Beyond Features

Beyond Features

Agile planning has always been a hit-and-miss affair. At one end of the scale is the soul-crushing, multiple day workshops whose output is a list of hundreds of detailed features, many of which will never see the light of day. At the other end is the continual insertion of random demands into the product backlog, with the team constantly on the defensive, never knowing what is coming next and forever switching context.

We estimate as a group using story points and then we carefully track velocity, burn-up, burn-down, and use this to predict delivery timescales or commit ourselves to near-term deadlines. So with all this rigour and discipline, surely your team is a highly-energised unit, delivering quality software in a regular cadence, free from the thrashing, context-switching, pressure and uncertainty that would suggest “bad” planning, right? Or maybe not.

Maybe features aren’t the point of delivery after all. Maybe there are other kinds of work that we could recognise, schedule and track as first class citizens. Maybe this could take some of the uncertainty out of the delivery process, and give us back our sanity. Maybe.

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Daniel Terhorst-North

April 23, 2015
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  1. Beyond features Dan North @tastapod

  2. Agile Manifesto We have come to value… Individuals and interactions

    over processes and tools Working software over comprehensive documentation Customer collaboration over contract negotiation Adapting to change over following a plan
  3. Agile Methodology We have come to demonstrate… Individuals and interactions

    over processes and tools Working software over comprehensive documentation Customer collaboration over contract negotiation Adapting to change over following a plan
  4. Agile Methodology We have come to demonstrate… Processes and tools

    over individuals and interactions Working software over comprehensive documentation Customer collaboration over contract negotiation Adapting to change over following a plan
  5. Agile Methodology We have come to demonstrate… Processes and tools

    over individuals and interactions Comprehensive documentation over working software Customer collaboration over contract negotiation Adapting to change over following a plan
  6. Agile Methodology We have come to demonstrate… Processes and tools

    over individuals and interactions Comprehensive documentation over working software Contract negotiation over customer collaboration Adapting to change over following a plan
  7. Agile Methodology We have come to demonstrate… Processes and tools

    over individuals and interactions Comprehensive documentation over working software Contract negotiation over customer collaboration Following a plan over adapting to change
  8. — Peter Drucker “Culture eats strategy for breakfast”

  9. “Methodology eats manifesto for breakfast”

  10. Agile methodologies optimise for… Quality Feedback Communication Collaboration Transparency Time

    to market Predictability Velocity Learning Flexibility Change Business value Simplicity
  11. Agile methodologies optimise for… Predictability Estimation Sprint planning Backlog grooming

    Sprint commitments Sprint forecasts Velocity Story points Planning poker Burn-up Burn-down Release planning Yesterday’s weather
  12. We based software engineering on civil engineering Front-load the risk:

    - Architect designs the overall structure - Engineer assesses design for structural weaknesses - Quantity surveyor estimates materials and costs - Project manager ensures scheduling commitments
  13. Engineering suggests bigger is better Wider roads are better Longer

    bridges are better Bigger houses are better Fancier hospitals are better
  14. What if we are wrong?

  15. Sustainably minimise lead time to business impact The goal:

  16. Sustainably minimise lead time to business impact The goal:

  17. Sustainably minimise lead time to business impact The goal:

  18. Sustainably minimise lead time to business impact The goal:

  19. Sustainably minimise lead time to results The goal:

  20. Maybe software is more like surgery?

  21. People want to be well! If I must have surgery…

    …I want the minimum amount possible! competent, experienced professionals… established, proven techniques… …yet still prepared for the unexpected! But honestly? I’d rather not have surgery! No-one wants surgery!
  22. Surgery is more than cutting

  23. Software is more than features?

  24. So what?

  25. We need to re-engage… …with our business stakeholders 
 …with

    our management 
 …with ourselves
  26. We need to rethink our delivery model Schedule each, measure

    each, track each, showcase each 
 Always some of each in flight all first class work
  27. Setting a new direction Beyond Software Engineering towards Software Surgery

    Beyond programming towards business impact Beyond cutting towards curing
  28. Beyond features!

  29. Thanks for listening dan@dannorth.net http://dannorth.net @tastapod