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Agile or Irrelevant

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Web development is hard, very hard – and it’s getting harder. But there is hope, a radically different approach called agile. …

Web development is hard, very hard – and it’s getting harder. But there is hope, a radically different approach called agile.

If you build websites for a living, you know the pressure. Drupal sites can be complex beasts with thousands of moving parts. Clients have high demands – changing demands. Budgets have never been tighter. If you are going to keep the sites you manage ahead of the competition, you have to innovate – continually. And everything has to be done at the breakneck speed of web time.

The results: the average software project is 45% over budget, delayed by 63% and missing 1/3 of the promised functionality. Failure has become the norm – but there is a better way.

Agile is a radically different processes for improving development efficiency, minimizing risk and enhancing innovation. In the ten short years since the Agile Manifesto was penned it has taken over traditional software and game development. The world’s web leaders such as Google, Amazon, Microsoft, Yahoo!, Twitter and Saleforce.com have embraced agile methodologies. Many top Drupal shops have also made the leap.

Come learn what all the buzz is about.

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  • How are websites built
  • Why do we plan
  • Conclusion: not much certainty, a lot of waste
  • Predict or ask & observe (empirical)
  • Food: writeup in the menu, picture, see real life version, try it
  • ? User Experience Design typical does not include Users Experiencing anything?
  • It is tempting to believe that we can write down all the requirements for a system and then think our way to a solution in a top-down manor. David Parnas and Paul Clements (1986) Fred Brooks – No Silver Bullet (1986) We know that planning fails at creating certainty. We know it is sub optimal for creating better user experiences and returns because stakeholders are forced to make the most important decisions when they have the least knowledge to do it. So why do we do it.
  • It is tempting to believe that we can write down all the requirements for a system and then think our way to a solution in a top-down manor. David Parnas and Paul Clements (1986) Fred Brooks – No Silver Bullet (1986) We know that planning fails at creating certainty. We know it is sub optimal for creating better user experiences and returns because stakeholders are forced to make the most important decisions when they have the least knowledge to do it. So why do we do it.
  • Artifacts:Product backlog, sprint backlog, sprint burndown, releaseburndownTimeboxes: Sprint planning, sprint, daily standup/scrum, sprint review, sprint retro, release planning
  • ??? Pick of tombstone, cemetary
  • Picture of brains
  • Build to last is hooyee. The only companies that truly succeed continually innovate.

Transcript

  • 1. Aug 24, 2010
    Agile or Irrelevant
    [MM.DD..YY]
    [PRESENTER]
    Agile
    or
    Irrelevant
  • 2. How websites are built
    Photo: http://www.flickr.com/photos/schoolstreet/163727710
  • 8. What are the outcomes of planning?
    Why do we plan?
    Photo: http://www.flickr.com/photos/joeshlabotnik/3707230247
  • 17. How are we doing?
    Source: http://blogs.msdn.com/b/dannawi/archive/2009/05/15/2009-standish-chaos-report-we-are-successful-in-the-failure.aspx
  • 18. How do we know what creates value for end users and stakeholders?
    Creating value
    Predict | Test
  • 19. http://www.flickr.com/photos/avlxyz/429194752
    Best way to gather opinions
    http://www.flickr.com/photos/niallkennedy/54261427
    http://www.flickr.com/photos/ricardofrancone/4358780638
    http://www.flickr.com/photos/avlxyz/2270628017
  • 20. Innovation phases
    Freedom to innovate
    innovation
    Insight to innovate
    time
    high level
    specs
    detailed
    specs
    mockups
    validation
    live
  • 21. The fallacy
    Web development can be planned to precision
    Software development is accidently complex and essential complex
    Essential complexity cannot be solved with predictive planning
    http://www.flickr.com/photos/kraetzsche/3820338564
  • 22. The fallacy
    Web development can be planned to precision
    Parnas and Clements
    User and customers do not know exactly what they want
    Even if the developers know the requirements, the details become clear only as they develop the system
    Even if all the details could be know up front, humans are incapable of comprehending that many details
    Even if we could understand all the details, product and project changes occur
    People make mistakes
    http://www.flickr.com/photos/kraetzsche/3820338564
  • 23. Empirical processes
    Individuals and interactions over processes and tools
    Working software over comprehensive documentation
    Customer collaboration over contract negotiation
    Responding to change over following a plan
    http://www.flickr.com/photos/msabbath/2326998337
  • 24. Empirical Process
    move from predictive to adaptive
    useful for processes with lots of noise and unpredictability
    three cornerstones
    Empirical processes
    http://www.flickr.com/photos/picture_taking__fool/99560925
  • 27. What is Scrum
    Scrum is an iterative and incremental agile framework for completing complex project
    Named from an analogy in a 1986 study
    by Takeuchi and Nonaka, published in the
    Harvard Business Review comparing
    high-performing, cross-functional teams to the scrum formation used by Rugby teams
    http://www.flickr.com/photos/sk8geek/4624935280
  • 28. Waterfall vs. Scrum
    Example Waterfall Process:
    Example Scrum Process:
    Feature
    (2 weeks)
    Website
    (6 months)
  • 29. Value driven process – Sprinting
  • 30. Scrum roles
    Three Scrum Roles:
    ScrumMaster
    • Facilitator; enforces Scrum process
    Product Owner
    • Owner of the product backlog
    • 31. Works with client to prioritize features
    • 32. Focused on ROI
    Team
    • Responsible for developing functionality
    • 33. Self-managing, self-organizing, cross-functional
  • What happened to…
    Project manager
    • Responsibilities distributed to all roles
    Business analyst
    • Works both with product owners & directly with team
    UX architect
    • Works one sprint ahead of the team
    • 34. Opportunity to move from heuristics to observation
    http://www.flickr.com/photos/stuckincustoms/2743756315
  • 35. Just in time strategy
    Just-in-Time Strategy
    Make decisions when you have the most data
    Make decisions based on working software
    (not paper prototypes)
    Minimize the amount of work not done
    Adequate planning and frequent conversations
    http://www.flickr.com/photos/rpmarks/4503154179
  • 36. Innovation
    “Uncertainty is the only thing to be certain of.”
    - Anthony Muh, Citigroup, Asia
    “If you don’t like change, you are going to like irrelevance even less. ”
    - General Eric Shinseki, Chief of Staff, U.S. Army
    http://www.flickr.com/photos/xtyler/4296489988
  • 37. Five Disciplines of a Learning Organizations
    Personal mastery – commitment by an individual to the process of learning (driven by creative tension)
    Mental models – assumptions (best practices) held by individuals and organizations. Models must be challenged.
    Shared vision – creates a common identity that provides focus and energy for learning. Built on the individual visions of staff at all levels.
    Team learning – ability of the team to learn and think as a whole where the sum is greater than the parts. Driven by open dialogue, discussion, shared meaning and shared understanding.
    Systems thinking – A conceptual framework that allows people to study businesses as a bounded objects (close systems). Created by making all characteristics apparent at once, in particular connections between cause and effect (feedback).
    http://www.flickr.com/photos/rytc/282673909
  • 38. How Scrum drives innovation
    • Personal mastery
    • 39. Learning accountability: held accountable to the team on a daily and sprintly basis
    • 40. Cannot do things half way; must meet the definition of done
    • 41. Mental models
    • 42. Challenged and adapted on a regular basis in sprint retros
    • 43. Allows and encourages frequent observation
    • 44. Shared vision
    • 45. Develops from sprint planning and backlog grooming
    • 46. Tuned in daily standups
    • 47. Team learning
    • 48. Paired development; work is highly collaborative.
    • 49. Dialoging is encouraged in sprint planning, daily standups and sprint retros
    • 50. Systems thinking
    • 51. Sprint reviews enable continuous inspection and adaption on the product
    • 52. Sprint retro enables continuous inspection and adaption on the process
  • Thank you
    Tom McCracken
    LevelTen Interactive
    Director
    Phone: 214.887.8586
    Email: tom@leveltendesign.com
    Twitter: @levelten_tom
    Blog: leveltendesign.com/blog/tom
    LinkedIn: linkedin.com/in/tommccracken