Agile Academy Meetup: Agile For Startups

Agile AcademyAdrian Smith presented at the July 2010 Agile Academy Meetup in Brisbane on the topic of Agile for Startups. Here are my notes:

Agile Academy Meetup July 2010

  • startups should not last forever – transitional to success or failure
  • need an idea or an idea where you can do better (copycat business)
  • 90% of startups fail due to lack of customers
  • good people are critical to success – technology is a lever to productivity, no more than in software development
  • “The best programmers are up to 25 times better than the worst programmers” (Robert L. Glass)
  • startup lifecycle – building customers vs building product
  • aim for high quality code to reduce technical debt – will allow you to react faster
  • an office is sometimes seen as an expression of rank, whereas the office in an agile team / startup should enable innovation
  • use cloud based infrastructure to scale up and down and not be tied to any one location, also good for remote workers
  • startups cannot support the same number of roles as a typical agile team, need to dual-role and work out priority
  • startups can choose the technology, and that choice can govern the types of people that you can attract

Some of the tools that support agile startups:

  • Skype – fantastic for collaboration, desktop sharing
  • Yammer – effective to create internal collaboration within company, to share ideas, etc.
  • Teleport – great for screen sharing, especially dual screens
  • iChat for screen sharing
  • Harvest for time tracking (low cost)
  • Saasu (Australian), is like a better hosted MYOB, free for 20 transactions or less a month, payroll and BAS at the press of a button
  • Pivotal Tracker for project management and Scrum, other tools around like Scrum Pad
  • Unfuddle for ticketing, version control with GitHub
  • Balsamiq for mockups, iPlotz has better functionality (low cost)
  • CodeYak is in beta for code metrics and tracking over time
  • Hudson for continuous integration, Pivotal Labs has a free dashboard (Pivotal Pulse)
  • Heroku for deployment with a pure Git workflow, Linode for hosting
  • GetSatisfaction for customer feedback, rating features, etc…
  • Google Analytics for tracking web site traffic, Trendly for more meaningful interpretation
  • Startup Search is a good place to see if somebody has else has done something you’re interested in
  • Resources – The Four Steps To Epiphany by Steven G. Blank (free) and Getting Real from 37 Signals (free online)

Question and answer session:

  • showcase in a startup – get deployed to deployment environment and get customers using it, using new features as they come along
  • virtual office that make you seem big – a cost that you don’t need to spend, especially if using your own money
  • key agile – setting consistent expectations in relation to code quality amongst all developers, need a minimum viable product to showcase
  • collaborate closely with customers, have people on-site with customers who are using it, Skype calls to customers using the product
  • starting with agile – determine your priority and make those tasks transparent, make sure you are working on priorities and to an agreed quality
  • regret some features that were initially put in that were thought to be useful (make features work hard to get into the product initially)
  • biggest obstacle is getting to a minimum viable product, risk that product is not usable or is superseded by another product

4 thoughts on “Agile Academy Meetup: Agile For Startups

  1. Pingback: Agile Engineering Design » Blog Archive » Agile for Startups

  2. Pingback: Agile Australia 2011 Day 1 Review « CDS 43

  3. Pingback: Agile Australia 2011 Day 1 Review « CDS 43

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