Pragmatic Agile Weblog

Agile software development in real life

Pragmatic Agile

Ok, yes, this is yet another blog about agile software development.

The first question I ask myself every time I see a personal web site is why somebody feels the need to write something to the public. I guess others may ask the same question running into this blog.
I actually have been asking the same question to myself and I could not find a good reason to start a blog so far. But since I am now in vacation and when I am in vacation I always come back with some strange thing, this time the choice felt on starting a blog and … here we go 🙂

I think I have to introduce a bit of background here, which I try to keep short.

Funambol, the company I co-founded and I am the CTO of, has been developing a software product since 2002. My background is indeed in computer science and when I started Funambol I tried to apply the good software engineering principles learned at the University or on my own (software engineering has always been one of my passions).

When we started we were two developers and a couple of products. We applied the classic principles (or at least we tried) and I would say with some good success. Month after month we grown to a team of about 25 engineers and many products. I organized the team functionally splitting it in subteams: server, portal and client, plus a QA team; each team was structured with one or more tech lead depending on how big the team was and on the technologies used. I had also a program manager in charge of tracking the different teams work and manage the release process. We released a couple of big major releases in this way and things went fairly well, even if not perfect.

One day the program manager decided to leave the Company… it happens, it’s always a pain, but it is something that you have to consider. Unfortunately at that time, we did not have budget to replace it, but still we wanted to add new features and modules to the product and release as normal (we are used to release a couple of major release per year). This made me think about how quickly (or slowly 🙂 ) the structure I put in place could scale. What I realized is that not only it would have been difficult to scale the structure in terms of program management, but above all in terms of skills, competences and responsibilities.
In the same period I got in touch with some agile development literature and I was watching the agile movement and something turned a light in my head. I therefore decided we needed to make our structure more flexible and to spread more skills and responsibility amongst the team. I’ll go in some details in other posts, for now I think I pictured where we come from.

Why then this blog?
The main reason is that I would like to log our real world experience in a persistent way so that first of all the team can share thoughts, experience, practices, etc, in a more organized way. Ok, an internal wiki could have served the purpose as well… the other reason is that I think our case is a good case study for who is passionate of software engineering in general and agile practices specifically.
We are now a team of over 30 engineers between developers and qa, located in different parts of the world and working on a pretty complex product using different technologies.
Plus we are open source! Enough, right?! 🙂
The aim of this blog is focusing on experience, more than principles, even if experience should be nothing else than principles that really work; therefore, you will see also some principles and more theoretical thoughts.
But for sure, this is not a blog to advocate this or that practice or approach to software development. In other words, you can keep reading this blog even if you are not an agile fun! :))

I have a companion in this effort: Edo is our SCRUM master and agile facilitator, so there is not best person to describe our daily work and share our real world experience.

I hope many others will join as authors or even just commenters.


September 12, 2008 - Posted by | Funambol

1 Comment »

  1. […] does all the above has to do with Funambol? Well, I introduced the team here. Let’s introduce the product […]

    Pingback by Why SCRUM? « Pragmatic Agile Weblog | September 29, 2008 | Reply

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