There are many books that seek to explain Lean and Agile software that offer theory, techniques, and examples. Michael Levine’s first book, A Tale of Two Systems, is one of the best, synthesizing Lean manufacturing and product development with agile software concepts in an engaging business novel. However, there has been precious little practical guidance for those seeking to change existing organizations to become Lean and Agile, until now. Mr. Levine has followed the successful approach of A Tale of Two Systems, telling two simultaneous intertwined and contrasting stories, to bring organizational transformation to life.
Mary O’Connell and James “Wes” Wesleyan, recently engaged to be married, share a commitment to Lean and Agile Software. They have recently become leaders in two very different companies – one, stuck in a slow-moving, unresponsive, process-driven quagmire of a software culture; the other, struggling through the chaos of a sales-driven, process-less swirl. Together with their wise mentor, Neville Roberts, they identify two approaches to making needed changes: Drive People (a top-down approach focused on processes and tools), and People Driven (an enablement approach focused on people and organizations). Mary and Wes evaluate their situations and choose approaches that best fit for them, and the transformations commence.
A Tale of Two Transformations differs from many information technology books by grappling with all the complexities of our organizations: the people, the politics, the financials, the processes – in short, the culture from which our Lean and Agile journeys must begin. The change model presented in the flow of the stories is generally applicable, and can help anyone thinking about how to improve their organization.