Monday, December 4, 2017

Prediction for next decade (2018-2027) - 2018



1. Agile transformation market will thrive while large enterprises will struggle to transform.
2.  Bigdata trend will keep gaining strength in both spheres – Batch & Real time. But too many tools may kill momentum.
3. SAAS and PAAS will prevail for the small and big enterprise.
4. IAAS will thrive in enterprise data centers (Private Cloud).
5. Industry-specific cloud platforms will rise to cater regulatory and vertical-specific needs.
6. Artificial intelligence will be new playground of software developers.
7.  Digital currencies will impact financial markets in a big way.
8.  Fragmentation of Internet - There will be walls around a country or region-specific internet.
9. Applications will be pervasive in devices and appliances like phones (mobile and fixed line), TVs, automobiles, refrigerators, disk (CD/DVD/BlueRay) players, and any other computing device.
10. Indian IT workforce will shift from permanent job to contractual jobs like in the USA.
11. 3D printing will start making penetration into consumer market which will take a heavy toll on mass manufacturing based economies.
12. Fragmentation and Alternatives of Java and Enterprise Java (like Apache harmony, and Spring) will emerge stronger and official Java from Oracle will lose its sheen due to lust for its monetization by Oracle.
13.  The rise of China-based technology companies.

Friday, December 1, 2017

Top Trends of 2018

1. In software development and maintenance, fall of the waterfall will continue while Agile will be rising.
2. Agile transformation business will flourish further.
3. Agile at scale will continue to haunt.
4. The noise around budgeting, HR, sales & marketing, and other enterprise functions in the Agile adopting environment may become loud enough.
5. Containerization and micro service will keep on rising in software architecture and design.
6. The cloud-based application will penetrate further into the enterprise market.
7. Voice-based interaction and user interface will gain a further foothold in home improvement market.
8. Mobile payment will become ubiquitous.
9. Internet of things will keep growing in consumer and enterprise market.
10. Bigdata, Artificial intelligence, and user experience professionals will be in great demand.
11. Autonomous vehicle technology will be pursued further.
12. Virtual and augmented reality will start making a further inroad into enterprise training business.
13. The merger of devices will continue.

Monday, November 20, 2017

Post Agile



Recently, during an Agile meetup, I came across an interesting question - What is after Agile? This intriguing question did not leave me all day. I explored the internet but was not able to come up with anything concrete.  Agile is one of the steps in the evolution of our working style and heavily influenced by the very nature of the work. Then today, I thought, I should pen down my thoughts.
Before the industrial revolution, we were doing most of our work as craftsmanship which required a heavy dose of interpersonal relationship, col-location, rich communication, and solving unique problems every time.  The industrial revolution brought the division of labor, mechanization, and scientific management which diminished human relationships, rich communication, and problem-solving in a day to day repetitive work environment.

At present, software development is in pre-industrial revolution era where every problem is unique. Though some of us tried to utilize learnings from post-industrial revolution work culture in software development due to a unique proposition of software development, it failed repeatedly. In software development, most of the problems faced are unique, so they require unique solutions. This paradigm forces us to look into pre-industrial era work style which is very similar to Agile way of working.
I visualize at least two possible scenarios which may arise in software development area.

Scenario 1: We develop machines which can solve the problems posed by software development. The software development may turn into something like assembly line operation with the arrival of intelligent machines. Artificial Intelligence, machine learning, and general purpose components are trying to move software development in this direction.

Scenario 2: We keep on solving existing challenges using software and in this pursuit keep on discovering newer challenges. This will keep Agile or its successor alive provided we do not discover a way to replace human intellect by the machine.

So, which scenario may play out in the future? If I have to bet, I will go with the second scenario in short to medium term (approx. 30 to 50 years) and then to the first scenario. As we are discovering better and better AI algorithms in the area of assisted learning, sooner or later we are bound to discover non-assisted AI algorithm (probably using assisted AI algorithms). At that time Agile or not Agile may lose the relevance.

Wednesday, October 18, 2017

Why there is so much resistance for Agile?

I meet a lot of people who are opposed to Agile. This used to annoy me and I used to think of them as ignorant or snobs. But when I started thinking deeper and kept myself in their shoes, I realized they have their version of reality which makes perfect sense from their position.
 
In my view, this hostility (or apathy in some cases) exists on three different levels:
(a) End result sought
(b) When to use Agile based frameworks/methodologies  
(b) A lacuna in the current approach to various Agile-compliant frameworks and methodologies.
 
Let's consider an example from the business world. Different businesses have different objectives - one may run for profit maximization while other may seek sustainable profit optimization with a healthy workforce. Can Agile be used in both scenarios? Maybe not. In a given context we need to understand what is the expected end result of a way of working - Valuable outcome, sustainable pace, immediate gratification, or something else.
 
As Cynefin framework has defined five decision making contexts - simple, complicated, complex, chaotic, and disorder. Most of us try to stick to the Agile way of working in all five which essentially ruins the Agile way of working. Agile fits well in Complex context and maybe a working solution in Complicated. For Simple context, Agile is over do while for Chaotic context Agile is certainly not a way to go. For Disorder context as Cynefin framework recommend - try to contextualize in remaining four.
 
While talking about Agile, we invariably focus on utopia - no difference between employees & contractors, co-located teams, flat organizational structure, and much more. But in reality, this state doesn't  exist. Most of the frameworks and methodologies claiming to be Agile are mute about:
 
1. Distributed teams
2. Outsourcing partners
3. Expertise based silos
4. Contractual obligations
5. All team members are not expert or skilled. There are Yodas as well as Padawans
6. Even emergent architecture requires upfront thoughts
7. Divide in onsite and offshore
8. Divide among full-timers and contractors
9. Resistance to breaking away from existing organizational pyramid
10. The existence of the project
11. Usage of Agile to squeeze more out of IT and Engineering teams instead of focusing on optimizing effectiveness
12. Marketing of various non-Agile frameworks, methodologies, processes, practices, tools, and techniques by various very successful people and organizations
13. Ignoring existence of various other functions beyond IT and Engineering
14. Silence on individual performance. We are not the only a team but love our individuality too.
 
Should we abandon Agile? Certainly not. Agile is evolving and I expect that in near future, it will tackle the questions beyond today's narrow scope.
 
All this big talk is fine, but what should I do in the meantime?
 
As an Agilist, I prefer to address the underlying causes rather than any specific framework. Also, anything which questions the establishment is bound to face resistance.
 
I hope, this small write up will raise more questions which will help all of us to think little deeper.

Tuesday, September 26, 2017

How to eat an ELEPHANT?

How lucky I am, I just hunted down an elephant!! I am going to enjoy it for a long time. No need to hunt for a year. I have more than enough food.

Wait!! Meat will spoil soon, so I can not wait for a year to consume even, not six months. What should I do?? Hmm... I have an idea, I will be eating more and finish this elephant in six months.  No way, I do not want to die as obese. Oh my God!! what are my options? Yep, I have an idea, let's call my friends and share the elephant. That's a good idea, when they have an elephant, they will call me for the feast.

Hurray!!! I know how to each elephant again and again.

Now I know, how I will be helping an organization to transform. After all, I know how to eat an elephant.

Thursday, August 24, 2017

**Sarcasm** An Agile practitioner is a job killer **Sarcasm**

An Agile practitioner is a job killer

    1. He is multi skilled, he is a job killer.
    2. He produces bug-free code, kills jobs for testers.
    3. He keeps automating repetitive tasks, kills jobs for juniors.
    4. He speaks to customers regularly, he kills jobs for business analysts.
    5. He is part of self-organized teams, he kills jobs for managers.
    6. He shares information freely, he kills jobs for trainers.
    7. He codes, design, and architect, he kills jobs of paper architects.
    8. He is a team player, he kills jobs in HR management.
    9. He is part of collocated teams, he kills jobs in the travel industry.
    10. He communicates all the time with remote team mates, again he kills jobs in the travel industry.

Agile practitioners are job killers, we want our waterfall grown-ups back. We do not want disaster teens, we need grown-ups.

Thursday, August 17, 2017

Is Agile a Value System or Belief System?



Yesterday, I had a realization; a bar is a good place to engage in philosophical discussions with friends. To add spice to it is Google. We, few friends, were arguing - "Is Agile a Value System or Belief System". Keeping the sprint of engineering alive we agreed to settle on a definition of value system, belief system, value, and belief.

Value System:  A coherent set of values adopted and/or evolved by a person, organization, or society as a standard to guide its behavior in preferences in all situations. - http://www.businessdictionary.com/definition/value-system.html

Value system:  the system of established values, norms, or goals existing in a society - https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/value%20system

Value: One's judgment of what is important in life, a person's standard behavior or principles

Belief and Belief system: A belief is something in which you believe without supporting facts. A collection of such belief around a context is a belief system.

In some cases, values and value system are backed by verifiable facts or folk lore, myths and legends (not verifiable because concerning events happened in distant past so blurry stories are embedded in society's collective memory or facts and belief manufactured to further an agenda purposefully or unknowingly).

For example believing in the (or many or none) God and associated factors is a belief system but accepting that we do not have any proof of existence or non-existence of God is a fact.

Now, is Agile a belief system or value system?

Certainly, Agile is not a belief system also not a value system but it promotes a value system. The real question is - are values promoted by Agile based on facts (empirical evidence) or manufactured facts and beliefs?

We need more many visits to the bar to explore further :-).