Feedback Loops in Agile Development

source:/BRANCH/TRUNK/artifacts/presentations/agile_on_the_beach.png Yesterday I gave a talk at the inaugural  Agile on the Beach conference down in Cornwall on the  Tremough Campus near at  Falmouth.

It's been a very good conference so far with a great turnout. The slides  Feedback Loops in Agile Development are available for download.

The essence of the talk was to emphasise the importance of observing and learning from feedback loops that appear in an agile methodology. It starts by examining briefly the nature and problems of typical development, then explores the key elements of an agile methodology. From here I illustrate how we can use these elements to amplify the feedback loops present to facilitate a better understanding of how to leverage agile development. Finally it takes a look at some of the practical things you should pay attention to when going agile along with a short prescription of where you can start.

The official synopsis for the talk was:

So everyone knows what being agile is all about? It's an old buzzword now, stamped on everything that moves in a development methodology, or everything in an organisation for that matter. The problem of course is that it's hard to to really distil what makes you agile and what doesn't. If you cobble together enough process, and throw in a couple of practices, you have all you need to innovate yourself to a successful, or failing, project. That's the trouble, without real agility it is often hard to know how successful you are being in a project, and often it is hard to know how agile you are. You might think you are agile and that your project is being successfully delivered when in fact neither is true.

This talk goes back to basics and re-emphasises the concepts behind agility: showing that agility is achieved through understanding, observing and amplifying the feedback loops present in a truly agile approach to development. By understanding how you setup and magnify feedback loops in your methodology, using loose processes and practices, you have a chance at agility. I'll present reliable techniques and show how they relate to agility within the feedback context. You should come away from the talk with a refreshed view of agility, some practical tips, and be able to look more critically at how you try to be agile in your organisation.


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