How Agile Makes us Fragile: How to Align R&D Mission and Vision, and Deliver Continuous Operational Value to Your Stakeholders
The Israeli privately-funded spacecraft, Beresheet, made it to the moon, however in several pieces, as a result of the Google Lunar XPrize Competition. While the competition was cancelled, eager entrepreneurs and engineers continued to work in order to get the spacecraft to the moon. The termination of the contest after several postponements demonstrated that we cannot really develop complex systems (even miniature space vehicles) in an agile fashion. Software engineers can blow up or crash a spacecraft, or indeed any system, several times in one minute, build and launch it piece-by-piece, and improve it from one development cycle to another. But no one (not even the developer) would buy an agile autonomous car, fly in an agile airliner, or operationalize an agile national warning siren system. The challenge is in reaching the balance between a vision of a full-fledged solution that provides customers and other stakeholders with value, and the mission of delivering software to production as quickly as possible in an Agile fashion. Generation gaps, technological revolutions, and continuous change are only making this challenge, which is part of any modern system development cycle, more complicated. In this talk we will discuss the details of this challenge, try to draw conclusions from two R&D projects in the domain of emergency management and first responder mission-critical communication, on the pros and cons of being completely agile, versus completely rigid, and trying to find the right balance with some good practices for day-to-day development processes.