Agile Austin, a group dedicated to improving software development practices, sponsors an Agile Exchange where developers can visit other companies and hear about their Agile software practices.
Last month's Agile Exchange was with HomeAway and Jack Yang gave a dozen of us a tour of the HomeAway office and a description of their software development framework.
Below are my brief notes:
Initially software was developed in an ad hoc fashion with inconsistent results and a lot of disappointment. Jack ran one team on Agile principles and it was a success. The agile team members were dispersed to other groups to encourage them to adopt agile. It failed to catch on. Two more teams were trained and produced good results with Agile. Slowly other teams started to be interested, but it was a very organic growth. Now all twenty teams are doing Agile, with some of the more advanced doing Lean (Kanban). Software development is more predictable now.
Some teams do twice weekly deployments, others once a month.
Each team implements it's own version of Agile.
Cucumber is used for testing.
Each programmer is expected to do 5 hours of actual "hands on keyboard" programming a day although this varies by project; the rest is spent in meetings and other activities.
BigLever is used for variation management for over 20 brands.
The company, like everyone else, is moving to Git for version control.
Ruby on Rails will be used for the front end of the website, although the front end is expected to be language agnostic - whatever works best for their teams to get the job done well.
Java is used on the back end.
The business people at HomeAway really look at the Business Intelligence reports on how customers use their web sites.
Programmers use Macs.
Rally software is used to handle software issues.
Ruby scripts are created to access the Rally software from scripts.
Problems in Agile are the same - communication with people.
I would encourage developers to attend one of the Agile Exchange sessions; this last one was fun and informative.
Thanks to Brad Bellamy for organizing Agile Exchange.