Tonight I was wondering if I could describe a dream team. I’m not talking about dream team members, since I’ve only worked with very smart and committed people for this last year and a half in globo.com. I’m talking about a fictitious team where people would apply everything I believe a dream team would: profound knowledge, scientific method for problem solving, set-based design, continuous improvement, continuous deployment, iterative discovery, design and development, and some other things.
As is very well put by Mary and Tom Poppendieck in their book, it’s never the workers faults that create bugs, delivery rescheduling or customer dissatisfaction. It’s ALWAYS the system. So the main goal for this team is to make the system as mistake-proof as they possibly can, and then some. Through these posts I’ll try to describe the people, the process and its improvements and a product they are developing.
The team will be doing an iPhone/iPad app to deliver news to clients of a news agency. It’s creatively named iNews.
Even though this is a fictional team, I want to describe them (even with pictures – all Creative Commons) so I can translate that PEOPLE are the goal, the main thing. These are the people set to do a FANTASTIC product for my fictitious company, ACME Software.
John Miller is the tech lead for iNews. He used to work for a very large news agency and has more than 10 years of experience developing software.
John has a lot of experience with agile practices and lean software development. ACME’s board of directors expect him to lead the team to deliver a surprising, efficient and competitive product.
John has experience with static and dynamic languages, yet no experience with iPhone development. He’s eager to learn all about it, though. He wonders what kinds of architectural issues the iPhone/iPad development model poses.
Susan Lawrence is a senior engineer with the company. She is very knowledgeable of Scrum and in previous projects for ACME she loved the methodology. She feels that something was missing, though. There were some issues identified by the team and yet the team did little to solve them.
She has no experience with mobile development but is very eager to learn as much as she can. User experience is a subject that she cares deeply and is looking forward to working with Jane Collins.
She is the author of Stinks, the Continuous Integration server being used by some teams at ACME, so you can tell that she cares a lot about this practice.
Jane Collins is the user experience designer for iNews. She has a success track record with the company on several previous products.
She used to decide on her own what the user experience was supposed to be. This has proven to be the ineffective way of doing this, since the team always had issues implementing what she designed.
In her last project she tried a more tight integration with developers and they provided invaluable insight into what the users might value and what they wouldn’t.
She’s looking forward to the challenges of designing a consistent user experience for such distinct devices as the iPhone and iPad.
Jake Preston used to be an expert at front-end software development. Tired of this separation of front-end and back-end developers, he decided he would be as knowledgeable on back-end development as everyone else in the company (if not more).
Jake has been studying software engineering practices in general and learning more in every project he´s in. The iNews product has several interesting challenges for him. Among them, the different presentation requirements and capabilities of the devices.
He’s very concerned with how can interface automated testing be done in such devices, as well.
Christian Fields has just joined ACME. He never worked with news agencies, but has a very good track record with open source projects, being a contributor to large and very large projects.
He has a very strong culture of sharing and contributing. He expects to be able to apply this knowledge to iNews, since collaboration with customers and to some other teams will not only be required, but key to success.
He values second to none automated testing and versioning, being so used to rejecting patches that do not provide automated tests and releasing early and often to gather feedback of the community.
He is VERY excited to be working with a team of smart people in a very promising product.
Joseph Ross is the project manager. His role is to remove any impediments that stop the team from fulfilling the values in their value statement (next part).
He has a very strong process background being a certified scrum master and PMP. He thinks methodologies are guides whose only purpose is to be improved and replaced with the new improved process.
He has been in the company for more than 10 years, thus he knows virtually every employee and knows exactly how ACME and its people operate, as well as what the company’s values are.
These are the people who, together, will succeed or fail in delivering an innovative news content delivery application for the iPhone/iPad platform.
More about what their values are in the next post.