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Learning from experience

08 Jan 2014

| Author: Rob Smith


Learning from experience

Many years ago (more than I care to mention), I was working on a project for Logica. At the time I was the young kid on the block – the rising star (you can imagine quite how long ago it was).

Midway through the project, a new manager was brought in to steer it home. Early in his tenure, he hung a poster above his desk which read, “Never mistake aptitude and enthusiasm for experience”. This left me feeling somewhat uneasy. It clearly applied to me, and its sentiment was clearly correct.

I’m often reminded of Dave’s poster when discussing the challenges of delivering Agile at enterprise scale. There are plenty of very bright people out there, many who are self-proclaimed “experts”, but they don’t have the necessary experience.

Unfortunately, the issue isn’t that they don’t have the skills to address the challenge, they simply don’t understand the problem.

As Agile continues to become mainstream, there is a danger that too much responsibility is being put in the hands of these individuals. People who have always worked on projects of £1million or less, and believe the same techniques will automatically scale to tens of millions.

It is now time for the Agile community to be more inclusive and welcome in those people who have vast experience in scale, particularly governance and governance structures. Agile is concerned with collaboration; here is a great opportunity to benefit from just that. Equally, of course, this is a two-way street. Experienced people need to have confidence in new techniques and approaches.

If you are looking for deeply experienced support to scale Agile at your organisation, including the right approach to Agile governance, please get in touch.

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Rob Smith

Joint founder of IndigoBlue in July 2002, Rob has over 20 years’ experience in IT, and in addition to leading the company he continues to provide strategic management consultancy to a number of clients.


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