Wednesday, June 23, 2010

What are the most valueable specifications?

During my last vacation I came across evidence of good technical value specifications. At VW's Autostadt there is a display of this wonderful old Phaeton Sedan (sorry the photo is blurred).
There also is a reproduction of a poster that was used to market the car at its times. It clearly states the most important values the car delivers. Reading through it, and thinking of the extreme focus on functions nowadays, I ask you: Did we forget to focus on the really important things, like value?

The poster reads:
It is our belief that the most important "specification" of the Cord front-frive are: Do you like its design? Does the comfort appeal to you? Does it do what you want a car to do better and easier? When a car, built by a reputable and experienced company meets these three requirements, you can safely depend on that company to adequately provide for all mechanical details. -- E.L.CORD

Monday, June 07, 2010

Hyper-Productive Teams

The Agile Engineer Ryan Shriver has stunning news from the productivity front. After he 'produced' a whopping 1.750 attendees for his webinar on the topic, he was kind enough to share the presentation slides and a companion article. I quote from the article:

Hyper-productivity describes a state of being where teams are working at much higher levels of performance such as two, three and four times more productive than their peers. 
The interesting question for agilists and other method-interested people alike is: How can I do it? Well research shows than hyper-productivity seems to come with a couple of practices, all to be found in Ryans slide set and article. Be aware, don't get trapped into the logic than you only need to follow these practices to be hyper-productive.
I'd like to highlight one theme here, and Ryan probably says it best (mark-up is mine):
[...] the difference with the hyper-productive teams is their ability to stick to the practices over the project while continually removing impediments limiting performance.  
This resonates quite a bit with something Eric Ries posted about a startup lessons learned conference, in which Kent Beck happened to develop another manifesto, apparently (mark-up is mine):
Team vision and discipline over individuals and interactions (or processes and tools)
Validated learning over working software (or comprehensive documentation)
Customer discovery over customer collaboration (or contract negotiation)
Initiating change over responding to change (or following a plan)
I wouldn't go as far as calling this the new agile manifesto. This is more a set of paradigms for startups, so one could call it a startup manifesto ;-).