Having spent the last 6 years or so, mostly project managing things digital, web and mobile we selectively adopted some artefacts and ceremonies from Kanban and Scrum. However neither the organisation nor clients were ready to fully adopt Agile culture.
Meanwhile Agile has found its way beyond tech’ into traditionally conservative organisations including banking.
There was agility before the Agile manifesto formally pulled it all together. As a Studio Manager in the late 1990s we had a few things right which map to Agile priorities:
Individuals and interactions over processes and tools
Customer collaboration over contract negotiation
We certainly recognised and valued staff who could work in multi-function teams. We sought designers with technical aptitude and developers with an creative flair to ensure some overlap in skill-sets (T-shaped capability). A core project team consisted of a designer, developer and account manager. Any of whom might be project lead, based on the nature of the project. i.e. a very creative project may well be lead by a designer, functionally complex projects lead by a developer and content driven projects typically by an account manager.
At that time, laptops were rare and hot-desking impractical with each person’s workstation often highly customised, big and heavy.
We redesigned our studio and it’s furniture to facilitate quick and easy team flexibility. Instead of benches of workstations, we had specially designed furniture arranged in clusters of four. Within the cluster, the centre space was kept clear with computer screens were arranged to the outer edge ensuring team members can see each other, easily communicate and view each screen content with a slight turn. Workstations consisted of desktop computer and monitor both on top of a customised mobile pedestal. Changing teams was simply a matter of unplugging and wheeling the workstation to the next cluster.
I haven’t found an environment quite like it since. Of course, laptops and WIFI make the ‘wheelie-workstation’ less necessary. I remain proud of the work we did in that studio, my colleagues and the way we worked together.
A video, demonstrating a positive development environment. As I shift my mindset to ‘Product’, it also shows significant investment in the team’s knowledge and instincts as a source of product development ideas, company wide and how that benefits all concerned.
Agile makes it possible: (from 2 minutes) Transforming to best practice and an agile development culture improved code quality and development flexibility
A note to self, looking back on my last post to see what actually was achieved since.
Step 1 – “Get some tooling” – CHECK. Applied to ageing personal web stuff.
Step 2 – “Read up Jeff Patton’s User Story Mapping” – CHECK. The key catchphrases stand up no matter what: “Build the right product”, “Shared understanding” and adding my own twist “develop the greatest effect soonest”. Definitely worth a second read and reference.
Step 3 – “Play with Docker” – PARTIAL CHECK. Our lead developer has built an excellent Docker based infrastructure at work, bringing greater reliability and efficiency. My home kit isn’t compatible yet, so Vagrant will suffice until I update.
Steps 4 and 5 – We did set about using JIRA, Confluence and Bitbucket and bringing legacy projects to them
Moving on from my last employer, my next steps are to ensure I dedicate more time to:
Exploring new tech – AR and VR of particular interest as it gains momentum as Oculus Go continues the process of bringing it mainstream
Personally speaking, 2018 is going to be a year of getting at least some Agile and DevOps adopted at work.
Step 1 – Get some tooling… Kicked off with Vagrant and commenced updating the brain from my previous php5 use to 7. So far so good.
Step 2 – Read up Jeff Patton’s User Story Mapping- Which does seem to stand up to it’s strap-line: “Discover the whole story, build the right product”. From reading this, “Shared understanding” will be my new catchphrase for the year.
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Step 3 – Have a play with Docker…. first problem… otherwise trusty old mid 2009 Mac Book Pro:
$ sysctl kern.hv_support
So there’ll be no Docker practice on this machine.
Step 4 – Introduce work to some supporting tools: (JIRA, Confluence, Bitbucket)
Step 5 – Start using this stuff – Plenty of legacy work projects to migrate, and a couple of home projects.
This might be the excuse needed to justify updating my otherwise very long-lived Macs.