Archive for June, 2011

The baby-product analogy

June 28, 2011
What if a baby had each of his needs served by a different woman?

  • one woman to change his diapers;
  • another to feed him;
  • another to wash him;
  • another to dry him;
  • another to change him;
  • and so on…

And what if each of those women was specialized in just one thing and that each of them served many babies a day, not just one?

Assuming that babies are different, with different needs and different timings, how each baby would be in some arbitrary point in time? Hungry? Wet? Naked?

Well, this is the way most companies are organized today! You can see each product as if it were a baby, and each internal department/silo/team as a mother specialized in doing just one thing and serving many babies. How each product will be in some arbitrary point in time? Hungry? Wet? Naked?

I’m not talking just about multi-skilled teams, with testers, developers, webmasters etc, as this is well understood by all agile-be companies today, but also about multi-component and multi-department teams as well! Specially multi-department teams!

Have you ever seen a company with lots of “multi-skilled” teams where each one was working on a single component of a bigger system? Can a team be considered multi-skilled if it is unable to deliver a complete user feature?

Have you ever seen a company doing a “waterfall sandwich”, where a big spec was done before development and a big bang release was done after the development, even if the development per se was done iteratively? Was this company really agile?

Wouldn’t it be wiser to organize a company in cells, one cell for each product, with each cell containing every person needed and focused in making a product the most delightful of all as a mother does to take care of her baby, doing everything that he needs to grow healthy?

When will companies stop to optimize resource utilization and start to optimize value delivered?

Measurable Value with Agile: the Impact Estimation technique

June 15, 2011

All agile methods have one common premisse: prioritize your features by business value. But how can we calculate this thing called business value?

I did some research recently and found this incredible technique called “Impact Estimation”, by Tom and Kai Gilb. There is also a paper by Ryan Shriver that explains it really well. I’ve been applying it for some time now and it is working really well in my context. What do you think? Can this technique help you too? I hope so!