Agile 2010 Day 3 Review

Day 3 at Agile 2010 and a full day of sessions including my own in the first session. Here are my notes:

I’m The Business & Agile Was My Idea

The session I presented got a good sized audience and the session feedback forms were mostly positive. It was awesome that many people that attended pulled me up in the hallways and commented on how much they enjoyed my talk (makes it all worthwhile). The slides are available in a separate post.

The following photo was taken as I was setting up (before anybody showed up).


This photo I took just after my introduction (I told the audience at the time that I needed to prove to my boss that people showed up to my talk!)


Beyond Sprint 0: Using Collaborative Product Discovery to Plan Agile Projects

Jeff Patton presented this session, the slides are available here.

  • simple agile process is an effective delivery tool
  • definition of ready – thrash a lot in a sprint, set a sprint goal
  • how do you decide what to build?
  • how do you know when you’re ready to start building?
  • figure out walking skeletons – the thinnest thing you can build that will walk
  • balance discovery with delivery – developers are good at delivery but how do we understand the right product to build (just because it is burned down doesn’t mean it’s good)
  • difference between context and solution – business strategy, customer segments, user goals, product usages, regulatory constraints and business process are contexts that help you build the solution
  • target the solution to maximize outcome not output – have a starting context which leads to great ideas which we then increment and deliver – check we get to the resulting context which is an outcome with happy customers – focus on outcome not output
  • backlog describes what to build but not always why
  • velocity measures output not outcome
  • difference between choosers and users (those who buy and those who are stuck using it)
  • outcomes – look at goals, users and the activities and tasks that they do – trim your backlog and eliminate activities, which will eliminate customer segments which will eliminate goals
  • deliver collaboratively – green light projects like you would a movie – collaborative workshops with the right mix of people (people who know things, care about the outcome, people who will get it done and people who can and will make decisions)
  • “pair up in threes” (Yogi Berra) – need less structure, decisions will come quicker
  • simple models – avoid words that go into the air, visualize so people share understanding and get to a better idea
  • 2 people at a whiteboard is the most effective and rich communication channel
  • affinity diagrams – clump
  • chronological models – how things play out over time, left to right
  • decomposition and adhoc charts
  • blend your models and annotate – no particular model, rough and simple
  • document models using photos or short video
  • time box and sprint through discovery – small team to plan and focus this activity, 1 to 3 weeks ideal, months is usually analysis paralysis, start with morning standup and end with daily standout, multiple 60-90 minute collaborative workshops at beginning of the day and then paired small groupd work to spike code, etc, weekly outcome review at the end to share what you have delivered – high visibility inside team and share outcomes outside the team
  • check – are we confident in our release plan, what is our confidence
  • collaborative product discovery practices
  • build simple lightweight pragmatic personas – learn what you don’t know about your users – who they are, their objectives and values
  • interview users to build value – understand that you are building the right thing – we should behave more like doctors than waiters – we are trying to help people, ask question about them
  • gemba – in lean, the scene of the crime, research informally and in context (visit users and learn)
  • build a story map to describe a personas experience, build a scenario to hypothesize a solution
  • build a timeline map to show flow across the system
  • design studio technique to visualize user experience
  • validate solutions with a simple prototype session with users
  • start with a product goal – what is the outcome
  • collect underpants… profit – many projects in software look like this

Testing Olympics! Teams Compete to Solve Agile Testing Challenges

This was a practical workshop led by Nate Oster:

  • squads of 6 , gold, silver and bronze voted by other squads
  • separate symptoms from causes
  • guess my dysfunction game – agile testing cocktail party – cards with dysfunction, guess before time expired, based on Party Quirks from Whose Line Is It Anyway, use a buzz in bell
  • crushed under the weight of tests, lack of technical skills, crushed between wall of tester and developer, brittle user interface
  • second game was agile public safety posters for Acme Widgets – not practices but identify root causes

Agile Program Management: Another Approach to Large Projects

Johanna Rothman presented this workshop on the Project Management stage. The presentation is available here.

  • concurrent projects going for one product or managing phased projects are out of scope – harder issues to solve
  • how do you manage interdependent or relatively independent teams – issues manage up down and sideways, understanding status, managing backlog and architecture decisions
  • teams commit, not functional managers
  • product owners manage what-to-build risk
  • program managers use agile approaches
  • timebox requirements to 1 iteration
  • not keen of many iterations of iteration zero

We then kicked into an exercise to simulate product managers, using materials to create paper flower baskets. The following are the creations of the group I was a part of:

Project Management Stage

Throughout the day I made sure that I dropped in on the sessions that were happening on the Project Management stage that I co-produced with Greg Smith that I did not attend or present above. All of the talks were well received by the audiences:

  • Estimating and Managing Fixed Price Contracts For Agile Projects (Mark Balbes) – it was great to meet Mark and looks like the presentation was well received
  • Case Study: First Time Implementation of Agile at a NY State Government Agency (Pat Guariglia) – this was a great case study and it was great to finally meet Pat in person as we had collaborated together on the reviews for Project Management stage

One thought on “Agile 2010 Day 3 Review

  1. Pingback: Twitter Summary September 2010 « CDS 43

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