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CONFIDENTIAL ©2005 Six Apart Ltd. Iterative Product Development Secrets Learned from Hands On Experience
CONFIDENTIAL ©2005 Six Apart Ltd. Introductions Byrne Reese –http://www.majordojo.com/ Six Apart –Director, Platform Technologies –Open Source Hacker –Web Services Junkie Past Experience –Grand Central Communications –NBCi –Snap.com –Landor Associates
CONFIDENTIAL ©2005 Six Apart Ltd. Overview Waterfall vs. Iterative Development Under the Hood of Iterative Development The Hardest Part Case Studies
CONFIDENTIAL ©2005 Six Apart Ltd. Waterfall Development MRD PRD FRS Design Development Testing Each phase creates a “contract” for the next. Don’t continue until everyone agrees.
CONFIDENTIAL ©2005 Six Apart Ltd. Iterative Development Initial planning Design Develop Test Also known as “Spiral” or “Agile” Development Develop in smaller “increments.” Overlapping Phased approach Design Develop Test Design Develop Test Initial planning
CONFIDENTIAL ©2005 Six Apart Ltd. Waterfall vs. Iterative Waterfall Pros Direct and straight forward. Cost effective. More documentation. Cons Little flexibility for scope change System limitations often not found until late in the cycle Takes longer to show customers. Iterative Pros More features faster. Happier customers and engineers. Increased agility. Cons Higher project management burden. Ripple effects abound. Requires scale. Requires a leap of faith.
CONFIDENTIAL ©2005 Six Apart Ltd. Under the Hood How Iterative Development Cycles Work Keep it simple Involve people early and often Don’t kill trees Obtain feedback Establish a rhythm
CONFIDENTIAL ©2005 Six Apart Ltd. Under the Hood Keep it simple Keep releases small Keep teams small Don’t over do documentation White board Paper prototyping
CONFIDENTIAL ©2005 Six Apart Ltd. Under the Hood Involve people early and often Engineering Quality Assurance Support Operations And don’t forget Marketing
CONFIDENTIAL ©2005 Six Apart Ltd. Under the Hood Don’t kill trees Don’t iterate on paper, iterate in code Encourage prototyping See the product in action
CONFIDENTIAL ©2005 Six Apart Ltd. Under the Hood Obtain feedback Eat your own dog food Listen to support Usability testing Share with friends and family Automated error reports
CONFIDENTIAL ©2005 Six Apart Ltd. Under the Hood Establish a rhythm Consistent release schedule Date, not feature, driven releases Know the capacity of your team Walk before you run
CONFIDENTIAL ©2005 Six Apart Ltd. The Hardest Part Accept that it is never done. Establish clear expectations for quality. Good support will save your life. Think about everything in terms of phases.
CONFIDENTIAL ©2005 Six Apart Ltd. Tips and Tricks Avoid “Katamari” releases Be disciplined about scope. Be prudent, but be careful of “its just a small feature.”
CONFIDENTIAL ©2005 Six Apart Ltd. Tips and Tricks Establish a Shared Vocabulary Don’t spin your wheels debating terminology and nomenclature. Engineers: create design patterns. Designers: create a widget library. “You know, its similar to X, but has these additional features.”
CONFIDENTIAL ©2005 Six Apart Ltd. Tips and Tricks Daily Stand Ups Keep up to date and in touch with one another. If you can’t all say it in 15 minutes, find another forum. What did I accomplish yesterday? What am I working on today? What are my blockers?
CONFIDENTIAL ©2005 Six Apart Ltd. Tips and Tricks Test-driven Development Have engineers define their assumptions and unit tests first. Higher quality products coming out of engineering. Testing is not a dirty word. Hard at first, but engineers learn to love it.
CONFIDENTIAL ©2005 Six Apart Ltd. Tips and Tricks Deflect Help Ticket Volume Produce automated error reports Status and “Known Issues” page Searchable Knowledge Base
CONFIDENTIAL ©2005 Six Apart Ltd. Tips and Tricks Invest in Automation Build automation Release automation Machine build-outs Test automation Report automation
CONFIDENTIAL ©2005 Six Apart Ltd. Tips and Tricks Blog, blog, blog. Connect with your customers. Not everything needs a press release. Inform them of updates.
CONFIDENTIAL ©2005 Six Apart Ltd. Tips and Tricks Establish a shared vocabulary (in words, code and design) Avoid “katamari” releases. Daily “stand-ups.” Test driven development. Deflect help ticket volume. Invest in automation. Blog, blog, blog.
CONFIDENTIAL ©2005 Six Apart Ltd. Case Studies eBay –Every Monday: scope and release. Jot Spot & Six Apart –Hack-a-thons and scratch-a-thons
CONFIDENTIAL ©2005 Six Apart Ltd. fin Questions?
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