I agree completely with the spirit of your post, especially about the
way a team should work.
There are a few reasons there's a history in the agile community of
wanting to include development and release as soon as possible. I think
the biggest one is as an antidote to the dreaded "fuzzy front end"
problem, where a substantial portion of available time and money gets
eaten up by unbounded vision and discussion, often in ways that are
unproductive or even negatively productive.
Personally, I'm skeptical of "iteration zero" because I've never seen a
project that had developers handy where I couldn't immediately extract a
week's worth of work from the plan. And in the beginning, things are
generally slow enough to get started that it takes design and product
management well less than a week of work to find another week of work.
For example, on a web project, the first card I often do is "user views
home page". In doing that, the developers will have to agree on
frameworks and tools, set up a bunch of infrastructure (like version
control), and do a bunch of other fiddling. Given that they'll be
spending a lot of time in the early iterations on planning and
estimating, and throw in a few spikes or research stories, and initial
productivity is never tremendous. But give that, you've got to start
sometime, so why not right away?
Ben Mauer wrote:
> Hey all,
> I'm Ben. I'm new to the group. See my bio below for more information.
> I want to respond to this question of iteration zero and our
> conception of it. I'm coming at this from the perspective of a
> designer who is very stoked about iterative development. I don't
> really understand why iterations would not start until the writing of
> code begins. Why wouldn't iterations of paper prototypes or even user
> stories be considered as part of an agile, iterative process? I don't
> see a strong distinction between drawing and coding, and I see both as
> part of a spectrum activities that support the growth of software out
> of an interdisciplinary team.
> I want to echo some other thoughts on this thread that ideally,
> designers and developers would be part of a core team iterating as a
> sprint unfolds, not interacting in a single, monolithic "pass-off".
> We're all artists, designers, and developers at various points. The
> real challenge is putting together a team with all the strengths
> necessary to accomplish stellar results.
> Rock on,
> Ben Mauer is a veteran web designer passionate about using technology
> and design to bring about sustainable change on a human scale, and
> increased participation in the systems that shape our everyday lives.
> Previous to Quilted, he managed web development and communications for
> the ground-breaking research project, the Information Technology, War
> and Peace Project at Brown University, and worked a few stints at
> Wired Digital/Terra Lycos in San Francisco and various ad agencies. http://quilted.coop
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