Wednesday, February 22, 2006

DevUtah February Geek Dinner

Tonight was the DevUtah Geek Dinner. There was a slightly smaller group, but there was a great topic - Agile & Adaptive Project Management. David Spann kicked off by doing a quick exercise in thinking of the top traits of a great leader/manager. Most of these ended up centering around communications, trust, and involvement. He went on to talk about the The Agile-Adaptive Management Model:
  • Know the Purpose and Organizational Value of any project
  • Hire great people - use the best people
  • Do Something Innovative!
  • Learn and Reflect - spend the time (often!) to look at what you are doing
  • Deliver Results - ensure that you are delivering on the project
If you follow this model, then innovation will occur. In addition, this is how knowledge is built.

Alistair then jumped in and gave some background on how he got going in the industry, and how he began his writing career. He talked about the history of the creation of the Agile Manifesto, and the follow on for managers of Agile projects - the Declaration of Interdependence.

He offered a fun way to think about software: Developing software consists of making ideas concrete in an economic context. In addition, he posits that software development - and most any business - can be seen as a cooperative game of invention and communication. This then leads to where Agile is a special case of software development.

Expanding on this, he summarized the Agile Manifesto as being values ...

More Valuable
Has Value
Individuals and Interactions
Processes and Tools
Working Software
Comprehensive Documentation
Customer Collaboration
Contract Negotiation
Responding to Change
Following a Plan

All of these work from: communication, trust, feedback, fluidity

David and Alistair progressed into Q&A to address many of the questions that were brought up:
  1. How do you convince business people to use Agile?
    • focus on ROI - delivering customer value which generates revenue
  2. How do you deal with Feature Creep?
    • base development on constant re-prioritization and customer renegotiation
    • do not use a fixed requirements model ... constantly adjust and adapt with the customer
There was some other conversation ... I got too interested in listening and forgot to write. David closed with a good point and that was that it's easy to celebrate the "wins" and what was accomplished ... the real learning comes, however, when you can celebrate what didn't go well, or what could be improved.

It's always fun to hear David and Alistair ... they both consult in this area, and bring a lot of knowledge and experience!


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