[JavaPolis2007] - Day 1 - The Zen of Agile Management

This was an overall nice talk given by David Anderson with a couple of group exercises in between. Although it is difficult in a pretty anonymous audience to collaborate a few groups tried it and even on your own the exercises kept you awake and made one think about the subject.
First exercise was on "How to create or destroy trust?"
Create trust by: being open/honest/transparent, explain decisions, enable communication, ...
Destroy trust by: hidden agendas, negotiation, withholding information, hierarchies, focus on procedures, ...

David proposed to get naked! Show all the information you have which will build trust and increase the performance of the workforce.
Second exercise was about tracking value delivery. The easiest way to increase productivity is to focus on quality! Too much work in progress slows down the productivity, so you sometimes even have to force people to stop starting new things.
Focus on Quality was one of the key points

  • design and code reviews
  • code analysis
  • test first development
  • automated unit tests
  • Continuous Integration
  • Formal system testing by professional testers

    Identify your value chain:
    e.g. idea - analysis - design - code - unit test - system test - acceptance test
    Based on that identify your bottleneck (which was exercise 3):
    Where do you think is the bottleneck?
    How to confirm this?
    Actions to maximise the utilisation of your bottleneck resources
    What policies are required to subordinate everything else to your exploitation decision

    Another key point was that knowledge is perishable (so requirements rot just like bananas)

    Then he went on to planning an risk and took Wimbledon as an example for planning with varieties and difficulties. The men's final is always on the second Sunday even if it rained during the week (which happens quite often). So if you have likely causes to interrupt your schedule plan them in, but if the risks are quite unlikely and everybody understands that the schedule will be late (like an earthquake) do not plan for them. Risks are also ok to take if the expectations are accordingly (so that the customer knows, that you might not hit the first target date, but rather the second one.

    Finally David summed up his recommendation:

  • increase trust
  • reduce bureaucracy
  • look at your bottleneck
  • use metrics as they enable management and use lead time as one of the metrics
  • Ask yourself: "How can you serve your team better?"

    Posted by Karsten at 10.12.07 22:25 | TrackBack
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