corresponds to 10-20 years of accelerated global warming, and a la Nina period to 10-20 years of “hiatus”, meaning no or slower global warming.  Over the last fifteen years, we have seen a hiatus period following an unusually strong el Nino in 1998, plus acceleration in underlying global warming.  Thus, although we have not broken the 1998 global temperature record, we are continuing to see global temperatures rise from year to year, from 1999 onwards.  What is worse, the la Nina period should be coming to its end – indeed, some expected it to end in 2012.  It is possible that global warming’s effects on ocean-surface and deep-ocean warming may have disrupted the timing of el Nino – but, failing that, what we have seen over the last 15 years may have been a relatively halcyon period.
The other interesting finding from this study and a previous one is that el Nino has an effect not only on weather patterns, but also on the ocean – more specifically, on transmission of heat from the ocean’s surface to the deep ocean.  The off-Greenland “heat sink”, it turns out, is only one of four such transmission places from surface to deep ocean, one in the Northern Pacific, one in the southern Pacific near Antarctica, and one in the southern Atlantic near Antarctica.  In all of these places, the wind patterns essentially form an ellipse around a center.  El Nino affects these winds such that transmission to the deep ocean decreases, and there is more surface heat and less deep-ocean heat, and la Nina makes the transmission increase, so that there is more deep-ocean heating and less of the surface heat that contributes to global warmth.  Note also that global-warming-driven greater energy in the circum-Antarctic current may have actually increased the “heat sink” there, slowing global warming independently of the el Nino effect, but no one is quite sure of that one. 
So what we have so far is a longer-term (100-150 years) ocean global-warming effect that over the next 100 years will become more and more serious, plus a decades-long oscillation that over the long term has zero effect on global warming but can deceive you about the trend – if you let it.
Mongolian Weirding
OK, this one is based a bit on preliminary research, and is the least important in the medium and long terms as regards global warming.  But it’s so weird …
As I understand it, it begins when the temperature somewhere above the Tarim desert “basin” near Mongolia warms just enough to allow the heat of that basin to rise towards the troposphere (upper atmosphere).  That warming is automagically transmitted northward to the Arctic, where for some reason the transmission of heat to the troposphere removes much of the heat-trapping ozone there (?).  As a result, especially in winter, the Arctic actually becomes colder, and this in turn propels a greater differential with temperatures farther south.  This, in turn, means that the jet stream, which operates in the troposphere, fluctuates more north and south, and this in turn causes more frequent intrusion of cold Arctic temperatures to the south.  Hence, apparently, last winter.  And we can blame it all on Mongolia …
Apparently, because of global warming that effect has been happening more often.  And yet, compared to the other effects I’ve discussed, in the medium and long terms this is pocket change.  So, the jet stream oscillates more often; but the Arctic is also warming much faster than everywhere else, to the tune of 10-20 degrees Fahrenheit in the winter, so the effects of jet-stream-induced cold from the Arctic are steadily being muted.  Clearly, as the incredibly warm North American winter of two years ago shows, in the medium term Nino/Nina and the NAO dominate, and in the long term CO2-induced global warming dominates. But the Mongolian effect is just so weird …
Prehistorical Minimum
I see a few who in analyzing these effects attempt to apply a simplistic rule:  “The last time this happened …” As in, the last time we reached 400 ppm the Arctic was ice-free year-round, and the seas were 100 feet higher.  Referring to the past, in the case of these three effects, is likely to understate global warming and its effects over the next 100 years. 

For example, beyond perhaps 10 million years ago there was no join between North and South America, and therefore the Pacific el Nino probably flowed directly through the Atlantic until it hit Europe, while there was probably no Gulf Stream.  Was there therefore less of a “Greenland heat sink” in those days?  Probably, but it was far outweighed by the relative slowness of the CO2 increase in a Milankovitch cycle or a undersea-volcano-driven CO2 increase, and also outweighed by the ability of weatherization and the like to catch up to and counteract CO2-driven increases in ocean-surface temperature. 

For another thing, there was an open question a decade ago about the rate of global warming for a certain amount of CO2 – this discussion of “heat sinks” seems to have ended most of the uncertainty.  In other words, one could look at the rate of warming and, depending on the rate in which heating went into the ocean surface and into the deep ocean, come up with a wide range of estimates for directly CO2-driven global warming.  Well, now we appear to know that we were looking during a period of unusual la-Nina-driven deep-ocean heating, and therefore our estimates of CO2 “forcing” are narrowing in on the high side of the estimate range.  Not good news …

So I guess my overall message is that most of these effects have served in the past to allow some to underestimate the seriousness of global warming.  Now that we know them, their effects are clearly fascinating but minor in the grand scheme of things.  Fun to write about; but let’s not take our eyes off the prize.  If we do, that prize will likely be Pandora’s box – without the Hope.

Thursday, July 4, 2013

Tiempo Development and the Agile Business

I have heard a future of business organization, and it sounds as if it works.

After ten years of hearing companies only begin to appreciate agile development and then agile marketing, I certainly was not expecting to hear a company organize its management, its strategy, and its planning around a company-wide agile process. But when Tiempo Development, billing itself as yet another agile development outsourcer, gave me a telebriefing last week, I asked the obligatory question and was floored to hear that they had, indeed, done so. 

The Beginning Of The Epic

I am sure that, like many another agile-development startup, Tiempo asked themselves why they couldn’t apply agile principles to management – and yet, others I have talked to stopped there.  Tiempo, however, when faced with the need to begin doing better planning and budgeting as the business scales, seems to have had the guts to take a leap of faith and try to do it via a variant of Scrum, complete with Kanban-type lean scheduling, plus the “epics” and “stories” beloved of agile marketing.  In other words, there’s a five-year plan and budget (and, of course, in an agile organization that’s not set in stone) devolving into yearly, quarterly, monthly, and weekly epics and stories. 

Revisions to the plans are quarterly, flowing forward into a new rolling five-year plan. As in Scrum, daily task sessions and weekly reviews communicate widely, and change flows from below as well as above.  “Customer” feedback comes in laterally and frequently from project customers, as well as from above and below on the plans and their implementation.  To put it another way, the concentrated but broad communication of Scrum ensures the maximum of customer-driven evolution, while the five-year horizon ensures that long-term strategic considerations engage in a delicate dance with short-term customer –driven product specs.

We are long past the time when companies would ask whether agile development scales.  Still, the question should be asked:  how well does a Tiempo-style “Scrumban” management approach scale?  The apparent answer after about 1 1/2 years of practice is:  Quite well, so far.  The reason, I would suggest, lies in the initial establishment of five-year company goals in terms of “rocks”.  That is, the implementing CEO picked about five goals that formed what he saw as the fundamental things that the company needed to achieve over the next five years – the “rocks” in both the foundational and the risk sense. 

Again, as noted, the “rocks” are not made of concrete; they evolve over time, fairly frequently, as the company evolves.  Think of them as “virtual rocks”.  They therefore combine long-term perspective; frequent review based on customer and employee feedback; and a broad perspective, not only for the CEO but also in terms of employee understanding of (and buy-in to) strategy. Plug in more business, plug in new areas, plug in new employees.

To Understand Agile Management’s Effectiveness, Redefine Success

What does Tiempo report as evidence of success in agile management?  Interestingly, they start first with better communications between managers and “line” developers, followed by quick surfacing of bad news for rapid handling, and then “empowering” the employees.  It was only when I probed deeper that the follow-on effects emerged:  more rapid development without other sacrifices, leading to better profitability; greater customer satisfaction, leading to greater follow-on business and willingness of large enterprise customers to trust Tiempo in new areas; and a strong growth path that has the CEO more concerned with avoiding lack of focus via too many new areas than with short-term risks.

It was not a given that this would be so, but in this respect agile management is mirroring agile development.  My survey four years ago found a persistent pattern of comparative focus on change rather than cost, speed, profit, quality, or (downside) risk leading to greater cost, speed, profit, quality, and customer satisfaction as well as “upside” risk, while “downside” risk decreases – all compared to attitudes and processes that do focus on these things.  That Tiempo is focusing on the employee and customer satisfaction parts of the effect is what we should expect if Tiempo is “talking the agile talk and walking the agile walk.” And so, if agile management is indeed like agile development, out of this process we should indeed expect better top-line and bottom-line results that are likely to endure.

The problem is, of course, metrics that will establish these things – because the merits of agile management are not as easy to prove as those of agile development.   A fluke, a Board of Directors and the stock market will call the first agile management bottom-line results, caused by unique circumstances and remnants of past practices.  All these daily and weekly meetings, are they really doing any more than past business strategy fads?  I believe strongly that the answer is resoundingly yes. But I can’t do a survey like the agile development one to prove the point, because there are no obvious speed, cost, and risk-reduction metrics for the CEO’s actions, just customer and employee satisfaction, which have proven misleading in the past.

And so, we are back to CEO “culture”, just as we had to deal with IT and business management “cultures” that were highly resistant to the touchy-feely feel-good aspects of agile development.  Remember, CEOs are the byproduct of a selection process that emphasizes enormous, visible hard work and schmoozing as well as hard-nosed attention to the bottom line, and rewards these by surrounding the CEO with those who understand that their future depends on giving the CEO positive reinforcement, as well as with compensation that most fair-minded outside observers concede is well beyond the demonstrated relative effectiveness of the CEO.  In other words, power and money.  I once took a survey at B school that asked whether I wanted to make money, have power, do good for people, or accomplish something; it turned out that those who answered power or money got much more of both.

I mention this because (and this is only my impression) what really got the CEO excited, talking to me, was his own personal satisfaction – that is, the “accomplish something” part of the B school survey.  And yet, there was no reason he wouldn’t wind up with just as much power and money as my classmates who answered “power” or “money”.  In other words, in the agile world, you can make as much (or more, since the organization should be more successful) money and have as much power, but work less (remember, you’re not running around trying to single-handedly move an ocean liner of an organization or sell the world on your product) and get more real satisfaction out of it, because you can point to shared concrete projects finished successfully, not just praise from those who wish to share in your money.  And so, if the CEO and upper management can make the cultural shift, they may well find that they are better off in every way, including personal satisfaction – another agile paradox.

In fact, it turns out that the creators of agile processes may have been craftier than they knew in calling projects and project groupings “stories” and “epics”.  It speaks to something Tolkienesque in all of us.  A study recently reported in MIT Technology Review suggests that we don’t have fixed memories like snapshots of events, we have stories of the past, and each time we revisit them, we can change them, e.g., to fit new understandings of the past, a new narrative arc.  When I do TCO studies, it’s not all about yes/no, 1-5, and numbers; I ask the interviewee to tell his or her story, the story of him or her in the project.  Set the stage for me, what was your environment; tell me how the project unfolded; tell me what you found were the results; and only now tell me how this affected the TCO that you find justifies the project.  I have found the insights from such an approach far richer and better founded than those from standard surveys, even when the data is sparser.

In an agile business such as Tiempo’s, it sounds as if everyone becomes a hero or heroine in a shared epic that never ends, always new and unfolding.  Oh, and by the way, it should perform better than an old-style business.

Caveats and Not So Bottom Line

I have always been a bit dissatisfied with the analyst’s usual disclaimer:  Your mileage may vary.  Yes, and your hair may grow longer or get cut shorter.  In this case, my real disclaimer is not that agile management may or may not apply to your organization, but rather that I don’t have the figures or real-world use cases to support my belief that Tiempo’s agile-management experience applies well to most medium-sized and large-sized enterprises and organizations. 

Will Tiempo continue scaling?  Does the agile management model appropriate to a small-to-medium-sized software-development outsourcer apply to most other types of business – not the traditional “hardware” manufacturing firm that forms the “unconscious” of all businesses today, and which as far as I can tell is a small fraction of today’s businesses, but the rest of them?  What I see and hear says that it should; but until it happens, there are afaik no decent metrics to show it is working.  Your mileage will probably not vary, but you won’t know the mileage for sure until the end of your first long trip.

No now we can proceed to my not so bottom line – because, remember, agile is about focusing on change, and the bottom line will follow.  Agile development, by now, has thousands of successful use cases. New product development is getting there, and there is now a “hardware” (silicon foundry) use case, as cited in a blog post a while ago.  Agile marketing is approaching its thousandth use case – I note that in a little over a year, the Bay Area agile marketing group has gone from zero members to well over a thousand; and IT is doing its best to keep up.  And now, we have an agile management – and hence agile business – use case. It’s time to start shifting the burden of proof.  Instead of wondering why you should be an agile developer/marketer/business, you should be demanding good reasons why you shouldn’t be.

I have heard a future of business organization, and it sounds as if it works.   Please stop asking about the mileage and start installing the tires.