Prototype hard & early or go home

Or why I believe you should front-load your early sprints with prototyping.

As you’ve probably gathered, I’m a fan of prototyping.

There is a popular meme ‘A prototype is worth a thousand meetings’ and whilst a bit glib it holds weight. Rather than explain, a good prototype can show. Explanation is often open to interpretation, showing how things work, or how you intend them to work with something physical is less so.

a prototype is worth a thousand meetings

The benefits of prototyping are multiple. Untested hypotheses are just assumptions even when backed by the best data. Prototyping both UX & functional, allow the team to rapidly prove (or fail) learn and move on, which is at the heart of what we are trying to do. After all you want to discover early if a feature is viable or not.

Don’t discount the benefits in checking shared understanding of requirements. I’ve been on a few projects where everyone’s reviewed a feature story, dutifully nodded worked out implementations details and then built something quite different from the intended feature. [Read more…]

Scrum: It’s all about trust stupid

The more I work with Scrum teams the more I’m convinced that trust is one of the most important factors in the growth of the team, effective delivery of working software and general team happiness.

The basics of Scrum will only get you so far, if we want our teams to grow, develop and potentially become ‘great’ then we need to produce an environment that will allow them to use their skills and attain this. Not every team can be great, and it very much depends on your definition of great, but every team can be better.

Every software development process in the world is meaningless unless we trust in our teams to deliver, trust them to make decisions and don’t punish them for making mistakes. I am yet to meet a development team that wants to deliver poor software. [Read more…]