Agile 2011: Reflections From The Booth

I noticed a common theme during the Agile 2011 Conference. While helping to work the VersionOne booth in my official role as part of the illustrious booth babe team, there were many compliments on the new UI, inquiries about coveted tickets for the VersionOne Speakeasy party and delighted squeals from those who won at the roulette table.

Beyond that, though, I heard repeated requests for one thing: flexibility.

“We have a couple of small teams, but they operate differently. One does Scrum and the other Kanban.” – a group looking to move beyond their whiteboards

“We need better grouping than is offered by a mere collection of tags. Do you have anything this allows for a structured classification of items?” – current users of a competitors product

“Do you integrate with ‘Y’? We use that internally, so it’s really important for us.” – virtually everybody

“We have X-thousand people and need a method to track progress at a high level while delivering features across multiple projects and teams working across the globe.” – multi-national financial company

Check. Check. Check. And Check.

It was great to hear input from current and prospective customers while receiving the affirmation of a product that, while maybe not yet perfect, was definitely way down the right path ahead of the competition. I know I often take for granted the flexibility offered by such features as Epics, Feature Groups, Goals and Programs within the product as well as a RESTful API and open source integrations. It’s really eye-opening to see the surprised smiles and look of wonder coming from those who are not (yet) quite so lucky.

Don’t worry, though. Given our conversations, I think many of those who stopped by will be experiencing that flexibility real soon. In fact, you can bet on it.

About Mark Crowe

Mark Crowe is Senior Director of Product Management at VersionOne. Since 2003, Mark has been driving the evolution of VersionOne's market-leading agile ALM product lines, internal Product Management team and product planning processes. Prior to joining VersionOne, Mark lived the life of a technology consultant in Silicon Valley where he developed an appreciation for iterative development principles while working at clients such as Netscape Communications, Apple, and AMD before cutting his teeth in Product Management at an Atlanta area startup. Mark's passion lies in the intersection of creating great products and maximizing value delivered through iteration. In his free time, Mark enjoys family, photography, futbol (Go Barça!), football (Go Irish!) and coaching youth soccer.
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2 Responses to Agile 2011: Reflections From The Booth

  1. We have a pretty large (over 200 people) geographically distributed team of developers and testers. While we are using iterative development it is not a pure Scrum or any other similar framework. As a result, we adapt the tolls to our needs as we go. For requiremetns management we are currently using Contour. Right now we are evaluating the tools for iterations planning and management and have identified key criterios for the tool:
    1. The tool has to support at least 15 teams
    2. We are using use cases for iterations planning – no user stories. The tool should be able to support at least 1000 use cases per release.
    3. For estimation we are using person-hours instead of Fibonacci sequences – tool should be able to support this option
    4. We define team velocity in person-hours – tool should support this option isntead of based on relative estimates of the deliverables derived from Fibonacci sequences
    5. We need to have an ability to import use cases from Excel with pre-defined dependencies and sequencies for each team
    6. Basic pre-defined out-of-the-box reports and ability to export them to Excel.
    7. Tracking option – at least team loading per iteration and unassgned use cases from the iteration backlog.
    8. Ability to easily assign use cases to iteration via a simple UI
    9. Ability to customize existing reports or create new ones
    10. Support for custom fields
    11. Tech Support, on-site trainig, consulting services, etc.

    Can VersionOne satisfy aformentioned criteria? Does VersionOne integrate with Contour? Is it possible to have a quick demo to see tool’s capabiliies?

    Thank you.

  2. Mark Crowe says:


    In a word: Yes. A lot of what you list here are specific reasons current customers choose to go with VersionOne.

    There is no existing integration I know of with Countour, but we do have a services group that can help even with that if necessary, though.

    Please check out the product in more detail at where you can see a video, play with a live demo system, and even get your own free 30 day trial. There are also regular webinars that you can join to have one of our experts walk through the product and answer your questions. Our sales group is very helpful in giving quick demos as well.

    Please do contact us. I think you’ll like what you see.

    – Mark

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