Allan Kelly

Agile & Digital Advisor at Allan Kelly Associates


Software Development is Upside down
Software Development
Diseconomies of scale

Software development is really quite simple. True it requires a lot of brain power to think like a machine, and it demands you switch between tiny detail (one = or two ==?) and enormous architecture (synchronous or asynchronous?) but in essence it is simple - it's all ones and zeros isn’t it?

No, the difficult bit is not that you need to be a human super computer to program but that managing software development is counter intuitive. Many of the maxims that managers live by are reversed when you develop software in the twenty first century.

To successfully manage software development you invert your assumptions - and as dedicated managers give way to self-managing tams that means everybody becomes a mini-manager!

In software development there are no economies of scale, rather there are diseconomies of scale. Cutting qulity slows things down, higher quality is faster - it is essential planning that slows you down! And doing things right comes before doing the right thing.

In this presentation Allan Kelly will look at some of the mental models which need to be rethought and reversed for software to be successfully developed.


Allan Kelly inspires, educates and advises teams and executives creating digital products. He helps businesses improve their use of Agile approaches and serve their customers better.

A natural boundary spanner who takes a broad view of interconnected activities to improve processes and generate new insights.  Most of his work is with innovative teams and smaller companies - including scale-ups.

He is the originator of Retrospective Dialogue Sheets, Value Poker and Time-Value Profiles. Allan is the author of the perennial essay: "Dear Customer, the truth about IT" and books including: "Xanpan - team centric Agile Software Development", and "Business Patterns for Software Developers". He is currently completing "Continuous Digital". His blog is at


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