In Part 1 of this series we introduced Vorpal Inc, a traditional company in the popcorn machines business, entering new markets by bringing some ‘Shadow IT’ into the light. In Part 2 we derived a generic approach from Vorpal’s service-oriented transition, ending with a hint at the need for fast-delivering development methods... Part 3: Fast-delivered Business Value The “Mashup Corporations” book rightfully approaches service-enabling as a mean to create Business Value. Which is a perspective that is, unfortunately, much less emphasized when talking about ‘pure’ SOA, as this is likely to be considered as a mere technological vision. And ‘Business Value’ should be defined from an outside-in perspective. Not seldomnly do enterprises make the mistake of presenting their organization and designing their services from the inside out, meaning that they are presented according to organizational divisions and borders within the enterprise. Of which an external user/viewer has no knowledge. But this business focus doesn’t prevent a lot of thinking and learning to be spent on technical architecture and infrastructure. Being a Scrum Evangelist myself and having applied it for over 7 years, I like to highlight some parallels and complementarity of Service-oriented Business Transformation with Agile transitions, and the power of Scrum in particular:
- Agile development methods by nature will support and reinforce a services inspired business transformation. Because Agile has the dynamics to keep up with rapid business evolutions, accepts and encourages change as a driving force to improve. Agile has built-in principles for collaboration, business involvement, emerging architecture and design, and focuses on lively communication and trust over dead paper contracts. Deliver quickly, with high quality but on a less formal base. Go to market, learn and adapt. Care should be given to the fact that Agile transitions advisably also require new professions, titles and functions in their domains. This is the time to go beyond the adoption of ‘Agile’ as common ground and principles, and select a tangible framework like Scrum. It offers organizations the new professions of ScrumMaster, Product Owner, Coach, Scrum Developer and Agile Tester.
- Agile/Scrum transition is, like the introduction of enterprise services, not a goal in itself. It should not be limited to a technical implementation, superficial ceremonies and new titles. Like an external user/viewer has no knowledge or interest on the sort of development technologies or frameworks, hence the need for more business lead/involvement in the development process as promoted by Agile/Scrum. The enterprise culture should be aligned with it. Exactly the alignment that is required for service-enabled environments. Scrum is a (powerful) framework to do so. It will increase a company's Business Value in the actual ‘era of perpetual beta', where markets change, businesses change and technologies change, where nothing much seems to be stable.
- Moving to service-enablement requires a level of Lean thinking at the corporate level. Scrum is an excellent and tangible process that implements the Lean principles for software development.
- Scrum has the advantage of not being limited to a technology or engineering practices. It is a pattern language that can be used to enrich enterprise practices and culture.