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4 October 2016

What’s a model for?

I saw a tweet about a model called Burndown which defined itself as a solution to the shortcomings of agile development. A friend lamented that they’re disassociating from the Agile movement because of the ‘crappy agile’ idea.

I had planned on writing up a similar post internally where I work but think I’ll also publish it publically. My motivation isn’t to shame agile, but to show how it can evolve and provide another example off the beaten track of the normal consulting frameworks.

Not that consultant frameworks are bad by the way. I’m currently browsing the SAFE book with the intent of cherry picking out some good ideas and presenting them as options or tools for teams to draw on.

But this discussion of new frameworks like Burndown also raises another interesting question for me; How do we assess the usefulness and validity of frameworks and models?

One way, which I might try with some components from SAFE is to present them as small and low risk options to experiment with, another more common path is to execute on an “Agile Transformation.”

There are strengths and weaknesses to both of these approaches, but there is also still a need to objective evaluation of their usefulness, both before and after trying the tools they describe.
So a simple way to evaluate these models is a SWOT analysis.

But is a SWOT analysis the right tool for the job? How do you know you’ve picked the right model?