"Agile in Large, Inelastic Organizations"

Who: John J. Cunningham, Band XI International

When: April 24, 2007

Doing agile development in a relatively inelastic environment, where policies and procedures are virtually unchangeable, creates an impedance mismatch between the agile team and its host organization. Our experience on a variety of embedded Java projects has shed some light on the costs of complying (or failing to comply), where we trialed everything from “refusal to comply” to “full compliance”. Regardless of approach, there was always an associated cost, whether in redrafting documents, reducing functionality, spending time in meetings, losing focus on deliverables, or deteriorating morale. In keeping with the Agile philosophy, when our efforts were failing, we refactored our approach to managing the project in an effort to minimize the costs of compliance without adopting more risk to ensure success. In the end we were faced with the questions “How did we fare in the end? Which costs were worth bearing? Was it all worth it?”

Speaker Bio

Mr. Cunningham has two decades of experience engineering software solutions in a broad range of industries. Having begun his career in New York City as a consultant at Accenture (formerly Andersen Consulting) and Computer Sciences Corporation, he moved on to a line management position at Citigroup (formerly Travelers Insurance). In the mid 1990’s, he joined Object Technology International, a small expert software development firm that was acquired by IBM. For over a decade, Mr. Cunningham served in both technical and business project leadership roles within IBM. In 2005, his desire to construct an agile environment for bright, passionate problem solvers led him to start Band XI International.

Mr. Cunningham earned his BS from Columbia University, MS from the University of Massachusetts at Amherst, and MBA from the University of Connecticut.