I spent the last couple days at Flowcon 2014, a conference that is bringing people together to talk about growing their organizations with continuous delivery and design, and lean product development.
It does some of that, but it wasn’t what I expected. The attendees for the most part were people that already believe in continuous delivery, in lean principles for their organization, and in flow. If you don’t know what flow is, read the Phoenix Project, Martin Fowler, and other lean, agile methodology books. It’s a concept from labor and manufacturing, with the idea that we can increase the rate at which we get work done.
I believe in it, it’s a tenet of DevOps, and I think it works well. The conference features people from Netflix, Nordstrom, Etsy, Thoughtworks, and other companies that are already using these ideas. They believe, and they are looking for ways to better smooth out their own groups.
However they also have ideas about rapidly changing and adaptive groups and organizations, which isn’t where most of us work. Far, far too many people are still stuck performing waterfall work, or even waterfall-like work.
It’s also a world where people are looking for startup ideas, looking to move quickly and build something new. It’s a world that’s quite unlike my own. While there’s a buzz and energy from many people, it also feels somewhat shallow and hollow from some that are searching for riches. It’s also a bubble of thought that is so far away from most of my experiences, that it feels sheltered and idealistic.
Don’t get me wrong, it’s exciting, and there is a passion some of these people have for their craft that’s inspiring. I’m just not sure it’s a place I’d want to be every week.
However I do wish more and more people would look to better develop software. If we are to improve as an industry, I think many of the ideas and techniques that are invading the software development world related to flow need to be adopted.