This weekend I attend Product Camp Vancouver. Some talks were interesting (review of information that I already know), some were so-so (or worst), and others were good “reference card” session such as the one on UX (User Experience). One of the impressions that I had was that product development is becoming a tower of Babel with everyone using in-vogue phrases scattered in each language (or pidgin language). A common frustration was poor communications with others in the team (UX Product Manager – Architecture – Development).
One of the most interesting talks (with a small attendance) was a pragmatic talk about how far does Agile Development scales. The concept of agile development is well known, but we are seeing terms like ‘agile architecture’ and ‘agile product management’ being tossed around. Often they seem to be used as excuse for not doing their homework. An agile product management means that the architect must be agile – agile to the point of being continuously interrupted. Architect-agility means that often existing successful already completed agile-development has to be re-done. No one tossed out the term ‘agile testing’ – as opposed to test-driven-development.
The term agile generally means SCRUM approach.
One issued raised was whether SCRUM with a lot of intense sprints resulted in higher job turnover rates and developer burn out. The literature speculate that SCRUM drops turnover rates – however there have been no studies verifying this . The question has been raised from personal observations by many people. Some interesting reading is Living in an Agile World: the Strategic Role of Product Management when Development goes Agile. QA and agile presents some major challenges – especially when the agile process results in changes (which should occur with agile). The same issue arises with documentation. The documentation needs to be continuously updated to the agile evolution. There should not 6 months after code-complete until release because QA and documentation takes 6 months to catch up to changes.