Last Fall I join an exciting startup, VoltDB, leaving behind a "Waterfall to Agile" transformation environment, diving head first into the front lines of a pure Agile start-up environment.
It's been a pretty exciting 6 months working with a great team of engineers. We're delivering a high velocity, scale-out NewSQL relational database. This product fits at the fire hose intake edge of Big Data and is capable of ingesting hundreds of thousands of transactions per second on commodity hardware. Low latency, high velocity. Lots of challenges, both technical and process-wise.
Here's an overview of the VoltDB Development environment:
- Open Source Database. Because it is open source, anyone can see the our code (see our Git repository at https://github.com/organizations/VoltDB).
- It's a database. It has to work, can't corrupt or lose data. Quality is paramount.
- We have Continuous Integration system running a large suite of automated tests.
- VoltDB is in production for a significant number of customers. There's no dedicated Support team; the Engineering Team provides 24x7 support.
- We have transparent development: our Product Backlog and Sprint Backlog is hosted (publicly) in JIRA. We use Greenhopper to plan and track iterations.
- 3 week iteration. The product is released almost every iteration! The Team truly produces a potentially shippable product increment most iterations.
- Dealing with unplanned customer support issues as well as pre- and post-sales assistance.
- Dealing with technical debt.
- Story sizing: specifically defining small enough slices of potentially shippable functionality.
- Scaling the team: we're growing fast!
It's great being back on the front line of Agility. I hope to find time to blog about these challenges as well as other topics in the coming months, time permitting.