Defining Agile SCM: Past, Present & Future (2008)


Note that for CM, all three of the pillars would apply to form, fit & function

These classic principles have influenced architects through ages, including Louis Sullivan, Le Corbusier and Mies van der Rohe with equivalent statements of "form follows function". As suggested by Jon Zingmark ([14]), the notion of venustas is often neglected. One of the requirements is short lead-time in delivery of software which calls for more focus on what you are supposed to deliver than on how you deliver it. We should aim to abstract the principles as much as possible and to automate the low levels in order to take care of venustas as close to the customer needs as possible.

Aspiring to be Configuration Directors Rather than Configuration Managers
One idea to take on board is expressed by noted business author Charles Handy [13]:

Go to the theatre and look at the programme. Everyone connected with the performance is listed, no matter how small their contribution. People like to be recognised as individuals. The word "manager" is reserved for those in charge of things, not people, the stage manager and the lighting manager. The people who are in direct communication with the customer, the actors, are directed, not managed, by someone who actually leaves the scene once the project is under way. He or she trusts the cast to go it alone, and as often as not, they improve on the production once the director departs. Trust inspires. One more thing - at the end of each performance they receive an expression of appreciation from their audience, direct feedback from the people who matter. No waiting for the annual performance appraisal.

Thus we can manage configurations of CIs, but we work with other people in the development team to direct the overall configuration and delivery according to CM requirements.

What can we do as SCM professionals to direct our teams to achieve SCM principles in an agile manner, without seeking to control every last action?

What training, education, inspiration, vision and support are necessary to achieve this? How can we empower the team members and let appropriate organization emerge from within the team and yet satisfy the traditional requirements of CM. The challenge is to get really involved with the team and work as part of the whole effort. This is something that experienced CM professionals have long been doing, but we all know how easy it is to slip back into a somewhat "ivory tower" mode, where we can almost be viewed as adversaries of the development team, people who "get in the way" of them doing their job.

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