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Q&A with Luke Hohmann

Exclusive Trusted Magazine Q&A with Luke Hohmann, Author & Chief Innovation Officer.

How could you describe your career path in a few words? 

Every successful career is a combination of hard work blended with leaders who believed in you and gave you opportunities to succeed. I started working as a network technician Electronic Data Systems. I was promoted to being a developer, acquired my Bachelor's and Master's degrees from the University of Michigan, and then joined my first startup, ObjectSpace, where I lead the training group. I moved to Silicon Valley in 1996 to join Aurigin Systems, working at a few more companies until I started my own consulting firm in 20023. I founded, bootstrapped, and sold Conteneo to Scaled Agile and am presently working as Chief Innovation Officer at Applied Frameworks. Not every company was a success - I founded FirstRoot to promote financial literacy and positive civic engagement through Participatory Budgeting. Unfortunately, FirstRoot failed. Amidst all of this work I helped produce the first Agile Alliance conference in 2003, have served on the Board of the Agile Alliance, written five books and countless articles, and have raised a family of four children with my lovely wife.  

How do you think agile practices have transformed companies over the past two years? 

I think your timeframe fails to capture the profoundly positive impact that Agile has had in the world. Over the past 20+ years Agile practices have created higher-quality, more usable, software solutions while promoting healthier working relationships and more sustainable organizations. If you want to narrow your focus to the last two years, we should consider the global adoption of Agile practices as part of the global adoption of technology. We’re seeing Agile methods in every country, tailored to the needs of the local market. In turn, we’re seeing fresh voices in the Agile community sharing their experiences, including novel applications of Agile practices that help keep Agile practices relevant to an entirely new generation of Agilists. I look forward to not just the past two years, but the next 20! 

What successful cases of agile transformations have you had the opportunity to observe that have particularly stood out to you? 

Myself and the team at Applied Frameworks have helped a number of companies become increasingly Agile. We've worked with extremely large, global organizations, such as Ingenico,, BMW, PayU, GE, Capital One, Ingenico, VeriSign, CVS and others, each of which have found ways to leverage Agile to enhance their businesses. Our approach is very unique, in that we focus on helping companies create more profitable solutions through Agile practices. For example, we help clients understand how Agile practices can enable them to adjust pricing, packaging, licensing, and other elements of their business model to design a more sustainably profitable business. This approach is broader than the process-centric or value-centric approach of most consulting firms. One transformation that stands out is the transformation at BMW. We were involed with the BMW teams building the BMW mobile apps. The transformation involved dozens of Agile teams in four major development centers. The transformation used a number of novel techniques, including, but not limited to, Enterprise Retrospectives using the Innovation Games Speedboat, global planning using the Innovation Games Prune the Product Tree, and Visible Architecture to make the evolution of the technical architecture accessible to all stakeholders.  

Will agile practices continue to generate interest? What challenges do you see in the context of deploying these practices? 

While Agile practices will continue to generate interest, we're going to see the industry moving from the idea of an Agile 'transformation' and move towards a more holistic approach of continuous improvement. For example, consider how many Agile organizations have continuously evolved their approach to testing and test automation. I am confident that the creative application of AI solutions based on Large Language Models like ChatGPT will help us dramatically improve the quality of our solutions. One challenge we see is that the Agile industry is too focused on creating 'value' - which many executives don't really understand. The Agile industry needs to focus on creating profit - something that every executive understands because it is how most executives are compensated. This is why we wrote Software Profit Streams™: A Guide to Designing a Sustainably Profitable Business. Our #1 Amazon best-selling book shows how Agile organizations can harness Agile practices to generate a sustain profit.

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