Agile Baby Steps – Iteration 3

If you’ve just landed on this, you may want to first read Agile Baby Steps – Iteration 1 and Agile Baby Steps – Iteration 2 which outline previous parts of my agile journey.

I’d just finished up at Web Media and things were starting to get a bit tight (economy wise) and I started looking at permanent positions, ending up at SilverStream, who were subsequently acquired by Novell. Although there were no real process parts to this role, it did get me going with Web Services, or what was to morph in to SOA using some great orchestration and portal tooling (now part of the dustbin of history…). It was the next role at MYOB (an Australian accounting package) that took me a little further down the road of Agile. MYOB were riding a high after the introduction of the Goods and Services Tax (GST, aka Sales Tax, VAT, …) which meant people really needed to use an accounting package for in order to compute their quarterly statements. There were two major events here:

  • I was introduced to Apple (back before the original iPods – I was sent to WWDC within a few weeks of  starting there!)
  • I was fully trained in Rational Unified Process (RUP) and subsequently “successfully implemented it”

The interesting thing is that my “successful implementation” was a termination of the whole project! The simple reason was that due to the usual lack of stakeholder buy-in, “role protection” and internal politics it was a no-goer. The great bit was that due to RUP’s bias to addressing risk up front, we had about 30 major risks, over 25 of which were being manifested! I think that’s a success as unlike so many “bad RUP” implementations, we had the sense to quantify the fact that the organisation was not ready for iterative development. It also wasn’t an entire failure as the dev teams loved the concept of iterative planning and development, so what was implemented was not RUP, but probably the “Agile bits” of it. It was a start however, and that’s better than nothing as I’ve commented in Egoless Change and Agile.

HMAS Sydney

After a few technical engagements, the next real chance I got to work with process, was ironically with my good friend Peter Tighe, who was the Development Manager at MYOB and had since moved to Tenix Defense, Marine – the people who build Australia’s Frigates. Pete asked me if I’d like to help out with some work there and seeing as he was one of the key reasons for me going to and staying with MYOB, I quickly accepted. Having both used RUP, it was an obvious choice (remember, we used it properly). Needless to say, the project went quite smoothly and I found a great little tool called XPlanner as I’d been reading eXtreme Programming Explained: Embrace Change by @KentBeck. This wasn’t agile yet, but it was RUP with quite an Agile flavour.

After a bit more defence work, I then got back in to the “mainstream” doing a bit of work in Risk Management and Enterprise Architecture around ESB’s, but it was my final gig in Australia, bought in with someone I knew at SP AusNet that really got me in to Agile. Our team had a former ThoughtWorker who was needless to say very pro Scrum. Coming from a RUP background it was certainly a “clash of cultures” in the beginning. After taking out all the “religiousness” from this individuals view I started to see the sense though. We could use the practices of Scrum (which I didn’t really know that much about apart from Stand Ups and Stickies) that went for weeks within a RUP Iteration which could last for months and in fact used Rationals RUP Rational Method Composer to create this hybrid process. Unfortunately our whole team (about 20 people) were terminated due to a political slip-up but it ended well with the guy who bought it all together founding Intunity who have become an Australian success story and me heading off to the United Kingdom…

PS Wondering where all this is going? Apart from being an Agile Ramble…? Stay tuned as like any good thriller, it will all come together in the last parts and they’re next (whenever that is – check the timelines on these posts and you’ll see they’re a bit sporadic)

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2 comments

  1. Pingback: Agile Baby Steps – Iteration 4 | changearc
  2. Pingback: Agile Baby Steps | changearc

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