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Rally’s Agile Success Tour 2009: Los Angeles

agile development - active user involvement is imperative!
agile development – active user involvement is imperative!

I sat through Rally Software’s Agile Success Tour 2009 in LA on March 26th at The Belamar and am pleased to provide my summary below along with some additional and relevant content from Rally. Please do enjoy!

  • A recommended Agile blog to read: The Agile Executive
  • A recommended book to read: Code Complete by Steve McConnell
  • 40-50% of VPs/Directors/Managers and 10-20% of engineers/architects can be expected to leave the organization after implementation of the Agile process
  • Measure what you want to improve, what’s important to you
  • Overall reduction in lines of code by removing duplicative code & unnecessary features/code
  • Know what the goal is, what problem is being solved?
  • Metrics to track: # defects & user stories per Sprint, $ spent, customer satisfaction, time to market
  • Continuous integration will expose defaults/inefficiencies (i.e., source control, change control)
  • Limit work-in-progress, multi-tasking… single task & focus on one thing (a story, project, task)
  • Continue breaking down User Stories until they can be delivered within a Sprint
  • Involve customer in Release Planning & Demos
  • Don’t load Sprint to 100%, sicknesses/vacations/delays/incorrect estimation will account for 20%
  • Servant Leadership: lead by serving, serve by leading
  • Own Vision, continually ask for insights: What’s not working well? What’s working well?
  • Another recommended book to read: Good to Great by Jim Collins
  • Estimating will be rough initially, but they will improve; Give Estimate, Commit to estimate with no repercussions of missing, adjust understanding if estimate missed so that future estimations are more accurate
  • Always leave buffer in Sprints, don’t commit to full list of detailed features, talk about high level themes of releases
  • If you’re getting closer to the end of a Sprint & are over allocated, work with customers to weed out features or scope down features into smaller portions
  • 5 Levels of Planning: Vision set by leadership team, Product Roadmap set by product council, Release Plan set by every affected individual in org, Iteration Plan, Daily Plan (see whitepaper link below)
  • Get something small, but get it done
  • Meetup Group: LA Agile & Scrum User Group
  • If you deliver crap, it doesn’t matter – Christophe Louvion
  • Stay “Releasable” with nightly builds/test, 2 week iteration demos, frequent & rigorous peer reviews

Here are some additional liveblog posts from Rally on the day of the event:

And as a final note, here’s a great white paper that covers the different levels of planning involved in the Agile methodology and provides a great entry point into Agile:
Five Levels of Agile Planning: From Enterprise Product Vision to Team Stand-up