Simple Agile Design for YOUR Architecture

Agile encourages us to eliminate activities that don’t add value and find the simplest solution possible to solve our business needs. For many teams, that can lead to a state where collaborative design no longer happens or is discussed on a whiteboard that gets erased after the conversation.

How then, can you share the knowledge with team members who don’t work on that feature, or join the team after the feature is built? What about distributed teams, are they unable to have collaborative design because they don't have a whiteboard?

I had those same questions in 2012, when Ron Garton of the Agile Coaching Network showed me a lightweight solution and we stopped creating traditional design documents. Ron provided me permission to bring that solution to the agile community through sessions like these.

This solution helps everyone on the team understand what they will create or change in the current systems before it’s built, which can also be retained to increase the domain knowledge for that system later. Though the template itself can be helpful, like many agile tools, it’s the conversation that it starts that’s truly powerful.

 
 

Outline/Structure of the Workshop

I'll connect attendees to the topic with a tech design document, the effort to create it, and discuss that document's value is tied to it's understanding and use: 5 minutes
We'll discuss the benefits of this approach, including passing SOX and PCI audits: 5 minutes
Invite the attendees to recall a recent user story and acceptance criteria scenarios and write them on index cards: 5 minutes
Ask participants to use the template to design the solution for their story: 5 minutes
Participants share the story, acceptance criteria and design with their table to invite questions and feedback: 20 minutes
Show how the approach can identify tasks for the sprint backlog, be adapted to match their System, and help distributed teams collaborate on design: 5 minutes

Learning Outcome

  • Learn an alternative approach to technical design documents
  • Have a quick and easy way to collaborate with all team members regardless of physical location
  • Bring everyone to the same level of understanding of what will be built
  • Quickly identify tasks to include in the Sprint Backlog
  • Identify how to test before the code is developed
  • Pass your next internal audit, even if it hasn't been updated for your agile methods

Target Audience

Architects, Designers, Developers, Testers, Development Managers and Scrum Masters can benefit from this approach.

Prerequisites for Attendees

A basic knowledge of an n-tier system architecture is needed to participate in the workshop, however, practitioners can benefit from observing the approach and use of the tool even if they aren't technical.

schedule Submitted 1 year ago

Public Feedback

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  • George Dinwiddie
    By George Dinwiddie  ~  1 year ago
    reply Reply

    Hi, Colleen,

    I have some questions about your submission.

    • When you say Concepts of Simple Design, do you mean Kent Beck's 4 rules or something else?
    • What do you expect for "writing user stories on sticky notes?" To me, what's written is just the title. The story is the conversation, documented by acceptance scenarios.
    • What template are you suggesting?

    We really need more information to do a good job reviewing your submission. For more guidance, see https://threadreaderapp.com/thread/1028714041349263360.html

     

    • Colleen Esposito
      By Colleen Esposito  ~  11 months ago
      reply Reply

      Hi George, Thanks so much for your feedback, questions and suggestions.  I've updated the proposal and think I have answered all of your questions in the new submission.

      The Concepts I'm referring to came from an Agile Coach named Ron Garton that I worked with in 2012.  I've taken his suggestions, refined them a bit, and invited the teams I've worked with to use them to hold conversations either during or after backlog refinement, which allows all team members a chance to weigh in on the design decisions.  Every team that has accepted my invitation found a benefit from the approach.  Several teams used the approach to pass their SOX audits, even in companies that had not updated their financial controls.

      I've also updated the suggestion of using sticky notes to using Index Cards so we can have the user story on the front, and acceptance criteria on the back.

      The original format was created by Ron Garton, of the Agile Coaching Network. I've since created a template in Draw.io, that can also be used in Visio.

      Ron called the tiers of system architecture Levels - which is why I continued that theme, but I've updated the abstract and pre-requisites to clear up any confusion.

       

  • George Dinwiddie
    By George Dinwiddie  ~  1 year ago
    reply Reply

    If "A basic knowledge of the 5 levels of system architecture is needed to participate in the workshop" then you'd better say this in the abstract and define what you consider the 5 levels of system architecture.


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