Confessions of a former Agile Skeptic
"We have no shortage of great ideas. They get thrown into the mill, analyzed forever, chopped down to mere shadows of themselves, slotted into a roadmap for 18 months out, and clients don't see even these poor excuses for innovation for years. When clients finally do see the new features, they don't like them. Or they don't work. Do something!" - our CEO
Long a passionate proponent of elaborate system designs, a veteran business analyst suffers debilitating inertia in a growing software product company. The company goes through a successful agile transformation, the analyst has an epiphany, and becomes an enthusiastic agile advocate.
This presentation is about misconceptions shed, lessons learned, and problems that remain to be solved in an organization still in its agile adolescence.
Outline/Structure of the Experience Report
The story of an agile transformation.
How our nimble and successful startup grew into a thundering waterfall organization, and the pain this caused for customers.
Search for a solution
We never intended to become THAT type of organization! How did it happen? How could we make things better? More controls! Everything we did to alleviate the pain made the waterfall louder.
How we became agile
We tried to become agile several times, and failed. Conway's law may explain both our early failures, and eventual success. We went over the falls in barrel, and survived.
Our way of working today
The waterfall became a series of rapids, and we have learned how to paddle through them. Our navigation skills include: Daily standups, regular backlog grooming, estimation, sprint planning, story detailing, tasking, working, testing, sprint demos…
What we've learned
Agile is disciplined. We share the knowledge. The team stands together. You have to work on a team to understand.
Problems we still face
Upstream and downstream, the organization is still waterfall. The boundaries present problems. Our product architecture is still largely monolithic, but we can't discard it. How do we coordinate the work of many teams? What level of architectural consistency is appropriate? Our customers are not engaged soon enough. We are tackling some of these problems.
Attendees will leave with an understanding of our journey to agile, how our variant of agile works, and what problems we still face. This may help in the effort to decide whether to adopt agile.
Skeptics may leave somewhat less skeptical.
Questions will be raised, and not all of them will be answered. The presenter is expecting to learn from the attendees, too!
Business Analysists, Project Managers, Product Managers, and Developers who follow traditional waterfall practices, aren't happy with the results, are looking for an alternative, but aren't convinced that agile is it. Seasoned agile practitioners are also welcome, to provide moral support for the presenter.
Prerequisites for Attendees
Present or past experience with the frustrations of working in a waterfall organization. Experience with agile is not required.