Posts de ‘Bernardo Heynemann’

[Bernardo Heynemann] Dream Team – Part III – Processes

Monday, July 26th, 2010

The Value

As explained in the previous post, the first value outlined in the iNews team is that processes serve the sole purpose of being challenged and improved.

The Discussion

The team gathered at a meeting room. At the meeting there were John Miller, Susan Lawrence, Jane Collins, Jake Preston, Christian Fields, Joseph Ross and me.

I was invited just to listen, no talking allowed. I was in charge of time keeping so they would respect the time box for the meeting (the only thing I was allowed to say).

The first one to speak was John:

John: Hi guys! It’s a pleasure to be working with such a distinct and diverse team.

We have a very ambitious and interesting project ahead of us. We are in charge of changing the way people think about mobile news.

But before we set out to do just that, I’d like to discuss with you our team values.

All the other team members looked puzzle. Susan quickly replied:

Susan: I don’t get your meaning, John. I thought we were supposed to use scrum like the rest of the company.

If we are to use it as a process then we already know our values: the twelve principles in the agile manifesto.

What exactly do you mean by “our values”?

Every pair of eyes in the room turned to John. Tension in the air (ok, that’s just me being dramatic):

John: Very well observed. The issue here is that those are the agile manifesto principles. Not OUR principles.

We might end up with exactly the same set of principles, but then they’ll be our principles as well.

If we get to that, I’m sure we’ll live by those and in every decision you’ll abide by them.

A sense of shared understanding filled the room. “That makes just so much sense”, I thought.

Jane still looked uneasy, though. John, as a good leader sensed that and asked her what was worrying her.

Jane: Well, as a designer I’m not as used as you guys to a formal process. I’m very used to change, though.

It’s very clear to me that change is a competitive advantage.

John: I see, Jane. It is a good thing that you mentioned the process.

I really believe that processes are guides to help us interact and they serve no other purpose than to be challenged and replaced.

Christian: Coming from an open-source background, I’m very used to challenging and replacing “processes” of all kinds: contribution, releases, licensing.

Usually you get the processes from some other well-known successful project and start adapting them to your project.

Joseph: I like that discussion a lot. I come from a ScrumMaster position in the company from the early days of scrum.

A lot of failed Scrum implementations come from the fact that people get the practices without understanding the principles.

This leads to process paralysis. They won’t change anything in the process even if it gets in their way just because some book says they *HAVE* to do it this way.

John: What do you think now, Susan?

Susan: I couldn’t agree more with you guys.

I never thought that people failed to understand that processes are mutating things.

I always tried to adapt processes to fill my needs.

Jake: Even though I come from a very different background, what you said makes perfect sense.

I do share the concern with Jane, though. What if the current process does not really include us in the loop?

John: That’s exactly why we are suggesting that the process must be challenged and replaced with a better fit.

If ANYONE in the team feels some practice is not worth doing and have ANY better idea we should at least give it a try.

Best case scenario, we get best at doing what we have to do. Worst case, we learn. Looks like a win-win situation to me.

At this point I’m just amazed at how easily people with such different backgrounds connected over an ideal of delivering more.

Joseph: Well, I can confidently say that we have one of our values defined.

Processes are guides that should and will be challenged any time anyone thinks of a better way of doing some practice (or even not doing it at all).

There are no fool ideas or experiments. There are no reprimands to suggesting improvements by anyone in the team.

Does that sum it in an understandable way?

Everyone nods in agreement.

John: Ok, so we abide by this value at all times until we find it to be a poor fit to our team and change it. Ok?

Again happy nods in agreement.

Me: Awesome! Done with 5 mins to spare!

Susan: Yeah, and since I’m hungry, what do you guys say of a trip to Starbucks?

All: YAY!

Hmmm… Caffeine addicted, are we?!

They go happily to Starbucks and then come back to discuss next value.

Conclusion

This value may seem counter-intuitive at first. If I keep challenging a process that means it’s not good enough. What’s the point of having a process if it’s not good enough?

The team’s answer to that is that the process is just the current best practices for delivering value and as there’s no such thing as THE best way to deliver software, they are supposed to be continuously challenged, experimented with, improved and replaced.

They do not believe that any of them know exactly the best way of doing anything, yet they uphold the ideal that together, through iterative refinement they can keep improving the way they do things.

This is the reason for this value. The process is not what’s important. Delivering business value is. The process is just the means to do that.

[Bernardo Heynemann] Dream Team – Part II – The Team’s Values

Sunday, July 25th, 2010

Introduction

In the last part of the ACME’s iNews saga, John, Susan, Jane, Jake, Christian and Joseph set out to start the product.

They decided that, in order to consistently deliver and provide value to the company, they needed to get their team’s values straight. What do they believed in as a group? What principles and ideals would they uphold and work by? So they got together and after some brainstorming they came to the following Team Values Statement.

Team Values

The following values are what the entire team considers fundamental and is committed to upholding.

  1. Every process exists for the sole purpose of being challenged and improved;
  2. The best time to solve any problem or defect is now;
  3. Code only has value in production. Unreleased code is waste;
  4. Respect and Fun, with responsibility;
  5. We own the product!;
  6. Automate everything you possibly can, except people;
  7. Tranparency above everything. No questions can be invalid or taboo.

Mission Statement

They finish their value statement with their mission statement:

  • These are our values and we commit to them and to one another.
  • We also recognize that our purpose is to create value for the organization.

Conclusion

These values are not something the team “agreed” on, or just accepted. This is a set of common values that they share and will uphold above everything.

There’s a big difference in agreeing with or accepting something and sharing a value with someone. The fundamental difference is commitment. People are committed to their values and this team is committed to the values above.

I’ll explain in detail in further posts every single one of the values they outlined as they discussed (I was invited to the discussion).

[Bernardo Heynemann] Dream Team – Part I – The People

Friday, July 23rd, 2010

Introduction

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 Product

The team will be doing an iPhone/iPad app to deliver news to clients of a news agency. It’s creatively named iNews.

The Team

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.

http://www.flickr.com/photos/ian_munroe/4174136961/ John Miller

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.

 

http://www.flickr.com/photos/lara604/2369412952/ Susan Lawrence

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.

 

http://www.flickr.com/photos/dichohecho/2556568314/ Jane Collins

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 Prestonhttp://www.flickr.com/photos/titlap/3936883765/

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.

 

 

 

http://www.flickr.com/photos/greggoconnell/252976245/Christian Fields

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.

 

http://www.flickr.com/photos/flechtnerby/4817094778/Joseph Ross

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.

Conclusion

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.

[Bernardo Heynemann] This blog has moved to http://blog.heynemann.com.br

Wednesday, May 26th, 2010

Yeah guys, I finally took courage to get my own domain and setup a new blog there . I’d like to thank a lot Michael Rumminer for the opportunity to host my blog here! It was a really good way to get my thoughts organized and express myself! Thanks man!…(read more)

[Bernardo Heynemann] Continuous Integration – Integrating People

Tuesday, July 28th, 2009

Introduction I know it has been a while since I wrote anything and I can come up with a number of good excuses as to why: New job at globo.com. Learning A LOT and working hard to improve our current development ecosystem. Pyccuracy and Skink maturing….(read more)

[Bernardo Heynemann] Meu primeiro post em Português – Venha workar na globo.com

Sunday, May 17th, 2009

Dear reader, if you don’t understand this post that’s alright. This post is in portuguese and aimed at Brazilians. Please disregard if you don’t fit in those categories. Caros leitores Brasileiros, Você quer trabalhar com o melhor que a tecnologia pode…(read more)

[Bernardo Heynemann] Grape release of Pynq is out there!!!

Friday, May 15th, 2009

Grape release of Pynq is out! You can grab it in the usual places ( Installing Pynq ) . I’ll go over all the details of this new release, but first I’d like to introduce the HOTTEST feature of this new release: DOCUMENTATION ! Pynq now has comprehensive…(read more)

[Bernardo Heynemann] Pynq, Scribbler, Skink, PyoC and Pyccuracy

Saturday, May 2nd, 2009

Introduction Wow, that’s a big title. In approximately 2 months of python coding I already collected 5 projects to manage and nurture. Pyccuracy – The first one, a port of Stormwind Accuracy for .Net – a BDD Acceptance Testing framework. PyoC – A port…(read more)

[Bernardo Heynemann] Audio Acceptance Testing

Wednesday, April 1st, 2009

What’s more natural than speaking? This is why Pyccuracy will now support audio BDD Acceptance Testing. From version 0.5.0 onwards, you’ll be able to just shout your tests at the test engine. Just Shout it Whenever you need a test done, use your voice…(read more)

[Bernardo Heynemann] People behind the software

Monday, March 23rd, 2009

How many open source tools you use? Cool, now of how many of those you actually know who’s behind them. By knowing I mean a face, a name and some bio on the person. I expect the answer to be just a few or none, right? Pyccuracy sets the example Well you…(read more)