Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Tools!?! Shmools

We are uncovering better ways of developing
software by doing it and helping others do it.
Through this work we have come to value:
Individuals and interactions over processes and tools

I started my agile life in the Extreme Programming (XP) domain and we did it by the (white) book. That meant stories were on index cards and our story board / sprint backlog was on a pin board. Grandmas recipe - don't mess with it.

One of the biggest pitfalls I see in agile adoption is the too early adoption and obsession with "which tool should we use"?

My best answer is none. Or at best - run for at least 6 months without an electronic tool before you evaluate them. I just read Why Agile Guys Shun Tools and couldn't agree more. So agile newbies, take note of what the old timers are saying when it comes to tools - "Nooooooooooooo".

Sunday, March 4, 2012

The Off Site Customer!?!?!?!?

A recent conversation thread I was involved in was discussing the use of tools vs. physical boards in agile teams and the question was raised - "What if the Product Owner is in a locale with a ten and half hour difference in time zones?"

I wanted to ask - why are you trying to break Grandma's recipe of having the customer on-site?

Remember the good old days of XP and the on-site customer? Why is the agile community now always trying to break Grandma’s recipe of an on-site customer (or Product Owner)? Why don’t we ship the product owner off shore to be with their team? Cost too high?

I guess it touches a bigger topic – the real cost of off shoring. In agile we can do away with specification documents because we have a product owner available throughout the delivery (and preferably on site). By not having your product owner in a time zone overlapping the delivery team’s time zone for a significant part of the day must surely represent a significant hindrance to delivery. It would be comparable to having a specification document that you are only allowed to reference for one hour a day and then it is not even an hour that is part of your working day. No tool is going to be able to solve that issue…

One of the (many) reasons I am not a fan of off shore development.