Friday, August 21, 2015

Experimenting with Food and Lean Software

Sometimes our personal and professional lives become intertwined. In some cases our coworkers become lifelong friends. In the case of 10x, one of our software methodologies happened to sneak it’s way into our personal lives without us even realizing it.
At the start of this year several of our employees (and in many cases families and spouses) took on the whole 30 challenge, It is not a diet but an experiment with the foods we eat. You eliminate grains, dairy, legumes, alcohol and sugar for 30 days and then add them back in one at a time to see how they affect you.
So what in the world does this food experiment have to do with software and work? One of the 10x methodologies we practice is developing lean software. From the wiki the definition is “Essentially, lean is centered on making obvious what adds value by reducing everything else.” This definition maps directly to whole 30 for me.  We reduced all foods that might be psychologically unhealthy, hormone-unbalancing, gut-disrupting, or inflammatory food groups. Then we added back in what brought value for us. After all it was only for 30 days, we didn’t have to give up chocolate forever. We learned how these foods affected us and now we can make better decisions about what to eat, what not to eat, and what to eat in moderation. It was an eye opening experience.

Does it make sense to try a whole30 for your software development project?  What if you simplify, cut out everything and started with a very basic set of tools and processes. As your project went along and you missed something you had before you would know it was necessary and that it adds value to your project. Evaluate it and add it back in. My guess is many teams would find that some things they thought they couldn’t live without would end up not being missed. You may even find that the tool you thought was the most useful was taking more time away from developing the software than the value it was adding to the project. There will certainly be surprises around what is essential and useful.

- Written by Ronnie Ridpath

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