Wednesday, June 03, 2009

Its easier to get lost! Would you?

I was talking to a friend of mine, who started a IT start up and working full time with a few others to foster the business. He was telling me-

“We have 13 projects running at this moment. We are working our heart out. But, we are not finding any time to do Test Driven Development, Continuous Integration and all the good things…”

Well, I understand how it feels! As the title says, “Its easier to get lost!”


Do you fancy getting stuck at this maze?

For startups, it is difficult to control the pulse. Because, you want to reach your billion dollar spot as early as possible, this week, or even earlier, today or even just in a few hours! And, as days go by, you start to feel the need for some process, to safeguard your efforts and quality, to hit the deadlines, to get in the rhythm of a sustainable pace.

But it may be really difficult to catch the ball at the first jump. We, at Code71, believe we need to be visibly competent and confident about the quality of our work. And worked hard to get the gears together in motion. Now it is cliques great. We have got the people motivated to follow the best practices, the tools to “do more with less” and the process to ensure a “sustainable pace”. I advise, you do at least the following to learn to escape the maze from tomorrow-

    • DIE for planning. Plan for short spans. We plan for two week sprints.
    • While planning, estimate honestly. Estimate all the hours necessary for following best practices. (producing automated test scripts may take 40% longer time, but bear with it)
    • Plan on your inputs. You cannot push your inputs. So, you may need to squeeze the output to match against your capacity.
    • DIE to meet the deadline according to the plan.

This is the mindset. You need to start believing to sustain. You need to plan honestly and never miss a deadline. After reaching the deadline, you retrospect. Find the loopholes and start filling those one by one. If you don’t see a loophole, find a ladder to reach higher. But do not place a ladder on a land mine!

Its not difficult if you have the preparation. To prepare, at a minimum do the following-

  • Have a Continuous Integration (CI) server up and running 24x7 or DIE. (We use CruiseControl, its free and great)
  • Make your CI server to send build, test and coverage report for you. Keep an eye on the coverage report and DIE to remain well above the the 80% line.
  • Keep track of your activities for retrospect. We use ScrumPad. It helps you to iterate, collaborate and deliver.

The keyword is “sustainable pace”. I found Scrum to address this sustainable pace really smartly. If you haven’t tried yet and looking for the loopholes to fill or the ladder to climb up, I suggest you learn about agile and Scrum, find an expert and give it a try. It’s worth than you might have expected.

If you know a better way to keep delivering better, I will appreciate for sharing your idea to me.