How to mandate agility in software development, operations, and data science

Even when leaders proclaim in their townhalls that your organization needs to be more agile and nimble, they can’t mandate it. Your CIO and IT leaders may standardize on practices, metrics, and responsibilities that they describe as agile methodology standards, but they can’t dictate that everyone adopts agile cultures and mindsets.

You can select agile tools, automate more with devops practices, and enable citizen data science programs, but you can’t force adoption and demand employee happiness. IT operations may operate a hybrid multicloud architecture, but that doesn’t necessarily mean that costs are optimized or that infrastructure can scale up and down auto-magically.

So, if you were looking to quickly standardize your agile processes, or to miraculously address technical debt by shifting to agile architectures, or to instantly transform into an agile way of working, then I am sorry to disappoint you. Agility doesn’t come free, cheap, or easily. You can’t manage it on a Gantt chart with fixed timelines.

And while I believe that agility is largely a bottom-up transformation, that doesn’t mean that developers, engineers, testers, scrum masters, and other IT team members can drive agility independently. The team must work collaboratively, acknowledge tradeoffs, and define agile operating principles where there is consensus on the benefits.

So if agility can’t be mandated and requires everyone’s contributions, how do organizations become more agile? In the spirit of agile methodologies, data-driven practices, and adopting a devops culture, here are some ways everyone in the IT organization can drive agility collaboratively.

Make the case for agile methodologies 

Chapter 2 of my book, Driving Digital, is all about going from basic scrum practices to a more comprehensive agile planning process that includes assigning roles and responsibilities, planning multi-sprint backlogs, and standardizing estimating practices. When I work with teams trying to adopt agile

California’s mandate to sell only zero-emissions vehicles by 2035 isn’t as crazy as critics think

Last week, California Governor Gavin Newson leaned over the hood of a Ford Mustang Mach-E and signed an executive order saying that all new passenger cars and trucks sold in the state must be emission-free by 2035.



a toaster oven sitting on top of a car: A detail view is seen of an Hyundai Kona Electric Highlander ahead of the Electric Vehicle Show 2019 at Sydney Olympic Park on October 25, 2019 in Sydney, Australia. Electric vehicles are being bought in greater numbers in Australia, with 2017 seeing a 67% increase in sales from the previous year. The largest EV test ride event will be open to public on October 26 and 27th. (Photo by Mark Kolbe/Getty Images)


© Mark Kolbe/Getty Images
A detail view is seen of an Hyundai Kona Electric Highlander ahead of the Electric Vehicle Show 2019 at Sydney Olympic Park on October 25, 2019 in Sydney, Australia. Electric vehicles are being bought in greater numbers in Australia, with 2017 seeing a 67% increase in sales from the previous year. The largest EV test ride event will be open to public on October 26 and 27th. (Photo by Mark Kolbe/Getty Images)

The new mandate doesn’t necessarily mean that California car dealers would, literally, sell nothing but fully electric or hydrogen-powered vehicles 15 years from now, several experts say.

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That is the goal, though. And it’s not entirely out of the question, said Nick Albanese, a researcher with Bloomberg New Energy Finance.

“I think California’s target is ambitious, but feasible,” he wrote in an email. “Even before this announcement, we forecast passenger EVs to account for 52% of total US passenger vehicle sales in 2035 and 61% in 2040.”

Of course, there are many hurdles to overcome on the road to an emission-free auto market, including a widely available charging infrastructure, affordability, and lots of legal fine points.

With 15 years until the mandate goes into effect, there’s plenty of time for negotiation, and we will likely see Newsom’s goal softened or the deadline extended, said Chelsea Sexton, an analyst who covers the electric vehicle market.

“It will take a few years, literally, for this headline to be clarified,” she said.

Can California legally do this?

The federal government’s Environmental Protection Agency has already publicly challenged Newsom