A Tale of Two Systems: Lean and Agile Software Development for Business Leaders

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CRC Press, Jun 24, 2009 - Business & Economics - 344 pages
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This business parable reviews two different systems development projects. One project was an abject, expensive failure, while the other succeeded in creating a major new revenue stream, bringing in new customers. By reviewing the tales of these two systems, readers will develop a better understanding of what works and what doesn’t when it comes to the leadership and action steps required to reinvent a company’s procedures to get in step with the times.

CEO Evan Nogelmeyer discovers to his dismay that in today’s business world, technology is not just for technologists. But does he discover this soon enough and once he does, does he have the tools and the business savvy he needs to stave off disaster? Evan and his team are all well-intentioned, successful business leaders with advanced degrees and backgrounds in marketing and business. But, without technical backgrounds, do they have what it takes to manage the technology overhaul so critical to the very survival of their company and the future of their own careers?

A Tale of Two Systems: Lean and Agile Software Development for Business Leaders reviews two fictional systems development projects: Cremins United and Troubled Real Estate Information Management, both launched at the imaginary Cremins Corporation. Cremins is a venerable printing company that must transform itself to survive in the Internet age. One project proves to be an abject and expensive failure, while the other succeeds in creating a major new revenue stream and solving important customer needs. Contrasting the methods employed in a traditional, process-centric 'waterfall' approach, with a lean and agile-inspired approach, this book provides business leaders with a tangible understanding of why lean thinking is so well-suited to contemporary environments requiring flexibility, speed, and the input of specialized knowledge.

At the conclusion of the two tales, author Michael Levine articulates a series of conclusions and principles based on Lean Product Development, Agile, and his 25 years of experience in business systems development.

While the tales told and the companies and employees that inhabit them are pure fiction, the lessons to be learned are very real and very applicable in today’s highly competitive market, where victory goes time and time again to the lean and the agile.


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The TroubledRealEstate Information Management Project
The Cremins United Project
Chapter 3 Two Different Approaches to the Two Different Projects
Chapter 4 Understanding Lean and Agile Development
Chapter 5 The CU Project Team Will Follow The Process
Chapter 6 The CU Project Imposes Technology Architecture from the Top
How Iron Is the Triangle?
The CU Project Team Meets with Management
Chapter 17 The CU Project Leaders Visit the TRIM Team
Green for Go or Screaming Red?
TRIM Is OK but CU May Be in Trouble
Year 2 September 2006February 2007
Chapter 20 A Dismal Reality Check for the CUT Team
Managing Problems and Growth
Chapter 22 The CU Project Is Finally Officially Code Complete
Slip Charts and Some Towering Expertise Too Late

Chapter 9 Cutting CU Project Development Timeby a Year
Chapter 10 Planning the TRIM Project
Chapter 11 Planning and Managing TRIMs 1Month Sprints
Chapter 12 Status Update for Both Projects
Chapter 13 The CU Projects Buy versus Build Decision
Chapter 14 Drawing Boundaries and Tailoring Methods
A Bit behind Schedule but Catching Up
An Uneasy Transition
The Second 6 Months March 2006August 2006
The Beginning of the End The Last 6 Months of 2 Years of Work
Status Updates for Both Projects
Chapter 25 The Decision to Go Live with CU System
Final Lessons for Leaders
What We Learned from the TRIM and CU Projects
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About the author (2009)

Michael Levine spent a total of 25 years working undercover for four federal agencies. As an agent for the Drug Enforcement Administration for 23 years, Levine would ultimately bring about the arrests of approximately 3,000 criminals, by posing as priests, Colombian and Puerto Rican drug merchants, and a mob leader. In this manner, he was able to corral millions of drug money dollars. As a Jew growing up in a Hispanic neighborhood in South Bronx, New York City, Levine grew up pretending to be Puerto Rican and speaking fluent Spanish. Despite a couple of pre-adulthood arrests, he joined the U.S. Air Force. Later came marriage and the earning of an accounting degree at Hofstra University, an education financed through tending bar and playing saxophone. After graduation, he moved to the U.S. Treasury Department; this was followed by a stint in the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, and Firearms. Michael Levine survived impersonating drug dealers but he also faced the drug wars at home. He tried to get his brother David to kick the heroin habit by having him move into his home with Levine, his wife, and his family, but David would later commit suicide. Levine's daughter faced drug trouble as well. She was removed from the family through a court petition, but she later rejoined them. Michael Levine has chronicled life as a federal agent in such books as Deep Cover. He enjoys walks with his wife Laura Kavanu and dog in Ulster County, N.Y.

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