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Just Do It

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  • Gary Brown
    I have been reading the Taking It Back thread and I want the membership to know that Agile is possible. Nearly ten years ago, I was hired by my current
    Message 1 of 3 , Mar 18, 2014
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      I have been reading the "Taking It Back" thread and I want the
      membership to know that Agile is possible. Nearly ten years ago, I was
      hired by my current employer to teach them how to do XP. Management and
      Development both wanted to improve. They had too many defects and too
      many skill and knowledge silos. The Business was asking for more and
      they (Management and Development) wanted to deliver.

      We started the first team in May, 2004. There were six developers and a
      QA. The first time I met with this team, we talked about how they
      developed software, what they liked, disliked, and worried about. We
      set some action items for improvement. I gave them copies of the white
      book (1st edition), the pink book, and Dave Astels TDD book. I asked
      them to read those books and think about how those values, principles,
      and practices could help us achieve the action items.

      Two weeks later we met again. Some were enthusiastic, some were
      skeptical, some didn't complete the assignment. So we talked again.
      The theme was "what result do you want"? We went back to the action
      items and agreed that we still wanted them. Will XP give us that
      result? After much discussion, all agreed that XP could give us the
      results we wanted.

      I taught them how to do TDD, refactoring, and automated acceptance
      testing. We practiced pairing, planning, estimating, and continuous
      integration. We talked about how to integrate simple design, collective
      ownership, small releases, and sustainable pace into the process. We
      developed a coding standard and held a planning game. Then, we went to
      work with the agreement that we would all give this new process our best
      effort for three months. After that, we would decide whether or not to
      continue with XP. The team told Management after eight weeks that they
      wanted to continue using XP.

      Over the next year or so, I introduced four more teams to XP, using a
      similar process. Now, we have about 80 developers working on about 16
      teams. They all do something that resembles XP, but none are doing XP
      by the book. There are influences from Scrum, Kanban, Lean Start Up,
      and other ideas. We have near zero defects and very few skill and
      knowledge silos. They deliver business value frequently. We
      consistently score 98% or higher on our annual employee satisfaction
      survey.

      Just Do It!

      GB.

      PS - We have open positions,
      http://hire.jobvite.com/CompanyJobs/Careers.aspx?k=JobListing&c=qLi9VfwR&v=1
    • Charlie Poole
      Hi Gary, What a great success story! It must be great to work in an environment that has let you do that and I bet it s an even better environment as a result.
      Message 2 of 3 , Mar 18, 2014
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        Hi Gary,

        What a great success story! It must be great to work in an environment that has let you do that and I bet it's an even better environment as a result.

        My sense from hearing from others like you is that there are lots of folks quietly going along doing XP, while others imagine that XP has simply gone away.

        Charlie


        On Tue, Mar 18, 2014 at 6:10 PM, Gary Brown <glbrown@...> wrote:
         

        I have been reading the "Taking It Back" thread and I want the
        membership to know that Agile is possible. Nearly ten years ago, I was
        hired by my current employer to teach them how to do XP. Management and
        Development both wanted to improve. They had too many defects and too
        many skill and knowledge silos. The Business was asking for more and
        they (Management and Development) wanted to deliver.

        We started the first team in May, 2004. There were six developers and a
        QA. The first time I met with this team, we talked about how they
        developed software, what they liked, disliked, and worried about. We
        set some action items for improvement. I gave them copies of the white
        book (1st edition), the pink book, and Dave Astels TDD book. I asked
        them to read those books and think about how those values, principles,
        and practices could help us achieve the action items.

        Two weeks later we met again. Some were enthusiastic, some were
        skeptical, some didn't complete the assignment. So we talked again.
        The theme was "what result do you want"? We went back to the action
        items and agreed that we still wanted them. Will XP give us that
        result? After much discussion, all agreed that XP could give us the
        results we wanted.

        I taught them how to do TDD, refactoring, and automated acceptance
        testing. We practiced pairing, planning, estimating, and continuous
        integration. We talked about how to integrate simple design, collective
        ownership, small releases, and sustainable pace into the process. We
        developed a coding standard and held a planning game. Then, we went to
        work with the agreement that we would all give this new process our best
        effort for three months. After that, we would decide whether or not to
        continue with XP. The team told Management after eight weeks that they
        wanted to continue using XP.

        Over the next year or so, I introduced four more teams to XP, using a
        similar process. Now, we have about 80 developers working on about 16
        teams. They all do something that resembles XP, but none are doing XP
        by the book. There are influences from Scrum, Kanban, Lean Start Up,
        and other ideas. We have near zero defects and very few skill and
        knowledge silos. They deliver business value frequently. We
        consistently score 98% or higher on our annual employee satisfaction
        survey.

        Just Do It!

        GB.

        PS - We have open positions,
        http://hire.jobvite.com/CompanyJobs/Careers.aspx?k=JobListing&c=qLi9VfwR&v=1


      • Tim Ottinger
        This is what weÆve been talking about to be sure.
        Message 3 of 3 , Mar 20, 2014
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          This is what we’ve been talking about to be sure.



          On Mar 18, 2014, at 8:10 PM, Gary Brown <glbrown@...> wrote:

          > I have been reading the "Taking It Back" thread and I want the
          > membership to know that Agile is possible. Nearly ten years ago, I was
          > hired by my current employer to teach them how to do XP. Management and
          > Development both wanted to improve. They had too many defects and too
          > many skill and knowledge silos. The Business was asking for more and
          > they (Management and Development) wanted to deliver.
          >
          > We started the first team in May, 2004. There were six developers and a
          > QA. The first time I met with this team, we talked about how they
          > developed software, what they liked, disliked, and worried about. We
          > set some action items for improvement. I gave them copies of the white
          > book (1st edition), the pink book, and Dave Astels TDD book. I asked
          > them to read those books and think about how those values, principles,
          > and practices could help us achieve the action items.
          >
          > Two weeks later we met again. Some were enthusiastic, some were
          > skeptical, some didn't complete the assignment. So we talked again.
          > The theme was "what result do you want"? We went back to the action
          > items and agreed that we still wanted them. Will XP give us that
          > result? After much discussion, all agreed that XP could give us the
          > results we wanted.
          >
          > I taught them how to do TDD, refactoring, and automated acceptance
          > testing. We practiced pairing, planning, estimating, and continuous
          > integration. We talked about how to integrate simple design, collective
          > ownership, small releases, and sustainable pace into the process. We
          > developed a coding standard and held a planning game. Then, we went to
          > work with the agreement that we would all give this new process our best
          > effort for three months. After that, we would decide whether or not to
          > continue with XP. The team told Management after eight weeks that they
          > wanted to continue using XP.
          >
          > Over the next year or so, I introduced four more teams to XP, using a
          > similar process. Now, we have about 80 developers working on about 16
          > teams. They all do something that resembles XP, but none are doing XP
          > by the book. There are influences from Scrum, Kanban, Lean Start Up,
          > and other ideas. We have near zero defects and very few skill and
          > knowledge silos. They deliver business value frequently. We
          > consistently score 98% or higher on our annual employee satisfaction
          > survey.
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