20 September 2008

Ho Hum

A team I've been coaching since June shipped their first release this week. They had the Release Demo on Friday morning, and it was just like all of the Iteration Demos that had preceded it. The demo took 30 minutes, there were a couple of questions and everyone broke for lunch. The only difference this time was that the demo was given from the production environment, and we all went out for a celebratory drink... er, Retrospective... later in the afternoon.

Essentially, the release itself was quite anti-climactic. There was no crunch, or people scurrying about in a panic trying to ensure that those last few bugs were fixed and all was ready. It was actually somewhat boring.

And that's exactly the way it should be!

The only thing that was concerning the folks on the team was that after another iteration's worth of work, there are some questions about the next bunch of functionality to be built. The primary concern is that the people on the team don't want to leave it - they don't want to go back to the "old way".

There are some other interesting aspects to this. First, the Customer had indicated that once the Stories that comprised this past iteration were in place, the system would provide enough value to the business to be useful. Second, the development team didn't even blink at the notion of shipping to production again after another 2-week iteration. Third, this was not an all-star team - they were quite representative of the people in the IT organization. The only person that was possibly hand-picked was one of the business analysts, but that was more because of her subject matter expertise.

So, give good people the right tools, environment and support from the organization, and they will kick butt compared to traditional development methods. Moreover, they will do it in such a way as to be, well, boring! And that's exactly the way it should be!

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