8:00 am January 2014 at the 19th floor of a building, drinking an espresso, with lounge music hiding the sound of the motorcycle in Saigon street. Since I met more than a year ago Saigon, I fall in love of Vietnam.
It is not so much time I left Vietnam, just 1 a month, but I wanted to share my 2013 retrospective. It is already more than 6 months I started as CIO of Smartlink SA. A swiss Company base in Geneva, working around the new Mobile Payment technologies.
I remembered 6 months ago when I was hired, I had plenty of dreams about Agile, Lean, working around an innovative management. Did all this happen? 6 months, it’s a short time to do a lot of things.
I wanted to apply some Large Scale Agile practice from Dean Leffingwell, that I meet on a train between Antwerp and Brussels after DARE 2013. The idea behind Dean framework is that we propose a framework to use in a huge company. I don’t adhere to using such Framework, it makes me feel we try to apply a complicate solution in a complex world. But there are some really interesting ideas that I adhere, a company should not apply Agile, but Lean and Agile together makes more sense. Who knows me, I leave with the Lean values, my morning and days are around lean values. How could I do more with less waste. I wanted to use Dean Framework to transform that layer of waste business people, trying to sale their grandma and not thinking about rational values. At time I meet an awesome person in Paris, even my Business Director feels it was an awesome person. I hope he will join our team one day. I feel we could do some great stuff together. That person would have been the perfect actor to be my first Scrum Product Manager, he would apply Agile in the best manner, evangelize the business and create awesome products with the PO in charge to work with him. But nothing the business puts in place another Business person, who maybe wanted to create great product with non trusted behavior. I still work with him, he’s not a bad person, he even liked the way we work back in Vietnam, having a review each 2 weeks. It fails because we have to work on other more important project and then he was left on the side.
In August we had finished our first awesome product. I remember someone telling me measure the time to market of all the business request and measure the waist, to learn how to improve. I still measure the time. It is now 5 months, the product is out, but no customer really using it. I think, the problem behind this, we don’t have really a Product Manager who feels the product his is life and he need to find customer ready to use it. I am such there is a potential market outside, really interested, but they don’t know the product exists.
In August, we start to work on a major Mobile Project, we are nearing the end now, after months of fighting learning to leave between us the customer working in a Lean / Agile way and Waterfall provider. We learn a lot this last 5 month, we pass from Scrum to Nano Scrum and ScrumBan. We had a first project part, where we tried to do Scrum with this Waterfall provider, they learn from us a lot, they were even happy to work with an Agile Company. But when all was fine, we saw again and again the Waterfall ghost coming from nowhere and making our life a nightmare. But has I said to my teammates, we are Agile and we have the capacity to learn to adapt ourself fast so we can work with them. We learn from our failure fast and were able to move from the chaos to the complexity at each failure.
Today, we are nearing the end of the project, in a few days, the Tet Festival is here and my teammate will join their family, I will be with my wife to enjoy the Chinese New Year. I eager the year of the Horse will bring more Lean/Agile adventure.
There is so much thing to share with all of you. I would like to thank some people that I met during this last year:
- François Beauregard for his complexity mentoring and the time he took to learn me the way to pronounce in Quebekois the words.
- Gael Luisier for pushing me to share my experience with all of you.
- Dean Leffingwell, for sharing his Agile experience
- James Grenning’s, for sharing his TDD experience in Lausanne during one of our Scrum Beer