Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Developer Roundtable 2010 Day 2

Day one was about the community and what we (collectively) are working on. Day two was focused on Arena and what we, the community, think they should be working on.

First off, props to Arena for involving us in this. It's not about saying "this is what I need, vote for me!" it's about the developer churches considering the needs of the community as a whole, and looking at what should be the highest priority.

Mike Gold is introducing a new development process known as SCRUM. The point of the scrum process is to distill requests down to concise stories that can be accomplished in a reasonable amount of time. After a week of planning, the developers are given three solid weeks to code and burn through the backlog, at the end of which there is a measurable product. During that time the scope is not allowed to change, and the purpose of this methodology is to produce a continual re-evaluation of development priorities while allowing important things to be produced quickly.

One key aspect of all of this is organizational. The scrum team also involves dedicated QA people, so they are testing during the development process and are committed to the same deadlines. Thus, at the end of the scrum the items should actually be ready to ship, rather than just sent over to QA for aging. Another key is that bug fixes have a completely different team, one that uses the scrum process as well. By separating out product development and bug fixes the development team isn't continually interrupted with high priority projects (because bug fixes always should be high priority) and the bug fixes can be patched and released faster.

For day two of the roundtable we as developer churches participated in what is known as the Sprint Planning Meeting. We looked over the product backlog, added items that were of importance to us, and then prioritized that backlog. From here Mike Gold and his team will schedule the scrum and kick it off, I assume next week.

I cannot stress how incredibly empowering it is to be sitting at the table with the other developer churches having direct influence on the development priorities of a software product. Obviously our decisions aren't the only ones that matter, but having a seat at the table for this discussion is simply huge. I can't think of another product that is so directly in touch with it's customer's needs.

At the end of the day we (the group, not HDC) had five items that will be placed into the first sprint, and should be in the next release of Arena.

Daniel and I left at 4pm and headed to the airport to catch our 6:45 flight, which departed at approximately 11:30pm... Needless to say, that made for a very, very, very long day. I am completely exhausted. But the roundtable was 100% worth attending, and one of the really great things about being an Arena developer church.


1 comment:

chris rivers said...

Awesome stuff Joel~ Thanks for sharing this. I'm super excited as I know you and this team of visionaries will take Arena to the next level.