Re: [agile-usability] Re: Choice modeling and Agile?
- Ron wrote:
>Analysis kills spontaneityA curious statement.
Do you find that users of software, built using agile methods, enjoy
it when they can't use the software because the architect of that
software, as a result of not performing a prior phase of analysis (and
design) 'spontaneously' second guessed what their goals were? Can I
also ask what your views on innovation without analysis/research are?
If you're looking for an approach to determining ROI you might want to
view Jared Spool's article:
- On Monday, July 4, 2005, at 5:35:22 PM, Kevin Narey wrote:
> Ron wrote:Actually, Henri Amiel wrote that, and the complete quote, randomly
>>Analysis kills spontaneity
selected by my email client, is:
>> Analysis kills spontaneity.It might be wise not to read too much into the workings of a random
>> The grain once ground into flour germinates no more. -- Henri Amiel
> A curious statement.
number generator. It might be more fruitful to comment on what I
wrote, not on what Mr Amiel wrote. However, your questions below are
answerable. These are my answers: I don't know what Mr Amiel would
say, had he not unfortunately passed away in 1881.
> Do you find that users of software, built using agile methods, enjoyWell, I find that that doesn't happen, and the form and tone of the
> it when they can't use the software because the architect of that
> software, as a result of not performing a prior phase of analysis (and
> design) 'spontaneously' second guessed what their goals were?
question makes me want to recommend a bit more study of agile
methods. Here are some reasons why:
Agile methods do analysis all the time, not just in a prior phase.
Agile teams work with the users of the software, addressing only
features that those users ask for, in the order they are
requested. The goals are explicit, discussed continuously.
The software is delivered frequently, every couple of weeks, or
every month, so that the customers can see it, use it, test it in
any way that they see fit.
Agile teams do design all the time, not just in a prior phase.
Agile teams start with a simple design at the beginning, enough to
support the few features they need to deliver at the beginning. In
order to sustain continuous delivery
Agile teams generally do not have an individual designated as "the
Agile teams generally share the conventional duties of development
teams, analysis, architecture, design, testing, coding, and so on.
Certainly each team will have individuals who are more or less
skilled in these areas, but it is rare to have specific
individuals called out into roles.
Agile teams value spontaneity, but also discipline.
Agility is about noticing what's going on and responding to it.
But spontaneity alone, the late Mr Amiel notwithstanding, does not
accomplish much. That's why Agile teams follow a discipline that
keeps them in touch, at all times, with the customer and what the
> Can I also ask what your views on innovation withoutWell, briefly, if you can imagine that, I think that innovation is
> analysis/research are?
at its highest when one maintains a bit of distance from "reality",
but is quite aware of all that is going on. If by "analysis" we mean
"paying attention", if by "research" we mean "looking around", then
they're quite valuable to innovation.
If on the other hand we mean something more formal, rigid,
stratified, phased, then I would likely begin to come down more on
the side of the sadly departed Henri-Frederic.
Analysis and research, in the conventional sense, are likely to lead
to refinement. I would be less sanguine about their leading to true
innovation. But there's always a spectrum, a continuum: innovation
is very likely a soup made up of many ingredients.
> //elseIt's an interesting article. As my original response said, at least
> If you're looking for an approach to determining ROI you might want to
> view Jared Spool's article:
twice, I'm all for knowing ROI. I'm also pointing out that projects
can proceed on the basis of less detail, specifically users' ability
to choose between alternatives, even when they don't have detailed
Perhaps this Silver Bullet will tell you who I am ...
- While the emphasis on finding a dollar ROI for each feature may be an
idea to make the customer more aware of the resources she is spending,
I think that there is a risk to fall into the same legalistic trap
that traditional project management does when it treats estimates as
commitments and a schedule as a prediction.
It seems to me that the core purpose behind any prioritization is to
work on the most important things first. For this need, a ranking
gives you 90% of the value with 10% of the work.
Thus, I think that the discussion on "feature ROI" should be part of a
pep-talk in the initial project definition phase, with occasional
reminders during the planning game, but the tough work required to get
an actual ROI for each feature sounds non-agile in the sense that it
is "up-front work" that does not produce working code that the user
can actually approve. Since priority ranking is a cheaper alternative
that can get you to actual coding quicker, I would recommend keeping
feature-ROI as a conceptual construct and not a mathematical process.
In any case, if we go down this path, Agile would require having a
feedback process where you actually do testing to determine if your
calculations corresponded to reality, so that you could improve the
process on the next round. That sounds like a very long feedback loop
to me, and I wonder if the ROI is positive at all, and I certainly
think that most of our teams would find a higher ROI from implementing
or improving other aspects of our craft.