Tuesday, April 18, 2023

Mixed methods, Agile and Other

There comes a point where more planning can not remove the remaining uncertainty, instead execution must be used to provide data and remove uncertainty.

This quote comes from a nicely argued case -- from the agile blog 'leading answers' -- for mixing agile methods in rather traditional businesses, like the oil and gas exploration/production business

If ever there was a business that benefits from Boehm's Spiral Model, OGM (oil, gas, minerals) is certainly one. (Disclosure: In the past, I've owned some OGM leases in Texas, so I've a bit of personal experience with this)

So, what have you got here?
  • A lot of risk acknowledged up front (can't know everything -- thus the opening quote)
  • A need to run with pilot projects before committing to production
  • A need to tie into legacy systems (in the OGM case, distribution systems)
  • A lot of deliverables that can be done incrementally and then integrated
  • Small (it's all relative re small) teams, co-located (or the virtual version thereof), personally committed, with risk hanging on every move.
  • A degree of local autonomy -- even if virtual -- required to meet the challenges of the moment
Sounds like an environment that needs agility, if not agile methods, on a lot of the stuff.

Of course, there's "one big thing":

You can't go around self-organizing (agile speak) willy-nilly! There are regulatory constraints everywhere and safety-first doctrine hanging on every move.

So, yes, there is a big bureaucracy that watches over... it's certainly more intrusive than a coach or a servant-leader (more agile speak)  (I'm sure they never heard this stuff in an oil field or an offshore rig!). In fact, I'll bet the rig boss is a force to be reckoned with!

Agile in the Enterprise
So, the bureaucracy has to be reckoned with, aka, 'the enterprise'. To that point take a read of my post about 'agile in the enterprise', or better yet, take a look at my book, 'Project Management the Agile Way; Making it work in the Enterprise."

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