Feedback & Transparency

Agile Delivery - Feedback & Transparency

The precondition for successful agile delivery is transparency. It makes process data and technical variation visible – and fuels continuous improvement.

Feedback – automated or face-to-face – is needed to distinguish good from bad decisions. It is the basis for learning about the technical and functional environment.

Low Rating:

  • Developers are removed from the deployment of their product. There is a major gap between the development of a feature and its delivery.
  • Teams strongly guard their solution space against influences from outside
  • Political factors and personal agendas hinder open discussions and critique
  • Compilers and unit tests are the only sources of direct technical feedback
  • Documentation often lacks the motivation or reasoning of important decisions

High Rating:

  • The development process and its status are visible, the systems health and evolution are easily observable.
  • There are active communities or guilds where trends, solutions and proposals are discussed openly
  • Peer reviews are actively used and cover multiple abstraction levels
  • Teams get automated and timely feedback for quality aspects of their product, e.g. through fitness functions
  • The culture is geared towards direct and honest feedback

Core Ideas

Make your process and solution visible

Progress, status information and solution health have to be visible. Keeping everybody informed is the first step towards a healthy feedback and improvement culture. This includes classic information radiators, like kanban boards, burndown charts or build status screens. Other important ideas include having a physical big picture of the architecture, an architecture wall or principles on posters

Use communication as a feedback driver

Getting feedback to experiments or solution ideas should be motivating and casual – easy. Instead of governance approaches or board-meetings we favour participative approaches of communication. Having community events or meetups helps to spread ideas, but also to sharpen ideas and carve out what works for many. Blogs invite people to comment and low-key peer-to-peer evaluation workshops can also help.

Establish proper fitness functions

Looking beyond the soft feedback of communication mechanisms, we aim for focused (possibly quantifiable) feedback for product qualities. The term fitness function stems from evolutionary computing and tries to subsume all kinds of quality attribute feedback. Exploratory tests on usability as well as metrics for maintainability, monitoring features for reliability, load tests for scalability and so on. Chaos Engineering and continuously testing actual qualities of the whole system was the big hype, the topic of fitness functions is bigger than that.

Sector Rating Aspects

These are aspects that can be used to assess your performance and maturity in this sector. For a detailed explanation please have a look at our how to page

AspectAdoption Lifecycle
Information Radiators are extensively used (process and solution oriented)Late majority
Diversity is important and supports an open communication cultureLate majority
Continuous Delivery practices like Deployment Pipelines give direct technical feedback to developersEarly majority
Quality related tests are automated and performed regularly (Performance-, Load- and Stress-Tests)Early majority
Communities of Practice are used to present new ideas or deviations from the default technology choices (guilds, brown-bag sessions, meetups, …)Early majority
Assess products / services used and employed by their fitness, usefulness, modernity, … (e.g. tech radar, Boston Growth MatrixEarly majority
Techniques to increase actively taking responsibility are used (e.g. Circle of Influence and Control)Early adopters
Liberating Structures are used to collaborate and share knowledge (e.g. TRIZ, 25/10, CrowdSourcing, MinSpecs)Early adopters
Acceptance Test Driven Development (ATDD) / Behavior (Business) Driven Development / Specification by Example practices are commonEarly adopters
Fitness Functions are established for important quality attributes (Chaos Engineering, Security-Tests, …) Innovators

Connections

  • Empirical Process Control: Establish regular and detailed feedback and transparency.
  • Responsibility: Enhance awareness of and identification with test results and feedback through a sense of responsibility.
  • Technical Excellence: Improve the creation and delivery of software in order to better automate and regression test your processes and results.