I have been long overdue to create some type of an agile-themed blog now, and for which I know a few of my agile-minded colleagues will critique the “Big Enterprise” tactics and self-imposed roadblocks that I worked through to get things up and running.
Getting Started via Analysis & Infrastructure
Right off the back, instead of doing the “simplest thing possible” (which would have been to start using a free blog site), I took a more long-term and strategic approach (which took some time to complete) thinking about branding, a messaging strategy, a target audience, and also setting up an independent site whereby I can easily extract my content (and the comments that I hope all will share) with me, if I need to do so. The resulting plan was fashioned to supportive of a “free the data” strategy (a common theme in Enterprise Data Management practices), whereby it is considered a best practice to ensure that data within a system can be transferred to another system when needed to safe-guard against system/vendor lock. The decision to create a site triggered a standard Enterprise Architecture envisioning process to identify possible implementation plans to determine what IT assets in my portfolio I could reuse vs. what capabilities I would need to buy or create so that I could have a blogging / content platform that met my criteria. Most importantly, I wanted to cater to the user / reader experience, whereby I could control placement and types of ads – or ultimately provide quality content and ideas in an ad-free experience.
But alas, the site is finally up, the first post has been made, and you are reading it – success. Granted hope you keep reading . . .
TheAgileFactor is intended to provide thought provoking analysis, commentary and guidance based upon topics of interest within the “agile” and “lean” software development communities. At their core, both “agile” and “lean” are collections of values and principles for which there has been much debate over what they really mean, how to apply them, and for which a market of consulting, training, guidance, frameworks, prescriptive methodologies, quantitative & qualitative metrics (of which we can debate their scientific merit), project management tools and buzzwords has developed. As part of TheAgileFactor, I will highlight relevant and interesting topics and ideas, while perhaps sharing a few of my own.
The overall intent is to present information and ideas so as to help individuals, teams, organizations and even full blown Enterprises make incremental steps for improvement. If you have come here looking for the “secret pill for software development success that works for everyone”, you won’t find it because it doesn’t exist (foreshadowing to an upcoming discussion regarding the “proper understanding and use of best practices”); however, I do hope to share practical advice and insightful questions that when applied against your current scenario may help you chart a course forward. Initially my content focus is centered in the “agile” and “lean” methodology area spanning topics relevant for small teams up to large Enterprises.
If you have invested (or perhaps wasted) any of your time in the last 10+ years watching 24/7 cable news channels (those of you that know me, know that I have), you may know the highest rated cable news program (for 10+ years) is FoxNewsChannel’s O’Reilly Factor. We can all debate whether or not “the spin really stops” on the O’Reilly factor, but to give credit where credit is due and putting aside political views, Bill and his production team have developed an effective concept / format for promoting awareness, discussion and commentary on much-debated (often complex) political / societal issues which is intended to educate and empower folks to make their own informed decisions. I hope to do much the same with TheAgileFactor – hence the “Factor” branding.
Initially, I am starting with just written content, but have a “content roadmap” for which the future does include highlighting game & simulation based activities to enable improvement and future media offerings. As you can see from the initial version here, sharing content and ideas are more important (to me) than style and design. I will have to consult with my internal Product Owner (me) regarding what is more valuable: more content or pretty pictures & design – of course I value feedback from my customers and end-users otherwise I’d be living true to being an “Evil Architect”.
Other Content Channels
If you would like to broaden your “agile” awareness and learning experience beyond TheAgileFactor (without the need for continued reading), I also contribute to the “ThisAgileLife” Podcast (www.thisagilelife.com – also available on iTunes) using a variety of character / role driven personas – where I envision in future podcasts we may end up discussing Factor content. I’ll suggest that cross-channel promotion is a key success factor in any digital content/media strategy chartered by a “Center of Excellence”.
In closing, while some may propose, I did not do the “simplest thing possible” to setup a blog site, I will argue that I did wait until the “last responsible moment” by setting up the new site (infrastructure procurement), loading the initial content (that had been pre-drafted and reviewed), and switching over my agile-themed twitter handle over to @TheAgileFactor just minutes before the recording of ThisAgileLife Episode 25 to announce that once again I’m online again.