Aginext Community

Meet the Community: Dave Farley

As we continue highlighting Aginext’s community members, we’d be remiss not to have a virtual sit down with one of our newest members and Agile Tour London 2019 keynote speaker Dave Farley.

Let’s dive right in!

How about you start by telling us about what you dub “Farley’s Laws.” Give us the short version of each.

“Farley’s Laws” is a slightly jokey presentation, the laws are:

1st Law: People are crap.

Meaning that our perceptions of reality and our understanding of it is poor.

2nd Law: Stuff is more complicated than you think.

Our guesses are often wrong.

3rd Law: All stuff is interesting if you look at it in the right way.

There is learning to be had everywhere.

The idea is that in order to overcome these inherent aspects of the human condition, we need to apply science and engineering thinking to solve hard problems.

Your Agile Tour London 2019 keynote is titled “Taking back software engineering.” How do you take these valued “engineering principles” and apply them to other aspects of business?

Science is humanity’s best problem-solving approach, by far! When we apply scientific style thinking to solving practical problems we call that “Engineering”. We rarely do any “Engineering” in software development. When we do we see dramatic, remarkable improvements in productivity, quality and engagement of all concerned.

This is what my talk is about.

I believe that the most effective, highest-quality way to work is to adopt and apply the Scientific Method to problem-solving in our field. The wonderful advantage of this approach is that because “Science is humanity’s best problem-solving approach” these techniques work everywhere!

If you start measuring things, start making evidence-based decisions, rather than emotionally-led guesses, you get better results. That is just as true of organisational strategy and product-design as it is about the technicalities of development.

Check out Dave’s full #ATLDN talk here.

Tell us about the rationale for continuous delivery.

Continuous Delivery is about working so that your software is always in a releasable state.

This approach is, measurably, demonstrably, the most effective approach that we know for software development.

Continuous Delivery changes the economics of software development, my “Rationale” explains how and why.

Agile is spreading across functions and organisations. How do you see the next step of continuous delivery and DevOps similarly spreading outside of the IT department and across orgs?

It is already doing so in the most effective organisations. It is not possible to achieve Continuous Delivery in the general, human, non-technical sense of being able to deliver change continuously, without getting organisational and cultural performance right alongside technical performance.

Continuous Delivery is a holistic practice that affects all aspects of software development and most aspects of how the companies that host it operate.

It will spread because it works better. This is sufficiently true for there to be a measurable, bottom-line advantage for the organisations that get this right. We haven’t really had that kind of advantage before, and so Continuous Delivery is unusual in this respect.

Most organisations will be affected by CD. Either they will adopt it, and improve their software development practice significantly, or their competitors will, and when they do they will out-compete the non-CD firms.

What are some ways you motivate the teams you change?

Different people are motivated by different things.

When I talk to business or commercial people I tend to speak primarily about the bottom-line advantages of continuous delivery — how it can improve quality, efficiency and allow your organisation to make better products, and so make more money!

For org leaders, I talk about the commercials, but also the cultural impacts of improved staff-retention, high work-life-balance satisfaction and other intrinsic motivators that help — in a positive feedback loop — to further improve the quality of people’s work because they are having more fun.

For technical people, I talk about the importance of science and engineering. The improvements in quality and productivity, sure, but also I describe CD as a genuine, first-class, engineering discipline for software development.

Bonus Question: Tell us a fun, unique fact about you!

My hobby is flying aerobatics (stunts) in competition. I recently represented my country at a World Championships and came 6th 🙂