2010-12-23

Board your plane paper-free

I’m in my hotel room and I realize I should check-in for tomorrow morning’s flight home. I’m too cheap to pay extra for the hotel’s WiFi service. All I have is my phone and its web browser. I bring up the airline’s mobile web site, and a few minutes later I’m all set.

Pain free, 100% mobile check-in and boarding is here. Lufthansa does it really well. On your phone, browse to m.lufthansa.com. Enter your name and confirmation code, and they’ll let you select your seat, just like on the desktop web site. Confirm your check-in, and they’ll send you a text message or email with a link to your boarding pass.

Show your phone with the boarding pass and the 2D bar code on the screen to the nice security guard at the airport terminal. Place your phone on the 2D bar code scanner to board the plane. Enjoy the free German chocolate onboard. It couldn’t be easier.

Pro tip: Save your boarding pass on your phone’s local memory in case you can’t get a network connection at the airport. It’s really embarrassing when you hold up the line trying to download the bar code to show the nice security person that it’s a real boarding pass.

Pro tip #2: Peak around the corner at your Lufthansa gate, and you’ll find the coffee machine. Enjoy a free espresso!

2010-12-16

8 ways to kill Agile

Want to kill your high performance agile dev team? Make it hard for them to deploy to Production. Set up a bureaucracy of approval gates, review boards, committees, and meetings. Make sure they miss their deadlines and disappoint their customers.  Control them until they can't get anything done.

Don’t let them deploy to their Staging environment. (1) Make them present their product to a VP for software maturity approval. (2) Then make them ask permission from the local change approval board. It doesn’t matter whether they approve, because you’ll (3) make them seek additional permission from the global change approval board. Ask for proof that all of their customers formally signed off; never mind that their customers run their own bureaucracies and can’t tell you who is authorized to approve. (4) Finally, make them get permission from the global Ops approval board. It doesn’t matter that the team practices DevOps, and that their Ops team is integrated into their Dev team--the global Ops approval board needs to rationalize their existence.

All that just to deploy in Staging, simply to rehearse Production deployment.

(5-8) Repeat these four formal approval gates for Production deployment. Ignore the fact that your high performance agile team knows what it’s doing and does it well. Just make them jump through the hoops. Eventually they’ll get tired, stop fighting it, and slow down. They’ll bow to your pressure and stop their frequent delivery of new value to their customers.

Or...

Instead of handcuffing your high performance agile team, how about helping them deliver value to their customers? Try asking them for one concise formal statement of readiness. They already produce it as part of their Definition of Done.

Nominate a single person from Dev and a single person from Ops to be responsible for deciding whether the product is ready for Staging or Production deployment. These guys cares about getting it right--they get fired if the team deploys something that sucks, something that yields downtime for their service or for their customers’ services.

The DevOps team wants to be great. Champion their cause, don’t get in the way. Help them deliver value to their customers.

2010-12-09

Why can't we be as good as Nokia?

Nokia has a great reputation in the Agile community.  Why can't we be as good as Nokia?  It turns out we can.  Here's my presentation from the Nokia Agile Community Autumn Meet 2010 conference in Helsinki, held on December 7.  Use the Nokia Test, a simple value stream map, and Theory of Constraints, and you can transform your dev team from good to great.  Apply Scrum rigorously, and success just happens.

What do you think?  Want to transform your team from good to great?

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