Click here to close now.


Apache Authors: Jim Scott, Craig Lowell, Liz McMillan, AppDynamics Blog, Dana Gardner

Related Topics: Microservices Expo, Java IoT, Industrial IoT, IBM Cloud, Weblogic, Microsoft Cloud, IoT User Interface, Apache

Microservices Expo: Blog Feed Post

Agile, Offshoring and Dreyfus Model of Learning

Agile works!

Agile works!

If you have any doubt about it just look at the adoption rate … look at the study results published … or just try it yourself.

Offshoring also works!

Again, if you have any doubt, just look at the growth of offshoring … look at the success of the success of the India based IT companies … try to find a reasonably large company which has no offshore presence.

People or Process … which is more important?
If you are following agile methods then … obviously … people are more important. In fact it is clearly stated in the Agile manifesto. Off course, the manifesto does not say that process is not important but it emphasizes that people are more important than process and tool.

If you are into offshoring then the clear winner is process. Almost all large offshoring outfit have focused on process and have adopted SEI-CMMi model. On the same vein, CMMi does not say the people are not important, but the focus is clearly on processes and practices.

But, is this not contradictory?

Dreyfus Model of Skill Acquisition
One possible explanation is that both people and process are important. Successful agile implementation does not ignore process. Similarly, successful offshoring does not ignore people.

However, a better explanation can be found in the Dreyfus Model of Skill Acquisition.

If you search the net you will find tons of material explaining what the model is and I have included few of the at the end of this post. However, the simplest and the shortest explanation comes from Seth Godin:

The Dreyfus model of skill acquisition posits that there are five stages people go through:

  1. Novice = wants to be given a manual, told what to do, with no decisions possible
  2. Advanced beginner = needs a bit of freedom, but is unable to quickly describe a hierarchy of which parts are more important than others
  3. Competent = wants the ability to make plans, create routines and choose among activities>
  4. Proficient = the more freedom you offer, the more you expect, the more you’ll get
  5. Expert = writes the manual, doesn’t follow it

Dreyfus Model

Offshore Software Development, CMMi and Process Focus
When the offshoring started, the workforce comprised of Novices and Advanced Beginner with a handful of experts guiding them. The growth of offshoring was too fast to move the Advanced Beginners to become Competent in the required number.

Therefore, it was logical for the organizations to focus on gaining process expertise and the most logical choice was the SEI – Capability Maturity Model (CMMi). The focus was on “Conformance to Requirement”. It was necessary to have more people to do the same work but that could be absorbed through the huge gap of salary.

Every project needed to find at least on expert. That expert could guide the team and interact with the onsite people. Projects which could not find such experts failed badly.

The growth of the offshoring industry have validated this approach.

Agile Methods and People Focus
Agile methods became popular where enough number of Competent and Proficient software developers where available. Once a developer becomes Competent he is ready and willing to take ownership of his work.

“…you might see folks at this level typically described as “having initiative” and being “resourceful.” They tend to be in a leadership role in the team…even at this level, practitioners can’t apply agile methods the way we would like—there isn’t yet enough ability for reflection and self correction…” - Andrew Hunt

Agile methods were ideally suited for Proficient software developers. All you needed to do was to…

“…Build projects around motivated individuals. Give them the environment and support they need, and trust them to get the job done…” – 5th principle behind agile manifesto!

It is no surprise that agile methods worked and worked very well.

The story of offshoring is not over yet!

Offshoring growth came down from the ridiculous  30-50% per year to more down to earth 10-15%. That allowed more time to have sufficient numbers of Competent and Proficient developers. There are around 2 million ITES professional in India and even if only a small percentage can be classified as Competent and Proficient developers, you still land up with a huge number!

No wonder the India software industry has started looking beyond “Conformance to Requirement”

What about the expert?

The expert observes the world but trusts his inner vision. He concerns himself with the depth and not the surface, with the fruit and not the flower.

When expert leads, the team is hardly aware that he exists. He is content to serve as an example and not to impose his will. He doesn’t talk, he acts. When this is done, the team says, “Amazing: we did it, all by ourselves!”

The expert shapes events as they come. He steps out of the way and lets the design speak for itself. His workings remain a mystery, he just shows the results.

This might sound familiar to you because this is an condensed and modified version of The Tao of the Software Architect.

Related Articles

Read the original blog entry...

More Stories By Udayan Banerjee

Udayan Banerjee is CTO at NIIT Technologies Ltd, an IT industry veteran with more than 30 years' experience. He blogs at
The blog focuses on emerging technologies like cloud computing, mobile computing, social media aka web 2.0 etc. It also contains stuff about agile methodology and trends in architecture. It is a world view seen through the lens of a software service provider based out of Bangalore and serving clients across the world. The focus is mostly on...

  • Keep the hype out and project a realistic picture
  • Uncover trends not very apparent
  • Draw conclusion from real life experience
  • Point out fallacy & discrepancy when I see them
  • Talk about trends which I find interesting

@ThingsExpo Stories
The broad selection of hardware, the rapid evolution of operating systems and the time-to-market for mobile apps has been so rapid that new challenges for developers and engineers arise every day. Security, testing, hosting, and other metrics have to be considered through the process. In his session at Big Data Expo, Walter Maguire, Chief Field Technologist, HP Big Data Group, at Hewlett-Packard, will discuss the challenges faced by developers and a composite Big Data applications builder, focusing on how to help solve the problems that developers are continuously battling.
In his session at @ThingsExpo, Tony Shan, Chief Architect at CTS, will explore the synergy of Big Data and IoT. First he will take a closer look at the Internet of Things and Big Data individually, in terms of what, which, why, where, when, who, how and how much. Then he will explore the relationship between IoT and Big Data. Specifically, he will drill down to how the 4Vs aspects intersect with IoT: Volume, Variety, Velocity and Value. In turn, Tony will analyze how the key components of IoT influence Big Data: Device, Connectivity, Context, and Intelligence. He will dive deep to the matrix...
Scott Guthrie's keynote presentation "Journey to the intelligent cloud" is a must view video. This is from AzureCon 2015, September 29, 2015 I have reproduced some screen shots in case you are unable to view this long video for one reason or another. One of the highlights is 3 datacenters coming on line in India.
When it comes to IoT in the enterprise, namely the commercial building and hospitality markets, a benefit not getting the attention it deserves is energy efficiency, and IoT’s direct impact on a cleaner, greener environment when installed in smart buildings. Until now clean technology was offered piecemeal and led with point solutions that require significant systems integration to orchestrate and deploy. There didn't exist a 'top down' approach that can manage and monitor the way a Smart Building actually breathes - immediately flagging overheating in a closet or over cooling in unoccupied ho...
SYS-CON Events announced today that IBM Cloud Data Services has been named “Bronze Sponsor” of SYS-CON's 17th Cloud Expo, which will take place on November 3–5, 2015, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. IBM Cloud Data Services offers a portfolio of integrated, best-of-breed cloud data services for developers focused on mobile computing and analytics use cases.
The enterprise is being consumerized, and the consumer is being enterprised. Moore's Law does not matter anymore, the future belongs to business virtualization powered by invisible service architecture, powered by hyperscale and hyperconvergence, and facilitated by vertical streaming and horizontal scaling and consolidation. Both buyers and sellers want instant results, and from paperwork to paperless to mindless is the ultimate goal for any seamless transaction. The sweetest sweet spot in innovation is automation. The most painful pain point for any business is the mismatch between supplies a...
Mobile messaging has been a popular communication channel for more than 20 years. Finnish engineer Matti Makkonen invented the idea for SMS (Short Message Service) in 1984, making his vision a reality on December 3, 1992 by sending the first message ("Happy Christmas") from a PC to a cell phone. Since then, the technology has evolved immensely, from both a technology standpoint, and in our everyday uses for it. Originally used for person-to-person (P2P) communication, i.e., Sally sends a text message to Betty – mobile messaging now offers tremendous value to businesses for customer and empl...
SYS-CON Events announced today that ProfitBricks, the provider of painless cloud infrastructure, will exhibit at SYS-CON's 17th International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on November 3–5, 2015, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. ProfitBricks is the IaaS provider that offers a painless cloud experience for all IT users, with no learning curve. ProfitBricks boasts flexible cloud servers and networking, an integrated Data Center Designer tool for visual control over the cloud and the best price/performance value available. ProfitBricks was named one of the coolest Clo...
“The Internet of Things transforms the way organizations leverage machine data and gain insights from it,” noted Splunk’s CTO Snehal Antani, as Splunk announced accelerated momentum in Industrial Data and the IoT. The trend is driven by Splunk’s continued investment in its products and partner ecosystem as well as the creativity of customers and the flexibility to deploy Splunk IoT solutions as software, cloud services or in a hybrid environment. Customers are using Splunk® solutions to collect and correlate data from control systems, sensors, mobile devices and IT systems for a variety of Ind...
Organizations already struggle with the simple collection of data resulting from the proliferation of IoT, lacking the right infrastructure to manage it. They can't only rely on the cloud to collect and utilize this data because many applications still require dedicated infrastructure for security, redundancy, performance, etc. In his session at 17th Cloud Expo, Emil Sayegh, CEO of Codero Hosting, will discuss how in order to resolve the inherent issues, companies need to combine dedicated and cloud solutions through hybrid hosting – a sustainable solution for the data required to manage I...
You have your devices and your data, but what about the rest of your Internet of Things story? Two popular classes of technologies that nicely handle the Big Data analytics for Internet of Things are Apache Hadoop and NoSQL. Hadoop is designed for parallelizing analytical work across many servers and is ideal for the massive data volumes you create with IoT devices. NoSQL databases such as Apache HBase are ideal for storing and retrieving IoT data as “time series data.”
Clearly the way forward is to move to cloud be it bare metal, VMs or containers. One aspect of the current public clouds that is slowing this cloud migration is cloud lock-in. Every cloud vendor is trying to make it very difficult to move out once a customer has chosen their cloud. In his session at 17th Cloud Expo, Naveen Nimmu, CEO of Clouber, Inc., will advocate that making the inter-cloud migration as simple as changing airlines would help the entire industry to quickly adopt the cloud without worrying about any lock-in fears. In fact by having standard APIs for IaaS would help PaaS expl...
As more and more data is generated from a variety of connected devices, the need to get insights from this data and predict future behavior and trends is increasingly essential for businesses. Real-time stream processing is needed in a variety of different industries such as Manufacturing, Oil and Gas, Automobile, Finance, Online Retail, Smart Grids, and Healthcare. Azure Stream Analytics is a fully managed distributed stream computation service that provides low latency, scalable processing of streaming data in the cloud with an enterprise grade SLA. It features built-in integration with Azur...
Apps and devices shouldn't stop working when there's limited or no network connectivity. Learn how to bring data stored in a cloud database to the edge of the network (and back again) whenever an Internet connection is available. In his session at 17th Cloud Expo, Bradley Holt, Developer Advocate at IBM Cloud Data Services, will demonstrate techniques for replicating cloud databases with devices in order to build offline-first mobile or Internet of Things (IoT) apps that can provide a better, faster user experience, both offline and online. The focus of this talk will be on IBM Cloudant, Apa...
SYS-CON Events announced today that HPM Networks will exhibit at the 17th International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on November 3–5, 2015, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. For 20 years, HPM Networks has been integrating technology solutions that solve complex business challenges. HPM Networks has designed solutions for both SMB and enterprise customers throughout the San Francisco Bay Area.
As enterprises capture more and more data of all types – structured, semi-structured, and unstructured – data discovery requirements for business intelligence (BI), Big Data, and predictive analytics initiatives grow more complex. A company’s ability to become data-driven and compete on analytics depends on the speed with which it can provision their analytics applications with all relevant information. The task of finding data has traditionally resided with IT, but now organizations increasingly turn towards data source discovery tools to find the right data, in context, for business users, d...
SYS-CON Events announced today that MobiDev, a software development company, will exhibit at the 17th International Cloud Expo®, which will take place November 3-5, 2015, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. MobiDev is a software development company with representative offices in Atlanta (US), Sheffield (UK) and Würzburg (Germany); and development centers in Ukraine. Since 2009 it has grown from a small group of passionate engineers and business managers to a full-scale mobile software company with over 150 developers, designers, quality assurance engineers, project manage...
Learn how IoT, cloud, social networks and last but not least, humans, can be integrated into a seamless integration of cooperative organisms both cybernetic and biological. This has been enabled by recent advances in IoT device capabilities, messaging frameworks, presence and collaboration services, where devices can share information and make independent and human assisted decisions based upon social status from other entities. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Michael Heydt, founder of Seamless Thingies, will discuss and demonstrate how devices and humans can be integrated from a simple clust...
SYS-CON Events announced today that Cloud Raxak has been named “Media & Session Sponsor” of SYS-CON's 17th Cloud Expo, which will take place on November 3–5, 2015, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. Raxak Protect automates security compliance across private and public clouds. Using the SaaS tool or managed service, developers can deploy cloud apps quickly, cost-effectively, and without error.
Who are you? How do you introduce yourself? Do you use a name, or do you greet a friend by the last four digits of his social security number? Assuming you don’t, why are we content to associate our identity with 10 random digits assigned by our phone company? Identity is an issue that affects everyone, but as individuals we don’t spend a lot of time thinking about it. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Ben Klang, Founder & President of Mojo Lingo, will discuss the impact of technology on identity. Should we federate, or not? How should identity be secured? Who owns the identity? How is identity ...