Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Much Ado

Agile Vancouver's Much Ado about Agile conference was terrific. Sold out at 220 participants. Agile Vancouver held "Agile 101" tutorials before the conference, so everyone in our tutorial and track sessions was pretty savvy. Lots of agile practitioners doing cool things in BC! I had a lot of fun, learned a lot, and enjoyed the nice BC wine that was presented to me by the organizers! Really a cool agile group there, I look forward to going back.

Vancouver is a beautiful place too, with amazingly friendly people.

This past Thursday, our manager, Trevor, did a really cool thing. He gave us a presentation on how our team has done for the past 6 months. Every group in our company sets goals every 6 months, and evaluates how we did, and bonuses are partly based on whether we meet our goals. This is the first time we had such complete feedback into how we did.

Trevor started with a list of all the projects and features we have released in the past 6 months. We couldn't believe how much we did. When you focus on a few stories at a time, it's hard to remember the big picture. We delivered a half-dozen major projects and lots of smaller things. Many of them were highly complex, and our customers were happy with all of them. One major accomplishment of our IT team was to move our production servers to a new ISP provider with no downtime. Our company signed a major new partner. We met 100% of our goals!

The coolest thing was that Trevor gathered feedback from the business. Questions he asked them included:
  • Are we building features fast enough for the business?
  • Are the features we build high quality and meet end users' needs?
  • What do you think of the volume, quality, and turnaround times for defects and production support?
  • What does the team do that makes your job easier, or derails you?
  • Are you getting the information you need from the team?
  • Do you see anything in our way that we don't realize?
  • Are there any additional tools or software your team needs?
The feedback wildly exceeded our expectations. In my next post, I'll go into some details.

Meanwhile, back at the Agile Testing book publishing effort - our book will be available December 26. See the news to the right for a coupon code. Also, you can see an announcement of it on my website.