Agile Development & Business Goals: The Six Week Solution

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Agile Development and Business Goals: The Six-Week Solution is a guide for the software development process, which can be challenging, difficult, and time-consuming. This process, called the “Agile” process, is unique, and it features several aspects that distinguish it from the classical methods of software development. The book offers readers information about the design, implementation, and management of the different methods of creating world-class software.
The book discusses the various reasons that the development of software is a difficult process, and it addresses how software development sometimes fails and why it seldom aligns with business needs. It further examines the risk associated with software creation and the different ways to mitigate them.
This book is relevant to software development managers responsible for creating quality software products, and managing software development teams.

* Explains how to employ automation in your development process to improve your company’s profitability.
• Introduces a compensation structure that incents your technical talent to deliver measurable results on a predictable basis.
• Provides real-world solutions - questions to ask when hiring or which build server software to consider, for example - instead of theoretical discussions.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher

The ability to think of software development as a part of the business is lacking in far too many organizations.Many CIO’s report to the COO or even the CFO - as opposed to the CEO.Technology is only going to become more and more important in the coming years, and the organizations that are able to align this to their financial needs and delivery needs are the ones that will succeed in the new economy. The ability to show and understand the alignment of a business sector bottom line to these methodologies will give companies some support in leaping the chasm to true Agile development. This book addresses a much neglected gap between the technical and business aspects of software development.I recommend it for C-levels and project leads as well. It would also be a useful tool for the senior management that will be responsible for implementing such a solution.

- Steve Ropa, Agile Consultant, VersionOne All agile practitioners dream of achieving development flywheels that yield high-value features on a predictable cadence. While today’s hubbub about Agile promises this, achieving it and then sustaining on-going momentum are difficult to say the least. The Six Week Solutionprovides focus and solutions to many factors that must be addressed for high output teams. The pragmatic approaches found in the book can be directly adopted for new teams or, in some cases, adapted to improve existing agile operations.I recommend it as useful reading for those wanting a better understanding of the dynamics found in an agile-centered company. - Bill Wood, VP, Product Development, Ping Identity

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780123815200
  • Publisher: Elsevier Science
  • Publication date: 7/7/2010
  • Pages: 256
  • Sales rank: 974,115
  • Product dimensions: 7.50 (w) x 9.20 (h) x 0.60 (d)

Meet the Author

Bill Holtsnider is an experienced writer, educator, and software professional with more than 26 years of experience working in the computer industry. His IT expertise includes working in such diverse areas as stock portfolio management, identity management, and software development. He is the author of six books and a wide range of technical and marketing documentation.

Tom Wheeler has a long track record of building organizations to develop commercial software, including products for financial services and contact centers. He has built, sold and been a senior manager in a variety of different types of companies, including international conglomerates and garage-sized start ups. He first created the Six Week Solution back in the 1980’s and has been fine-tuning it since.

George Stragand is a manager and software developer with over 20 years of producing and managing the delivery of commercial software on time. He has worked for companies ranging in size from startups to multinationals, creating software both for external and in-house use. He still hasn’t found a problem which couldn’t be solved by one more level of indirection or a suitable amount of explosives in the correct location.

Joseph Gee has spent the last 10 years of his career leading and coaching teams through a variety of successful projects and Agile transitions. His advocacy for software craftsmanship has equipped teams for success in small custom shops, large telecom enterprise systems, commercial shrink-wrap modeling software, and, most recently, cutting edge behavioral analytics.

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Table of Contents


Who Is This Book Written For?

Chapter Summary


Chapter 1 Introduction: Ask Yourself These 10 Key Questions 1

Introduction 2

Ten Questions to Ask about Your Software Development Process 2

Why Listen to us? 7

Chapter 2 The Problem: Why Software Projects Fail 11

Introduction 12

Historical Perspective 12

The Scope of Software 12

Software Development Often Fails 14

The Need for Process 14

A Common Question 15

Software Development Is Hard---Very Hard 17

Why Other Agile Methodologies Often Fail 19

Why Waterfall Processes Often Fail 19

High Visibility 24

Death March 24

Man in a Room 26

The Rogue Developer 27

"Are You Done Yet?" 27

Budget Black Hole 27

Why the Six Week Solution Is Different 28

Chapter 3 Expectations: What It Means for Software to Succeed 31

Introduction 32

Software Development Sometimes (Accidentally) Succeeds 32

Is Aligned with Business Needs 32

Manages the Cost of Change 33

Is Built in an Automated Way 33

Factors Quality into the Core of the Process 33

Is Not Constantly Being Redeployed 34

Progress Is Constantly Being Made 34

Delivers Something of Value 34

Is Evangelical 34

Is Predictable 35

Is Both Tactical and Strategic 35

Is Game Changing 35

Allows Management to Stay Informed 35

Is Measurable 36

Chapter 4 Overview of the Six Week Solution 37

Introduction 38

Additional Problems 39

Components of Agile Alignment 41

Why Six Weeks? 41

Cycle Commitments 45

Developer Compensation: COD 45

Six Week Iterations 46

Time Boxing Development: Key Deadlines 48

Week 1 Cycle Kickoff 48

Week 3 Mea Culpa 51

Week 6 Testing 52

Steering with Business Goals 53

Chapter 5 The Solution's Critical Pieces 57

Introduction 58

The Big Game 58

The Entire Company Must Buy In 59

Work Space 62

Personnel Roles 67

Hiring Smart 73

Compensation 79

Development Tools 81

Cycle Commitments 83

Chapter 6 Managing the Cost of Change 89

Introduction 90

Flattening the Curve with Feedback Loops 90

Avoiding the Curve by Managing the Unknown 98

Lowering the Curve by Increasing Productivity 108

Providing Effective Tools 108

Languages and Tooling 109

Buy, Don't Build 110

Effective Communication 110

Gauging Performance with Pairs 116

Chapter 7 Assuring Software Quality 117

Introduction 118

The Value of Quality 118

External Software Quality 123

Internal Software Quality 125

Symptoms of Design Rot 128

Quality and Software Craftsmanship 129

Size of Work Pieces 131

Unit Testing 132

Chapter 8 Integrating Automation into Your Development Process 135

Introduction 136

Continuous Integration 138

Build Process 142

Metrics 143

Automation Tools 149

Chapter 9 Other Software Development Approaches 161

Introduction 162

Simplified Evolution of Software Processes 164

Chapter 10 Risks with Using This Approach 177

Introduction 178

Workplace Challenges 178

Work Environment 179

Why This Is Not a Risk 179

Risk: Abandoning Quality for Bonuses 188

Management Challenges 189

Quality Concerns 195

Design Debt 196

Hard to Transition 197

Smaller but Still Potentially Problematic Risks 198

Chapter 11 Transitioning to the Six Week Solution 203

Introduction 204

Before You Do Anything, Though 204

Automate the Build 204

Selling This Idea up the Chain 205

Selling It to Sales and Marketing 206

Determine Your Aggressiveness on Cycles and Compensation 207

Set Expectations from the Start 208

Pick the Date for the Cutover 209

Use the Language of the Process 210

Transitioning the Development Team 210

Creating the Baseline---Your First Six Week Cycle 212

Chapter 12 Conclusions 213

Introduction 214

Aligns Software Development with Business Needs 214

Developers Are Compensated Based on Their Performance 214

Addresses Both Core Business and Core Technical Components 214

Simple to Describe to Everyone in the Company 214

Designed from the Ground Up to Produce Revenue-Generating Software 215

Ties Directly into Your Investment in Your Software Development 215

Accounts Directly for Quality 215

Allows You to Hit Your Short-Term Goals While Addressing Your Long-Term Goals at the Same Time 216

Rewards Success and Penalizes Failure 216

What to Do Next 216

Glossary 217

Sources 225

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