How much is just enough – Stephen Tjasink

When delivering an agile project, we often talk about doing the minimum work required to deliver a feature. For a feature to be supportable and viable when it is live, we also need to consider the minimum required to deliver suitable levels of operability, performance and resilience.

The more time that we spend on these, the more likely we are to gain confidence. Spend too long on them though, and we only serve to delay releasing our features without gaining much extra. When our feature development is complete, we want to send it live as soon as possible, so what operability concerns do we need to have addressed at this point to support it? The essence of finding “just enough” is to satisfy ourselves and our stakeholders that our product is supportable, without doing so much that we delay release unnecessarily.

Suitable levels for each of these areas will depend on various factors including service level objectives, cost, team size, team expertise, and support model. They may also vary through the product or project’s lifetime and can be broad-ranging, covering telemetry (metrics gathering and visualisation and logging), alerting, performance and capacity planning and testing, resilience and disaster recovery planning

The economic impact of an outage could be the main driver to addressing it, or the cost or practicality of out-of-hours support, or customer satisfaction levels based on speed and reliability. Where possible, business metrics or technical metrics can be captured and taken into account to inform these decisions.

This talk presents practical examples of making these decisions taken from projects over the past four years on a retail website where teams operate in a “Build it, Run it” model and are largely given autonomy to make many of their own decisions.

Agile on the Beach is a leading annual conference in Falmouth, Cornwall UK. Since 2011 Agile on the Beach has been a two day agile conference, set on the Cornish coast with a beach party in between. The conference explores agile software, products, teams, business and practices. With over 400 attending, the conference hosts 50 seminars and workshops to provide the ultimate agile learning experience, along with ample opportunities for networking at its three evening events.

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