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Andy Brice
Successful Software

Doug Nebeker ("Doug")

Jonathan Matthews
Creator of DeepTrawl, CloudTrawl, and LeapDoc

Nicholas Hebb
BreezeTree Software

Bob Walsh
host, Startup Success Podcast author of The Web Startup Success Guide and Micro-ISV: From Vision To Reality

Patrick McKenzie
Bingo Card Creator

Agile in your startup/ISV?

Hey folks,

Just curious: who amongst us is following an Agile approach (e.g. XP or SCRUM) in their startup or ISV?  If you are, how big is your team and how do you find it (as compared to traditional SDLC approaches)? 

No agenda, just interested in getting some context amongst contributors here and any feedback on its suitability (or otherwise) for software development projects in generally smaller organisations).


John Clark Send private email
Sunday, March 03, 2013
Hmm... I am curious on what people here have to say about, e.g., "scrum" technique... I know nothing about any of this, but just now reading about scrum on Wikipedia I really started to wonder if it all (or mostly?) isn't just a pile of goofy corporate b.s., complete with its own cute terminology and rituals. 

I get that making software and getting a team of people organized to do it well can be very difficult, and so having some sensible methods in place is helpful, but...gee, I don't know, my b.s. detector started going off.  Apologies to anyone who this offends--I admit I am stating this out of almost total ignorance!
Racky Send private email
Sunday, March 03, 2013
I doubt anyone will be offended, but in my experience the Agile stuff works quite well.  Largely due to an emphasis on short cycles and the use of modern 'best practice' techniques (e.g. automated builds, test-driven development, 'stories' and the like) combined with trying to keep everyone in the same place to avoid communication latency.

I agree, big business latch onto this stuff as the 'current buzz' and invariably chuck out the baby with the bathwater - I saw a large bank start trying to push 'Agile' onto a team composed of management in the UK (in two separate locations) and development in India, combined with no consistent development environments and almost no stakeholder involvement.  Which is to say, not 'Agile' in the slightest, but because they have a daily 10 minute meeting.......
John Clark Send private email
Sunday, March 03, 2013
i think that after launch, we all do agile in one way or the other, no matter if the team is big or small.
vv Send private email
Sunday, March 03, 2013
We supposedly do Agile at my day job.  Well, certain parts of it -- though our morning stand ups have a way of turning into hour+ long meandering "series of sidebar conversations involving a small fraction of the participants" type meetings that are decidedly non-agile.  "Agile" has always struck me as just another BS buzzword that consultants and MBAs like to throw around.

On my side business I'm the only developer so I don't need to have daily stand ups (ha!).  I use source control (git), of course, as well as github's issue tracking system.  Since I'm selling web apps, I tend to push updates to my production servers fairly frequently (I have a deploy script that usually makes this a one step process), following the usual develop, test, deploy cycle (though I try to push multiple updates at the same time, usually Monday mornings (EARLY Monday mornings) to minimize down time).  My process seems to work for me so far. Is it agile?  Don't know, don't care.
James A. Send private email
Monday, March 04, 2013
Over the past thirty years or so, I've seen a bunch of these "new" methodologies come and go. Mostly they contain a grain of wisdom, with variable quantities of BS layered on top.

I would say the context matters more than the methodology. You need adequate budget and sufficient time, a good executive sponsor and genuine buy-in from your users, along with at least one super-enthusiastic user-evangalist who can act as a two-way conduit between the project and the users/management.

Without those, it is very hard to make progress, regardless of technology choices, methodology, recruitment strategy, etc.

Of course, this is all IMHO, YMMV, etc.
Scorpio Send private email
Tuesday, March 05, 2013
I seriously doubt if any formalized methodology (which is different than working standards) is practical without at least 4 layers in the organization.  If there are at least two layers between the top and the bottom, it is possible to hide what is going on, regardless of many employees are involved.  Having said that, if any manager has less than 5 direct reports, the organization should be flattened (if the top dog has less than 5 direct reports, he or she should also be performing a ground floor function).

Agile is like cloud, it means different things to different people.  So by all means use daily builds, standardized work practices, etc. even if you have 1-3 employees, but cut out the meetings and reports garbage.
Howard Ness Send private email
Tuesday, March 05, 2013

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