Do We Need Agile?

Peter Bittner

  • Developer (of people, companies, code)
  • past: Capgemini, HolidayCheck, DACHCOM
  • @peterbittner,


  • A Round of Questions
  • It's Just Human(s) After All ...
  • A Game That Has Only Winners
  • Change: Bad And Dangerous?
  • The Perfect World

A Round of Questions

How do you work today?

  • ... no matter how you plan, the project misses the deadline?
  • ... deadlines are extended? ("It's for the better!")
  • ... budget is used up too early? ("Why do we have so many extra hours on the project?")
  • ... you renegotiate the project budget in the end? ("It wasn't just our fault!")
  • ... you have to reason why features are not completed yet? ("... it's a complex project.")
  • ... you find yourself investigating and finger pointing at team members? ("We should fire her.")

Is it the exception or the rule that ...?

It's Just Human(s) After All ...

Can you control a complex system?

Humans are complex, Software is complex


  1. "complex" = small changes have a huge, unexpected impact
  2. "complex" = it's inevitable that you'll lose control, sooner or later

Fight it or avoid it?

  • Complexity can be mastered in short cycles
    ("... before is gets out of control")
  • Transparency helps overcome early loss of control
    ("Give me more dashboards!")

Agile methodologies

Limit complexity

  • Scrum: short cycles
  • Kanban: low number of yet uncompleted tasks


Increase transparency

  • effective communication

Kanban board

Simple Kanban board (Jeff.lasovski), CC BY-SA 3.0,

Scrum cycle

We need to talk!

  • Regular feedback helps use give our best
    (... and makes it hard to hide in the comfort zone)
  • More opinions => less mistakes
  • Present your own work = present yourself
  • Jour fixe: a continuous loop of improvement!

Ultimately, a happy environment!

A Game That Has Only Winners

You can't fail—if you do it right

Winning factors (1/3)

  • No lame excuses, no renegotiation ever again (Agile fixed-price contracts)
  • Happy customers that get what they need (goal-oriented approach, exceeding customer's expectations)
  • Happy colleagues that get what they deserve (transparency in a safe and happy work place)

Winning factors (2/3)

  • Regular working hours, no overtime (safe and demanding, no stress before deadlines)
  • Meeting rhythm known to everyone, known slots for creativity & concentration

Winning factors (3/3)

  • Effort to invest will stay, but business will run smoothly (honest to ourselves, honest to the customer)
  • Competitive advantage (growing reliability in estimation, quality in everything we do)

Many know how to spell "Agile",
but few know how to do it.

Change: Bad And Dangerous?

The real challenge

Danger Zone

Change isn't bad, but change is dangerous!

Always. When not accompanied.

  • A lot will change.
  • Processes will change.
  • Habits will have to change.
  • (new to almost everyone)

Change! (We'll face the unknown)

  • Uncertain future = fear
  • Resistance is a natural reaction
  • Danger of reputation damage!
    ("nervous environment",
    "hectic discussions", "chaos")

Change Management

  • Let everyone know where the journey goes.
  • Allow for questions and expressing fear.
  • Give answers!
  • Make the future be something desirable!
    (Promote it! Show the benefits!)

Success depends on

  • Management commitment
  • Transparency

How stay committed?

  • Stay authentic (express your fears), but keep goal in mind.
    (Ask! Ask questions! Ask if you stop understanding!)
  • Be open to the new ideas.
    (Sceptic is natural, but it will make the journey longer!)

The result will be overwhelming.

How were we able to deliver any work a year ago? Impossible!

The Perfect World

I'm loving it!

What does the perfect work environment look like?

  • No failures, no finger pointing, fairness "as a culture"
  • Focus on team success, focus on every individual's strengths
  • Customers happy and willing to "pay your price"
  • Success makes us go where no-one has gone before ("Challenging Existing Standards.")

Ready For The Change?

Do We Need Agile?

By Peter Bittner

Do We Need Agile?

Challenging Existing Standards.

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