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158672Re: [XP] Help with an article?

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  • Francis Fish
    Jun 4, 2013
      Hi Esther

      Just found this half-answered in my drafts to thought I'd finish it :)

      > * How do you describe the Agile process to a client or user who is
      > expecting something different?

      Different from what? If you mean waterfall then it's about delivering
      working software incrementally, preferably the most risky/challenging
      pieces first, without the last minute scrabble and overruns because people
      have developed the habit of delivering useful stuff continuously. This also
      means that it's easy to spot if things were under specified (or rather
      under budgeted) early.

      > * What, in your experience, are their big concerns about doing things
      > without a Big Design Up Front process? What about the little ones?

      BDUF is something *we* used to do. Users used to see it as a burden and it
      was always rushed at the inception phase. However agile needs constant
      feedback - and they don't like being asked for it when they're off doing
      things they see as more important. This creates a continuous tension
      instead of one that only lasts a few weeks. If they don't buy in, or employ
      a BA who is also always looking at something 6 months hence, it's gonna get
      really hard.

      Also lots of people misread the manifesto and don't do any design at all -
      then end up making mud pies (as in the Big Ball of Mud pattern) and it all
      has to be rewritten in 18 months time if the business hasn't failed.

      Users want *capability* not user stories, designs or any other of the
      artefacts we use to deliver that capability. We need to lift our heads up
      much more often :)

      > * What has gone wrong? What would you do differently, in those situations,
      > knowing what you do now?

      Spend a lot more time making sure people are talking to each other about
      what they need, or more importantly why it's needed. Make sure that we can
      deliver the minimum they need within the external constraints.

      > * What do YOU think makes users and clients anxious? What do you do to
      > counter it?

      They have budgets and need things done by a particular time. We, instead,
      flex on functionality and backlog. This will cause conflict unless we make
      sure that they get what they want when they want it. This needs contingency
      building in, instead of being taken out. It also needs a culture of trust
      and less politics.

      I have found that flexing on functionality means that you need to make sure
      that you know what the business need in some detail, and you need to know
      the *why* rather than the *what*. You can find a way to something that
      gives capability with the *why* - the what is just an implementation
      detail. I've found the idea of "commander's intent" really useful when
      discussing this with people.

      Shameless plug - I talk about this at some length in Unicorns in the Mist
      https://leanpub.com/unicorns :)

      > * Please DO NOT spend time telling me how great Agile is. I already know
      > that. That's not what this article is about.
      > I do all of this by e-mail, not telephone. I'll also be collecting input
      > all week, with the fond hope that I will have enough to assemble into an
      > article by next weekend.
      > --Esther Schindler
      > twitter.com/estherschindler
      > [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]

      Thanks and regards,


      Follow me on twitter https://twitter.com/fjfish
      Blog at http://www.francisfish.com
      Books at https://leanpub.com/u/fjfish
      CV http://www.pharmarketeer.com/francis.html

      I have no intention of apologizing for believing in people, for insisting
      that we all use this moment and these assets to create some art and improve
      the world around us.
      To do anything less than that is a crime. - Seth Godin

      [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
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