A big night for Simply Business: we have won an Agile award

A big night for Simply Business: we have won an Agile award. A big night for Simply Business: we have won an Agile award.

Wednesday night was a great night for us at Simply Business. We went to bed with a glow after winning the Most Agile Aware Organisation Award at the Agile Awards 2011.

For me, it put an exclamation point on something that we’ve been working on with all of our energy for over a year: moving our technical development processes from waterfall to Agile. This award lets us celebrate all that we’ve done, and the fact that we’ve done it well.

In the early days we debated whether we could have releases every two weeks. We couldn’t. Now we release every week. Back then we had ‘no go’ zones in our code base. Now we rewrite our bad code. Back then we debated if we should end an Iteration (a two week period in which pieces of functionality would be completed) by doing nothing, or start functionality from the next iteration. Today we don’t use iterations anymore.

But so what? Isn’t Agile just another way of saying chaos? Well, we have results: our speed of delivery is now four times what it was a year ago; everyone who works on technology projects is happier and our code base is cleaner and better. Interestingly, we are not alone in seeing benefits. I read the other day that nearly 50% of software development in Silicon Valley is now done in Agile.

And the best part is why we won this award: because the whole organisation is behind Agile. For us, Agile isn’t something the Tech Team do and everyone else ignores. It’s woven directly into how we deliver projects. We work collaboratively, as one business.

So really, it was no surprise that the 10 of us at the awards dinner Wednesday night had huge grins on our faces while whooping and punching the air. It was a great night for us.

Yesterday morning I read about Steve Job’s passing on the train. We do all our development on Macs and have appreciated his products for years. It was a surprisingly sad moment for me. I suppose because it marks the passing of a different era, an era I’ve been a part of from my first job as a developer.