A Tale of Two Transformations: Bringing Lean and Agile Software Development to Life

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CRC Press, Feb 2, 2012 - Business & Economics - 323 pages
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There are many books that seek to explain Lean and Agile software that offer theory, techniques, and examples. Michael Levine’s first book, A Tale of Two Systems, is one of the best, synthesizing Lean manufacturing and product development with agile software concepts in an engaging business novel. However, there has been precious little practical guidance for those seeking to change existing organizations to become Lean and Agile, until now. Mr. Levine has followed the successful approach of A Tale of Two Systems, telling two simultaneous intertwined and contrasting stories, to bring organizational transformation to life.

Mary O’Connell and James "Wes" Wesleyan, recently engaged to be married, share a commitment to Lean and Agile Software. They have recently become leaders in two very different companies – one, stuck in a slow-moving, unresponsive, process-driven quagmire of a software culture; the other, struggling through the chaos of a sales-driven, process-less swirl. Together with their wise mentor, Neville Roberts, they identify two approaches to making needed changes: Drive People (a top-down approach focused on processes and tools), and People Driven (an enablement approach focused on people and organizations). Mary and Wes evaluate their situations and choose approaches that best fit for them, and the transformations commence.

A Tale of Two Transformations differs from many information technology books by grappling with all the complexities of our organizations: the people, the politics, the financials, the processes – in short, the culture from which our Lean and Agile journeys must begin. The change model presented in the flow of the stories is generally applicable, and can help anyone thinking about how to improve their organization.

 

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Contents

List of Figures
People
Cast of Characters
February
Setting Initial Approaches for Both
Reorienting FinServias Relationship with
Being Clear about What
GRI Goals and the WinWin
May
MCCA Engages with Its Sales Force
Demos and Backlogs
Sprint 1 Demo at FinServiaDealing
Retrospective
Endnotes
Transforming to Become Lean and Agile
Organization

Endnotes
Six Weeks to Start the MCCA

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About the author (2012)

Michael K. Levine has led a 26-year career primarily focused on how to profit through the application of information technology. He was educated in international relations and economics at Carleton College and Princeton University and began his career in international trade negotiation in Washington, D.C. He moved on to commercial lending and financial product management at First Bank System in Minneapolis. In each of his early jobs, he saw the promise of applying information technology to solve business problems; eventually, he moved his career more formally in that direction by joining Norwest Corporation as strategic technology planner and large-scale software project manager.

Michael continued his immersion in technology leadership when he became chief technology officer of Moore Data/Vista Information Solutions, a leading provider of information technology solutions to the real estate field. For the last 6 years, Michael has been at Wells FargoHome Mortgage, leading Operations and Technology Groups. One of the constant elements in Michael’s work has been the innovative, business-driven application of information technology. The accomplishments of his teams range from the first system to calculate duties on unfair trade, to cross-business line customer information systems in two large banks, to an early Internet-based real estate search engine, to an image-based, straight-through/exception-based loan processing system.

His continuing search for better ways to build complex business software drew him to the operations and product development approaches coming out of Toyota (Lean) and the Agile software development movement. Michael and his teams have used many of the Lean and Agile approaches over the last several years. This practical application experience, in addition to his extensive, successful career at the junction of business operations and software technology, gives Michael a unique, practical perspective on how business leaders can improve their results through better technology leadership.

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