Product Development

Esther Derby asks: Are we aiming too low?

Esther Derby put together a nice post on the importance of design for a web site in which she asks, "Are we aiming too low?"

Agile methods manage business risk. They can bring back enjoyment and pride in work for development teams. For the people who use our software, they make work life maybe less frustrating, because the software isn’t buggy, and maybe a little easier because the software does what it’s supposed to do. But I think we are aiming too low. Can we also make software a pleasure to use?

Roshambo Estimating

This is a quick post. I just want to share a technique we've been using for initial story estimating. I first used this technique at ThoughtWorks when we were working on a project that required a lot of estimating. I think it came about because 1) we did not have any estimating cards immediately available and 2) that is the kind of place ThoughtWorks is. I later came to discover that the technique is not only fun, but it actually has a few additional benefits.

Stories are about why; not what or how

I've been on numerous Agile projects with varying methods for capturing stories. Quite popular (and purportedly the ThoughtWorks standard) is the "As a, I want, So that" story format.

While I have seen teams do well with this format, I think it can be radically improved with a minor change. I prefer to see "So that, as a, I want" story format.

My reasoning is quite simple; the emphasis is incorrect in the common story format.

Business Value is not the only reason to adopt Agile

Agile Rob posted a column a few days ago entitled, "If You Don’t Focus on Business Value, Don’t Adopt Agile." He tweeted it out and after reading it, I replied that I did not entirely agree. Rob asked that I post a comment on his blog. The following is an extended/modified version of that reply.

I read two articles today, "Adopting Agile Isn't The Point", by Mike Cottmeyer and "If You Don’t Focus on Business Value, Don’t Adopt Agile.", by Robert Dempsey. Rob's posting is an expression of agreement with Mike's.