Tuesday, September 23, 2014

#AOSW - Agile Outside of Software - starts here

We had the Agile on the Beach conference a couple of weeks. In a word: Brilliant - just look at the photos and see how people enjoyed themselves.

OK, I’m biased, I’m one of the organisers, but many people told me it was brilliant or they just didn’t want to hurt my feelings.

There is much I could write about Agile on the Beach but I don’t have enough time. Plus right now I want to focus on just one thing that came out of the conference:

Agile Outside of Software - #AOSW

Just before the conference I published a blog version of my talk to the conference (Agile Outside of Software the blog) and now the slides are online (Agile Outside of Software the SlideShare). Well between the post and the presentation, Agile Outside of Software turned out to be a hot topic.

And it wasn’t just me:

  • Belinda Weldlock talked about using Agile outside of software to help various Cornish companies: toy companies, florists and others. Her talk is available on YouTube.
  • Belinda also had a video made by Oxford Innovation about Agile in Cornwall: this started with the Cornish Software Mines Agile Programme that I was involved with four years ago. Oxford Innovation have built on that legacy.
  • Sabina Renshof from The Netherlands also spoke to me about how she had used Agile with various non-software teams
  • Rachel Picken gave a presentation on her use of Agile in a Public Relations company.

One of the points I made was: There is good evidence to think Agile does work outside of software but we lack case studies. I have a few:

  • I my own case study from GSMA (writing a specification document with a dispersed team)
  • The use of Agile at my client Sullivan Cuff software for everything! Software development, sales, support and well, everything!
  • I highlighted case studies from previous Agile on the Beach conferences (Kate Sullivan at Lonely Planet and Martin Rowe at Petroc college.)
  • And I discussed the 2007 case study of Shamrock Foods from MIT Sloan Management Review.

(After the conference I discovered this small book which I’ve only just started reading: “Scrum Marketing: Applying Agile Methodologies to Marketing”.)

But we need more.

So Sabina came up with the great idea that we start a collection. And I think we should.

It starts here, right now with the Twitter hashtag #AOSW - well actually, this hashtag was coined at the conference, I’m just a little late announcing it on my blog.

Right now we’ve not worked out how we are going to do this - my guess is a wiki or a LeanPub collection - but right now, if you know of a case study - documented or not - please share:

  • leave a comment on this blog
  • Tweet with the #AOSW hashtag
  • E-mail myself or Sabina

Lets get collecting.

Right now, if you want to know more I’m repeating my Agile Outside of Software talk on 3rd November I’m giving the talk again BCS Bristol “Beyond Software”.


  1. Allan,

    The big one which springs to mind for me is WikiSpeed. Here's Joe Justice's talk on the subject: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=x8jdx-lf2Dw

    I used that example to talk about "process debt" in the auto industry, where processes are byzantine and held up by unnecessary dependencies...similar to technical debt. http://www.infoq.com/articles/no-process-best. The more I see agile being applied in practice, the more I'm convinced that it's just as much about mentality & principles as it is about the observable practices. It's not that hard to completely miss the point with Agile.

    Not sure if that's what you have in mind with Agile outside of software, but hopefully that's useful for you.

  2. Thanks Luke,
    Right now I'm after as many case studies as I can get - so WikiSpeed definitely counts.


  3. Hi Alan - Earlier this year I started something related to #AOSW - it's the Agile Engineering program thru Agile Alliance. Its web page is here.

    This offers a simple way for people to share their engineering techniques that serve Agile principles. They can just create a brief description which we review for clarity (and to keep out spam), and it's that simple. I tweet about it using #AgileEngineering.
    - Nancy Van Schooenderwoert, @vanschoo


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