Tag Archive: Agile Methodologies


Last week I attended the ISA Techbrew event, hosted in 4 Dame Lane.

I have been to a couple of these Techbrew events before. Run by the Irish Software Association, they are offer an informal setting to network with Industry peers. Whilst listening to the talks, you are also rubbing shoulders with technology leaders .

There’s an informal vibe to these events. I’ve been to similar functions and often it is difficult to network, especially for the shy or timid people present. At Techbrew, when you arrive you can avail of your free beer, and the name and company badges make introducing yourself to those around you that bit easier.

This particular event was focused on the theme of Agile Product Management.

Following the standard Techbrew formula, the ISA had arranged subject matter experts to present their experiences with the topic. The speakers stand on a chair (“the soapbox”), and talk for ten minutes, followed by a QA session in between speakers.

ISA Techbrew

ISA Techbrew

The first speaker was; Siobhan Maughan, Vice President, Product Management at Openet

As I learned, Siobhan has 20 + years of software industry experience.

She discussed how she began working fulltime in Openet 5 years ago, as a Product Manager, and charted her progress to her current position where she is responsible for a portfolio of products.

What I found most interesting about Siobhans piece, was her honest appraisal of how Agile has been perceived and implemented in Openet. She talked about how, some years back, Management would proclaim their business units to be Agile, when in fact, they weren’t quite. An example of this is where she was involved in Software Development projects which used elements of Agile and Waterfall, according to Siobhan, Openet where using “Watergile” methodologies.

She has a lot of wit, and engaged the crowd with some insightful one liners, which no doubt have been retweeted many times.

“Agile is like a box of chocolates, you never know what you are gonna get”

“Agile is like being pregnant, you either are or you are not”

ISA Techbrew

ISA Techbrew

Next up, was John McQuillan – OpenJaw Co-Founder, President and Head of Product Development

John discussed OpenJaw’s approach to adopting Agile Product Management in a very frank and honest way. He left us with no illusions that this is not a one size fits all transition. It’s challenging, and can come with considerable trials and tribulations.

He lamented about how they didn’t take the “Big Bang” approach, instead opting for a start small, investigated approach. He personally purchased manuscripts on Agile methodologies and circulated to all relevant employees. He mentioned they would have discussion groups and encourage everyone to speak their mind. He is now a true believer in the power of Agile product management, and offers his companies continued growth as evidence to his claims.

The final speaker was Rich Mironov, a Silicon Valley Product Management Veteran,

Rich is a master in the subject of Agile product Management. He discussed his experience across successful and “failed” start-ups, and his years of experience acting as Consultant to IT companies worldwide.

Most interesting to me, was his approach to selling the benefits of Agile, to an end client. He took Openet as an example and discussed how Openet where able to invite one of their clients, a Telecomms company, into how Agile is improving their service. He discussed how end clients are now demanding to be brought into the boardroom and briefed as to how agile the provider is.

ISA Techbrew

ISA Techbrew

All in all, I found the event insightful and actually quite enjoyable. Working in this arena, I pride myself on having Industry knowledge. When speaking with clients and candidates, I like to be able to engage with them on their level, and discuss in more detail, the kind of projects they are working on. I’m happy to say that, after attending this Techbrew, I know a lot more about the Agile methodologies. Glad as well, that I got to meet and great a lot of interesting people, from the Industry.

Are you an Engineer or Tester involved in a Development project? Maybe you are a Project/Development/Process/Delivery Manager or a Business Analyst eager to improve project efficiency and deliverables? Perhaps you are a Business exec whom has an IT project on the horizon? This will help…

Morgan McKinley are working with clients of all shapes and sizes, working on all manner of IT projects. Our clients include the best high tech start ups, progressive SME’s and Multinationals across every Industry.

IT Projects

When it comes to IT projects in general, irrespective of the size of the company, they will be faced with unique challenges. Whilst larger companies may have larger budgets and boast more expertise, its size may also hinder as they often find themselves more rigid towards defined processes and change. Yet, sometimes smaller more nimble operations manage to punch well above their weight.

The reasons are many, too many to discuss, but it is a fact that IT projects in general have a high failure rate. You will find countless academic and commercial papers on the topic. Development programmes are far from exempt from failure.

When our Clients announce a development project, its often not just developers they will need. These days, enterprise projects are so complex that they will need Programme/Project Managers, Architects, Tech Analysts, Developers, Testers, the list goes on…

Methodologies

Due to the strategic importance of such projects, companies are keen to deliver successful results. In a bid to succeed, they often seek out methodologies; to follow a set of processes, standards, policies and techniques.

Throughout the years, a number of system/software development life cycle (SDLC) models have been tried and tested, for example: waterfall, fountain, spiral, build and fix, incremental, rapid prototyping, synchronize and stabilize.

After mixed results, companies today are looking towards methodologies which will adapt to their specific environment…

Introducing Agile…

Agile methods derive much of their agility by relying on the tacit knowledge embodied in the team, rather than writing the knowledge down in plans.”

                                                              ~ Barry Boehm

Agile methodologies call for a creative process that realises the importance of flexibility. Unlike others (including Waterfall), it is not heavily document driven. Those whom use Agile will seek to apply a level of pragmatism into the delivery of the project. For development projects, Agile practitioners aim to keep code simple, test often, and will deliver segments as soon as they are ready.

Probably the most significant change between Agile methodologies and others (most notably Waterfall) is that Agile does not adopt distinct project phases (gateways / checkpoints), upon which deliverables must be met, in order to proceed. Instead, Agile uses small teams to work in iterations, the output of which will be operational code which can be utilized to evaluate and answer always changing user requirements.

Popular Agile Methodologies include; Scrum, XP, RAD and RUP.

Free Event

If this has peeked your interest, I would highly recommend attending the upcoming event; Agile Environments Management Talk in Dublin with SoftTest Ireland, this Thursday (19/07/12), from 18:30 – 20:00. Organised by the Irish Computer Society, and delivered by Subhendu Mohapatra, Senior Consultant at Bearingpoint, it is set to be an excellent event.

Why Should you Attend?

  • Because Agile is not solely for small co-located teams. It is not just for green-field projects. Multinational companies across the world are championing Agile.
  • Don’t be scared off by talk of transformational change. Instead, think; how can you apply agile principles to what is done already, so as to work more efficiently. After all, Agile can be viewed as a philosophy; Think and act Agile.
  • Agile can deliver excellent results, where other methodologies have failed. Failed IT projects are very costly.
  • Besides the quality content, and the free tea and biscuits, ICS events are well frequented and offer an opportunity to extend your network. Don’t forget your business cards.

For any IT Recruitment queries, please don’t hesitate in contacting me on T: +353(0)1 432 1555 or E: dboland@morganmckinley.ie