About this Case Study
The original challenge facing development teams was an inability to deliver software frequently (or at all). Over the past 2 decades, agile methods have broadly solved this. For the most part, however, this can be attributed to agile process improvements, because smaller tends to flow faster. This means:
- smaller work items (user stories and features)
- smaller batch sizes (sprint backlogs/ WIP limits)
- shorter cadence (2-4 week iterations)
Engineering improvements seem less necessary to deliver frequently. The focus on process over people has caused a rift between engineering methods and agile delivery methods. Ironically, the frameworks we adopt have fueled this by offering zero guidance on how to get better at doing engineering work. For agile to thrive, we cannot improve our process alone; we must also get better at how we build software. We have made the factory more efficient while paying little attention to improving the production line.
Side effects of this include:
- engineering teams that feel like agile is being done to them from the outside-in
- a view from within teams that agile is just process tweaking
- teams doing their work the exact same way they always have, just sliced up into smaller chunks
Is the ability to release frequently with existing engineering practices sufficient? Should we declare victory now?
Surely the next step is to amplify our focus on engineering? Not what we build or how much we build (although these are important too) but actually how we build. Engineering efficiency is the key to moving beyond frequent delivery, to continuous or on-demand delivery. We cannot enhance our agility without continuous attention to technical excellence, and for this we need engineering teams fully engaged and on board.
XP was once our solution for uncovering better ways of developing software. It gave us continuous integration, test-driven development and automated testing. This session aims to revisit XP in the context of where agile is now and looks to rediscover XP as a means of complementing our processes with increased emphasis on improvements in engineering.
About the Speaker
Eddie Kenny is an experienced and accredited agile coach who has been working with agile since 2004. He has worked with XP, scrum, lean, kanban and scaled agile methods.
He has been training technical and product teams since 2001 (in the UK and internationally).
He blogs at:
- Agile Mentors
- The Coach in the Machine
- His Scrum Master's Voice