Get Better Stuff Done Faster: Why Engineers Should Work with the “Dark Side” of Tech

In NYC?  Join us for Gilt’s first tech meetup of 2015!

Hey engineers: Are you hazy on the differences between Program Managers, Business Analysts and Product Managers? Curious about why you need all these managers on your team? Think that you don’t need them at all? Cross over to “the dark side” and hear industry professionals from Gilt discuss how they successfully solve problems and get things done. Director of Program Management Justin Riservato, Director of Product Andrew Chen, Senior Business Systems Manager Susan Thomas, and Senior Program Manager Myron Miller will show you how they make Gilt engineers’ work lives easier and more fulfilling. By the end of the night, you’ll be planning to ask for more managers for your team (seriously)!

Join us for networking, learning, trading awkward Star Wars references, and post-panel Q&A’ing. Pizza and beverages will be provided! Leave your lightsabers at home, please.

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I Can’t Get No Satisfaction. Ramblings on the First Agile Principle

Mick_Jagger_in_redOur highest priority is to satisfy the customer through early and continuous delivery of valuable software.

In software development…

  • In order to satisfy the customer you have to truly understand what the customer needs.
    • Sometimes what a customer wants is very different than what a customer needs.
    • Keep asking “Why? Why? Why?”
    • This requires the customer to be very much engaged in what is happening.  They need to be able to express whether or not they are satisfied in real-time.
  • Early and continuous delivery of valuable software is pretty difficult to do.
    • What is “early”?  Perhaps “incremental” is more appropriate.  I’m assuming this wasn’t intended to be “early” in the traditional, calendar-time based meaning.
    • Continuous delivery == constantly changing, hopefully for the better.
    • There is no such thing as “scope creep” in Agile!
    • It is of value if it satisfies the customer, therefore the customer must determine what “valuable” means.
    • But… If delivery is continuous, when are we “done”?  Perhaps never.  Satisfaction is a tricky beast.

In life…

  • In order to be satisfied, I must actually understand what I really need to be happy.
    • What I want is not necessarily what I need.
    • Perhaps in order to get at the core of what I really need, I have to ask myself “Why do I want X?”
    • I can’t “check-out”.  In order for this to work I need to be present and engaged in my life and incrementally improving it.
  • I also need to start NOW and continuously deliver on those needs in the form of changes for the better.
    • Working software == a means by which the need is satisfied.  This could be anything from eating well, getting enough rest, to treating myself with the same kindness and respect I give my friends.
    • The key is to first really understand what the needs are — what will it take to be satisfied?
    • And finally, admitting that I am a work-in-progress.  There is no done.

What would the Jedi say?

There is no done, there is progress.
There is no scope creep, there is incremental improvement.
There is no want, there is satisfaction.