This conference day started with meeting quite a few friends, colleagues and former colleagues. During these two days I also met new people that I hope to get a chance to see again. I actually can’t remember when I was at a dev conference the last time, so maybe I have not been to any… strange, but true.
Keynote by Jan Bosch
Seems like I have lost my notes from Jan’s keynote. But as keynote it was an inspiring opening to how important architecture is as a driver for good quality and contunious delivery. And how import it is with contunious delivery, many of the sessions later these two days touched this subject. More important then code quality and many other things “we” have taken as a truth lately. The end customers rulz and we should find a quick way how to get their opionion.
Another reoccuring subject these days where the comparison between Apple and Nokia… (own note : so what company will play the role of X vs Apple in a few years?)
Measure and manage flow in practice, Zsolt Fabok
Really interesting session by Zsolt who based this on realy experience. One of the first things that struck me was “The trend is more important then the current state” and this should be backed by real data. So, measure and see the trend!
Zsolt also repeated my favorite “Visualize workflow and do this on a physical board (don’t go e!)”. Can’t be repeated enough. Also, when starting with Kanban / flow / X, teaching people is more imporant than setting limits in the system.
In a few examples we looked at how the median value for waste and lead time can be a better measure then for example the mean value. A better option for estimation is comparison to known stories / tasks, with for example S, M and L sizes. He also pushed for a dashboard that shows leadtime, waste and bugs at all times.
Agile for managers – successful teams that deliver by Per Magnus Skoogh
The name of this one gave good hope and it also hade quite a lot good parts, even though I think Magnus ran out of time and run his last 20 mins compressed to just a few…
His comment on the status of the room was “Full room, knökfullt”
Magnus delivered a set of quotes:
“Most of the problems are with the setup of the teams and the mindset outside the teams (culture)”
“Agile is not that good with stating the benefits (of agile)”
“Most managers cheats with learning. They should train with their team”
“The more domain expert you are, the more things you will not be aware that you know”
“Agile testing is about what we will be doing, not about what we have done”
“The agile specification is a Human being”
“Follow the plan, or follow the benefit / value?. Question the plan / goal to seek the value”
“Think of teams as production engines, Invest in them!”
This was a good session, but I can’t point to the one lasting takeaway from it. Many small good ones though.
Unit testing styles and Mockito, Per Lundholm
Unfortunately I got off totally wrong in this session. The presenter used a presentation technique that made me dizzy or maybe seasick. But along the way i picked up how to test both behaviour and state with Mockito, and that both are important to test. Not really much new, but that’s the downside when you pick a subject you are interested in, then you probably know most of it if it does not cover the frontiers.
Going mobile with jQuery, Nathaniel Schutta
Since I have been into jQuery a bit for my app development lately this seemed like a nice room to be in. And it was, although I thought I was going to be seasick again when a few slides flipped by in some fancy presentation mode. Well, that stopped and even if it was many many slides (with few words in them) it all came together.
Nathaniel presented how easy it is to start with jQuery (and HTML5) and I picked up a few things that I did not know before. A section about not trying to make your non-native phone apps look too much like native apps was interesting. Too close and it gets creepy.
The market for this kind of development will grow really fast if you ask me, so maybe it would be a good investment to quit my consulting dayjob and dig even more into this…
Why Continous delivery matters, Paul Stack
Paul showed good enery talking about his experience and thoughts on continous delivery. After some starting remarks about the Agile manifesto and Kent Becks adventure with delivery 3-4 times a day in the mid 90-ties, he gave us some principles to follow:
“Keep everything in versions controll”. Code, build scripts, deploy scripts….
“Everyone becomes responsible for delivery” which creates a culture for success.
“Master continous improvement!”
“Use feature toggles (if statements that can turn parts of code on and off), just like companies like Flickr, Twitter and Facebook”. Then you decrease the risk of rollback and increase ease of using different versions.
I also think Paul mentioned that we maybe should get in contact with “IT and ops that (we feel like they) live under the stairs just like Harry Potter”
Introducing economic framework to prioritization, Ozlem Yuce
The last session of the day felt like a fresh wind, with a lot of focus on numbers and money. Real things and less emotions than many of the other topics, or atleast it felt like this. Ozlem talked about how Mearsk uses a process for prioritization what is built on risk, time to market and reward.
“We want to fill the development pipeline with the most profitable ideas”. Don’t just do things, do the things that leads to some value for the company. This means “putting a pricetag on time : cost of delay”.
The different benefits to look at are :
Increase revenue, protect revenue, reduce costs and avoid costs. I feel myself that we don’t look at all these four very much.
Ozlem also talked about the method of CD3, Cost of Delay Divided by Duration as a measure for what to do next.
A good way to keep it agile is to “split the benefits, release continously and just look at the dollars”. A nice side effect of their work with these methods is that they “went from yelling and screaming to looking at pure data (dollars) in their prio meetings”. Feelings put aside for a while.
She recommended the book (also seen in other sessions here) : “The Principles of Product Development Flow” which is now on my reading list.