Agile Academy Meetup: The journey of becoming Agile or even more Agile

MeetupAgile AcademyA few weeks ago, the Agile Academy held its February 2011 meetup, with three speakers and a panel discussion on agile adoption in different organisations. There was a good turnout to hear the 3 speakers:

Here are my notes from the short sessions.

Adrian Smith (Ennova)

Ennova is a startup in the engineering space:

  • start with an idea or a better way of doing something as well as good people and customers
  • get an idea, develop it as quickly as possible, give it to your customers and learn
  • use low-fi tools: story wall, Pivotal Tracker, user personas and scenarios, build prototypes but enforce rules such as “can’t give this to the customer” or “no tests”, offshore remote pairing with Skype and iChat, version control using GitHub, continuous integration using Hudson, testing using Cucumber and RSpec, one-click deployment in Hudson and EC2 test grid, communications with Campfire and Yammer for chat and retrospectives using Listhings
  • started with the culture in mind, set principles and hire the right people
  • whole business needs to be agile, focus on technical quality important

Nigel Waddington

Nigel relayed his experiences from setting up Agile at a large software organisation:

  • don’t believe case studies, every customer is different
  • it’s all about yoghurt! – cultural change is hard – need leadership involved plus bottom up engagement
  • leaders care about money – “show me the proof that waterfall works!”, they want predictability and reporting and to make money
  • ran pilots to show success – choose good duration, start small and grow and make sure it has executive buy-in, don’t choose pieces of work that are too easy
  • pilots are good to engage people – train, educate, seed teams – get them to push and make it happen
  • balance between fast and evaluation
  • eat your own dog food, “iterating towards agility” (Mike Cohn), use a virtual scrum team for transition
  • don’t mess with the Scrum basics in the beginning
  • remember you go to work to deliver software, not to do Scrum

Elio Patane (WorkCover Queensland)

WorkCover Queensland is a workers compensation insurance company:

  • weren’t delivering quickly enough resulted in reduced confidence from the business
  • wanted to be agile, but not capital “A” Agile – did not want to lose sight of goals
  • started with customers breaking down projects to deliver value
  • solution delivery framework – Idea -> Discussion -> Plan -> Build -> Implement
  • needed to improve communication around intent of project – created a “project picture” to give context
  • found out that they did not know enough about stories – started too early – more in planning phase
  • standups – walk the wall, back to front rather than the 3 questions as they missed the picture of progress
  • ATDD using Cucumber and Watir – testers break the build, just like developers
  • one floor, open plan environment
  • big release walls – give management a view
  • can now to deliver to Production every 3 weeks and high quality

Panel Discussions

The panel discussions covered some awesome questions from the audience. As I was lucky enough to be asked to moderate the panel, I did not get the opportunity to record any notes from this session.


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