Hi. I’m CEO of Net Objectives, a leading global consulting/training company that assists corporations in transitioning to effective software development with Lean-Agile methods.  Besides guiding Net Objectives, I actively consult and train with our clients – which gives me first hand experience of the methods we use. I focus on Lean, Kanban, Scrum and design patterns – having written several books covering these methods.

What do I bring to the LSSC?

My forty years experience in the software industry gives me perspective.  I have seen many changes to management and technical methods over the last several decades. Although the methods change, the patterns of adoption and rejection are amazingly similar.  I have seen some very good ideas take much longer to get adopted than they should have – as well as other methods held on to well past the time they should have been abandoned.  I have taken a personal migration path in Lean-Agile methods that I now see  started with studying Deming and writing systems incorporating automated acceptance testing in 1984. I started consciously using agile in 1999, starting informally with my own methods and adopting XP and Scrum shortly thereafter.  In 2004 I incorporated Lean Software into my methods and 2-3 years ago adopted Kanban as well.  I have seen teams succeed and fail with all of these methods over the years and have been asking why they succeed and why they fail?  What about them helps teams and individuals, and where can they be used?   This quest has led me to a solid understanding of the principles underneath all of these methods and why/where they work. I, of course, have not figured this out myself, but have learned from literally dozens of thought leaders both personally and from their books and other writings.

I have eventually come to the conclusion that Lean Software is not best understood by observing Toyota.  Rather, Lean, to me, is a thought process, mindset and set of principles that stand on its own.  This makes it much easier to take Lean to the software community, whose problems are considerably different than the manufacturing community.

Why did I got involved in the LSSC?

I hate to say this, but if there were one word that sums up our industry in its general attitude, in my mind it would be “unprofessional.”  By this I mean that too many individuals, at all levels (executives, management and development) tend to do what they like without exploring and adopting methods that have proven to work. Our own opinion tends to matter more than reality. Even so, I have a great faith in people’s intentions and motivations.  I believe that the overwhelming majority of people have a commitment to do their best and that they take genuine satisfaction when they add value to others and are frustrated when they cannot do so.  This passion works against them, however, when they don’t understand what needs to be done – as it drives them to often take an expedient or familiar approach.

The Agile community rightfully puts respecting people as a foundational cornerstone.  However, in my mind, it has not put enough emphasis on the other side – the information, practices and principles are essential in order to get the job done. Relying on the ability and motivations of people is not enough.  I believe there needs to be a foundational knowledge set that guides their work.  Lean provides much of this with its paradigm of management and its paradigm of product development flow.  Both also help support technical practices which I feel should be broadly adopted throughout the industry (e.g., ATDD, TDD, design patterns). My involvement with the LSSC is to create awareness of the possibilities for our industry and to help promote knowledge that would be useful to software development organizations.

What do I hope the LSSC will achieve?

I see Lean Software and Systems Consortium as a growing community of thought leaders where exchange of ideas is freely possible.  We are guided by what works in practice and without concern for its origin. Our goal is to foster this body of knowledge, to see it grow, evolve and mature.  The Lean SSC is intentionally not declaring who can teach this knowledge as doing so tends to make changing the knowledge base difficult.  Instead, we focus on the knowledge and methods itself.  Both extending it and encouraging its evolution as the community learns.

I am working towards the LSSC helping transform the software industry into a profession where people better understand what they need to know in order to work effectively. I am focusing on defining those competencies that people need to know in order to be effective in this field.  Eventually, these competencies can provide a basis for a meaningful certification, which is currently lacking in our industry.  My dream would be for me to be able to say that I retired from a profession at the end of my career.



Introducing Karl Scotland

Posted In: Board Member by kjscotland

This is the first of what I hope will be a series of posts introducing a number of the founder members of the Lean Software & Systems Consortium. The goal is to create some more visibility and transparency of who the LeanSSC is and what we are trying to achieve. In addition we have created a public Yahoo! Group where we hope that we can more openly discuss the ideas advocated by the LeanSSC.

Another great way to find out about what the LeanSSC are doing is to come to our Atlanta conference (April 21st – 23rd). The Technical Advisory Board is also meeting at the same venue on April 20th (Tuesday) and is open to all conference attendees. To attend all you need to do is to show up a day earlier and to register for the conference and collect your badge on Tuesday. The registration desk volunteers will direct you to the room for the TAB meeting. Book before the end of March while the price is still $995 – it goes up to $1250 after that.

Now that’s out of the way, here something about me

What do I bring to the LSSC?

I’ve been using a Kanban approach since the latter half of 2007 after hearing David Anderson talking about the ideas at Agile2007 in Washington. Since then I’ve been exploring Kanban Systems and Lean Thinking in more depth and have found it has changed the way that I think about software development and the way I work with organisations and teams. I believe that this experience and perspective, which relies less on implementing specific processes and more on helping create contextual processes, is complimentary to the vision of the LeanSSC.

Why did I got involved in the LSSC?

Having discovered a new way of approaching software development, which has helped me introduce changes in a more effective way that I had been able to previously, I am enthusiastic about the opportunity to share this way of thinking with a wider audience. If it has helped me, as someone who has been using Agile techniques since 1999, then I believe there must be a significant audience who can also benefit. I hope my involvement with the LeanSSC can help share this knowledge and experience.

What do I hope the LSSC will achieve?

I hope the LeanSSC can help further improve the reputation and success rate of the software development industry. While Agile has proved to be a tremendous success at advancing the capabilities of development teams, it has proved difficult to scale to the enterprise or organisational level. As a result, Agile teams are succeeding, but organisations are still struggling. By the creating a body of knowledge (with an associated credible certification program) around not only team agility, but also business and management competencies, the LeanSSC can provide a basis for helping organisations transition to being more effective using Lean approaches.

The Lean Software & Systems Consortium Technical Advisory Board meeting is open to conference attendees. It’s being held at the same venue on April 20th (Tuesday). You are cordially invited and so are any other conference attendees. To attend all you need to do is to show up a day earlier and to register for the conference and collect your badge on Tuesday. The registration desk volunteers will direct you to the room for the TAB meeting.