As developers, we're used to working with systems that we control. We write code, we write tests, we build servers and infrastructure, and everything works beautifully - and then we ship, and suddenly we're not in control any more. Our code is out there in the real world - real people, real problems, maybe even real money - and suddenly we're seeing all sorts of interesting data and behaviour that was never part of our plan.
Agile teams aren't scared by this emergent behaviour - instead, we embrace it. We know that we don't really understand how our systems work until we're getting real feedback from real users. We know that with rapid iterations and frequent releases, we can react quickly to this feedback - but only once we understand what it really means. So... what's the best way to investigate something that we don't yet understand?
Since the 17th century, scientists have been investigating the world around us using a technique known as the "scientific method". In this talk, we'll look at how the scientific method can apply to agile software development. We'll discuss how to design a good experiment. We'll look at some of history's most famous experiments, and how even 'failed' experiments have often led to important advances in knowledge and understanding. We'll look at how successful software teams use experimentation as part of their development process, and at how you can share the results of your own experiments so that we can all benefit from each other's research. And we'll even conduct a few experiments of our own. You know... for SCIENCE!
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Dylan Beattie is a systems architect, developer, and Microsoft MVP, who has built everything from tiny standalone websites to large-scale distributed systems. He created his first web page in 1992, and he's been building data-driven interactive web applications since the days of Windows NT 4. He's currently the CTO at Skills Matter in London, where he juggles his time between working on their software platform and supporting their conference and community teams. From 2003 to 2018, Dylan worked as webmaster, then IT Manager, and then systems architect at Spotlight (www.spotlight.com), where his first-hand experience of watching an organisation and its codebase evolve over more than a decade provided him with a unique insight into how everything from web standards and API design to Conway's Law and recruitment ends up influencing a company’s code and culture.