Renee, Craig and Tony are together to chat with Serge Beaumont, Principal Agile Coach at Xebia, live from his man cave and despite showing their lack of mathematical skills in relation to dice they chat about:
In relation to culture, if the human connections are there you can handle just about anything
A foundational cultural aspect at Xebia is that they implemented Xebia Knowledge Exchange (XKE) – every second Tuesday the team has dinner and then has a mini-conference of about 20 streams
Xebia were at the foundation of the ING Agile transformation
The more times you the do the things that are hard and hurt, opens up the opportunities for automation
Blameless Retrospective (John Allspaw, Etsy, 2012) – promise that there will be no retribution or consequence for decisions that anybody made during an incident, they made the best decisions that they knew at the time, they were operating in a system that allowed you to make that system in the moment – therefore means that people are not afraid to make decisions because…
There are anti-patterns with doing XP at scale, continuous delivery was born from the learnings from that
Continuous delivery is just extending continuous integration to more of the software development practice (and continuous integration requires test driven development)
Continuous delivery works because it is the application of the scientific method to software development
If you work in an iterative, imperative, experimental way and you take continuous learning seriously and take cycle time as a serious measurement you will naturally drive out agile, lean, systems theory and DevOps
Craig is at YOW! Conference and catches up with Aino Vonge Corry who is one of our very few repeat guests on the Agile Revolution. She describes herself as someone who puts speakers on stage, makes developers communicate and messes with the heads of students!
Part of the YOW! conference organising committee
Important to find examples that relate to all of the students in the class (not just a subset)
Microservice lectures – no more than 15 minutes lecture and then a learning activity
If there is interactivity then there is a reason to turn up to a live lecture
Spotify have shared a lot of the things that have worked well, but they do also have challenges as well – one is alignment across teams as the organisation gets bigger so they have been working on visualisation and prioritisation
Craig catches up with two luminaries in the Agile and Lean space, Mary and Tom Poppendieck at YOW! Conference to talk about agile, lean, rapid feedback, culture and leadership. The discussion points include:
Making the link between lean and software development and discovering that waterfall makes no sense
Agile Australia 2012 was held a few weeks ago at the Hilton on the Park Melbourne in front of a record (and venue busting) 850 attendees. This year I had the privilege of being a plenary session host and speaker, present at two workshop sessions and be an MC at a number of different sessions.
Furthermore, I was a member of the advisory committee with the role of program overview along with the usual duties of reviewing and shepherding conference speakers. This year the review process was open to comments and voting from the community and overall I think we ended up with a good mix of proposals.
With all my duties I was quite busy this year, but here are my notes from day 1.
Keynote: When The Stakes Are High
Dr. Fiona Wood, Plastic Surgeon and Director of the WA Burns Unit, was the keynote speaker and undoubtedly for many people was the highlight of the conference. The advisory committee (and particularly Martin Kearns) had been aiming to get somebody from the medical profession for a couple of years, and her talk was nothing short of inspiring.
Mainframe Test Automation Within SCRUM – How Did We At The BNZ Get It To Work?
Bram Surti and Rob White from BNZ delivered this session. Essentially I was interested to see if they did anything different to what I had already tried myself in this space. Sadly, I didn;t learn much new, but I was pleased to see they were using a lot of the same tools and approaches that I had used myself in this space. Their slides are available here.
as a leader we don’t have all the answers, but we know we can do better
Kinder Surprise in relation to people – wrapper is the actions of people, but it is a thin layer, peel off the actions you get to the attitudes that govern what we do, apply a bit of pressure and you get to the values, open up the inner canister and you get to people’s belief system
don’t really understand our belief system until you are challenged by somebody else’s – a good example of this is people and their attitudes to attending meetings – you may need to understand what drives people
child – react to world around you as if you were a child (when I grow up, I wish, I want)
parent – react like a parent based on imprints of how our parents reacted (should, ought, could)
adult (analytical side – who, what, why, I think)
even if you know yourself, you don’t know jack! – people talking on the same plane have harmonious discussions, they break down across the positions (what people know about the world)
Practical Kanban for Software Development
I was MC for this session delivered by Perryn Fowler from ThoughtWorks. I had high hopes for this talk as Kanban is still not well understood in the wder community. It covered a lot of good topics (and, as he stated at the top, the talk was the thoughts of Perryn), but it fell victim to running out of time for the meaty stuff and unfortunately was a little rushed at the end. Furthermore, his slides do not seem to be available either.
Kanban is not just cards on a wall, even though literally it is a visual indicator
Kanban is not an entire methodology, it is a technique
Kanban is a tool to tackle particular situations and problems, we often treat these situations as normal, but there is a better type of normal
limiting your WIP, the manageable level is probably a lot lower than you think
Kanban dots – stick them on your wall to indicate WIP
Kanban is about stop starting and start finishing
utilisation is not throughput, high utilisation damages throughput
Kanban is working as a team
business goal burnup – when do we start making revenue – keep your eyes on the prize
we are trying to achieve flow – Kanban will make poor flow visible
layered teams (multiple technologies) – technical layer stories don’t make sense and teams get out of synch, use task cards for the work and put WIP limit on the cards
reduce WIP to learn about your process
bugs and rework – it counts towards WIP, can put in the development or test column, whatever you are most comfortable with
blocked is nothing we as a team can do anything with – does not count towards the WIP limit
people will cheat – the rules aren’t important, it is the principles you want to achieve
use a green sticky for done rather than a done swim lane
small cards gives us good flow
Kanban will feel like it is causing problems, it is just making it visible
Value and Culture OVER Practices and Processes – Driving Agility at Bankwest
I was MC for this session delivered by Sandra Dalli and Sarah McAllister from BankWest. I really enjoyed this session. They kicked off the session with a great video with music and time lapse pictures (unfortunately it does not seem to be available publicly). Most enjoyable was their honesty about their journey and this mistakes they made along the way (they started by spending three months in a cubicle writing a document about Agile!). It also appears that their slides are not available currently.
systematic desensitisation – common technique for getting rid of fear
we always plan to succeed, so we don’t plan for failure
failure is a really great learning tool – if you made the failure you know it, the hard part is sharing with the team
taking fear of failure to the brink that you don’t know what to do is really bad
retrospectives give you a coping mechanism – share with others and make it better
continuous integration – fail early and stop the line
automated testing – removes doubt, they fail for a good reason
showcases – we find out we are going to fail early
sustainable pace – a failure because we still get a crunch at the end of the project, allows us to build slack because you can’t run at 100%
it’s about learning not winning
continuous delivery – you can go to production at any time, remove the fear of go live
aim for simplicity and feedback
fail cake – if you break something, you need to buy cake for the team, nobody is afraid of cake, nobody can yell at you with a mouthful of cake!
Safe To Fail
I was thrilled to be MC to Phil Abernathy (he was my MC last year and I have worked alongside him for a number of years). He had a great set of slides at the start of this talk to illustrate his experience. Given I knew the content of this talk quite well I did not take any notes, but I did like his analogy around the $100 strategy (for every $100 spent, where did it go – pull the strategic levers to figure out where you can change, these become your strategic programs). His slides are available here.