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It’s 2023 and just like any year, your timeline is awash with good intentions and lists of things that you can do this year. You might even be writing a list – but what is the good of a list if you never look at it and it’s too big to comprehend in the first place?

I use this episode to relaunch this channel as “Lovin’ Legacy” – because I love legacy code and I’m not afraid to say it – and also to poke at the lists that the Agile Manifesto, John Romero and Gene Kim (and others) have made for us.

Can we make sense out of the true core of software development – can we focus on just a few things?

I hope we can.

I unpack or at least uncover my own acronym called QUEST, which is all about making the software and team sing from the same hymn sheet. Let’s start 2023 together with a bang. Hope you like this episode and the rebrand – let me know in the comments!

NOTES

The Agile Manifesto

https://agilemanifesto.org/

John Romero’s 10 Programming Principles:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IzqdZAYcwfY

Gene Kim’s Five Ideals:

https://richardwbown.com/software-engineering-happiness-the-five-ideals/

Transcript
Richard Bown:Hello, and welcome to:Richard Bown:

I'm your host, Richard Bown, and this is the Software Delivery podcast.

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Although it's not the Software Delivery Club podcast anymore, after recording

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a few episodes at the end of last year where I was talking increasingly

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about Legacy, I decided it's time for a reboot for the new year.

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So I'm gonna call it from now on Loving Legacy because I do love

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legacy and I love to talk about it.

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So I hope you stick with me.

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I hope you enjoy today's episode, which is all about agile.

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Well, actually, it's not about Agile.

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. The point is we don't wanna talk about Agile, we wanna talk about writing code,

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we wanna talk about delivering code.

Richard Bown:need to worry about Agile in:Richard Bown:

Do we need to worry about Agile or any of the other things that

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give us lists of stuff to do?

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And what can we do about these things?

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So for example, let's look at diving straight in.

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Let's look at the Agile Manifesto.

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The Agile Manifesto if you've not seen it, you should go and check it out.

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I'll link it in the notes, check it out, and you'll see that there are four tenets

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basically that you live by in the Agile manifesto about preferring individuals

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and interactions over processes and tools, working software over comprehensive

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documentation, customer collaboration over contract negotiation, responding

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to change over following a plan.

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So that is the basis of the Agile manifesto.

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And I think as any software engineer would agree, or software developer,

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programmer, whatever you wanna call 'em, would agree, these are good things.

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You know, you want to be able to build stuff that the customer uses.

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Punt full stop.

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What the Agile manifesto then goes on to say is there are 12

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principles around which we can base our development practice.

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And this is where I start to get a little bit confused.

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I think everyone does, cuz once you've got four things, you can

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remember them in your head easily.

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Although I've had to read them.

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Um, when you've got 12 things, it's much more complicated.

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So I was watching a YouTube the other day with John Romero, um, the guy

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Behind ID software along with John Carmack and, a couple of other guys

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created Wolfenstein, 3d, Wolfenstein, quake and Doom in the nineties.

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The original first person shooter games the ones that changed the

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universe for gaming essentially.

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So when John Romero speaks, you tend to listen because he's been there, done that

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in a small team, small high performing team, and the YouTube discussion where

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I saw him speak this week was really interesting, and he also created a list

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of 10 things, which great development teams have, and I'm thinking 10.

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Okay, that's a good number, but again, it's too many for my small brain.

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How can I fit all these things into my brain?

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Then I'm thinking about other stuff that I've read, such as Gene Kim's

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Unicorn Project where he has the five ideals and he also in the Phoenix

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project has the three ways and the four methods of communication.

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These are all good, but we've got like, now how many?

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10 plus 12 plus three plus four plus five.

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I dunno.

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We've got about 30 things to remember and where are the similarities?

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Are these all different?

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Anyway, as part of that, I wanted to make a list, a small list.

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Less than 10 things.

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Less than six things, ideally, where I could remember what it

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means to be a good software.

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to build stuff well, and I did some analysis.

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I looked at the agile Manifesto.

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I looked at John Romero's things.

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I looked at the five ideals, and I'd also looked at a few other things as

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well to see, well, how can these kind of dissemble into a smaller pile?

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And I came up with some interesting results.

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Well, I came up with five results, which I can remember.

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And the best thing about this is that I made it into an acronym.

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And the acronym is called Quest.

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And Quest stands for, I'm Reading Quality, unrestricted

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end user simplicity and teamwork.

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I'm not gonna explain how I got from the Agile Manifesto and from John Romero's

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list of 10 and from Gene Kim's stuff and from other things down to this list in

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this podcast, cuz that would just be a tedious list of me reading stuff out.

Richard Bown:for you to know two things in:Richard Bown:

be to make legacy software much more interesting for all of you out there.

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Remember Quest.

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I will come back to it in future episodes, I'm sure, and in the

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meantime what I will do is I'll write up what I've discovered and I will

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put a link in the show notes too.

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So please check it out and please gimme some feedback

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As to the premise of this episode, I do believe that Agile or Prince.

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or parts of agile like Scrum, CanBan, et cetera, or project management or

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ways of imposing a framework upon delivery of software is a bad thing.

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And another thing, if you listen to John Romero's talk, he's basically saying,

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there were four or five of us, we sat in a room together, we discussed stuff.

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They didn't even have source control, so they just passed around a floppy disk.

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They didn't even have a network share to begin with.

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They passed around a floppy disk and copied the software

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from machine to machine.

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They.

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like that, and they worked in a manner where they had to communicate more often.

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If we give our communication to each other via a tool via a Jira or Azure,

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Azure DevOps, or via GitHub issues, then we lose something immediately.

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I know that we can't all sit in a room together anymore, or we can't even

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work together all the time anymore, however, Shouldn't we just try it?

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Could we do a mob programming thing where we all work together

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all the time on the same stuff?

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Could we just not follow some of these archetypes, some of these

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things that have been said before?

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One way that we can avoid this trap of being stuck in an agile death march in

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some ways, and by going through all of the ceremonies is by just by changing our

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brains as developers and thinking, okay, maybe we don't need to get annoyed by it.

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We don't need to get pulled into the trap of seeing Agile as a

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distraction to our day-to-day.

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We do the meetings, we do the way that we work, and we just work

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together in the way that we want to.

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So, what I'm suggesting here is a trade off.

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A trade-off between doing the agile doing the project management

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or doing whatever you need to do.

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To make sure that you can do the good development work.

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So.

Richard Bown:hinking about this going into:Richard Bown:

Don't see it as your foe.

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Don't see it as your enemy in order to be vanquished, don't see that you need

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to spend your, your time and your energy.

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Arguing how things should be organized in your teams . Go with

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the flow focus on the software.

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Work like John Romero and John Carmack and the rest of them . take that spirit

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of adventure, that passion, the spirit of building stuff that is cool into

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everything that you do this year.

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And don't worry about the agile.

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Don't worry about the lists.

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I've got your covered for that.

Richard Bown:I'm so excited for:Richard Bown:

I'm so excited for this episode.

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I hope you can feel that.

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Um, I'm really excited to be able to share this list of quest

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stuff with you in the notes below.

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Please.

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Let me know what you think.

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Please let me know if I'm completely off target.

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But would love to hear from you.

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This is Richard Bown on loving legacy.

Richard Bown:Wishing you a very happy:Richard Bown:

And look forward to speaking to you next time.