Why Architecture is needed even in Agile? (MP3 audio) | Jim Coplien | January 2011 | Business901

Scrum came out of lean and predates agile, says @jcoplien.

[29:30] Everyone thinks that Scrum came out of Agile. Now wait a minute, let’s stop this for a second, because Scrum has been around since 1993 and the Agile manifesto was 2001. How did Scrum come out of Agile? It’s really the other way around. Or, even better, they both came out of Lean. Lean is a funny word that gets associated with different labels. …. [They’re] all very, very much in the same cauldron and the same genre of harking back to the original Toyota principles of Lean, whereas Agile is really kind of off somewhere else.

Scrum, as I said, comes from this paper by Takeuchi and Nonaka in “Harvard Business Review” called the “New New Product Development Game” where Takeuchi and Nonaka looked at practices at Honda, at Canon, at NEC, and a lot of other contemporary Japanese corporations — this was about 1984 — most of whom had learned their techniques by some consultants who’d come over from Toyota and taught them the Lean principles.

That’s where Jeff Sutherland got the ideas for Scrum, and that was one of the main influences on Scrum. Some of my research in Bell Labs was another one of the influences on Scrum. In particular, things like stand-up meetings come out of the stuff we did at Bell Laboratories. Then Jeff added incremental development, iterative development, and time boxing. But most of it comes from Lean, absolutely. So if you look at the planning, doing, reflecting, this Kaizen notion, the cycles that we get out of Lean; this is what Scrum is about, absolutely.

Lean may have predispositions in Japanese culture that are uncommon amongst westerners.

[27:00] Joe Dager: What makes Scrum hard to do?

Jim Coplien: Because it’s a discipline. It’s very simple. I mean, it says you cannot work any overtime. So, you know, management cannot come near the end of the release and say, “Well, you need to put in some extra hours here in order to make our commitments.” The other thing that makes it hard is that it runs against some of the prevailing values of industry. Industry says, “We believe that we can commit an arbitrary amount of work to a fixed team and an arbitrary schedule. Well, OK, we know we can’t, but we’ll make it work by adding more people or by adding overtime or by trimming the fat,” which means let’s cut quality here and there.

Scrum is uncompromising. It says, “Well, what we deliver, we’re going to deliver with the promised quality. If we can’t deliver it, then we won’t deliver. We’re going to make it visible. The fact that we make that visible shows that, well, there’s a problem in our process. We estimated wrong. We overcommitted and we need to learn to do better next time.” People hate this notion of failure.

One of the key aspects of Lean that I think the Western world doesn’t understand. In Lean, we keep saying Kaizen, Kaizen, Kaizen. Get better and better and better. Well, you go to the Japanese and they say, “There is no Kaizen without Hansei.” Probably the closest interpretation of the word “Hansei” in English, would be repentance. It’s this deep sense of shame and apology and deep regret for not having built a process that allowed you to meet your commitment. When you fail to meet your commitment, the first step in Kaizen is Hansei, and you don’t see many American managers going around doing Hansei. You certainly don’t see proud nerd software engineers going around doing Hansei.

Scrum is always focused on this Kaizen mind of being able to get better and better and better, and it takes a lot of humility. I think that’s what makes it hard. It takes humility, and the humility takes a high degree of trust between individuals. People have to be allowed to fail so they can learn. I haven’t been in three companies in the past 10 years that had enough trust to do what the Japanese are doing in Kaizen and Lean.

Why Architecture is needed even in Agile? | Jim Coplien | January 2011 | Business901 at http://business901.com/blog1/why-architecture-is-needed-even-in-agile/.

[MP3 audio]

Joe Dager subsequently provided a transcript of the interview.


Coplien on Agile, Lean and Architecutre | Jim Coplien | January 2011 | Business901 at http://business901.com/blog1/coplien-on-agile-lean-and-architecture/


David Ing blogs at coevolving.com , photoblogs at daviding.com , and microblogs at http://ingbrief.wordpress.com . A profile appears at , and an independent description is on .

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