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Tasty Dog Food! Two Years Taking My Own Advice


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This talk reviews the ups and downs, trials and tribulations of my time as a manager, with advice of mine that I took, advice that I threw away, and advice that I modified.

In this talk you'll learn that even Agile Coaches are fallible! We examine common coaching topics and how well (or not!) the advice I had given others had worked for me when I had to actually apply it. The primary goal is to determine how to take what I learned and apply it in your organizations and business domain.

Published in: Software
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Tasty Dog Food! Two Years Taking My Own Advice

  1. 1. Tasty Dog Food! Two Years of Taking My Own Advice
  2. 2. Um, who is this guy? Dave Rooney Old enough to be alive before colour was invented 30+ years in software development In the XP & Agile world since the turn of the century @daverooneyca on Twitter
  3. 3. Retrospective Prime Directive “Regardless of what we discover, we understand and truly believe that everyone did the best job they could, given what they knew at the time, their skills and abilities, the resources available, and the situation at hand.” -- Norm Kerth
  4. 4. What Went Well?
  5. 5. Retrospectives Had been limited before my arrival Worked with other managers to provide the tools for facilitating their own Facilitated numerous release retrospectives Helped raise awareness of system-wide issues
  6. 6. Getting My Hands Dirty Scripted release build tooling to allow “one button” releases: ● Automated tagging in git ● Pushed artifacts to Google Drive ● Created pre-populated wiki page ● Cut release build times by order of magnitude and reduced errors to near zero Actively developed with second team: ● New platform for all of us ● Learned a radically new architecture ● Was able to advocate for the team because I knew their pain!
  7. 7. Iterative and Incremental FTW! New platform for everyone on the team Built it out one capability at a time Won over even our most vocal critics Pure R&D effort - we didn’t know “if” it would work let alone “when” Couldn’t apply “traditional” approaches, simply had to prioritize and go Constant reflection on both technology and process
  8. 8. What was… challenging?
  9. 9. “We feel like we’re being told what to do all the time” The Team, April
  10. 10. “We don’t think you’re providing enough direction” The Same Team, August
  11. 11. “I really like your light management approach” A Very Different Team, December
  12. 12. “At the end of the day, developers just don’t give a shit about process”
  13. 13. Too Many Cooks… er, Managers Managers between the Customer and team: ● Development manager (me!) ● Product manager ● Project manager for Product ● Project manager for Services ● Local account manager ● Two account managers at the client Indicative of a distinct lack of trust Mitigated with ridiculous transparency
  14. 14. Too Many Cooks… er, Managers Internal demos of progress twice a week Demo for Customer once a week Eventually one internal demo, then none Customer demo became a push to a pre-production environment so they could test
  15. 15. No plan survives first contact with the enemy.
  16. 16. We have met the enemy and he is us.
  17. 17. Planners will Plan Senior management wanted certainty of what would ship and when - predictability Marketing & Sales wanted to be able to work from a known feature list The team was asked to do the impossible - accurately predict the delivery of features of unknown complexity on an immature platform Was told to “get on board”
  18. 18. Just Say No! We had a product roadmap with defined goals around cost reduction Several feature requests would have compromised those goals Pushed back constantly, explaining the roadmap each time It cost me in terms of relationships with others in the company especially in the Services group
  19. 19. Your Turn! What have coaches said to you that just seemed wrong for your circumstances?
  20. 20. Questions?