Ahoy, me hearties! In a tongue-in-cheek take on success in the modern enterprise, software and solutions specialist DVT is encouraging corporates to embrace their inner pirates to unleash creative thinking and create competitive advantage in the business world.

The company is running breakfast seminars in Cape Town and Johannesburg titled “Pirates vs Colonialists: Yohoho and a bottle of Scrum”, drawing parallels between today’s enterprise and the surprising success of independent, agile pirates in the age of large, established naval organisation.

DVT Principal agile consultant Stephen de Villiers Graaff, who developed the concept after watching the Hollywood movie Pirates of the Caribbean with his children, says the idea is meant as an off-the-wall analogy to explain the success of free-thinking and innovative agile methodologies in a strictly regimented and multi-layered corporate environment.

“The whole idea is a play between pirates and colonialists in the 19th century, where small bands of disruptive pirates enjoyed great success against far larger and better equipped naval forces,” says de Villiers Graaff in his talk titled “Lessons from a Dead Man’s Chest”.

“If we put the nefarious activities to one side and consider the defining characteristics of these pirates, you could say it was their adaptability, innovation and the sheer simplicity of their methods that lead to their now infamous successes,” he says. “The same can be said of many smaller organisations punching well above their weight by deploying an effective, creative team of agile developers and subscribing to agile frameworks.”

In her presentation aptly titled “Master and Commander: Lessons from the far side of the world”, DVT Academy head Embrenchia Snyman explores how ‘pirates turned privateers’ proved to be the breakthrough the naval forces needed to battle the pirate charge.

“It’s fascinating to recall how pirates actively influenced the ‘high-and-mighty’ British and Spanish armadas to employ and deploy renegade pirates to lead their forces against their smaller, less established competitors,” says Snyman.

“In today’s larger organisations, agile developers tend to sit at the team level, which could lead to a disconnect between the innovation in the engine room and the objectives of the business at higher management levels,” she says. “That’s where the program level comes in, effectively embracing the independent thinking of the agile teams to create an energised, inclusive organisation with established and necessary levels of governance.”

De Villiers Graaff concludes that pure agile thinking and development is still very much the way to go for smaller organisations, but that a hybrid approach likened to the privateers of yesteryear is the most effective strategy for integrating agile thinking as the organisation grows and evolves.

DVT’s “Pirates vs Colonialists: Yohoho and a bottle of Scrum” was well received last week in Cape Town, and will be held again at the Focus Room in Sunninghill, Johannesburg, this coming Thursday, 26 June, from 8 a.m. Anyone interested in attending should get all hands on deck and e-mail [email protected].