#DefragCon 2013 Notes: Sustainable Software Engineering Culture (Without The Ninjas) – Mike Gehard, Pivotal Labs

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Sustainable Software Engineering Culture (Without The Ninjas) – Mike Gehard, Pivotal Labs

  • Everyone wants predictability in an unpredictable world
  • Sustainability over time is critical to becoming predictable
  • Sustainable culture = (Transparency + Communication) * Discipline
  • Transparency = honest and open, not secretive (harder is larger companies due to difficulty of communication)
  • Communication = requires common system so that everyone understands
  • Pivotal has Cloud Foundry, which is installed into enterprises and often requires agile process/XP consulting
    • Standups – all hands and team
    • Pair 8 hours a day
  • Visible workload (using Pivotal Tracker)
    • Nothing trapped in an email box
  • Keep customers close
    • Sitting next to them if possible, via Skype or other tools also works
    • Ensure they are available to answer questions for developers
  • Retrospective
    • Tough discussions about what is working well, what isn’t working well
    • This is a key to making an agile project successful
    • “If you are doing retrospectives, you are not afraid to make decisions because you are only wrong until the next week’s retrospective”
    • The result – willing to take more risks
  • Discipline = orderly conduct as a result of training
    • It doesn’t happen overnight – it takes effort and training
    • The goal is to prevent running too fast and loose
    • When things fall down, fall back to the process
    • Pairing prevents wasting time on Twitter when not on a break (it shouldn’t be rigid)
  • Hire for fit
    • Don’t ask people to change dramatically. Find the people that work in a similar manner
  • Keep your developers happy, as they are hard to find, expensive, and make better products resulting in happier customers