We had the opportunity to have Ilan from Practical agile lead a workshop for team building for one of our project leadership teams. This was a great experience for us, and we learned a lot from it.
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Forget about fixed price projects. Here’s why: Making software has a notorious reputation. You’ve seen this before: Buggy software, resulting in late delivery, leading to unhappy customers, creating more pressure on all sides, leading to more buggy software… Sounds familiar?
The usual remedy: Define the scope, budget and time, so everyone knows what the customer expects and by when. Miss this date, and you’re in trouble.
Does that fix the problem? Hell no. Why? Working in a fixed model creates a double-sided risk: If the project extends beyond the planned budget or time, the supplier hits the risk. If the project ends early, the client hits the risk, having paid more than they got for value for. Since the supplier will never take a losing project, a buffer is always added. Big buffer. Big, as in overpriced projects, but with the pressure that leads to bugs and all the vicious cycle mentioned above. In the end the client lost twice: Once for the overpriced project. Secondly, because the project is late, everyone is under pressure, leading to cutting corners and hey presto, there goes quality out of the window.
Say hi to no more bugs. Sorry bugs, we work differently. Here’s how we want to break the habit of late surprises of the kind the client doesn’t like: From early on we show the client real outcomes. How early? Two-four weeks is a typical first review. Thereafter, every 1-2 weeks we’ll show you additional increments of progress. No Power-Point presentations, no documented promises – we mean real working software. Not what you wanted to see? We’ll get it right in the next iteration. Changed your mind? No worries, in the next iteration we’ll change it for you. Want to try another way? Let’s experiment it in the next iteration. The beauty is that the iterations are small and if something isn’t the way you wanted it – it’s easy to fix.
Heck, we believe in this model so much, that we’re sure we can deliver quicker than you expect. How sure? So sure that you can stop the project at any time – you get value early, and we take a small reward from the remaining commitment. Typically 20% of what’s left. We didn’t make this model up. You can read more about it here. (<– add hyperink →)
As part of our series of blog posts about ‘Refactoring’ katas, we now publish a second kata: AlgoTrader.
This kata was written in java and the refactoring operations described here were done using Intelij IDEA.
The code can be found here (look for the “AlgoTrader” folder)
Second kata: AlgoTrader
In an algo trade system (a bot that trades in the stock markets), there is a service called StockMarketAPI and it’s responsibility is to abstract the web requests to the stock market API. It looks like this:
Mechi Shmariahu – HR manager – Aternity
Aternity is a start-up company developing software monitoring systems, Elad was chosen to help with our agile transition.
The work process started with a 2-day training for the entire company, the training was done in an interesting and refreshing and helped the employees reduce their resistance to the change.
The way he presents the topics and are interesting and challenging at the same time.
Elad received a very high score in the feedback from the employees.
Elad is accompanying us in the agile transition process and is considerd by all as a key person in regards to decision making in the company.
I will be happy to provide more details if needed,
Mechi Shmariahu – HR Manager – Aternity.
Achi Solomon – Scrum Master – Verint
Ilan has been coaching me and my SCRUM team for more than half a year – I must say that the end results are impressive – our team have received a certificate for outstanding performance out more than 50 scrum teams, and Ilan had much to do with it.
At first it was hard, I did not get the message Ilan was trying to pass to me – later I understood that Ilan want me to find the answer my self, so I will have the tools in order to find the answers myself in the future.
Giving away an answer for the current issue would have helped me in the current situation, but what Ilan did gave me tools for life.
Which tools did Ilan give me?
- The ability to observe what is happening in the team from the soft perspective, and point out stuff we need to talk about.
- The understanding that being more effective means having better Trust, communication, commitment in the team .
- The ability to Motivate team members, build a responsible & accountable team.
- Lots of SCRUM tools & techniques to improve these areas.
Basically, when I met Ilan, I was a “Scrum dude”, Ilan helped me develop in to a “Scrum Mom”, and I hope that using the tools he gave me I would be my “True Scrum Master”.
Achi Solomon – Team Lead & Scrum Master at Verint
Dr. Laszlo Petrovics – Psychologist
Having been asked to assist World Bank/IMF in understanding/ redefining organization needs of the post-Communist Public Sector in health delivery and education systems, I am pleased for my productive contact with Mr. Kirschenbaum. Our focus is on wedding IT capabilities with new, Integrated Social Systems which will draw need to draw on new software capabilities. His willingness to take the time to explain the complexities of agility, skills in active listening that clarify confusions, his choice of furthering his training from the area of Human Relations is telling, and correct. In face of the deepest concerns the present economic chaos has loosed, much hope for solutions rest with young people such as him who can harness dedication for repair with the highest human and technological know how.
Noam Zweig – CyberArk
Head of Engineering Division at CyberArk, Head of Architecture
CyberArk R&D and me works with Lior for already 2 years, and more ahead. For the past 2 years, Lior and his team guided us, and helped us to understand the importance of automation. But beside changing our mindset, Lior also helped us to guide and implement the ideas of automation, TDD, etc… in our development teams.
Lior comes with an open mind, and sharp eyes. He learns really quickly, analyze the pains and recommend. He has the high level conceptual understanding of Agile, but he is also technically, and capable of bringing the technical aspects that serves the conceptual ideas.
Lior and his team presented a very professional and open approach, and managed to contribute and touch most of our teams.
Lior grooms the long term relations, and push to understand where and how he can help us to be even better. Also, Lior is actively working to join us in the Agile community.
I think, that if you look for someone that will help you to understand what to do, but later will also help you to implement – but – in open and sharp mind – Practical Agile and Lior are for you.
Shlomi Nemirovski – General Federation of Labour in Israel
Practical Software was the provider for a custom system for the internal elections for the leading workers union in Israel. The risk was high, and I was skeptical because of my experience with software products. But everything worked like a dream, and the support from Practical Software during elections day was beyond expectations. I’d love to work with them again as my supplier for software development.