Agile Resiliency: An Interview with Jeff Dalton

[interview]
Summary:

Jeff Dalton is an author, a consultant with more than twenty-five years of software process improvement experience, and president of Broadsword, a management-consulting firm. In this interview, Jeff talks about agile resiliency and large organizations making the agile transition.

Jeff Dalton is an author, a consultant with more than twenty-five years of software process improvement experience, and president of Broadsword, a management-consulting firm. In this interview, Jeff talks about agile resiliency and large organizations making the agile transistion.

Jonathan Vanian: This is Jeff Dalton. Thank you so much for taking time out of your day to talk with us, Jeff.

Jeff Dalton: Thanks for having me.

JV: Yes, no problem. So, Jeff is going to be speaking at the upcoming Agile Development Conference West in Vegas.  So, Jeff, why don't we start off by just having you tell our listeners and readers a little bit about yourself.

JD: Sure. My name is Jeff Dalton and I live in Detroit, MI, or outside Detroit and I run an organization that is called Broadsword. Broadsword is a company that helps companies increase performance improvement. The name of our company comes from one of our clients. The CIO of a really large energy company said we really like working with you guys because you know how to cut through all the noise and get right to the point. We came up with the name Broadsword about ten years ago because that's exactly what we do. We come in, we cut through the politics, we cut through the noise and we help your company be the greatest company it can be.

JV: Very nice. Yes, that's a very powerful sword.  Very strong, big sword.

JD: Very large sword.

JV: It's a very large sword, right.  So, you're going to talk a lot about agile resiliency in your upcoming session, so let's just start out and can you just give a little run down on what is agile resiliency? 

JD: Sure. agile resiliency is an idea that we need to work together to make agile methods stronger and more robust so that we can scale them. But more importantly, the really large adopters of agile, these are organizations that are starting to use agile like General Motors and the Department of Defense and Lockheed Martin and the really big companies are all starting to declare that agile is something that they want to start adopting. 

JV: Right.

JD: I started to become concerned about this because when I was a young programmer, waterfall was considered to be the next great thing.

JV: Sure.

JD: It was considered back in the seventies and eighties, we were saying, oh, waterfall is so cool.  It's going to make development predictable and easier and much better.  Of course, now, waterfall is almost a bad word.  It's a curse word.

JV: Right.

JD: In the software industry, right?

JV: It sounds very old fashioned. 

JD: It sounds very old fashioned. Trust me on this.  I know, I see from your video that you're kind of a little bit younger than I am, but you probably are like, oh, waterfall, what a terrible thing. And back in the seventies and eighties, that wasn't what it was.  It was like, oh, this is the coolest new thing, you know?

JV: Well, I try not to harbor too much of a bias, because I talk to so many people who grew up in that era. So, yes, I don't. 

JD: Right. But, the thing is is that it was the doctors that needed the heavy, ugly thing that it is today.  It was the federal government, the Department of Defense, the General Motors of the world, and I'm using that metaphorically, that said, oh, we want to pile all kinds of heavy process and over head and documentation and all this stuff.  The reason they did it is because that's the way they already did business.

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About the author

Jonathan Vanian's picture Jonathan Vanian

Jonathan Vanian is an online editor who edits, writes, interviews, and helps turn the many cranks at StickyMinds, TechWell, AgileConnection, and CMCrossroads. He has worked for newspapers, websites, and a magazine, and is not as scared of the demise of the written word as others may appear to be. Software and high technology never cease to amaze him.

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