Quoin has a long history of applying agile development practices on client projects. Many of these practices simply seemed like the right approach for a challenging project and pre-dated the broader interest in agile methodologies. For example, we had started development of a 'Content Delivery Engine' for WashingtonPost.com, and our team was faced with a complex engineering effort and ambitious six-month timeline for delivery. Our response was to create a dedicated workspace for the team of 8 engineers with floor-to-ceiling white boards on one wall. Eric Meyer, serving as Technical Lead, and I then covered the whiteboards with specific developer tasks. As the team progressed on the design and implementation, we continued to update the tasks and assignments daily -- Eric and I taking turns on a chair to reach the top of the whiteboard. This was an early incarnation of a task board that provided invaluable in managing this inensive developmen proecess. Similarly, we also started to use a daily standup meeting on this team, gathering in front of the every-changing whiteboards to discuss tasks completed, inflight, and any blockers. We had learned this practice from a network hardware/software vendor that had even removed chairs from its conference rooms to promote more effective meetings. We continued to use these and other practices because of the significant improvement in team productivity and quality. This early use of agile at Quoin was in in 1998.
Agile development has of course continued to evolve, and now is broadly recognized in the software development community, even if its actual use varies from 'Hard Scrum' as described by Jeff Sutherland to a weak variant of iterative development in many organizations. Yet, it is interesting to see how agile is recognized outside of software engineering and development. Here are two recent articles that show this broad interest in agile. The first is from a news and politics site.
- The Cultural Revolution You've Probably Never Heard Of, David Akadjian, DailyKos, 1 May 2016
In this article, the author posits that agile could be used in many social contexts as a way to effectively organize collaborative work groups.
The second article is from perhaps one of the most respected and traditional management journals, Harvard Business Review.
- Embracing Agile, Darrell K Rigby, Jeff Sutherland, Hirotaka Takeuchi, Harvard Business Review, 20 May 2016