Alexander Beletsky's development blog

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Agileee 2010: Mary Poppendieck: It is not about working software

Disclamer: text below is compilation of notes I made on Agileee 2010 conference, listening to different speakers. I do it to keep knowledge I got on conference, share it with my colleagues and anyone else who interested. It is only about how I heard, interpret, write down the original speech. It also includes my subjective opinion on some topics. So it could not 100% reflects author opinion and original ideas.

Mary’s speech was quite long with a lot of details and information and it was quite hard to me to understand everything she said. Moreover I was sitting to far from scene, so hardly could see anything on screen. It is definitely not complete. If anyone has a presentation file it would be great to share it. Anyway, I put here what I caught so far.

Strategic Inflection Point

Mary introduces the concept of “Strategic Inflection Point”, as some point on timeframe for every organization were strategic decisions are made. Such decisions are vital for further organization development and growth.

Strategic Inflection Point for Agile?

Agile has been created 10 years ago, it is quite old stuff.. and it is time to change!

The milestones of Agile could be described as:

  • version 1.0: processes and tools, comprehensive documentation, contract negotiation, follow plan
  • version 2.0: individuals and interactions, working software, customer collaboration
  • version 3.0: team vision and initiatives, validated learning, customer discovery, initiating change

Mary emphasis that now it is time for Management version 3.0!

Let’s try to review key points for version 3.0.

Team vision and initiatives

“There is nothing useless as efficiently that which should not be done at all” - Petter Ducrker.

Most products failures are caused by lack of customers.

Bring the team to customers, to understand that actually customer wants.

Mary introduces concept of MVP, Minimum Viable Product. It is something with minimal scope that could run to see actual customer demand - does it do the job? Will customers pay for it? What do we need to learn next? You have to measure and repeat. Experiment -> Learn -> Adjust!

And it is vital to make sure that you are building right think and that make sure, that it is build right!

Customer discovery

It is like ethnography - watch persons! what do they do, learn it! Try to understand what is happening. Ideation - do prototypes, do iteration.

“Brilliant Systems are result of matching of mental models between those developing a system and those who will be using the system.”

Initiation change

Just making a change happen. Every iteration is vital to make sure that customers see results and giving feedback on that. If you know that customer download your software every month, you’ll to make it stable! Make what customers wants, not what promised to executives.. the change is coming from team, by elaborating customers feedbacks.

Extra features are biggest waste in Software development! 45% of features is never used.. Write less code! Developers productivity - less code, less features.

Later in twitter I’ve seen a link to new Mary’s book regarding Management 3.0, that you might be interesting to.