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Tuesday, January 31, 2012

SIGs are Taking Flight! (Thank you BazaarVoice)

A few weeks ago, Ryan Hand and the team at BazaarVoice asked me how they could sponsor AgileAustin. We had a great few initial meetings, and we found that sponsoring one or more of our SIGs would provide the greatest immediate value not only to the AgileAustin community but also the hundreds of folks engaged in product development at BazaarVoice. Not only will their team have direct access to the meetings in their facility, our community will be exposed to folks that are part of a high-growth agile adoption strategy. As if this isn’t enough, BV is continuing to investigate more ways that they can sponsor AgileAustin!

So, I’m excited to announce that BazaarVoice has agreed to take on two of our Special Interest Groups (SIGs)—the Developer SIG and the DevOps SIG. While I will miss having the crowd here in CA Technologies and the short commute that I currently enjoy, I’m looking forward to the opportunity for our office to shelter new types of programs through their nascent stages as we continue to inspect and adapt on the types of programs that offer the community real value.

Be on the lookout for another great Austin company that has also volunteered to be the home to an existing and *NEW* SIG—it might also be a better commute for some of us (not me J ). I’ll be making this announcement shortly.

As always, if anyone is interested in either sponsoring AgileAustin, or coming up with a new AgileAustin program, please let me know.


Dude, where's my blog?

For some time, I've been holding off on publishing a blog on Agile Software Development. Quite honestly, it was due to the fact that I couldn't come up with a clever name...and I wasn't sure if I wanted to limit it to Agile Software Development. Photography, music, and a few other hobbies come to mind, but I see the main thrust as software team and organization agility. It's what I love and what I do most of the time, so it only makes sense.

I'll likely inspect and adapt for a while. Who knows, I may shed the blog as unnecessary, but I really wanted a semi-permanent home for my thoughts, learnings, and "findings out" on some of these subjects.

My main success here is that I can finally answer the question as stated in the title of this blog post. It's right here--eventually, I'll even get into what "MulticastMatt" is all about.


Don Reinertsen's Video on InfoQ - "Second Generation Lean Product Development: From Cargo Cult to Science"

Mike DuVall turned me on to this video the other day: where Don Reinertsen discusses framing many of our engineering problems in light of economic tradeoffs. One of the interesting things to see is how the ideas of lean manufacturing DON’T apply to product development (perhaps this is counter-counter-intuitive? J ). This presentation was made during the Lean and Kanban 2009 conference and I believe a number of folks have been discussing some aspects of this for a while, but I’ve also talked to a number of folks who also may not be aware of it.

I often find myself in conversations with teams who have adopted some of the practices of Scrum but are disappointed with the results that they are seeing. When I ask a few probing questions, I find out that they’re somewhat missing the point and have adopted neither the agile principals nor values on top of which the Scrum framework was based. I’m sure the same can be said for adoption of others’ successes where limited benefits are observed. The term “cargo cult” has been used to refer to this type of behavior and this video has a definitely serviceable explanation of the phenomenon.

It’s definitely a bit more of an advanced topic, but shouldn’t be difficult for most folks with a technical background to understand (although you may need to review a few of the bits a few times to get the full meaning). Not surprisingly, Don has a book, which is called _The Principals of Product Development Flow: Second Generation Lean Product Development_ ( I IMMEDIATELY ordered this book after watching the video and am now half way through it. By the way, Don Reinertsen wrote the intro to _Kanban_ by David J. Anderson and he is credited for a great deal of influence on this work.