Having moved on from ThoughtWorks for personal reasons, I find myself in an interesting position. My new employer SimDesk is a mixture of old-style top-down development practice and new-style agile practices struggling to get out. One of my top tasks is helping good triumph over bad in that struggle. What's highest on my task list?
- Get CruiseControl running
- Without continuous integration builds, it is very hard to track just where the source code base for a project stands. My boss is very excited by this, and now I'm just waiting for an official machine to run on.
- Daily stand ups
- Daily stand ups keep everyone in the loop, help developers get a larger picture of things and are a great leveler. Not happening yet, but I hope to get some buy in this week.
- User story notecards
- This is a major point against old-style waterfall. User story notecards are a very visible difference and lead to using development as part of the design process, and to short release cycles. Best news yet: my boss and his boss—who is acting on behalf of the actual customer—were fine with this. I have notecards stuck up on my wall now! And with XP-style estimates.
None of this would have been possible without the environment of ThoughtWorks. The place is like grad-school for best practices; a year there is worth four years at most other places. Now if only they had a Houston office.
UPDATE: I left out mention of the great resource, Extreme Programming Installed by Jeffries et al. And there is a bonus: a group here is alread using an internal Wiki which I immediately latched onto for posting story cards and working out design problems, plus some XP envangelizing. Plus I a co-lead agreed to start daily morning stand up meetings next week. I also find that a small satellite group in Austin is using Scrum, but I don't know that much about it. All in all a good environment to build upon.