Session: The Goldilocks Problem of Software Delivery

Over the last 15 years, organizations have had difficulty with the entire software delivery process, but two artifacts in particular became a recurring problem. The problem stems from the Goldilocks’ principle: one of these artifacts is much too big to overcome efficiently, and one of them is much too small to make a significant impact, so we need to find the one that is just right.

The artifact that is much too small would be the individual build. In fact, organizations and individuals often obsess over the individual Build. Builds are important, but in the grand scheme of things, they are often too small to make a significant difference in a short period of time. The artifact that is often too big, that many are trying to improve with Agile practices, is the Release, which was an arduous 18-month-long process.

So what artifact is “just right?” As the user, what we really care about are the Features: the stuff we use and interact with all the time to make our daily lives better. However, the systems we have today haven’t advanced to the point where software features are the nearest proxy for customer value. In other words, the feature must be at the forefront of the UI.

In this talk, I will share why features are the proxy for value and explore the different levels of abstraction for the “just right” aspect of a Feature in order to shift people’s mindset from thinking in terms of Builds or Releases, to thinking in terms of the customer and business value. I will share tactics to address the Goldilocks problem and how to have these discussions at the right level of the software in order to make prioritizations, decisions, and discoveries.