Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Cadence and synchronization

Week ago I've finished an excellent book from Don Reinertsen and since then I cannot stop thinking about cadence and synchronization.
Two simple elements.
Analogy: traffic lights.

Imagine what would happen if traffic lights were not predictable. Nobody knows when comes next green. What would you do? Some people would slow down on yellow, some would go on red. Chaos. People would start to look for longer alternative, but predictable ways. New source of variance ...

Something similar happens with big products - nobody can predict next release. All are focused to finish actually running one. Some people try to slow down to have it finally finished, some pushes to have "this horrible bug" solved. Or extremely important end-user feature must be in. Many companies, however, already realized the power of cadence: e.g. linux is released every six months. Rock solid for years already. Predictable. Did not your favorite feature managed to get into the release? No panic, no stress, no pressure - in half a year it's in.

Everybody knows this terrible feeling having in one line four times red signal. Solution is simple: green wave.
Development of big products is similar: try to personalize features. How do they feel when after successful passing the design phase they must wait on red signal for weeks to pass through and wait again for weeks to be integrated and again to be tested and again to take over.

Two simple elements: cadence and synchronization.