Thursday, May 19, 2011

delivery focus versus creative slack

I made a presentation on scrum today in which I first presented a generic agile framework, to then present scrum within that agile framework. Although I had not planned it, I found myself emphasizing the need to focus on delivery in order to make time available, what I call slack time, to be creative and bring your development up to a new level. I made the mistake to compare this to how you run a hedge fund, and although there are mathematical links between the management process and product development process and how to maximize a portfolio, I think that it was lost on my public of software developers. Still the reality is that you are squeezed by your boss, or by your investors, or even by the market and you cannot afford to waste time, therefore you must maximize the effort to sustain your current growth model; That is the notion of focusing on delivery and on your client. And yet you cannot fully keep that focus, you need space to tackle the hard problems, you need time to reinvent yourself; That is the notion of making space for slack time. Make sure you accumulate enough of it and then invest it wisely. Your focus needs to be breakthrough, nothing else; keep your "normal" efforts on delivery effort. For the slack time you need to try to be extraordinary because it will change you or your company and may well give you a chance of new futures that would not exist without that special effort.

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