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INTERVIEW

Mik Kersten on projects to products

clock3 minute read

I’ve heard rants before how projects suck and how they result in The Inverse Boy Scout Rule – they leave the product in worse condition than they found it in.

But it wasn’t until I heard Mik Kersten‘s talk on DOES 2020 and read his book that I really understood the reasoning behind it.

Mik has a lot of experience in delivering software as well as in leadership positions. Precisely this experience made him realize that there’s something wrong with the way we deliver software. Local optimizations and the lack of end-to-end value stream visibility caused many successful organizations to go under. Pair that with a traditional (but still present) mindset that IT is a cost center, and you are truly set for a disaster in today’s economy.

I spoke with Mik about problems in software delivery today, the disconnect between the Business and the IT, his insights from visiting BMW factory, and what is most important – how was it to drive BMWs straight from the production line! 🙂

Take a look at our full conversation here.

Ivan: The software industry is great but looking in hindsight at enterprise organizations, there is always somebody unhappy with the final results, be it the Business or the IT. In your book Project to Product, you are pointing out to the disconnect that exists today between the Business and the IT. How does this disconnect manifest itself?

Mik: There is a wrong approach in place to managing and understanding software delivery, so you have this disconnect between the Business and the IT where both sides are unhappy.
We had to change the perspective of the industry on how software innovation and software delivery should work. To show how it worked well in open-source, startups, and tech companies, and that this was the only way to get this kind of productivity and joy that you get from building great products in established enterprises where things work quite miserable.

The business side was disappointed because things were moving too slowly, things were off the track, we were not innovating fast enough… and yet was applying a completely wrong mindset in terms of how you should manage software innovation. With that, I realized we needed a new approach which is why I wrote Projects to Products book… to change that perception, to take those ideas from agile and DevOps, and to apply them to create a management model for software product innovation.

And that’s really the Flow framework. The Flow framework is quite simple…. it’s to expose the dynamics of software delivery to a common measurement model that both the technology and the business side agree on. To understand that flow is about the customer, it’s not about how quickly an agile team finishes something, it’s about the Time to market for delivering value to the customer.

Check out the video for the whole conversation…

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Ivan Krnić

Ivan is Director of Engineering at CROZ, curator of 0800-DEVOPS newsletter and O'Reilly author contributing to "97 Things Every Cloud Engineer Should Know". His special areas of interest cover DevOps culture, sociotechnical nature of software delivery and cloud native architectures. Particularly interested in leadership and organizational change, he is helping organizations align business and tech, focus their efforts, and essentially work smarter, not harder. You can follow him on Twitter as @ikrnic.

    DevOps articles delivered monthly.