The problem with averages, of course, is that you are below average half the time. When the team missed its initial estimates, it needed to catch up, leading to either shortcuts that hurt future speed or, possibly, inflated estimates. Either approach hurts, rather than helps, long-term behavior. Kaufman thus recommended metrics that answer a particular question at a point in time. This is a welcome alternative to heavyweight tracking, especially if there are ways to game the system to hit the numerical target.
Analysis: Software Testing Lessons Learned From Knight Capital Fiasco
Finally, the exploratory testing talk exposed the elephant in the room-there are entire categories of software defects that automated tests tend to miss but are obvious to a person actually using the software. Creamer and Barcomb introduced the idea of testing charters. These are equal in weight to a development "story" and make the human tester's work visible to the entire team.
While the testing material was wonderful, the real value in the session was its multidisciplinary nature. Attendees included developers, graphic designers, managers and a handful of testers. One of the larger sources of waste I see in software is a mismatch in expectations among roles; these sorts of sessions eliminate that friction.
Candid Conversations With Agile Leaders
The biggest surprise of Agile and Beyond came not in a conference session but in an informal, around-the-table conversation in the dining room before lunch. People like Michael Drzewiecki, a project manager who drove to the event to pique his personal interest; Ron Jeffries, a co-author of the Agile Manifesto; Dan Neumann, an agile coach based in Michiana (an economic region in northern Indiana and southwestern Michigan), and Chet Hendrickson, who worked on the Chrysler Comprehensive Compensation System often cited as the original extreme programming project, all sat down table and just started talking about software development.
First we talked about the line manager's role in agile development. In an agile environment, you'll find a sort of self-organized, self-directed, multi-disciplinary project team.
If that's the case, then many of the traditional responsibilities of the "boss," from meeting with customers to slicing the work up in little boxes and handing it out, are delegated to the team. What, then, is a manager to do?