The Agile Executive

Making Agile Work

Archive for May 6th, 2009

Confluence

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The approach Eric Ries advocates for the Agile start-up has been covered in previous posts (click here and here). Basically, Ries sees the need to iterate on the customer problem alongside iterating on the solution to the problem. Furthermore, a process of discovery – finding the customer – accompanies iterations on the problem and on the solution.

In a note today entitled Three Designing Bears, Kent Beck brings up a great example for the approach Ries promotes:

[JUnit] Max is a bootstrapped product, so I need to find revenue as quickly as possible. I have no idea what people might actually pay for in a testing tool, so I need to try things as quickly as possible. Features only need to be finished enough to give me reliable feedback about their value. Will people pay for features like those? If so, I can afford to finish them later.

Various other threads are quite relevant to and consistent with the ideas of Ries and Beck. For example, commenting on Flickr in The Art of Agile Development, James Shore highlights their speedy {code –> test –> stage –> deploy} cycle:

When a user posts a bug to the forum, the team can often fix the problem and deploy the new code to the live site within minutes.

When coupled with “real time” user feedback, the confluence of speedy development with fast deployment reduces the risk of developing features that are never or seldom used. It applies to both start-ups and established enterprises. It opens the door for new software business designs that would have been considered infeasible just a few years ago. For example, one could enhance the Marauder Strategy (“seek out slow ships and take them out”) proposed by Jeff Sutherland by competing not “only” on velocity of development, but on accelerated deployment cycles and ultra-fast feedback loops.

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Written by israelgat

May 6, 2009 at 10:26 pm

Agile Roots

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How very gratifying it is to experience the evolution of the Agile Roots conference. This is a true bottom-up conference. I only know some of the organizers, but my hunch is that the open source philosophy is at the roots of Agile Roots. There is freshness and genuineness to this conference that clearly come across even before the conference started.

At this point in time, the following speakers have been confirmed:

agilerootsspeaker

  • Alistair Cockburn
  • Sue McKinney
  • Jeff Patton
  • James Shore
  • Diana Larsen
  • Pollyanna Pixton
  • Myself
  •  

    I will be delivering a keynote presentation entitled Four Principles, Four Cultures, One Mirror. Click here for the full abstract. The short version is as follows:

    The path an Agile roll-out should follow depends on the core culture of the corporation: control, competence, collaboration or cultivation. Irrespective of the specific culture, the Agile roll-out invariably tests cultural integration, wholeness and balance. In particular, it exposes inconsistencies between approach with customers versus approach toward other constituents of the corporation such as partners and employees. Consequently, corporate reactions to Agile often express the disappointment of an organization when it is forced to take a good look in the mirror.

    I have been known to quip I feel like “one foot in cold water, one foot in hot water” with respect to Agile. So much has been achieved, yet so much is still to be accomplished. I have no doubt the conference will addrress this dissonance, integrating Agile past, present and future in a very insightful manner.

    Written by israelgat

    May 6, 2009 at 1:23 pm