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Transitioning to Agile Product Development

Last week I attended a PDMA LA roundtable discussion on “Transitioning to Agile Product Development“. The discussion was moderated by a PDMA LA board member and featured the following panelists:

I was hoping to come away with some lessons learned and best practices on transitioning an organization to an Agile one, but the discussion ended up being more of an overview of Agile as many in attendance were unfamiliar with some of the basic concepts. I did manage to meet some interesting people and continue building my local Agile network, but not quite specifically what I was hoping to achieve, silver lining I suppose.

Regardless, the following are my notes from the event. Note that I’ve tried to note the panelists initials where I can attribute my note to them:

  • S.D. – continuous feedback from customers on demos; requirements flexible, time & resources/costs are fixed
  • Basic tenets outlined in Agile Manifesto
  • S.D. – 8hr workday creates a certain # of defects, 10hr workday creates 11x more defects than an 8hr one
  • Comment that Scrum helped elect recent governors of VA & NJ
  • The Standish Group found that 7% of features affect a customers buy/build decision, 13% will affect you vs. competitor decision, 64% no one cares about
  • S.G. – Contracts can be written w/Agile adjustments instead of hardcoding features/cost/date, Mary Poppendieck has some resources on this
    [Jeff Paul – here are some references I found: Agile Contracts by Mary & Tom Poppendieck, Agile Contracts pitch by Mary in 2005, Lean Contracts essay by Mary in 2002]
  • Should be constantly improving processes
  • Understand # hrs/resource & # hrs/sprint and estimate user stories better
  • Check out Reed Hasting’s presentation on Slideshare
  • Check out the Business Agility whitepaper on the Enthiosys.com site
  • Assume a single project team to get to Agile process & show benefits to help transition larger org
  • Get good coaching & training

I hope to attend more events in 2010 and will do my best to summarize them here… cheers!

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