At some point an agile thing (developer, project, business, whatever really) interfaces with something else. This is hard. Oh and its boring, its boring because you have to keep repeating the same ideas until they stick. And then un-stick them and re-explain because the wrong ideas has suck.
An electronic engineer would call this an impedance miss match.
The standard , solution to this seems to be to preach, oh sorry educate what ever is on the other side of the interface. The essential problem with this is that unless the entire work decided to be agile there will always be an interface. So we need a way to deal with it that doesn't involve conversion.
Oh and to be honest wile we think that its the most important thing in the word, err, no one else gives a damn.
They would mostly just like it to work please, soon if possible.
So how can we avoid going nuts repeating ourselves. Simple, get someone else to do it for you. Absolutely insist that someone from the other side of the interface is involved in the agile thing you are doing.
They can then go and explain what is going on for you, thus preserving your sanity.
Oh and your going to fail if you don't have it.
So I've been spending the last couple of days configuring a tool called mingle, its a thought works product so is essentially consultant ware. It costs a load of money and is demonstrated as being able to do anything.
It can do anything because its just a workflow engine that knows how to draw cards. Because its functioning is so generic the interface has to be as well meaning everything looks the same. Usable its not.
Because it is so configurable I would imagine that a lot of money gets spend on consulting from TW to analyse requirements and implement them.
Err the requirements were clear, a tool that works, not s set of building blocks to build a tool.
One of the books that I'm reading in my current book binge is the Four Hour Work Week by Tim Ferris. There are some interesting ideas in there about creating small companies just to ease you out of hourly work. I've been ranting about being paid by the hour for a while now, I'd rather be on the beach to be honest.
The one thing that stand out from this is its emphasis on free time to pursue interests. Id always thought about wanting to have ass loads of money before but this made me think. When the objective is free time all you have to do is cover costs and make sure that your involvement isn't required.
There are loads of resources in the book as well so it saves time on finding things, I'm sure that there are a bunch of companies doing well out of his links.
I've already been in touch with an outsourcing firm in India to get them to do some research into an idea for me. If it turns out that my idea is useless I've wasted far less money than if I invested my own time.
We shall see.
Every one who knows me knows that I've always got a next great plan or something I'm going t o build normally based on a book that I've just read. Well I'm reading a lot at the moment and a bunch of ideas are rattling around in my head. Most of them are to do with Project Management and communicating progress and status to people outside the project.
Email is not the answer nor is Excel. As a very good developer said to me the other day "If your using excel, your doing it wrong"
When the idea is fully formed I'll write more on it.