Thursday, May 01, 2008

Alistair Cockburn at Austin IEEE

Last night 120 people came out to hear Alistair Cockburn at the ieee meeting.
Some items that struck me:
1. Shu, Ha, Ri meaning, "Learn a technique", "Learn many techniques", "Blend Techniques". These are the levels people go through as they learn. We need to understand how people in each level of craftsmanship will act.
2. The bottlenecks in your organization will determine your strategy of software development. If the bottleneck is a database designer, then everything must be arranged to maximize her time. It doesn't much matter what everyone else does - unless they become the bottleneck.
3. There's always a bottleneck.
4. Do the riskiest stories first to make sure no surprises lurk in the corners of your project. This is contrary to the "do the highest business value first" philosophy.
5. Whether you use Agile or Lean processes don't matter much; you'll end up in the same place.
6. As you increase communication in a group you increase productivity.
7. Alistair told a story about a group interviewing Indian programmers. The interviewer made a mistake (on purpose) during the interview. If the interviewee didn't not mention the mistake, they were not considered for the job. Message: you need people who will communicate.

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