The Agile Executive

Making Agile Work

Archive for June 19th, 2009

Nuggets from Salt Lake City

with 2 comments

Cote has captured my reflections on Agile Roots in the podcast entitled Agile Roots, Agile Operations & Agile Clouds. This post highlights a few nuggets not covered in the interview, as follows:

  • Attendance in the conference (>200 folks) was driven only by word of mouth.
  • If you ever hear the old excuse “This feature cannot be decomposed to fit in the iteration,” send the person saying so to Alistair Cockburn’s workshop Nano-Incremental Development, a.k.a. Elephant Carpaccio. Amazing what can be squeezed into a nine-minute iteration!
  • The nine-minute limit on iteration length might seem artificial. However, as part of his workshop, Alistair indicated top programmers tend to break the tasks they are working on to slices no longer than thirty minutes.
  • According to Jeff Patton, Jim Highsmith has recently revised his quip “Barely sufficient process” to “Barely sufficient is too much.”
  • Sue Mckinney indicated average size of the development team at IBM’s Software Group has dropped from 500 to 50 over the past few years.
  • Reece Newman pointed out that both Brian Marick and I are actually talking about a social contract for Agile. Brian in his response to the question “”If anarcho-syndicalism was crushed during the 1920’s in the United States and its principles inspired the Agile Manifesto as well as Agile software development, why hasn’t the Agile movement been crushed?”  Me in the post A Social Contract for Agile. To quote Reece:

Although the content of the Social Contract in Brian’s answer differs from your Social Contract for Agile, the idea of a Social Contract is present in both your blog and Brian’s answer.

  • Brian Marick observed that Ruby programmers often tend to work in an Agile manner. In various cases the Ruby programmers were not even even aware of Agile as a software method.
  • Reece Newman pointed out that good tools tend to be “culture neutral.” Hence, they can induce behavioral changes without necessitating explicit culture change pushes.
  • Last but not least – expect Agile Roots to be held again in 2010!

Written by israelgat

June 19, 2009 at 8:21 pm

Agile Roots, Agile Operations, & Agile Clouds, Agile Executive Podcast 003

with one comment

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:

After having some coffee here in Austin, Israel Gat and I braved the Texas heat a little while longer to record a conversation about the recent Agile Roots conference, how Agile has spread in recent years, and some of the potentials that cloud computing plus Agile might bring.

We go over the Agile Roots conference that Israel was currently at: one of the themes, Israel says, was a sort of retrospective on the Agile Manifesto (put out in 2001). Also, as Israel points out many times, there was a good mix of people that made the “hallwaycon” enjoyable. Part of this, it seems was due to the somewhat unconference-y feel of the event: while it had a formalized agenda, there was room for less structured, unconference-style sessions and discussions.

Based on this, I then ask Israel to summarize what his and other’s people take was on where Agile is today. In my words, it seems like Agile thinking has, largely, gone main-stream. In fact, as I chime in, large corporate development tool vendors like Microsoft with VisualStudio and IBM with the Rational line are bringing in and using significant Agile principals and practices.

Next, we get into the “Agile Operations” conversation folks from Reductive Labs have been having of late. Esp. when cloud computing technologies (like virtualization, automation, and SaaS-think) are brought into the operations side of the house, Agile principals seem especially well positioned to take advantage of cloud technologies. This gets us into a discussion of how cloud delivered software (SaaS, pretty much) might help free up some time and resources in the traditional software delivery process, primarily, by not having to support many different versions, but also (some what paradoxically to that) allowing bette customizations per customer.

From here, I lay out the theory that with cloud computing, there seems to be some efficiency gains that make it possible for smaller teams to develop and sell software instead of having to hook-up with larger software companies to get efficiencies of scale. While this discussion, as Israel gets to, has been happening a lot in the startup world (startups need less capital up-front to buy hardware and such, and thus, need less funding), it hasn’t been reflected on much in the plain old ISV world. Israel lays out an interesting “out source (most) everything” model for software companies.

Written by Coté

June 19, 2009 at 11:26 am

Posted in Podcasts