FlowCon 2013 San Francisco, November 1

Presentation: "On the Care and Feeding of Feedback Cycles"

Time: Friday 14:10 - 14:40 / Location: Robertson 2 & 3

Nothing interrupts the continuous flow of value like bad surprises that require immediate attention: major defects; service outages; support escalations; or even scrapping just-completed capabilities that don't actually meet business needs.

You already know that the sooner you can discover a problem, the sooner and more smoothly you can remedy it. Agile practices involve testing early and often. However feedback comes in many forms, only some of which are traditionally considered testing. Continuous integration, acceptance testing with users, even cohort analysis to validate business hypotheses are all examples of feedback cycles.

This talk examines the many forms of feedback, the questions each can answer, and the risks each can mitigate. We'll take a fresh look at the churn and disruption created by having high feedback latency, when the time between taking an action and discovering its effect is too long. We'll also consider how addressing "bugs" that may not be detracting from the actual business value can distract us from addressing real risks. Along the way we'll consider fundamental principles that you can apply immediately to keep your feedback cycles healthy and happy.

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Elisabeth Hendrickson, Pivotal Labs and FlowCon Program Committee Member

Elisabeth Hendrickson

Biography: Elisabeth Hendrickson


Elisabeth has been involved in software development for a long time: she wrote her first line of code in 1980; moments later, she found her first bug. Since then her career has run the gamut of software development, including programming, testing, test automation, technical writing, quality engineering, and management. She ran a small consultancy from 1997 through 2012. In 2003, she learned how to do Agile for real from Pivotal Labs while working as a tester on one of their projects. Periodically she would go back to Pivotal in order to remember what software development is supposed to feel like. In 2012 she decided it was time to take up permanent residence in the Pivotal offices. She now works on Cloud Foundry, Pivotal's Open Source PaaS, full time.