I got round to listening to the latest Radio TFS podcast today whist our for a run, Adopting Team System with Steve Borg. If you are looking at adopting TFS or even just critically looking at your development life cycle with a view to improving (irrespective of the tools you use), then this podcast is well worth the time to listen to. It actually covers a lot of the points I was discussing at the Agile Yorkshire user group this week in my session of Crystal Clear. By now I would usually have put my slide stack up for all to download, but in this case, as my session was a book review in essence I would like you to read the original Crystal Clear by Alistair Cockburn.
In my opinion, the key point they both raise is the that it is important to have a process that provides:
- Safety – provides a framework that means the project can safely be delivered
- Efficiency – development should be in an efficient manner
- Habitable – that the team can live with the process (if they can’t the process will be avoided/subverted)
Or to put it another way (and quoting here from the Crystal Clear book) “a little methodology does a lot of good, after that weight is costly”
A point raised at the user group in the chat after my session was that of how to get senior people (such as CEO, CFO etc) to buy into the ‘new’ development process (a critical factor for success). Too often it is heard “I don’t care if you are agile or not, I just want it delivered” and no support is provided beyond the actual coding team from the business. A good discussion of this type of problem is in Gojko Adzic’s book Bridging the Communication Gap: Specification by Example and Agile Acceptance Testing. This is written for non software developers and discusses how to make sure that the whole business is involved in the development process, thus enabling the project to deliver what the business really needs not what people think they need. I would say this book is an essential for anyone involved in the software specifications process – and that should be everyone in an agile project!