Thursday, 23 February 2012

The Agile Manifesto

Principles behind the Agile Manifesto

We follow these principles:

Our highest priority is to satisfy the customer through early and continuous delivery of valuable software.

Welcome changing requirements, even late in development. Agile processes harness change for the customer's competitive advantage.

Deliver working software frequently, from a couple of weeks to a couple of months, with a preference to the shorter timescale.

Business people and developers must work together daily throughout the project.

Build projects around motivated individuals. 

Give them the environment and support they need, and trust them to get the job done.

The most efficient and effective method of conveying information to and within a development team is face-to-face conversation.

Working software is the primary measure of progress.

Agile processes promote sustainable development. 

The sponsors, developers, and users should be able to maintain a constant pace indefinitely.

Continuous attention to technical excellence and good design enhances agility.

Simplicity--the art of maximizing the amount of work not done--is essential.

The best architectures, requirements, and designs emerge from self-organizing teams.

At regular intervals, the team reflects on how to become more effective, then tunes and adjusts its behavior accordingly.

(Courtesy of

Saturday, 18 February 2012

Virtual teams - benefit or disadvantage?

I was recently at University (MSc course) where the topic of virtual teams and outsourcing was discussed.

There was a great deal of discussion about the benefit of virtual teams, i.e. how wonderful they are, all the benefits of them, etc. People were suggesting things like "you can have 24/7 production".  Well, that may be true, but that is not really an argument for virtual teams and outsourcing.

The reality is that virtual teams and outsourcing is good if you are only bothered about the cost of the item that you're producing. Everything else is a disadvantage, re-framed as a "cool feature".  For example, videoconferencing as a benefit.  It's a benefit if you or your organisation has outsourced production somewhere else, but if you're just on one site, then it's unnecessary!  What I'm saying is that by trying to save money in production, you've shifted the cost (and problems) to somewhere else, i.e. having to get around the issue that people are spread across multiple sites and timezones.

That's not to say that if you are a global organisation, you shouldn't do things like that.  All your programming talent may be in India, or wherever and you want to utilise their skills instead of using staff locally.  Or maybe you have a PM who is only available in another country or location.  I understand that.  But perhaps you should just produce the product in one place?  I just don't really see that virtual teams are really that much of a benefit apart from an attempt to reduce cost.

Perhaps I've missed something though, so I would welcome your input/discussion of this.  You can either reply here, or on Twitter to @jugglingsand