Dec 14, 2009

Journey to the Centre of the Ministry of the Economy in Mexico: part I

I started traveling to Mexico on business last January with the objective of injecting Agile and Lean practices into Mexican businesses. By the end of my first 12-day trip there I came to the conlusion that way too little was known about these and so instead of focusing on getting some contracts it was necessary to first evangelize about them, thus I decided to change strategies. As result, between January and April I gave 17 presentations on agile-lean at technical and leadership interest groups, associations, academia, and companies. The presentations were received with great enthusiasm and business-level meetings came out from some of them.

I was glad with the outcomes until another reality hit. Numerous Mexican businesses in the high tech, financial, and other white-collar sectors have to face a situation I expected to see on blue-collar sectors only, namely that of government mandated corporate governance such as ISO, CMMI, et-cetera. There is even a recent new regulation under the name of MoProSoft, a mexican model to regulate software development maturity that the Mexican Government approved as a norm for software development. Furthermore, it is undergoing evaluation by ISO to be accepted as a new standard. By now you might be wondering, is MoProSoft a model or a standard? Well, I wonder that myself and haven't got an answer for that yet. What I can indicate is that MoProSoft is, in good measure, a 1:1 mapping between some aspects of ISO and CMMI, plus the addition of a set of templates that need to be followed to fulfill its compliance requirements. Sounds heavy? It is! All those initiatives have been backed up by the Ministry of the Economy in Mexico.

I came to the obvious conclusion that if Agile-Lean are a great alternative to the aforementioned approaches to software development, and if corporate culture in Mexico is still heavily guided by government regulations then the obvious move to be effective was to reach that same government organization to get it to back up agile-lean. So, I took upon myself the quest for it. In March of this year I started talking to people in industry, academia, friends of friends, and so on trailblazing through professional networks, and going through numerous frustrations until by the end of November I got the luck to meet a person who connected me with a congressman directly who is directly connected with the Ministry of the Economy (this part is a great anecdote but I'll hold on to it for an article I'm writing). I met with the congressman, who liked what I have to offer so he asked me to give a presentation to other folks at the Congress building before bringing this to the attention of the Ministry of the Economy; and so I did. As result, those who attended gave to my proposal a thumbs-up and they agree this should be escalated to the Ministry. The congressman asked me to give another presentation, this time to a larger audience to then bring it to the Ministry of the Economy next month.

It's been an arduous journey but I am glad that I finally got to get some progress done before the end of the year. Hope things will move faster next year and that my objective of getting agile-lean be backed up by the Ministry of the Economy so that we can penetrate market more effectively.

I'll make a part-II posting when the time for it comes.

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