July 26, 2021
July 26, 2021
July 19, 2022
NSF Grantees Poster Session
What might it mean to be an agile academic department? An agile college? An agile university?
“Agile”, as used here, refers to practices and frameworks in software development and deployment, such as Scrum, Extreme Programming, and Crystal Clear. The Agile movement’s founding documents, the Agile Manifesto and its accompanying Agile Principles [https://agilemanifesto.org/], were published by leading software engineering researchers in February of 2001. The Manifesto staked out distinction with the prevailing software development approach at the time, called planned development and otherwise known as waterfall. The Agile Manifesto states,
"We are uncovering better ways of developing software by doing it and helping others do it. Through this work we have come to value:
"Individuals and interactions over processes and tools Working software over comprehensive documentation Customer collaboration over contract negotiation Responding to change over following a plan
"That is, while there is value in the items on the right, we value the items on the left more.”
Since the Manifesto’s publication, Agile use has expanded from its then primarily application in software development into a wide range of activities, from rocket motors (Space X), to race car development (Wikispeed), to finance (World Bank), to human resources (ING). Denning postulates Three Laws of the Agile Mindset: (1) The Law of the Small Team, in which small cross-functions teams work in short iterations receiving regular customer feedback; (2) The Law of the Customer, in which delighting the customer is taken as the ultimate purpose for any enterprise; and (3) The Law of the Network, in which networks of small teams act, having trust in the competency of each other, act like small teams in themselves [The Age of Agile: How Smart Companies Are Transforming the Way Work Gets Done. AMACOM, 2018].
Academic enterprises have unique attributes — recurring, months long, instructional terms; “customers” (students) whose short-term dissatisfaction can be part of the path to long-term success; industrial stakeholders who influence program direction and focus to satisfy hiring needs; generation of new knowledge, often with financial support from government agencies and industry; service to the profession and to our institutions. Using Denning’s Laws as a framing, we present possible approaches to employing agile within an academic department and discuss potential expansion of such to the level of a college and even an entire university.
Wilson, T. A., & Towhidnejad, M., & Pembridge, J. J., & Bowen, E. E., & Ochoa, O., & Castro, C. A. (2021, July), The Agile Academic Enterprise Paper presented at 2021 ASEE Virtual Annual Conference Content Access, Virtual Conference. https://peer.asee.org/37837
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