Agile: Mission Impossible?: Case study presented in Update 08 conference

Last Wednesday I participated in a panel called “Agile: Mission Impossible?” where I presented one of Southworks‘s case studies where we successfully implemented Agile methodologies (Scrum + XP mix) in scenarios out of the Agile comfort zone.


We had good feedback from the audience, as well as lots of questions from people facing similar scenarios. Let’s summarize the case study presented…

“Your mission, if you choose to accept it…”

Apart from the goal of delivering a mission critical product implemented with emerging technologies, the case study in particular that I presented had the following constraints:

  1. “Distributed2: The whole team was divided in 2: Southworks team (1 architect + 1 lead + 2 devs) and the client’s team (3-4 devs). These teams were distributed in space, separated by 360 miles. But they were also distributed in time: their working hours differed in 2+ hours.
  2. “coached to coach”: Goals included the adoption of agile methodologies by client’s development teams up to the point where they must be ready to coach other teams within the client on successfully implementing agile.
  3. “Agile = 0”: The client’s team had no experience in agile methodologies or tools such as TDD, pair programming, refactoring, etc.
  4. “Tech = 0”: The client’s team had no experience in the models their where going to implement such as S+S or the technologies they were going to use: MVC, Ajax, WCF, Linq
The approach

After accepting that “mission” we used the product we started to build as the real-world scenario for applying a coaching roadmap that consisted of a mix of:

  1. Global (team + stakeholders) methodology understanding
  2. Continuous teamwork practice
  3. Ownership enforcement
  4. Partial team rotation to foster the knowledge transfer
The results

As part of the results of the case study, the product was delivered on time, on budget, with “over-delivery” features. The client’s team had learnt and successfully implemented agile methodologies as well as the new technologies, which they successfully started to apply to other projects in their organization.

Have you ever worked on similar scenarios? How did you solve them?

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