I'm working on a little bit of writing, and I'd like to talk with someone
with some real experience with frequent delivery - at least every 6 months.
Let me be more specific: By delivery I mean software put into daily use by
people using the product for its intended purpose.
There are lots of Agile environments where frequent delivery is common - but
where delivery has a softer definition. It might be delivered to an
acceptance test environment, or even to a server where end user can see and
test the software, but may not use it.
I was speaking to someone on the phone yesterday who was questioning
iterative development. She said something to the affect of "How do you deal
with the issue where users see early releases of the software that they
can't yet use, and don't give much feedback? Then, when more releases come
out, they just dismiss them as being a slight change of what they already
saw?" I asked: "Are they using the software?" "No she said, it won't
really be ready to use until many more releases are completed."
For me this is an example of iterative development, but NOT incremental
release, in that what was released was not usable by its intended audience
for its intended purpose.
In the example above, if the releases were actually intended to be used,
they were complete failures since they weren't. The business value in this
case is much less than zero, in that the software cost the business money,
but then wasn't used to deliver any return on that investment. Eventually
it may be, but in the example above, the user community is being conditioned
to discount the result from the outset making it even harder to get
So, I'm curious to talk to someone who really does incremental delivery and
can speak to how their process has changed as a result. It's my assertion
that release planning becomes a bit more complex than "highest value
features first" when at release time the software has to be usable. I'd
suspect that testing and validating the software is more sophisticated than
automated acceptance test as well. It also pushes the necessity for an
acceptable level of user experience.
If you work in a company that falls into this frequent release category, and
have time to share your experience, please contact me off list to arrange
for a phone conversation. If you work for a company that fails at
incremental delivery, I'd like to hear about that as well. I'd like to
understand what causes a delivery to fail - assuming we're not talking an
engineering failure here. And, retrospectively, I'd like to hear what your
organization has done or might to to change things.
And, alternatively, if anyone's willing to share experiences on the list,
I'd love to hear/read that as well. If someone takes the time to, readers,
please refrain from armchair-quarterbacking. It's good to ask questions to
understand, but not imply that person or their company should have done X
instead of Y.
Thanks in advance! I'd rely on my own experience here, but I'm too biased.
I see everything through user experience lenses. Asking someone else about
their's usually gives me a better perspective.
Agile usability discussion group:
"There is nothing that saps one's confidence as the knowing how to do a