I had no idea what I was about to experience at Los Angeles Ruby Conference 2009 (LARubyConf) when Danny Blitz took the podium as the next presenter. I had seen him hanging out with his distinctive pompadour, tattoos, and leather jacket. He is a big guy, and hard to miss. But he had been pretty quiet till then, which was about to change radically.
Herding Cats is a term commonly used when describing the management of software teams. But when Danny Blitz says cats, he means big cats aka tigers. So who is this guy? He has done TONS of stuff, from DOD to Dell, to the DARPA autonomous vehicle challenge. Very cool stuff.
"A good plan violently executed now is better than a perfect plan executed next week" - Patton
Q. Why is software so difficult?
A. We don't want to face the truth
Q. Why don't we want to face the truth?
A. We're afraid
Q. What are we afraid of?
A. We're afraid we do not know anything about end result
Q. How can we deal with this?
A. Admit the truth
A tiger team is a small self improving team.
What can you expect from a tiger team?
Their first project was scheduled to take 5 weeks - took 5 days
TIGERS ARE A TEAM!
QA is part of tiger team
Tigers show leadership
Almost no meetings on a tiger team
QA and test automation are the tip of the spear
QA should be there from very beginning
Shared psychology and intelligence
Winning, boldness, excellence
Not afraid of the dark
Who is on team?
- all staff needed to deliver product
- leader, 4 devs, 1 automation engineer, 1 Q, product staff m,ember
- in addition, architecture, system admins, any other support staff
- business is battle
There are two kinds of warfare: attrition and maneuver
- traditional, tactical
- clashing head-on
- internet space
- rapid modern violent
- unexpected movements
- it is a competitive weapon
- undeniable advantage in business
Speed mitigates risk
- not a guarantee
- damage is contained by quickly compensating
Speed improves the team
Speed adds to job satisfaction
Speed allows agile to function properly
- max iteration length (usually 30 days)
Speed builds credibility
- shows a lot of work in short order
Cows and tigers
- cow is bigger, but who wins?
Disease: using agile terms to describe non-agile project
Corporate animal kingdom
cautious, calculating, looks to win
not known to be original
afraid of risk
big, usually mellow
awesome battle skills
live and let live attitude
will attack at any time
huge and tough
best to avoid battle
"Tiger teams are like Hell's Programmers" - Danny Blitz
this is what makes or breaks
success belongs to the team
failure belongs to the leader
buck stops here
listener and learner
team members themselves
US marine management techniques
- manage by end state and intent
- reward failure
- demand to be questoned
- glorify the lower levels of organization
Politeness and professionalism
- that or poison
Agile is not a methodology, it is a mindset, it is inevitable
Danny says he is working on the book called "Herding Tigers". He has also started a blog at herdingtigers.com. All I can say is, he is a very dynamic and exciting speaker. Everyone was captivated, myself included. I'm still not sure how I took these notes.
Rock on, Danny!