IBM Cloud Authors: Yeshim Deniz, Elizabeth White, Karthick Viswanathan, Pat Romanski, Liz McMillan

Related Topics: Microservices Expo, Java IoT, Industrial IoT, IBM Cloud, Weblogic, Microsoft Cloud, Machine Learning , Apache

Microservices Expo: Blog Feed Post

Agile, Offshoring and Dreyfus Model of Learning

Agile works!

Agile works!

If you have any doubt about it just look at the adoption rate … look at the study results published … or just try it yourself.

Offshoring also works!

Again, if you have any doubt, just look at the growth of offshoring … look at the success of the success of the India based IT companies … try to find a reasonably large company which has no offshore presence.

People or Process … which is more important?
If you are following agile methods then … obviously … people are more important. In fact it is clearly stated in the Agile manifesto. Off course, the manifesto does not say that process is not important but it emphasizes that people are more important than process and tool.

If you are into offshoring then the clear winner is process. Almost all large offshoring outfit have focused on process and have adopted SEI-CMMi model. On the same vein, CMMi does not say the people are not important, but the focus is clearly on processes and practices.

But, is this not contradictory?

Dreyfus Model of Skill Acquisition
One possible explanation is that both people and process are important. Successful agile implementation does not ignore process. Similarly, successful offshoring does not ignore people.

However, a better explanation can be found in the Dreyfus Model of Skill Acquisition.

If you search the net you will find tons of material explaining what the model is and I have included few of the at the end of this post. However, the simplest and the shortest explanation comes from Seth Godin:

The Dreyfus model of skill acquisition posits that there are five stages people go through:

  1. Novice = wants to be given a manual, told what to do, with no decisions possible
  2. Advanced beginner = needs a bit of freedom, but is unable to quickly describe a hierarchy of which parts are more important than others
  3. Competent = wants the ability to make plans, create routines and choose among activities>
  4. Proficient = the more freedom you offer, the more you expect, the more you’ll get
  5. Expert = writes the manual, doesn’t follow it

Dreyfus Model

Offshore Software Development, CMMi and Process Focus
When the offshoring started, the workforce comprised of Novices and Advanced Beginner with a handful of experts guiding them. The growth of offshoring was too fast to move the Advanced Beginners to become Competent in the required number.

Therefore, it was logical for the organizations to focus on gaining process expertise and the most logical choice was the SEI – Capability Maturity Model (CMMi). The focus was on “Conformance to Requirement”. It was necessary to have more people to do the same work but that could be absorbed through the huge gap of salary.

Every project needed to find at least on expert. That expert could guide the team and interact with the onsite people. Projects which could not find such experts failed badly.

The growth of the offshoring industry have validated this approach.

Agile Methods and People Focus
Agile methods became popular where enough number of Competent and Proficient software developers where available. Once a developer becomes Competent he is ready and willing to take ownership of his work.

“…you might see folks at this level typically described as “having initiative” and being “resourceful.” They tend to be in a leadership role in the team…even at this level, practitioners can’t apply agile methods the way we would like—there isn’t yet enough ability for reflection and self correction…” - Andrew Hunt

Agile methods were ideally suited for Proficient software developers. All you needed to do was to…

“…Build projects around motivated individuals. Give them the environment and support they need, and trust them to get the job done…” – 5th principle behind agile manifesto!

It is no surprise that agile methods worked and worked very well.

The story of offshoring is not over yet!

Offshoring growth came down from the ridiculous  30-50% per year to more down to earth 10-15%. That allowed more time to have sufficient numbers of Competent and Proficient developers. There are around 2 million ITES professional in India and even if only a small percentage can be classified as Competent and Proficient developers, you still land up with a huge number!

No wonder the India software industry has started looking beyond “Conformance to Requirement”

What about the expert?

The expert observes the world but trusts his inner vision. He concerns himself with the depth and not the surface, with the fruit and not the flower.

When expert leads, the team is hardly aware that he exists. He is content to serve as an example and not to impose his will. He doesn’t talk, he acts. When this is done, the team says, “Amazing: we did it, all by ourselves!”

The expert shapes events as they come. He steps out of the way and lets the design speak for itself. His workings remain a mystery, he just shows the results.

This might sound familiar to you because this is an condensed and modified version of The Tao of the Software Architect.

Related Articles

Read the original blog entry...

More Stories By Udayan Banerjee

Udayan Banerjee is CTO at NIIT Technologies Ltd, an IT industry veteran with more than 30 years' experience. He blogs at http://setandbma.wordpress.com.
The blog focuses on emerging technologies like cloud computing, mobile computing, social media aka web 2.0 etc. It also contains stuff about agile methodology and trends in architecture. It is a world view seen through the lens of a software service provider based out of Bangalore and serving clients across the world. The focus is mostly on...

  • Keep the hype out and project a realistic picture
  • Uncover trends not very apparent
  • Draw conclusion from real life experience
  • Point out fallacy & discrepancy when I see them
  • Talk about trends which I find interesting

@ThingsExpo Stories
"There's plenty of bandwidth out there but it's never in the right place. So what Cedexis does is uses data to work out the best pathways to get data from the origin to the person who wants to get it," explained Simon Jones, Evangelist and Head of Marketing at Cedexis, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at 21st Cloud Expo, held Oct 31 – Nov 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA.
Digital Transformation and Disruption, Amazon Style - What You Can Learn. Chris Kocher is a co-founder of Grey Heron, a management and strategic marketing consulting firm. He has 25+ years in both strategic and hands-on operating experience helping executives and investors build revenues and shareholder value. He has consulted with over 130 companies on innovating with new business models, product strategies and monetization. Chris has held management positions at HP and Symantec in addition to ...
Enterprises have taken advantage of IoT to achieve important revenue and cost advantages. What is less apparent is how incumbent enterprises operating at scale have, following success with IoT, built analytic, operations management and software development capabilities - ranging from autonomous vehicles to manageable robotics installations. They have embraced these capabilities as if they were Silicon Valley startups.
In their session at @ThingsExpo, Shyam Varan Nath, Principal Architect at GE, and Ibrahim Gokcen, who leads GE's advanced IoT analytics, focused on the Internet of Things / Industrial Internet and how to make it operational for business end-users. Learn about the challenges posed by machine and sensor data and how to marry it with enterprise data. They also discussed the tips and tricks to provide the Industrial Internet as an end-user consumable service using Big Data Analytics and Industrial C...
René Bostic is the Technical VP of the IBM Cloud Unit in North America. Enjoying her career with IBM during the modern millennial technological era, she is an expert in cloud computing, DevOps and emerging cloud technologies such as Blockchain. Her strengths and core competencies include a proven record of accomplishments in consensus building at all levels to assess, plan, and implement enterprise and cloud computing solutions. René is a member of the Society of Women Engineers (SWE) and a m...
When talking IoT we often focus on the devices, the sensors, the hardware itself. The new smart appliances, the new smart or self-driving cars (which are amalgamations of many ‘things'). When we are looking at the world of IoT, we should take a step back, look at the big picture. What value are these devices providing. IoT is not about the devices, its about the data consumed and generated. The devices are tools, mechanisms, conduits. This paper discusses the considerations when dealing with the...
DXWordEXPO New York 2018, colocated with CloudEXPO New York 2018 will be held November 11-13, 2018, in New York City. Digital Transformation (DX) is a major focus with the introduction of DXWorldEXPO within the program. Successful transformation requires a laser focus on being data-driven and on using all the tools available that enable transformation if they plan to survive over the long term.
To Really Work for Enterprises, MultiCloud Adoption Requires Far Better and Inclusive Cloud Monitoring and Cost Management … But How? Overwhelmingly, even as enterprises have adopted cloud computing and are expanding to multi-cloud computing, IT leaders remain concerned about how to monitor, manage and control costs across hybrid and multi-cloud deployments. It’s clear that traditional IT monitoring and management approaches, designed after all for on-premises data centers, are falling short in ...
With privacy often voiced as the primary concern when using cloud based services, SyncriBox was designed to ensure that the software remains completely under the customer's control. Having both the source and destination files remain under the user?s control, there are no privacy or security issues. Since files are synchronized using Syncrify Server, no third party ever sees these files.
Cloud-enabled transformation has evolved from cost saving measure to business innovation strategy -- one that combines the cloud with cognitive capabilities to drive market disruption. Learn how you can achieve the insight and agility you need to gain a competitive advantage. Industry-acclaimed CTO and cloud expert, Shankar Kalyana presents. Only the most exceptional IBMers are appointed with the rare distinction of IBM Fellow, the highest technical honor in the company. Shankar has also receive...
In his session at 21st Cloud Expo, Carl J. Levine, Senior Technical Evangelist for NS1, will objectively discuss how DNS is used to solve Digital Transformation challenges in large SaaS applications, CDNs, AdTech platforms, and other demanding use cases. Carl J. Levine is the Senior Technical Evangelist for NS1. A veteran of the Internet Infrastructure space, he has over a decade of experience with startups, networking protocols and Internet infrastructure, combined with the unique ability to it...
"Cloud Academy is an enterprise training platform for the cloud, specifically public clouds. We offer guided learning experiences on AWS, Azure, Google Cloud and all the surrounding methodologies and technologies that you need to know and your teams need to know in order to leverage the full benefits of the cloud," explained Alex Brower, VP of Marketing at Cloud Academy, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at 21st Cloud Expo, held Oct 31 – Nov 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clar...
Andrew Keys is Co-Founder of ConsenSys Enterprise. He comes to ConsenSys Enterprise with capital markets, technology and entrepreneurial experience. Previously, he worked for UBS investment bank in equities analysis. Later, he was responsible for the creation and distribution of life settlement products to hedge funds and investment banks. After, he co-founded a revenue cycle management company where he learned about Bitcoin and eventually Ethereal. Andrew's role at ConsenSys Enterprise is a mul...
Internet-of-Things discussions can end up either going down the consumer gadget rabbit hole or focused on the sort of data logging that industrial manufacturers have been doing forever. However, in fact, companies today are already using IoT data both to optimize their operational technology and to improve the experience of customer interactions in novel ways. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Gordon Haff, Red Hat Technology Evangelist, shared examples from a wide range of industries – including en...
"Space Monkey by Vivent Smart Home is a product that is a distributed cloud-based edge storage network. Vivent Smart Home, our parent company, is a smart home provider that places a lot of hard drives across homes in North America," explained JT Olds, Director of Engineering, and Brandon Crowfeather, Product Manager, at Vivint Smart Home, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at @ThingsExpo, held Oct 31 – Nov 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA.
Rodrigo Coutinho is part of OutSystems' founders' team and currently the Head of Product Design. He provides a cross-functional role where he supports Product Management in defining the positioning and direction of the Agile Platform, while at the same time promoting model-based development and new techniques to deliver applications in the cloud.
DevOpsSummit New York 2018, colocated with CloudEXPO | DXWorldEXPO New York 2018 will be held November 11-13, 2018, in New York City. Digital Transformation (DX) is a major focus with the introduction of DXWorldEXPO within the program. Successful transformation requires a laser focus on being data-driven and on using all the tools available that enable transformation if they plan to survive over the long term. A total of 88% of Fortune 500 companies from a generation ago are now out of bus...
delaPlex is a global technology and software development solutions and consulting provider, deeply committed to helping companies drive growth, revenue and marketplace value. Since 2008, delaPlex's objective has been to be a trusted advisor to its clients. By redefining the outsourcing industry's business model, the innovative delaPlex Agile Business Framework brings an unmatched alliance of industry experts, across industries and functional skillsets, to clients anywhere around the world.
Business professionals no longer wonder if they'll migrate to the cloud; it's now a matter of when. The cloud environment has proved to be a major force in transitioning to an agile business model that enables quick decisions and fast implementation that solidify customer relationships. And when the cloud is combined with the power of cognitive computing, it drives innovation and transformation that achieves astounding competitive advantage.
Headquartered in Plainsboro, NJ, Synametrics Technologies has provided IT professionals and computer systems developers since 1997. Based on the success of their initial product offerings (WinSQL and DeltaCopy), the company continues to create and hone innovative products that help its customers get more from their computer applications, databases and infrastructure. To date, over one million users around the world have chosen Synametrics solutions to help power their accelerated business or per...