Umbrella Update – Design and Build

Adam Boas Photo

Adam Boas, Principal Engineer, Tiny Robot Army

Guest Blogger: Adam Boas – Principal Engineer, Tiny Robot Army

Agile Australia 2012 is coming and faster than you might think. Over recent years the design and build aspects of Agile development have had a growing interest and as a developer myself I have a strong interest in seeing quality talks in this area. Since I am an one of the panel of advisors for Agile Australia and am constantly harping on about this topic, I have been asked to chair the design and build stream for Agile Australia 2012.

I am really excited about this and I am sure there will be no shortage of fantastic talks submitted for this stream. To help people understand what is appropriate for this stream, and what kind of talks we would be particularly interested in hearing about, I have put together a description of the stream and pointed to some topics in 3 broad areas that we will be taking speaker proposals on. I don’t want people to feel limited by what I have put here, it is always nice to be surprised with topics that you hadn’t thought of yourself, but I am hoping these suggestions will provoke ideas and help guide people on what to submit.

The Design and Build stream is about the aspects of the Agile process focussed on getting the product built. It encompasses three broad areas:

Developing product is at the heart of why most companies move to Agile processes in the first place. This stream focuses on the practices that support and speed up the development process.

We are looking for submissions on:

  • Continuous integration and delivery
  • Evolutionary design. How does an evolving architecture interface in a highly structured environment? How do you get approval to iterate your design from the dreaded Architectural Review Committee? When should the design stop evolving?
  • DevOps. When is development complete? How do you transition specialised knowledge about an application to operations or a BAU team? Should operations or BAU be a different department?
  • To TDD or not to TDD is it even a question? How do you manage low level code and feature testing? Developer communication with the rest of the extended team.

Testing in an Agile workflow is a significant issue. Many streams of thought have arisen about the best ways of product testing. Automation testing in one form or another has become king and yet nothing can replace good old random button pushing for discovering unthought of errors.

We are interested in submissions on:

  • Test methodologies such as BDD and Specification By Example and to a certain extent the tools and languages that support them such as Cucumber, JBehave, Gherkin, etc.
  • New approaches to solving the rapid feedback loop problem.
  • Keeping testers busy and productive throughout the whole iteration cycle.
  • New and novel approaches to testing

User Interface Design
User Interface Design has proved a hotly debated and contentious area in Agile development. It is only in the last couple of years that strong themes have begun to emerge on how delivery teams are working with user interface designers.

We are looking for submissions on:

  • The mechanics of UX in agile teams. Does a UX designer need to be an iteration or more in front of the rest of the team? How should a UX designer interact with developers?
  • How UX designers can work with other stakeholders to achieve a great usability outcome
  • Major pitfalls encountered and overcome in UX design and delivery Continuous design – how much needs to be up front and how much must evolve? When do you stop evolving the design?

Please submit as early as possible as this gives the advisors (and the public) a chance to provide you with feedback. Obviously, responding to that feedback and getting public votes maximises your chance of getting your speaker proposal up. I look forward to reading many amazing speaker proposals and listening to some awesome presentations at the conference.

Adam Boas

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