Friday, June 8, 2012

What is Agile Development an Answer to?

I got to thinking about some of the problems I see at work around software development & roadmap and decided to apply some systems thinking to the situation. This is the result.

The key learning:

  • Really good use case validation is probably the largest leverage point.
  • Agile development can be an alternative to really good use case validation.
No surprises there but it is interesting to see the dynamics that lead to those conclusions. The feedback loops suggest alternative paths to address the customer acceptance problem when neither use case validation improvements nor agile development are feasible. For example:
  • What if you refused to add late features and managed the initial urgency to gain product acceptance? As long as the gaps are fixed in the medium term, the improved roadmap credibility may be enough to gain acceptance in the face of gaps next time because the customer believes your roadmap claims.
  • If apps and product managers are failing to validate use cases sufficiently, can you increase scrutiny on requirements by engineering and increase insistence on complete test case details by SQC to minimize factors which cause schedule slips and perhaps offset the slips caused by feature adds?