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The Changing World of Work

Impact on Delivering Software Products and Services

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The pace of change, change in all respects, is increasing every day. Industry, trade, financial markets, products, technology, society and all other aspects of human life are evolving more rapidly than ever before. How has the way in which humanity works, i.e. deliver products and services, changed? Is best practice of the last 20 years still best practice today? How are these changes in turn impacting the world of computing and software? To answer these questions, we must start our journey hundreds of years ago

The Three Eras of Work

The manner in which humanity produces goods and services for consumption in the market place has undergone three major changes, or revolutions, over the last 300 years, the last of which is still in progress: Craft Production Mass Production Flexible Production

We will look at each of these eras and see how the practice of Project Management evolved as it was simultaneously influenced by, and supporting, the world of work.

Craft Production
History Before the Industrial and Mass Production revolutions the overwhelming majority of human effort was directed to small scale agriculture. All non-agricultural goods were produced by craftsmen. The characteristics of craftsmanship are: Complete goods are produced by individuals Every good that is produced is unique, crafted from scratch and made to measure Skill is obtained and passed on through many years of apprenticeship Goods are purchased and consumed close to where they were produced, usually in the same town or village

In some respects, goods of the time were of a better quality than today. If one needed a pair of shoes one went to a cobbler, or shoemaker. The cobbler made exact measurements of each of your feet and subsequently produced shoes made for you, and only for you. A craftsman did not need a manager or project manager to tell him what tasks to perform on a daily basis to produce valued goods.

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Influence on Project Management The exception to this era of craftsmanship is civil engineering, where for many centuries groups of people (master builders, masons, labourers) have been working together using standard parts (clay bricks, granite blocks etc.) to build products for mass consumption (buildings, roads, bridges). There were essentially no project management related or any management related activities outside the conduct of war and civil engineering. The experience gained and lessons learnt during developments such as: the re-organization of the Prussian army through the 19th century by von Clausewitz and von Moltke the building of the transcontinental US railway network and the associated organizational structures that evolved the industrialisation of production

formed a basis for the principles of general management, as well as project management, established during the next era of human work.

Mass Production
History The advancements in precision engineering, electricity distribution, electrical motors etc. culminated in the development of Mass Production techniques, as led by Henry Ford, Sorensen and others at the Ford Motor company from 1920-1945. The principal characteristics of this era of work are: intensified division of labour perfect inter-changeability of parts in the goods produced individual craftsmanship replaced to a large extent through: o craft knowledge being systematically collected o operations simplified into constituent parts and specified in great detail o work stations for executing serialized, simple steps to produce and assemble parts o simplification and standardisation of tasks o front-line workers rigidly supervised and expected to complete their tasks with no deviation or input into the process long production runs and large quantity of outputs that are homogeneous vertical integration of industries, with single companies owning and delivering entire product value chains

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large management structures to manage 1000s of workers and the increasing volume of information to be tracked (accounts, inventory, raw materials etc.)

Before and during the changes brought about at Ford Motor company individuals such as F. Taylor, H. Emerson, H. Gannt, Frank & Lillian Gilbreth etc. established the management practices of the next 50 years. Influence on Work Management and Execution The tools and characteristics of the project management profession that developed during this period are Work breakdown structures, Dependency management, Gantt charts, PERT charts, Critical Path Methods (CPM) etc. The principles underlying these methods are very similar to what was done by Henry Ford and associates: Take a large problem Reduce it to its constituent elements Determine dependencies Estimate the duration of each Plan and/or build the production line Find/train individuals to execute the constituent tasks Control execution and maximise throughput

Gantt, PERT, CPM etc. are formalisations of the methods used on an informal basis by those that brought about the mass production revolution. Managing work in Software Engineering With the advent and growth of computing between the 1950s-1980s, engineers and project managers learnt from other, older industries such as mass production and civil engineering. How did the thinking behind a mass production factory line influence thinking in software engineering? Phased production lines and dependencies: what must be built how must it be built building it refining it gather requirements designs/tasks/dependencies/project plans code, review progress, adjust plan test

Find/train individuals to execute the constituent tasks Business analysts System Architects
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Developers Testers

Somehow most of what influenced how software projects were run, and are still run today, was based only on manufacturing, process control and civil engineering; not the highly inventive product development phase that precedes high volume, efficient manufacturing. Applying the project management methods for well understood industries and technologies to software projects suffer from the following fundamental flaws: Requirements are not 100% known upfront Technical Design is not 100% known upfront

Much of what was learnt during this era of work could be successfully applied to software development, though some of what was applied was not effective in the software industry.

Flexible Production
History The search for more efficient methods of producing goods and services continued. Technology yet again played a significant role in changing the way work is performed: Computing

The advent of computing enabled the efficient and distributed storage, retrieval and processing of vast amounts of information. Money, designs, orders, contracts etc. can be moved around the globe at the speed of light, cheaply. Vast amounts of numbers can be processed almost instantly to design, execute, control and report on any level of production. Factory line automation

The majority of the small repetitive tasks executed in Henry Fords typical production line have been automated through the use of robots and other machinery. CAD/CAM/CNC

State of the art in computing and automation is culminating in the fast growing industries of Computer Aided Design, Computer Aided Manufacturing and Computer Numerical Control machines. A design is created in a computer and is
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then fed into an automated production system where one or more computer controlled machines build the product. Transport

Improvement in transport technologies such as wide-bodied cargo jets, containerization, road networks and high speed rail have reduced the time and cost of circulating raw materials and finished products around the world. These technologies have impacted almost every aspect of the modern world. The principal characteristics of the current Flexible Production era of work are: Shortened product development and replacement cycles Small-batch production Mass customisation Just in Time delivery Vertical disintegration moving to strategic partnerships Rise of the service and white-collar worker Multi-skilled, self co-ordinating teams Continuous improvement or Kaizen Lean manufacturing

The world where 1000s of workers execute small repetitive tasks as determined by centralised engineering and project management departments is gone. Influence on Management The activity of management, and subsequently organizations, has been adapted to better suit this fast moving world by people such W. Edwards Deming, Shigeo Shingo, Taiichi Ohno and others at companies such as Motorola, Toyota etc. Quality An expanded, and more correct, notion and understanding of quality is the underpinning for most of these developments, as summarised by Demings formula:

In other words, the almost counter-intuitive realisation that increased quality leads to increased productivity leads to reduced cost. Every activity is investigated on a repeating basis to make sure it is of highest quality, with the goal of delivering the highest possible customer value. Every activity that is not of value to the customer is waste, and subsequently of low quality as measured by the above formula.
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Continuous improvement The process of uncovering non-value add activities and improving quality is a repeating cycle of Planning, Doing, Checking and Acting, in what is known as the Deming cycle.

The work done by many over the period from 1950 to today has resulted in the modern management and manufacturing movements of Six sigma, Lean, Theory of Constraints etc. Influence on Product Development Shortening product cycles and the resulting pressure to innovate has impacted how new products are developed. Instead of a phased, serial approach where various teams work in sequenced isolation, modern product development is characterised by: Product Vision and broad goals not detailed upfront design Self-organizing project teams Iterative, overlapping development phases Cross functional and continuously learning teams leading to multifunctional teams and team members Subtle control and leadership as opposed to command and control

To a large extent, the era of Flexible production is a combination of the elements of the era of Craftsmanship and the era of Mass Production. Humanity producing goods and services through:

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self organising, highly skilled teams of craftsmen working together using the powerful array of tools provided by the increasing automation of computation and production

The world is still very much in the midst of the Flexible Production era. Those firms and institutions that adopt, embrace and expand upon the principles will thrive in the modern world.

Software Product Development impact

How does software product development as practised during the Mass Production era compare to software product development suitable to the era of Flexible Production? From 1990-2001 various participants in the computing industry were influenced by the Flexible Production era developments in the non-computing world. Various frameworks and methodologies were developed in isolation, such as: Extreme Programming Kent Beck Scrum Ken Schwaber, Jeff Sutherland DSDM UK DSDM Consortium Rational Unified Process I. Jacobson, G. Booch Lean Software Development R. Charette, M&T Poppendieck Crystal methodologies Alistair Cockburn Feature driven development - Jeff De Luca, Peter Coad

During 2001 the leaders in these movements came together and created the Agile Manifesto to summarize and jointly promote the adoption of Flexible Production era practices, values and principles in the software development industry: The Agile Manifesto We value: Individuals and interactions over processes and tools Working software over comprehensive documentation Customer collaboration over contract negotiation Responding to change over following a plan That is, while there is value in the items on the right, we value the items on the left more. Signatories: Kent Beck, Mike Beedle, Arie van Bennekum, Alistair Cockburn, Ward Cunningham, Martin Fowler, James
Grenning, Jim Highsmith, Andrew Hunt, Ron Jeffries, Jon Kern, Brian Marick, Robert C. Martin, Steve Mellor, Ken Schwaber, Jeff Sutherland, Dave Thomas

Impact of Agile on Project Management

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Software product development must accept and adapt to the fact that: Software Product development is repeated invention Perfectly planned invention is not possible

The differences between non-Agile management and development and Agile management and development are many, significant, take time to implement and assimilate, and is challenging in terms of change management. A comparison of non-Agile vs. Agile practices and principles:

Mass Production Era

Top-down control Manager as thinker Workers as implementers Line vs. staff thinkers separated from doers Division of labour Exhaustive Requirements gathering Routine, physical work Task driven Work breakdown structures Detail project plan development Predictive long term detail planning Direct, manage, monitor, control Change control Predictable software engineering Gantt charts Inflexible requirements, flexible cost/duration Manual build, test, release Quantity emphasized over quality Geared toward efficiency and repeatability Centrally planned and gathered requirements, systems and order Commands Manage and control

Flexible Production Era

Mix of top-down control and selforganizing teams Manager-as-coordinator Workers as thinkers/implementers Thinkers as doers Accepted responsibility / volunteerism Product Vision, Release planning, Just in Time Requirements Dynamic, knowledge work Goal driven, meaning, purpose, team satisfaction on achieving goals Feature breakdown structures Release and Iteration Planning Constant adaptive planning Facilitate, inspect, adapt, lead Ranked product backlog Software craftsmanship Release plans Fixed iterations of cost and duration, flexible requirements Automated build, test, release Quality emphasized over quantity Geared toward adaptation and reliability Emergent requirements, systems and order Commitments Lead

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Thought Experiment Consumer Goods Product Leader vs. Traditional Software Project Management The following thought experiment comparing how some of the best performing companies in the Flexible Production Era execute work in comparison to how some of the worst software projects are being run will help to illustrate the fundamental differences. Consumer Goods Design and Development The product development phase of the consumer product industry is characterised by: Product Vision

We want to build the worlds best, most user friendly MP3 player ever allowing a customer to store all their music on the device Technical vision

The player will store music on a hard disk, and not on flash memory Design vision

Nothing much yet we just know it must be easy to use, sexy and appeal to the upwardly mobile. What happens next? Teams working together closely, led by a hands-on, passionate Chief Engineer, do the following: Drawings are made, discussed, lessons learned, discarded, redone, repeated Paper/clay/plastic models are built, discussed, lessons learned, discarded, rebuilt, repeated Core technology prototypes are built, tested, lessons learned, redesigned, repeated All teams work together closely all learning from each other

As the project progresses the casing, hardware, keyboard, screen and software are improving and working together to be combined eventually into a first working prototype tested, discussed, lessons learned, redone, repeated. In summary: an iterative process

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involving all key elements and people all components integrated regularly tested lessons learnt repeat

Once the product has been fully developed, then the much more rigid, variance and fault intolerant mass manufacturing process begins.

The result:

Work start Product released Success?

: February 2001 : October 2001 : World beater

Software development applied to the consumer industry? What would the above process look like if it was managed in the way large software projects have been managed over the last three decades? It starts with the same Product Vision. Then over a period of many months: meetings are conducted to discuss all aspects of the product in detail casing, keyboard, technical core, screen, software and how all these will work together documents are written capturing in detail what was agreed in meetings documents are circulated, more meetings are had to discuss disagreements repeat until every aspect of the product has been captured on paper and agreed

All that remains now is to build it

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Find an internal or external engineering team Force them to tell you exactly how long it will take to build each component and get it all working together to hand over to manufacturing for mass production Create project plans showing exactly what each person will be doing every day over the coming months as the product is built

Some possible next events The product manager sees the first casing that an engineer accidently let slip out it does not feel right in his hands, somehow smaller than he expected. Hmmm. The screen does not fit in the casing properly, since the casing had to be changed to fit the battery inside it, since the battery life was shorter than expected, since power consumption of the newly developed disk Change control board overwhelmed. Tension, blame game, morale disappeared. Law suits??

Software Product Development Future?

Are Agile techniques correct and non-Agile techniques such as Prince2, PMBok incorrect? Will Agile techniques replace all others over time?

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NO, not at all. Different techniques apply to different projects and situations. The reasons why Prince2, PMBok, Gantt charts and other techniques were suitable to the management of certain types of work are just as applicable today as in the past. What we have learnt though is that they are not applicable to all types of work.

PMBok, Prince2, CMMi

Well understood problem domains Standard, repeating tasks Known durations, known solutions Suitable for Infrastructure rollouts, Upgrades, Data centre moves etc.

Unclear problem domains Non-standard, non-repeating tasks Unknown durations, Unknown solutions Suitable for Software development, Product Development, Invention

The world changes, processes change, people change, best practice changes. That which has gone before was the best that could be done at the time. Where we are and where we are going is an ongoing refinement and improvement of what we have learnt in the past. We are in the Flexible Production era. Software Product Development must adapt to best support the way in which work is done. Agile is the embodiment of the Flexible Production era values, principles and practices as applied to software development and project management. Agile requires significant change in many respects. Change is never easy, change is never fast, but we owe it to ourselves to adapt and be the best.

Reaping the benefit of Agile methods

Kaizania assists companies in making the transition from Mass Production era based working to Flexible Production era working through training and coaching. Please allow us to help you produce greater value at higher quality with lower cost. For more information please contact Kaizania at: Email: Tel: +27 12 991 0269 Lionel Bisschoff CEO - Kaizania Arrie van der Dussen Manager: Agile Business

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