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Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Why do teams slow down?

So, here you are. You just joined a team, you're the third or fourth member to join and you feel good. Your team follows an Agile development method. You churn out new functionality and customer-value at the end of every iteration and things could not go any better for you.

The product sells, the team starts to grow to cover for the pressure of the increased "needs" or "features" and you start to feel an itch. The way you used to work does not scale anymore. You start feeling that your work is not that productive anymore. Maybe the meetings start to last longer, maybe the requirements are not that clear, maybe it is the product manager's fault. To be honest you just don't know why. The only clear thing is that your team is now bigger and less productive. What happened? What brought your team to this point? What's keeping you back? Why can't you produce as much as when the team was smaller? It can't be the size of the team, I mean the Agile gurus keep saying that 7+-2 is still ok for a team size and you just got your 10th team member last week, it cannot be the team size, right?

Well, this description is based on true stories. In your company this has probably happened (at least once), so why did it happen? What caused your team to be "slower" when it started growing (even if not above 9-10 people)? Let me know, write a comment to this post and let us know what caused the slowness in your team.

at 21:31 | 3 comments
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Monday, September 24, 2007

Time is up for middle age conceptions of software development

Sometimes it takes time for the full understanding of reality to fall on us. Scratch that. IT ALWAYS TAKES TIME, many times it takes too much time.

David is contributing to shorten that itme in at least one item: the road is over for super-specialists in the software industry. You can and should still be a specialist in one area, but in software (unlike middle age industries, or those that think they are from the middle ages) we need people to understand more than the size and depth of their belly button (pun intended): check David's post here.

What David says is also valid for other positions/roles/power chairs in software, it's just that some other positions have already cought up with reality. Like the example of the technical guru who turns into a project manager or the architect who turns into a coder (there's also the frog that turns into the prince but that's only in the middle age fairy tales, not in industry).

at 23:36 | 0 comments
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Friday, September 14, 2007

Agile brings organizational changes...

David has a good analysis of one the most clear consequences of going Agile. Once the development bottlenecks are solved, the bottleneck moves elsewhere, and in many cases it moves to the organizational structure:
read it here.

at 20:54 | 0 comments
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Tuesday, September 11, 2007

Agile implemented with (real) roller skates

Martin Fowler has a
great example of what an agile mind would think of to deliver customer value much sooner than what people would normally think.

Great example of what the Agile values are about!

at 21:30 | 0 comments
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Friday, September 07, 2007

Joel on Software gets close to "a universal truth" software development

The important phrase is at the end of this paragraph...

Wow, That's really on the spot. That's exactly the same time we saw at our company (average of many projects) a validation/testing/debuging phase takes... when you use waterfall!!!! Lately we've got the period from "last feature added" to "release" in a lot less time (no statistics yet though), this happened after a transition to Agile (we are using a Scrum-like method).

Debugging is the science phase. Science is difficult to schedule because you’re looking for things, and predicting when you’re going to find them is remarkably difficult. Unless you know in advance how many bugs you’re going to find, you don’t have an ice cube’s chance in the Sahara to work out a detailed estimate of how long this phase will take. Here at Fog Creek we’ve learned that for a new release of FogBugz, this phase takes at least 12 weeks, sometimes a little more, and we just leave it at that.

Check the full post

at 20:25 | 0 comments
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Saturday, September 01, 2007

Nokia's "door" (Ovi in Finnish)

I can't believe it! How can someone be so ignorant so out of touch with reality so complete absorved on their own petty little half-monopoly to have no clue whatsoever about what makes a web service usable, cool and desirable?

Have you checked out Nokia's Ovi (door in English)? talk about a crappy user experience. First you type the address on the address bar of your browser and then you get overwhelmed with the most expensive (probably) and useless flash experience ever. I didn't even count the time it takes to get anywhere in the damned flash intro in the site, but it certainly is painful! You can't do anything about it either. You click, you click, you pray, you go and take a coffee while the damned thing sucks all the processing power and memory you've assigned your browser (in case you are smart enough to limit in your OS), and then finally when the completely USELESS flash boring intro is done all you get is a button to download the press release. The press release? WTF? Who thought anyone in the whole world (except journalists who've already been spammed with the release anyway) would be interested in the damned uncool, boring and extra-long press release?

Who is leading this product launch? A grandmother with an MBA from the 1980's?

My word, what a screw up. I cannot agree more with
this, and this.

And have you seen the video? (here). What's up with that. Carefully manicured female hands with a crappy voice-over that sounds like they are trying to sell shampoo to women over 30? WTF? really Nokia, I knew that you guys were not that good at marketing, but you've done the impossible and outdone Microsoft at the launch of the ZUNE!!!!

I hope Nokia gets their act together and start making some ammends to the awful launch (or should we say pre-launch?) of the service. Ovi is a good name, catchy and simple to remember (and a nice pun on "Windows" ;), but the service so far looks like about the most useless thing since "Club Nokia".

Please, pretty please hire a proper service design team and a cool marketing gang (with experience in Internet/Web marketing, not just refrigerator marketing) and re-launch the service in time for a Xmas show-off. Oh, and by the way, if you really want to be cool you have to have a real product demo, not videos, and the demo cannot be done by people that have spent half their life doing MBA's and get nothing of what the web is today.

I really hope Nokia (I have friends working there) improves. For the sake the Finnish economy!


at 12:58 | 0 comments
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