Story: Spike Up Your Coctail

I posted earlier about short, 6 week, experiment where we had weekly deliveries of firmware and true parallel co-design of plastics, electronics, and software/firmware. I mentioned I would try to write down experience report. Well, it became more like story, and you can find the whole of it here (pdf). (LINK CORRECTED 27/6/2007)

Abstract. Agile development is a term used for wide variety of lightweight software development methods following shared values1. Many of these methods and practices however can be applied to more general new product development. This paper describes a six week project using some of the practices from agile development. These practices included self organizing team, collective ownership, continuous integration, iterative planning, iteration demos, team retrospective meetings, wall work queue, information radiator etc. The project crystallized a vague idea and a draft of electronics schematic into two fully functioning prototypes. It is shown that meaningful functionality can be developed in just six weeks. This is remarkable when reflected against the effort needed in so called traditional process models with formal analysis/design and theoretical proof of concept with heavy review processes. This is possible because of today’s advanced development tools and prototyping technology. Stefan Thomke (2001) calls this an era of enlightened experimentation. Building the working prototype is more cost effective way of reliable proof of concept. Using this approach already in the fuzzy front-end phase of the project would result in huge savings in overall project schedule and budget. It was also noticed that all stakeholders of this project appreciated the approach and considered it as “common sense”. The positive side effect was the team building effect this period had.

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