Future of Process by Ivar Jacobson

August 15, 2003

I am currently in Lima, Peru where I have participated in an international conference and given a series of workshops.

This week started in New Orleans, where I gave a keynote at the XP Agile conference. I arrived late Sunday night but my XP friends were kindly waiting for me. Ward Cunningham, Bob Martin and Ron Jeffries were there. I had a great time with these people whom I respect very much. I have known Ward since 1987 and he is one of the few people who has moved technology into the masses with ideas such as CRC Cards, XP and also Wiki. Ron Jeffrey and I have been on a panel discussing light versus rich processes and we will be on another panel in October. We were missing Kent Beck (who arrived later) and my old personal friend Dave Thomas (who is on the advisory board of Jaczone).

I sympathize a lot with XP and agile methods. I have different opinions on some XP ideas, but in general I think XP is a good approach when exploring a new product. However, I think that XP doesn’t help you grow an organization. Therefore I want a process that can be as light as XP when you start a new initiative, but a process that can grow with the organization as you become successful. Well, I could talk a lot about that but not in this short postcard. My keynote was about the "Future of Process". The core message is that we talk too much about process instead of focusing on getting the job done. Instead we should rely on best practices of many kinds: technical, human, project, organizational etc. These best practices need to be well-defined, they need to be kept separate, but composable, and need to change as time goes by. Ideally the end-result should come across as an "Invisible Process". Here techniques like Waypointer developed by Jaczone will play a very important role.

Peru was very friendly, but the conference could have been better organized. I gave three presentations, I had about 200-400 people each time despite my talks being announced just 4 hours in advance of the actual talks. One challenge in Lima is that people in general don't speak English that well. Luckily, they found an excellent translator for me -- Elizabeth Ramirez Perasso, who has been studying my work for many years. I found that I have many fans in Peru. Thus I need to go back!