Thursday, April 26, 2007

Speed is bullshit, timing is everything!

This controversial statement has been heard by anyone who has attended a seminar hosted by a teacher well known in the martial arts community.

Does he mean that speed has no impact on the outcome of a fight? No, he doesn't. He means that speed alone will not judge the outcome of a fight, in order to suceed you will need to have the right timing i.e. connect with your right hook at the right moment - you can be slow but still manage to knock out your opponent if you hit at the right moment. You can be ten times as fast as your opponent, if you can't hit him at the right time, or at all, it doesn't matter.

But then on the contrary, if you have the timing and then the speed you will be very succesful.

In software development companies, agile software development teams seems to be picking up speed, but not all businesses is getting the business result out of it that they hoped for (or was promised by some consultant), how can this be? I believe this has something to do with timing.

So you have the agile software development teams spinning at speed w but sales, operations and support at speed x. They are simply not ready for change, they are still stuck in their own tracks, so the timing is comletely off. When the development teams hand off a release it still takes operations 4 weeks to learn about the new release before being able to deploy it and support will start learning after operations has deployed and handed-off. So although the development department has improved, the chain is not stronger than its weakest links.

So how do we achieve the timing necessary for success. One idea we could address is the concept of crossfunctional teams. I believe that teams in these companies are not truly crossfunctional, they may have developers, tester but do they include sales, operations, support etc. Often they do not. So by allowing e.g. operations to participate in the teams they will have input on the product under development and also good knowledge of it once it is ready for deployment. Of course, not the whole operations department can or needs to be fully integrated with the development teams but one or two persons per team, always up to date with the latest is a step in the right direction. The same goes for sales and support etc. So by crossfunctional teams we could achieve better timing and reduce the pain of handoffs and relearning.

So speed is bullshit and timing is everything.

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