Foster and Enable Team Experimentation

Josh Couch

I love this next topic.

For most of my life, I have been given the latitude to experiment.  As a kid, you naturally experiment as you experience your environment for the first time.  You try jumping off things that get higher and higher until you realize that jumping off the garage is probably not a good thing.

As you move into adulthood, however, some of that experimentation gets taken away.  You can no longer experiment while you are work because your boss is expecting something in two days.  You think you can do it faster if you do it a different way, but what if you’re wrong?

And that kills the desire to innovate.

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Working in Small Batches

Jonathan Farber

We are just past the half-way mark of our Accelerate odyssey and we’re getting into more topics that are not so technical in nature. Like today’s topic: small batches.

The concept is really simple: slice your work up in batches that are a week or less in length.  And a number of project managers just wet their pants.  (They spilled their coffee. )

This has a huge impact on how traditional project management gets down and forces the business area to put a lot of trust in the developers.  (If you have an adversarial relationship with your business then this is going to be hard to pull off.)  But the benefits can be amazing.

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Value Stream Visibility

Jon Flobrant

I will admit, on our “Accelerate”  journey, this is where things start to get a little tough for me.  The next topic, making the value stream visible to the developers, allowing them to see the flow of work that delivers a product or service to the customer sounds simple enough.

If you’re building products.  But what about when you are delivering services?  How do you see the workflow?  How do you figure out the value that is being delivered?

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Customer Feedback

Rob Bye

Customer service.  It seems kind of self-explanatory, doesn’t it?  You perform a service for a customer.  But what do you do after you perform the service?

Here is where many organizations fall down.  They’ve studied the manuals, gone to the courses, passed the requisite test and they know what needs to be done next:  survey time!

I wish I could have written the basis of the course.  Survey time is not what is supposed to come next.

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Empowered Team

Annie Spratt

As we continue to look at the book Accelerate, and the 24 practices that help you build a high performing organization, we come to Empowered Teams.  The concept is simple, but the implementation can be complex.

Our research shows that teams that can choose which tools to use do better at continuous delivery and, in turn, drive better software development and delivery performance.

But, let’s face it, if you let every team use any tool that they so choose you’d have anarchy and you’d be in a worse place than you are now.  So, where is the optimum spot to end up?

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Loosely Coupled Architecture


We’ve successfully navigated the first major section of “Accelerate” journey: Continuous Deployment. Now let’s take a look at the Architecture capabilities that you need.

It’s no surprise that a “loosely coupled architecture” is necessary for the organization to be high performing.  A loosely coupled architecture allows for incremental changes to occur without relying upon other changes to be implemented concurrently.

So, what is loosely couple?

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Continuous Delivery

Gemma Evans

Everything that we’ve done to this point – Version Control, Deployment Automation, Continuous Integration, Trunk Based Development, Test Automation, Test Data Management, Shift Left on Security – has all been leading up to one thing:  Continuous Delivery.

Continuous Delivery is all about having the application deployed continuously, whenever needed.  But there is a key piece that really needs to be understood before you head down this path.

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Shift Left on Security

Matthew Henry

Next on our journey to Accelerate the organization? Security.  Imagine that, thinking about security up front will allow your organization to accelerate the building and scaling of applications.

We need to “shift left” on security.  To “shift left” means to move something that is normally done later in a process to moving it up earlier in the process.  In a timeline that goes left to right, we “shift left” or move it earlier in the timeline.

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Test Data Management

Sophie Elvis

We’ve talked about automating the testing, but we also need to talk about Test Data Management.  You can’t automate your tests unless you know what data you are dealing with.  If you pass a function the value “PI” and expect it to look up the value in a table and return “3.14159” back, but someone changed the value in the table, your test will fail, even though it worked properly.

False negatives and false positives can be the result of bad code or bad data.  To reduce the problems associated with the data you need to understand the data you are dealing with and ensure that the data on test run #1 is the same as the data on test run #100.

You need to manage your test data.

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Test Automation

David Travis

So the next step in our “Accelerate” journey is Test Automation.

It sounds simple, doesn’t it?  Put a couple of scripts together, do some testing via a batch job and BAM you’re done.  Walk away into the sunset, with the sound of your spurs the only thing that can be heard for miles.

Too bad that this image is just a fantasy.  Simple it is not.  Priceless it is.

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