Using the Agile skeleton

Agile provides a skeleton set of rules that you can apply to any other Agile-related methodology – apply them with iron fist, then allow projects to define their own variations, especially at development level. These rules are:-

  • Full-Time ScrumMaster Identified and Team Members Available to Do Work
  • Team Agrees to Demonstrate Working Software in No More Than 30 Days
  • Stakeholders Invited to Demonstration

That is pretty loose, but get to grips with fundamentals of project team structure, and what is expected high-level, it’s a good start to developing your own Agile approach. Don’t forget, no methodology takes account of company culture, human resources or budget constrictions. Follow Agile to the letter, and it could prove very costly for you, without adding much comparative benefit.

The ScrumMaster role is a vital role, as it is he/she that keeps development on track with user stories, and is first point of contact for the business. This role is a common area of weakness – if you omit the role altogether, then you will simply have a Waterfall project (driven, as it would be, by the Product Owner). Product Owner thinks in terms of milestones, as they will have a stakeholder breathing down their neck. The Scrummaster brings some order to the input/output of requirements.

The team members include everyone that drives the daily SDLC, i.e. developers and testers. They may or may not be applying Agile software development method, but any Agile-friendly method is OK to use – best fit for the team and company. Length of Sprints is flexible and driven by realistic vision of what is possible given resources. 2 weeks is a common choice, which is sensible. A broad guide is to assume you need same amount of testing time and development time. 1 week Sprints can work, but difficult to sustain without sizeable team.

It is often stated that Agile is intended for smaller projects, and indeed SCRUM is very specific on this (ideal team size 7-12). This is a recognition that Agile was primarily for smaller projects. But if your project is large and complex, you can still apply the Agile skeleton rule, and choose a longer (and some would say more traditional) monthly release cycle. Corporation generally adopt this approach, largely because corporations are a slower machine. It doesn’t matter how dynamic or Agile your development team is. If stakeholders are rarely available, your project will slow up accordingly, as Agile assumes continual stakeholder contribution to the process.

Startup companies can adopt Agile more fully, as they have a lot more at stake for project delivery. No project, no funding, no company. So they can afford a more aggressive implementation of Agile, and SCRUM is ideal for an average startup structure. For s start everyone is usually in same building, if not on same floor. Interaction between employees is far more frequent, and feedback is very fast, up and down the chain. I have often thought the way corporations should be thinking is of each project as its own company, rather than attempting a corporation-wide strategy. While one project may suit Agile for software development method, another may be better using kanban (which is more developer-centric). Project methodology should be judged per project.

That’s not to say you cannot have an overall Agile strategy in a corporation – just adopt the Agile skeleton as the high-level framework. Then work out the development method to follow – taking parts of several methods, if appropriate.

OK, it’s a naughty …

OK, it’s a naughty, but would buy this in a heartbeat if it was available (even with the occasional radio presenter interference, though for some reason because he speaking in german, it kinda doesnt matter too much. A DJ set from Mark Spoon (RIP) from 1994 – that is a year I have largely forgotten (along with another few :)), but this music stayed with me. Its tunes I heard a lot, but never been mixed like this. Imperfect, intense, messy and some of the bounciest drum sounds ever!

[audio:http://blog.jaffamonkey.com/files/Mark_Spoon_-_Live_on_German_Radio_Side_1.mp3%5D
[audio:http://blog.jaffamonkey.com/files/Mark_Spoon_-_Live_on_German_Radio_Side_2.mp3%5D

Full Tracklist (courtesy of TranceAddict).

01. Jam & Spoon – Odyssey To Anyoona [Sony Dance Division] [474 928 9]
02. Liquid Sky – House Nation [SPV – 050-10705]
03. Voodoo Suite – Spritual (Groove Mix) [Round & Round] [RR 9226]
04. Solitaire Gee – Slumberland [Warp] [WAP 32]
05. Pacha – One Kiss [Flying] [FIN 133]
06. Club Vibes – Kick It [Strictly Rhythm] [SR 12186]
07. The Cameleon Project – Salvador [Guerilla] [GREP 003]
08. Goa Experience – Ekinoxe [Doss House 004]
09. Resoraz – Art Of Time [Warp] [WAP 37]
10. Soul Escape – Junction 14 [Slip´n´Slide] [SLIP 5]
11. Graylock – Acceleration By T.R.A.N.C.E. [STV 005]
12. Jam & Spoon – Right In The Night (Kid Paul Remix) [Sony Dance Division] [659 855 9]
13. Ultra Sonic – Anihilating Rhythm [Low Spirit / Fire 105]
14. Odyssee of Noises – Troya (Mix 93) [Eye Q] [4509 95139-1]
15. Baphomte – Reconcile [Trigger] [TR 010]
16. Jim Clarke – Daytona [Noom 104]
17. Jam & Spoon – Loops Of Infinity [Sony Dance Division] [659 855 9]
18. Renegade Legion – Friends Or Foes [FNAC 590279]
19. Sonic Infusion – Unfuture [Eye Q 006]
20. Ramirez – El Gallinero [Dance Floor Corporation] [DFC 155]
21. DJ Tom & Norman – Tales Of Mystery [Overdrive] [OVER 036-12]
22. Apreggiators – Discover Your Innserself [Harthouse] [HH 039]
23. Bam-Bam – La Casa [Bonzai] [BR 93024]
24. Jam & Spoon – Right In The Night (Rmx) [Sony Dance Division] [659 855 9]
25. Jam & Spoon – Follow Me [Sony Dance Division] [659 855 9]
26. Planetory Assault System – In From The Night [Peacefrog] [PF 102]
27. Razor´s Edge – Sleepless [Prolekult] [KULT 002]
28. Union Jack – Two Full Moons And A Trout [Platipus] [PLAT 06]
29. Sub-Stance – Urban Sea [NOW! 17]
30. Outsider – My House Is Mine [Spacemate] [SM 1222]
31. X-Dream Feat. Planet B.E.N. – The 5th Dimension [Tunnel] [TR 006]
32. Marc et Claude – Deux Petites Differences [Le Petit Prince 93/07]
33. Van Basten – Magnetic King [Brute 10]
34. Vernon – Sooner Or Later [Eye Q] [4509-94267-0]
35. Terminator Benelux – Gravity [HOS 013]
36. 3 Phase – Rota [Nova Mute] [NOMU 023]

Web 2.0 critic Keen says professionals will reclaim Web 3.0

Andrew Keen, who argued in his book Cult of the Amateur that Web 2.0 is destroying our culture, was more optimistic about the future when he spoke at the launch of Chales Leadbeater’s book We-Think at NESTA on March 3 2008. He said:
“The reality is that web 3.0 is actually going to be a moment when the experts, professionals, grab back the levers of power, the tools of creativity. When I wrote my book I was fearful that the masses were taking over and the future of the world was wikipedia. I actually think that the future of the world are professionals, doctors, academics, even politicians who will use the tools of the Internet like anybody else to distribute their wisdom and exertise. So I’m actually much less pessimistic in the way I look at the world about the future.”

Full report here.