Tag Archives: product

How to build the Right Thing

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The software industry is going through a shift of mindset.

Agile basically solved the problem of how to deliver software. Most any company that applies an agile method and mindset can get working software out the door. Now, the biggest waste in software development seems to be building the wrong product, or the wrong features.

“There is surely nothing quite so useless as doing with great efficiency that which should not be done at all” -Peter Drucker

This insight has given rise to methods and techniques such as Lean Startup, Impact Mapping, Story Mapping, Feature Injection, etc. But is there a common denominator, a set of underlying principles?

On Feb 11, Gojko Adzic organized a full-day meetup in London with people deeply engaged in this issue, people like Jeff Patton, Mary Poppendieck, Ingrid Domingues, Chris Matts and others who have been inventing and spreading techniques for dealing with the how-to-build-the-right-stuff issue.

It was a very inspiring day! We compared our different approaches and experiences, extracted the core principles, and (to our surprise) managed to condense it into this shared message:

Great results happen when:
1. People know why they are doing their work.
2. Organizations focus on outcomes and impacts rather than features.
3. Teams decide what to do next based on immediate and direct feedback from the use of their work.
4. Everyone cares.

There. So now just go do it! ūüôā
Actually, if you want a more detailed description of each point see Gojko’s post.

Posts from the other participants:

Full participant list (in no particular order): Gojko Adzic, Mary Poppendieck, Gabrielle Benefield, Tom Poppendieck, Gordon Weir, Henrik Kniberg, Jeff Patton, Ingrid Domingues, Karl Scotland, Russ Miles, Christian Hassa, Dulce Goncalves, Aaron Sanders, Shadi Almviken, Chris Matts, Olaf Lewitz and Matthias Edinger.

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Dealing with technical debt

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Technical debt is a metafor created by Ward Cunningham to describe situation where shortcuts taken in the software process  will bites us back. Read Martin Fowlers excellent summary if you want do dig in on the subject.

There are many reasons for occurrence of technical debt, and not all are bad. A start up company for example might need to deploy pre maturely in order to finance it’s existence.

The problem arises when a team needs slack from their product owner to deal with technical debt. It might not always strike the product owner as a good deal, especially since the tech stuff are mostly makes sense to the developer more that  to the product owner.

If unlucky, the constant need to explain yourself can move the team into a deadlock where improvements don’t take place. To prevent this, here is an alternative approach!

Define actions to remove technical debt as any work made to fix the seven wastes of software developments.

  • Extra features
  • Partially done work
  • Extra efforts (discarded knowledge, reversed descisions)
  • Handoffs
  • Task switching
  • Delays
  • Defects

So whenever you do work of technical debt and your product owner asks you what you did, link it to one of the wastes of software development.