Standing on Bits
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Standing on Bits

Agile Software Engineering Management at Scale with the Theory of Constraints

About the Book

The current crop of Agile approaches and the Theory of Constraints have thus far been like the proverbial oil and water. Agile enthusiasts have always considered TOC as grounded in manufacturing, and thus completely inadequate to handle the peculiarities of knowledge-work, and software engineering management in particular. On the other hand, TOC practitioners, notwithstanding the decade long experience in many different fields, have a hard time accepting Agile methods, as they do not seem supported by the scientific rigor and logical reasoning that is typical of TOC; and yet they do not have a workable solution for software engineering management.

In this book we have outlined a solution that merges and takes the best of both worlds.

In particular Agile practitioners will enjoy a more financially sound way of prioritizing and selecting the work to be done; a better way to deal with multiple projects (or product development streams), stakeholders, deadlines and teams; finally resolve the conundrum of dependency management at scale by collapsing the combinatorial explosion of dependency networks in a simple linear queue in front of the Constraint.

Likewise TOC practitioners, by leveraging on the techniques that are well established in Critical Chain Project Management, will be able to create the behavioral habits and response patterns that are typical of Agile settings. By using the Work Execution Signals (Aging Signals and Buffer Signals), we trigger intense, frequent and engaging collaboration between all players, leading to an environment that unleashes the organization's collective intelligence via co-creation and social learning


The instrumentation to collect Flow Metrics at the team level enabled us to identify and reason in terms of the Work Flow Constraint, Work Process Constraint and Work Execution Constraint, bringing together information from the past, the outlook of the future and the current conditions of execution. By understanding and observing the interactions between the three, we create the setting for effective Constraints Management even in the field of software engineering management.

With the solution that we have outlined, Agile and TOC can now co-exist, and work better together.  Any other Agile or TOC concept can be leveraged on top of this solution too.

Whether you have an Agile or a TOC background, you will learn about a new way to handle software engineering management at scale.

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  • Categories

    • Agile
    • Scrum
    • Engineering Management
    • Enterprise Management
    • Agile Enterprise
    • Business and IT Alignment
    • Leadership
    • Leadership
    • Agile
    • Lean
    • Organizational Psychology
    • Product Management
    • Project Management
    • Scrum
    • Teamwork
    • Psychology
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About the Author

Steve Tendon
Steve Tendon

I accelerate business performance in collaborative knowledge-work without compromising humanity, sustainability, or quality, through patterns, mental models and emerging technologies.

I am the author of "The Book of TameFlow: Theory of Constraints Applied to Knowledge-Work Management," among many others.

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