What are your New Year's Resolutions?
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So 2012 is in the past and it's time for your team to look ahead to 2013. Brian Bryson, Rob Retchless and I recently discussed New Year's Resolutions in our latest Software Threads podcast.
We agreed that 2013 is about fostering an environment that supports an extended agile team by implementing new practices that enable continuous software delivery. With a heavy focus on three areas, DevOps, Customer Collaboration and Incremental Design.
Resolution #1: Connect with operations
Agile teams must include operations in their team discussions and decisions to ensure new updates and fixes can be deployed rapidly. As Doctor Who says, "Patience is for wimps." And with the increasingly competitive mobile market, consumers are not patient and will not wait for weeks or even days for fixes and expect new features on a regular basis. Getting the right practices to make this work is a delicate endeavor as dev and ops have somewhat conflicting agendas; development is about pushing out their latest innovations and ops is about controlling all of the Enterprise components and assuring they are working and performing 24x7.
Resolution #2: Collaborate with customers more often
With the long tail economy that has accompanied the mobile movement, agile teams must find a way to obtain and integrate customer feedback more often. Face to face meetings and advisory boards are great, but can only be feasibly done once or twice a year and often exclude sometimes very important customers that are unable or unwilling to attend. Using new media to connect and engage with customers is imperative. Some of the ideas for continuous customer feedback include:
Closely related to customer feedback is the practice of incremental design. With the new bar that Apple has set for user experience and navigation, teams must be disciplined in their approach of User Experience and Design. There is nothing more frustrating than downloading a new app that doesn't behave in a intuitive manner. Organizations are going to have to look at integrating design into their agile practice or risk delivering apps that customers will never use.
So for 2013, think about Continuous Customer Feedback to gather the right requirements, Incremental Design to assure the correct interpretation of those requirements and a DevOps strategy to deliver the right product at the right time and gain a competitive edge.