Thursday, December 17, 2009

Early and often also provides options

Royalty-free Clip Art: Santa Claus Running To Deliver A Large Christmas Present Gift Wrapped In A Red Bow Ribbon And Yellow Paper With A White Snowflake PatternToday I got a gift.  One of my clients is on the verge of delivering  to production their first release of a new [internal] product  It is only an increment, and while it has some value to a set of users, it is only a step along the way to bigger things.


It's taken them 5 1/2 months, with a team of almost 25, working half-time.

"Sorry?" asks the Blog Reader, "did you call this a gift?"

Well, yes.  Local folklore says this team has worked on this domain for almost three years without a release at all, and in light of that, this is blazing speed. But the gift is something else.  This little release has provided an option to address an emergent business need that is suddenly a top priority to the company.

Well shazzam!

My client is struggling to refresh its developers' skill sets, as well as improve the rate of deliver and satisfaction of the business. Very recently the Powers that Be pushed to the top of the priority list the need to support a new [external, for sale] product to their marketplace.  As you'd expect, time is of the essence; it needs to be in production in six months.

The Product Owner and her Customer Team coined new user stories to tag the needs.  The Team was given the stories with dialog and time to ruminate.  The proposed solution, signed off by everyone, even the Old Technology Bigots, uses this Little Release That Could as a key ingredient.  In fact, without this Release, the only options would have been Old Technology only. And while I acknowledge that that would not have been Evil and could still be considered agile, this option is much more compelling and compliant with my client's goals.

Thank you Santa!  As their agile coach I could not have asked for a better example of how delivering early and often is really good!