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Betty Zakheim of Tasktop on Software Development as a Value Stream

| Podcast with Betty Zakheim Follow 0 Followers by Shane Hastie Follow 11 Followers on Apr 03, 2017 |

This is the Engineering Culture Podcast, from the people behind InfoQ.com and the QCon conferences.

In this podcast Shane Hastie, InfoQ Lead Editor for Culture & Methods, spoke to Betty Zakheim, VP of Industrial Strategy for Tasktop and treating software development as a value stream which starts with an idea and goes through to getting feedback from real customers. 

Key Takeaways

  • We often forget about the aspects of the requirements which are beyond the written word
  • Debunking the stereotypes of software development
  • Using the Definition of Done to encourage shifting responsibilities and agile practices left and right of the development team
  • The intent and promise of DevOps is to see the business of software development as a holistic business process from ideation through to production and feedback loops
  • The ideal stand-alone, cross-functional team is probably not possible in complex organizations
  • The currencies of communication – how we speak to each other across disciplines and how we convey information to each other across the value stream

0m:35s Introduction

1m:15s Helping organizations improve how they build software products

1m:45s Software development as a communication game

2m:10s The customer’s idea of what a software product should do is very nuanced

2m:30s It’s all about communication

3m:00s We often forget about the aspects of the requirements which are beyond the written word

3m:45s Communicating the essence of the customer need across the whole development team

4m:00s Working software – ensuring that it’s actually doing the thing the customer wants it to do correctly

4m:35s Specialists in their own fields (eg taxation) are not necessarily great at communicating their knowledge to others

5m:20s Debunking the stereotypes of software development

6m:30s Agile is “old hat”, but still not adopted effectively in most organisations

7m:35s Even where organisations have adopted agile approaches and got Scrum running well, the implementation is largely limited to development and testing

8m:05s Using the Definition of Done to encourage shifting responsibilities and agile practices left and right of the development team

8m:35s Definition of Done to include getting feedback from real customers about a feature in production

9m:00s Weak Definition of Done as “ready for DevOps”

9m:05s No matter what we had hoped DevOps would be, it is “what happens after code commit”

9m:45s The intent and promise of DevOps is to see the business of software development as a holistic business process from ideation through to production and feedback loops

10m:45s Radically different ways of working with a communications focus

11m:15s Specialization is a real thing in large organizations and it may not be possible to have a truly cross-functional team

11m:55s Different disciplines have different tools and modes of communication and we need to find ways to bridge the disparate groups

12m:20s The ideal stand-alone, cross-functional team is probably not possible in complex organizations

13m:05s Large organizations may have the best of intentions but inertia and business pressures often prevent them from pivoting

13m:25s Software delivery as a business process and a value stream

13m:50s IT is not a simply cost-centre or delivery engine – software is the competitive differentiator for most organizations today

14m:55s Explaining the concept of a value stream

15m:40s The software development value stream starts with a business idea and ends with production

16m:45s Finding the right level of granularity is hard – too small and there is no value, too big and it takes too long to get feedback

17m:35s One of the key tenants of agile practices is finding ways to mitigate the uncertainty inherent in product development

18m:05s Building software needs professionals – finding the boundaries and getting the pieces to the right size is a skill that takes experience and knowledge

18m:350s The responsibility of leadership to provide guidance, understand the vision and lead the organisation in the right direction

19m:45s The currencies of communication – how we speak to each other across disciplines and how we convey information to each other across the value stream

20m:45s Explaining how the communication is undertaken through a series of transmogrifications

22m:55s While code is the result, code is (generally) not one of the currencies of communication of the team

24m:15s How the Tasktop product aims to help improve software delivery by treating it as a value stream

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