The Agile Executive

Making Agile Work

Archive for February 11th, 2010

dev/ops with John Allspaw – The Agile Executive #08

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Guest co-host Andrew Shafer and Coté talk with John Allspaw (now at etsy) about the dev/ops idea and, more interestingly, cultural and process needs and changes.

To listen to this podcast, download the podcast directly, subscribe to the blog/podcast feed in iTunes (or whatever), or click play below to hear it:

Show Notes

  • Check out the video of the Velocity talk we reference frequently. It has some actual meat when it comes to biting off a dev/ops culture, practices, and process.
  • John opens up by speaking to tools vs/& culture
  • I ask John how his org got over the hump of “we’re a special snow-flake” – resistance to change .
  • Effecting cultural change by speaking to problems solved and benefits of the new culture.
  • What are some major changes in ops and dev process/culture? Continuous deployment (pushing small changes, often).
  • Getting beyond the culture of no – change management tends to be really “no management.”
  • You have to have a good track record to do this (MTTR, MTTD) – don’t crash the car. What’s deployment to incident ratio?
  • The role of metrics (monitoring) becomes important.
  • Physical vs. virtual stuff in operations, EC2 use, etc. People use public cloud stuff for best-of-breed solutions, like SmugMug usage.
  • Taking flickr from 25th most popular web property to the 5th.
  • Coté is glad John’s at Etsy, cause it fuels the best blog du jour, regretsy.

Written by cote

February 11, 2010 at 3:53 pm

Posted in Podcasts

Tagged with ,

A Core Formula for Agile B2C Statrups

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Colleague Chris Sterling drew my attention to a Pivotal Labs talk by Nathaniel Talbott on Experiment-Driven Development (EDD). It is a forward-looking think piece, focused on development helping the business make decisions based on actual A/B Testing data. Basically, EDD to the business is like TDD to development.

Between this talk and a recent discussion with Columbia’s Yechiam Yemini on his Principle of Innovation and Entrepreneurship course, a core “formula” for Agile B2C startups emerges:

  1. Identify a business process P
  2. Create a minimum viable Internet service S to support P
  3. Apply EDD to S on just about any feature decision of significance

This core formula can be easily refined and extended. For example:

  • Criteria for choosing P could/should be established
  • Other kinds of testing (in addition to or instead of A/B testing) could be done
  • customer development layer could be added to the formula
  • Many others…

By following this formula a startup can implement the Agile Triangle depicted below in a meaningful manner. Value is validated – it is determined based on real customer feedback rather than through conjectures, speculations or ego trips.

Figure 1 – The Agile Triangle (based on Figure 1-3 in Jim Highsmith‘s Agile Project Management: Creating Innovative Products)

The quip “The voice of the people is the voice of God” has long been a tenet of musicians. The “formula” described above enables the Agile B2C startup to capture the voice of the people and thoughtfully act on it to accomplish business results.

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