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Background and lessons learned from adoption of agile design and development methodologies in a web project at Washington Post Media. Delivered at George Washington University, Oct. 2008

Background and lessons learned from adoption of agile design and development methodologies in a web project at Washington Post Media. Delivered at George Washington University, Oct. 2008

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  • 1. Innovation through Iteration
  • 2. bio.ppt cocktail:
  • 3. Background
  • 4. Background
  • 5. Washington Post IT Unit • About 150 people • Supports operations of the newspaper and some operations at other Washington Post Company affiliates, including: • Publishing • Advertising • Circulation • Syndication • Accounting • Production
  • 6. Washington Post Web Solutions
  • 7. Quick commercial We’re hiring. Designers, engineers, developers, managers (See me after.)
  • 8. Traditional methodology flows like a waterfall
  • 9. The Waterfall: Measure twice, cut once • Requirements Doc • Known specs • Wireframes • Architecture Diagrams Discovery • Working Build Design • Test Scripts Development • Discrete phases Testing • Tight discipline • Launch Deployment • Specific and unchanging requirements • Design and development standards • Extensive testing The goal: Build the thing right.
  • 10. Waterfall works well for large-scale projects • When it's familiar territory • Better for projects with high levels of integration with existing systems • When working prototypes for user feedback are more expensive/difficult to produce (e.g., non- web) • When revision is difficult
  • 11. Waterfall projects  Familiar territory  Simple transactions  Integration with DSI
  • 12. Waterfall projects  Familiar territory  Simple transactions  Integration with PAS
  • 13. Potential effects of waterfall projects • Simplified project governance (Senior Management) • Bigger projects mean fewer per year to track • Project bloat • Hoarding of IT Resources • Inaccurate LOE and schedule estimates (IT Management) • Bigger projects with more parts and objectives are harder to estimate • Tendency toward quot;Launch and move onquot; mentality • More risk that changing business needs will outpace development
  • 14. When things go wrong in the waterfall “We built all this upsell capability, but after launch we learned it was completely off-target for the audience.” – IT “By the time the site launched it looked completely different from what we had envisioned.” – Designer “By the time the project finished, the business needs had totally changed.” – Business Analyst “If I knew in the beginning what I know now, we would have made a very different site.” – Business Client
  • 15. New strategy, new methodology 16
  • 16. Business in transition
  • 17. Business in transition
  • 18. Where IT comes in Align our methodologies to support innovation. . . • Partner with the business to explore and realize new revenue streams • Enable new “bets” and “small-scale experiments” • Improve speed to market; bring value faster . . . While we remain true to our core mission of supporting the traditional business
  • 19. Knowledge gap Decisions Knowledge volume time
  • 20. A shift in emphasis Waterfall: Build the thing right. Iterative: Build the right thing.
  • 21. An alternate approach: Iterative ß ß ß ß ß T I M E • Better fit for product innovation Discovery • Speed to market with beta releases Design • Betas prove/refine the concept Development • Earlier value generation Testing • More user feedback, which guides the next iterations v1.0 Deployment The goal: Build the right thing.
  • 22. Beta is the new black
  • 23. Post-1.0 iterations Subscriber Self Service Commercial Classified Self Service 5 Releases 22 Releases in 3 months in 9 months
  • 24. Let’s clarify: Iterative vs. incremental Got the whole brick wall metaphor from Jeff Patton talking to Jared Spool.
  • 25. Maintain a complete user experience Got the whole cake metaphor listening to Brandon Schauer talk about The Long Wow.
  • 26. The Iterative technique • Smaller teams • Close collaboration among IT and the business • Use of non-traditional technologies and services • Open source software • Existing services/API’s • Beta releases • Rigorous collection and analysis of customer usage and feedback • Site metrics • Customer service • Community interaction • Exit strategy • Customer • Technical
  • 27. Modular code enables re-use ß ß ß Shopping Cart Credit Card Google Maps Processing Integration ß ß ß Social Mobile Text Networking Browsing Messaging ß ß Rating/ Video Player Reviewing
  • 28. Business-side roles in iterative projects • Business case preparation • Product conception and roadmapping • Site marketing to drive traffic • Content creation and management • Partner management • Advertising and consumer sales • Financial management • User community management • Collecting, organizing, and responding to customer feedback • Collecting and analyzing metrics
  • 29. Iterative works well. . . • When the feature set is evolving • Bets on ideas; small-scale experiments • Minimal IT investment • Low-cost failure • Because it’s in line with the advantages of the web • Easier to update, enhance, evolve • Instant customer feedback • Incremental releases of new functionality (Betas) • Product improves as more people use it
  • 30. Challenges/Risks with iterative products • Do you ever get the feeling that you’re surrounded by total and complete chaos? • Organizational inertia, cultural change • Integration with enterprise systems • Transition from Beta to bulletproof You • Abandoning unsuccessful Betas
  • 31. Challenges/Risks with iterative products • Business pressure to deliver results early after release • Requires more agile-oriented • Marketing • Support • Expectations • Resource proportioning
  • 32. Pilot project: Vine
  • 33. That’s it. Questions? Dave Burke Contact Get the slides: 35