Posts tagged with Agile
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All of the non-developer employees here at Highgroove recently spent a day with Andrew Fuqua for a hands-on agile training, where he took us on a quick tour of a full iterative project. We planned a project and learned to create measurable steps toward our goals.
Most importantly, I learned that agile isn't just for developers—it's useful for everyone. The agile principles can apply to all of us.
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We run our business the way the we develop software: we practice "small-a agile," meaning that we follow the core agile values and iterate on features as our needs change and grow.
As we've gone from two developers to 20, things have gotten a little more complicated. A traditional company might have started off by hiring a full C-level suite, but we've taken the approach of planning positions with very specific roles, sometimes even making up titles as we've gone along. Some of these jobs are pretty familiar, like "marketing manager," but there are some more unusual ones like "developerer" (more on that in a later post) and my role: "methodologist."
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At Highgroove, we aim to be fast. When we jump on a project, we work with the client to understand their goals and begin delivering functionality on the first day. As the project progresses, we strive to increase the velocity of work on the project with each passing iteration.
Our ability to deliver high-quality work at an ever-increasing rate depends heavily on our process—specifically, the three things we do on every project.
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Picture it: A programmer in the eleventh hour of his months-long development cycle, desperately trying to complete his feature list. His palms sweaty, he slugs down another cup of coffee, trying not to think about the client meeting toward which he and his team inexorably march.
Software testing is out the window at this point. Sleep is a forgotten concept.
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There’s plenty of ways to scope and develop a web application. But frankly, it’s not that different than planning and implementing any other type of project. A recent San Francisco Chronicle article looked at Chicago and how rapidly the city moves on urban initiatives compared to San Francisco. The similarities between Chicago’s city planning philosophy and agile software development are uncanny.
Former San Francisco planner Sam Assefa, now director of policy for Chicago’s planning department, had this to say about Chicago Mayor Richard M. Daley:
Daley’s “innovations don’t come as this grandiose plan or vision,” Assefa said. "It’s about doing the small things well and working up incrementally. He says ’Here’s an idea. If it works, we’ll set policy and require it citywide.’ "
And more great chunks of information on a San Francisco Sustainability Plan (sound at all like functional requirements?):
Consider the 150-page Sustainability Plan for San Francisco approved in 1997 by the Board of Supervisors. Of the 15 sections, one on “energy, climate change and ozone depletion” was crafted by a 32-member “drafting group” that spells out 62 recommended actions such as “establish neighborhood energy-planning groups” and a vague directive to “create high-visibility demonstration projects.”
Just another great example that the key to better projects isn’t more planning or acronym-filled design philosophies, but small, simple steps.