11/06/2013

My agile failures - Deploy to production is a finish line

Agile principle highlight that to be agile, we need to deliver valuable software to customer in continuous way. In practice, it becomes continuous delivery. And we keep forgetting about customer value. 

My experience is that we focus on starting Agile transformation at Engineering/Technical teams is easiest way to do considering popularity of "agile" in software development space. But as soon as you get a team up to certain maturity level, you will be able to deliver a piece of software continuously. I were in a phase like that. And I still didn't see lots of satisfied customer faces. 

So what has been wrong? There are few things that I found that we can do better: 


  • Didn't engage customers in story discussion and delivery (we only involve customer proxy - Product Manager in the discussion)
  • Treat deploying to production as full stop, then 
    • Engineering is disconnected from customer; Small issues are stopping large number of customers adopting
    • Project based methodology has delayed future improvement
    • Support team take over communication even for MVP products
    • Lack of communication between teams and engineering team after software on production
What I have done to improve the outcome:
  • Setup a kanban which has "transition" as one of columns; Project/Stories will be only moved to "Party Time"/Finished/Done when it is proved to work for customers;
  • With above Kanban board, we make sure improvement stories related to new projects/stories have highest priority
  • Engage customer directly in "transition" stage so that customer values can be delivered in timely manner; Project can actually become "valuable" product
Some further things to be answered:
  • Does "Project" stop us from doing better job? 
  • Without project, how will you manage budgets? 
  • How to engage customers more in execution/in progress stage to shorten transition stage?  
If you have any suggestion, please let me know
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