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Changing Software Development: Learning to Become Agile by Allan Kelly

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7.3. Radical Change

Sometimes radical change is required: sometimes things are so bad – the competition so far ahead – that the company must react. Business process re-engineering is one response, but it isn't the only response. There are many other forms of radical change.

The former head of Intel, Andy Grove, talks about 'strategic inflection points' – the points at which you realize things have changed.[] Unfortunately, many organizations never recognize that their environment has changed and consequently never take the action needed. Even those that do recognize the need to change may not actually take the action until some crisis occurs to force it.

[] See Grove(1997).

Radical change is the change model that underpins much of traditional software engineering literature. We start by analysing the application domain, our designers and engineers build the product and after testing it is handed over to customers. The traditional literature usually ends where the software development teams end their work. For customers, this isn't the end, but merely the beginning of change.

Superficially, radical change is easy: it is only necessary that a few senior managers become convinced that change is required. These 'big brains' can then devise a plan of action, announce it to the company as a whole and watch it happen. This is classic top-down type management and change.

Unfortunately, this kind of change can be difficult to implement. It requires that the managers correctly understand ...

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