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Top 10 Takeaways from Agile 2017:Agile2017-Takeaways-Blog-Synerzip

Did you make it to the AGILE2017 Conference? If not, don’t worry! Synerzip’s Co-Founders, Hemant Elhence, CEO, and Vinayak Joglekar, CTO, have brought their top 10 key Agile takeaways (plus two bonus ones) directly to you. They presented these highlights at live events in Dallas (8/15), Austin (8/16), Houston (8/17) and we’ve compiled a quick summary of each one for your notes:

  1. Doing a Full Circle in Team Responsibilities and the Role of Machine Learning in Testing
    • If you were developing in the 1980s and 1990s, you may remember that the developer was responsible for all the pieces of a product. Over the years, that responsibility spread to a team of QA, operations and UX.
    • Today, we’ve come full circle and returned to having only developers on the team. Testing has become so complex that it requires developers to do it and the same is happening with operations and UX roles.
    • In QA and testing, the challenges are increasing and machine-based intelligence is playing an important role in analyzing the data and patterns at runtime that human testers cannot do.
    • The testers’ jobs won’t be going away. A new breed of testers will emerge who have developer skills and understand machine learning enough in order to train the machines.
  2. Intent-based Agile Leadership
    • Intent-based leadership is about creating an environment for people to contribute so that they feel valued and reach their potential. Let the people who know the details do the decision-making and stop micro-managing.
    • Evolved thinking is that the company and its competitors need to revolve around the customer, not the other way around
    • The Universal Model of Leadership framework shows that higher performing companies aligned with more creative competencies and manage people in a way that empowers and brings out the best in them.
    • Agile requires executive-level support for it to stick. As we (Hemant and Vinayak) walked the tradeshow floor, we saw a trend of bigger companies acquiring Agile competencies.
  3. Everyone on the team does UX – UX is not just for the UX team
    • Let developers be informed about the user experience research and participate in the process and user interviews. When the whole team participates, the developer team is able to aim better and know why they are doing what they are doing.
  4. The Agile Wave – from an Agile team to an Agile organization
    • The application of Agile is expanding outside of the Engineering team. It is already being applied to marketing, operations, human resources and is beginning to be used in finance and accounting.
    • In marketing, we see Agile being used to create adaptive and iterative campaigns (mixed with big launches) versus only big bang campaigns and launches.
  5. Containerized Microservices – A Revolution
    • Microservices are sandboxes that contain their own environment.
    • Containerized microservices bring many benefits, including: no scripts to bring up virtual services, faster startup and shutdown, less servers and thus lower license costs, better security due to smaller attack surface. With this improved envelope fidelity, there is a reduced ops role.
  6. ATDD/BDD – Automating acceptance tests
    • It always costs more to fix defects later on.
    • Acceptance Test Driven Development (ATDD): Push for clarity up front and define the acceptance test as close to black-and-white as you can get. Product owner, tester, and developer should collaborate and come up with the acceptance test in the “Amigo Review” process. Then the test can be automated and completed with push of a button.
    • Change the team mindset to “test first.” Once a team starts this process, they never go back.
    • The automation of the acceptance test frees up time for new development and innovation.
  7. New Learning Paradigm – Re-teaming and re-learning
    • Allow self-selection of new teams. Remember, it only takes one person to make a team new.
    • Send an email introduction highlighting achievements and quirks.
  8. #NoEstimates – How close are we to reality?
    • #Noestimates is not about getting rid of estimates, it’s about improving the way we work and negotiating decisions, not estimates. We need to stop doing bottom-up, task-based estimates.
    • Spend less time doing estimates by using real historical data and statistical techniques (7-11 samples are sufficient for 90% confidence) and put emphasis on the value estimate versus the cost estimate.
  9. Getting ’em Hooked – Behavioral Design
    • Prioritize your backlog based on outcomes: doing what is most effective in changing user behavior is of high value and should be done first.
  10. Scaling Agile – SAFe 4.5: What’s New?
    • SAFe has the momentum and a supporting ecosystem of consultants and training material. It can be configured to:
      1. Test ideas more quickly using the Lean Startup Cycle and Lean User Experience (Lean UX)
      2. Deliver much faster with Scalable DevOps and the Continuous Delivery Pipeline
      3. Simplify governance and improve portfolio performance with Lean Portfolio Management (LPM) and Lean Budgets.
  11. A case in point at Spotify
    • Everyone is talking about what’s happening at Spotify, but two of their developers helped clarify some of it. They have a mindset of “no model”, but it’s not fully in practice and pairing happens in a variety of ways or not at all.
  12. Architect Role/Architecture
    • Architecture is a shared responsibility, there should be no “official” architect role. Everyone should help define the landing zones, a minimum, a maximum, a target. The backlog architecture work must be actively managed and kept visible:
      1. “Floss” Refactoring: small, regular done, like hygiene
      2. “Root Canal” Refactoring: protracted, infrequent, undertaken only when in pain
    • Color code your backlog to keep the architecture work visible and explicit.

Download the Powerpoint slides from this presentation here.