The project management half of the talk was pretty interesting. Relevance is on the bleeding edge of not only agile development, but agile management as well. They do most of their work remotely for smaller clients. Relevance uses Mingle for project management, which looks like the best tool for the job. Some other highlights about their project management techniques:
- They work with clients and educate them on agile processes - so the client knows what their consultants are doing during an iteration.
- They involve the client during daily standups - Relevance teams conduct daily conference calls with their clients.
- Clients can purchase a single iteration of development from Relevance.
The second half of Geoff's talk was about agile development. It was nice to hear it from Geoff because he still developed software. Relevance uses rails, github and a continous integration server (Calm down Erik). Some more highlights about thier development practices:
- They practice Behavior Driven Development (BDD) - A practice that is driven by value delivered to the client, which is perfect for a consulting organization.
- RunCodeRun, which is their continuous integration solution, is tied closely to github, so it makes sense for Relevance.
- Developers do remote XP with skype and screen sharing software, which I found to be incredible.
His final thoughts touched on the culture of Relevance, which is a big reason for their success. If the culture of an organization fits with agile development, then that organization should build their software with agile development. This is a counter argument to the traditional "Right tool for the job" argument about using agile to build social, interface driven software. The culture of the company should dictate the methods they use for getting the job done. A sports anaology can be applied in this situation: If I have a guard oriented basketball team (culture), then I would run a guard oriented offense (software development methodology), to win the game (deliver working software).
Geoff gave a great talk - I Could really tell that he loves what he does and was very passionate about software.