D'Arcy from Winnipeg
Solution Architecture, Business & Entrepreneurship, Microsoft, and Adoption

Dev Teach Day 3 - David Laribee and Friends on Agile

Wednesday, November 28, 2007 11:03 AM

Interesting format...we take a list of topics from the group and then we all prioritize. Then we have 5 seats up front, but one is always empty. So we get 4 people from the group sit up there. When we've talked about one subject to satisfaction, one person comes off the panel and someone else goes on. Interesting...

Installing Agile from Waterfall

- Don't call it Agile; focus on the techniques instead. Encourage continual testing/integration. Encourage smaller "phases" that are limited to a feature level (so they "think" its waterfall, but you're really doing it with agile principles).

- Make regular retrospectives to see how you can improve. You won't make it happen on the first crack.

- Again, avoid buzzwords...explain and present processes instead.

- Justice has just subbed in for Palermo...or to use my prior Megapowers metaphor, he TAGGED HIMSELF IN!

- Another metaphor: Agile as a big store, that you can try on and if it doesn't fit then don't take it.

- Jeff talked about an experience where the customer had "all their requirements", and in working with the develoment team and the customer they told them "hey, let's get started!" and they did 2 week iterations, killed off some features, and after 2 weeks they had a customer demo which they loved. They continued that pattern, and the customer realized that every 2 weeks they would be happy seeing what had been worked on and also that they were able to drive the product on an ongoing basis instead of focussing on a huge document.

- Work within the management structure. If they require quarterly reports, that doesn't mean you can't give them more reports earlier which will enhance their process.

- Jeff who loves F# has taken a seat

- Understand the values of the processes, don't just implement the values because its in vogue.

Agile Tools

- Read blogs!

- The Simple should be Simple...the Complex should be Difficult...the Impossible should take me a week. Ayende

- Design principles first before selecting a 'tool'

- Don't ask what tools you can adopt to become agile; understand what you're doing to be agile, and then find a tool to help solve your problem.

- Storywall and Whiteboard are Bil's two favorite tools for agile.

- Tools can be used for management to collect metrics, but the tools aren't meant for the team.

- One of the most effective tools is face to face communication with all team members: customers, team members, management, etc.

- You can alleviate interruptions from people with paired programming (one person gets interrupted for a question, but the other continues coding...no lost velocity)

How to Engage the Customer

- One person brought their customers to a hotel for a workshop on gathering user stories. The BA then acts as a proxy for facilitating, but the USERS are the ones that write the stories.

- You need to talk to your customers to try and flesh out what the details are. Exmaple was given by Jeff about when he did whiteboarding with a client to flesh out a process, and all sorts of other underlying processes came out of it. You, not the BA, needs to talk to the customer.

Integrating Agile from Waterfall

- I'm sort of tuning out on this a bit mainly because I think we've covered this in the first area...I'd rather we jump to the estimating question that some handsome guy asked.

- I also just learned my name got dropped in another session!

- Remember that things that are wrong in a company are management's fault.


Lots of good discussion with an interesting format. I didn't really get my questions answered, but it was still worthwhile for the other things that were discussed.



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