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Code Camp: Easing into Agile

Easing Into Agile

Speaker: Ted Young (a Tech Lead from from Guidewire BillingCenter)

A talk about how one development group gradually became more Agile by adopting various Agile/XP/Scrum practices.

Started by covering some of the basics of what Agile software development is about:

Iterations, teamwork and adaptability

Agile type practices include:

  • Continuous Integration (e.g. CruiseControl)
  • Wikis (to encourage team contributions, review and discussions)
  • Working software over excessive documentation
  • People over processes
  • Responding to change over following a plan (‘Planning’ is usful; ‘The Plan’ less so)
  • Pair programming

Some of the approaches that were utilised at Guidewire included:

  • Iterations of 2 weeks, aligned with builds
  • Daily Standups (What did I do yesterday, plan to do today, issues/lessons etc)
  • Extensive use of Story Cards
    • Represent Testable Feature Pieces
    • Focused Development that can be handed off directly to QA


  • Found 1 week iterations to be too much overhead
  • Physical proximity and core hours required for team work
  • Flexibility of process and tools essential
  • Agile only really useful for teams of 4-10 (smaller, too much overhead; larger, need to break teams down)

Overall: A useful talk on how Agile was successfully used on one team.


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