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Get Faster - While You're Getting Better


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Presentation given 4/16/08 by Anthony Stevens at the Seattle Tech Startups monthly meetup

Published in: Business, Technology
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Get Faster - While You're Getting Better

  1. 1. Get Faster – While You’re Getting Better Solving the Tension Between Speed and Quality in Software Product Development
  2. 2. The Race Goes To the Swift and The Bread Goes to the Wise
  3. 3. What’s the Right Product? <ul><li>You may not know until you’ve tried and failed a couple times – which is why product development for startups is so challenging </li></ul>
  4. 4. PayPal: “was really not founded to do payments at all.” Flickr: “…was kind of a lark. It was a side project we built while we were in the process of building [a game].” Hotmail started as a web-enabled database/PIM.
  5. 5. Maximize Your Advantages <ul><li>Flexibility </li></ul><ul><li>Speed </li></ul><ul><li>Lack of Bureaucracy </li></ul>… and Minimize Your Disadvantages <ul><li>Time </li></ul><ul><li>Money </li></ul><ul><li>Uncertainty </li></ul>
  6. 6. <ul><li>“ Reduce. Do as little as possible to get what you have to get done. Do less of it; get it done. If you’ve got two things that you need to put together, take away until they go together. Don’t add another thing. Because you and understand it better; you can analyze it more cleanly. The UI will be easier. Doing less is so important. ” </li></ul><ul><li>-- Joshua Schachter, founder of delicious </li></ul>
  7. 7. Cost of Defects
  8. 8. Requirements Are Dead <ul><li>Your product will change </li></ul><ul><li>You need to get to market fast </li></ul><ul><li>Your expertise is in technology or sales, not technical writing </li></ul>
  9. 9. <ul><li>The trick is not to try harder avoid problems in the first place, but increase your effectiveness and the efficiency with which you dispose of the problems that come up </li></ul>
  10. 10. Long Live Agile <ul><li>Lean and Mean </li></ul><ul><li>Release NOW </li></ul><ul><li>Short, Fast Iterations (aka “sprints”) </li></ul><ul><li>Talk To Customers </li></ul><ul><li>YAGNI </li></ul><ul><li>Simple >>> Complex </li></ul><ul><li>Measure Progress By Working Code </li></ul>
  11. 11. Build Safety Nets <ul><li>What’s a Safety Net? </li></ul>Hint: It’s not just a practice that allows you to sleep better at night.
  12. 12. Source Control <ul><li>Check in early and often </li></ul><ul><li>Leave nothing out </li></ul><ul><li>TONS of options: CVS, SVN, Git, TFS, Vault </li></ul><ul><li>Backing up to thumb drive is NOT source control! </li></ul><ul><li>Best Practice: Tonight, Before You Go To Bed, Set Up An Account With </li></ul>
  13. 13. Issue Tracking <ul><li>Set up a common, shared repository for bugs, issues, feature requests, tasks, etc. </li></ul><ul><li>Lots of freeware available to fill this need </li></ul><ul><li>Review often </li></ul><ul><li>Best Practice: Write ACTIONABLE items </li></ul><ul><li>in your lists. </li></ul>
  14. 14. One-Click Deployment <ul><li>Get as close as you can to being able to build and deploy your product in ONE CLICK </li></ul><ul><li>Source Code </li></ul><ul><li>Build Your Database </li></ul><ul><li>Insert Test Data </li></ul><ul><li>Deploy to Server / Create Install Files / etc. </li></ul><ul><li>Best Practice: Every Week, Remove One Manual Step From Your Build </li></ul>
  15. 15. Continuous Integration <ul><li>This is a software service that runs your one-click build - automatically </li></ul><ul><li>AKA “nightly builds”, “automated builds” </li></ul><ul><li>Cruise Control, Perforce, many others </li></ul><ul><li>Best Practice: Run Builds On Every Commit, and Fix Problems Immediately </li></ul>
  16. 16. 91% of successful Meerkats use Continuous Integration
  17. 17. Unit Tests / Automated Tests <ul><li>Myth: Unit Tests Slow You Down </li></ul><ul><li>Myth: Unit Tests Are Only Effective If You Have 95% Code Coverage </li></ul><ul><li>Focus on the Squirrels </li></ul><ul><li>Like A Good Virus, Unit Tests Should Multiply Over Time </li></ul><ul><li>Best Practice: Include Unit Tests In Your Continuous Integration Builds </li></ul>
  18. 18. <ul><li>Moving From the </li></ul><ul><li>Tactical to the Strategic </li></ul>
  19. 19. <ul><li>Hire Selectively </li></ul><ul><li>Spread Ownership </li></ul><ul><li>Shared Vision and Goals </li></ul><ul><li>Be Honest </li></ul><ul><li>Have Empathy </li></ul><ul><li>Constant Feedback and Communication </li></ul>Peopleware: Good People Are Always More Important Than A Good Idea
  20. 20. If You Aren’t Leveraging Other People’s Code, You’re Losing <ul><li>“ Roll Your Own” = “ I’ll be looking for a job in 6 months ” </li></ul><ul><li>Use Frameworks </li></ul><ul><li>Find and Use Cheap IT Outsourcing </li></ul><ul><li>Use Good Tools </li></ul>
  21. 21. Remoting <ul><li>Do Distributed Teams Work For Startups? </li></ul><ul><li>It’s a Tradeoff between Expertise, Communication and Coordination –but which is most important? </li></ul><ul><li>There is no best answer </li></ul>
  22. 22. Question Received Wisdom <ul><li>“ You need a project manager” </li></ul><ul><li>“ You need to be solid and stable before you release” </li></ul><ul><li>“ Language ‘X’ is the only good choice” </li></ul><ul><li>“ You need a design spec” </li></ul><ul><li>“ You need to staff up” </li></ul><ul><li>“ You need funding” </li></ul><ul><li>“ You need to own your hardware” </li></ul>
  23. 23. Thank You, and Good Luck! Anthony Stevens [email_address]