Agile Web Development at Startup Weekend

Today I thought I would talk about agile web development with ruby on rails and how we implemented it during Startup Weekend. This past weekend I went to my first Startup Weekends (hope it’s not the last) and had a group of about 10-20 developers work together for a weekend to create a product in a weekend. I found that when working with developers it helps to use an agile approach. It also helps to work in pairs (just in case anyone leaves early).

The agile approach to web development is defined as a conceptual framework for software engineering that promotes development iterations throughout the life-cycle of the project. While there are many methods to agile development, most that I have experienced have been in place to minimize the risk by developing in short amounts of time. This model of agile web development following planning, requirements analysis, designing, coding, testing, and documentation developing stages.

I think that we (for the first time working all together) implemented the agile web development method. The following is a list of what I think we did well and what we didn’t.

What I think worked well for us at DC Startup Weekend was that:

  • We had a small timeline to get things done.
  • We had our group of developers that were working the entire time on building features, and others that were testing.
  • We had a go to person that worked on communicating to our design/UX teams.
  • For the most part we worked in pairs, which helped ensure the success of the feature they were working on.

We also had some things that didn’t go so well:

  • No real documentation, although we did try to do a little inline with the code.
  • Not everyone was working in pairs.
  • We didn’t have set goals for certain times.
  • Features were only half added.
  • No real time to test with a working site that would go through scripts and usability tests.

Over all I would say that we did a good job in the time that we had. There is always going to be things we did good and things that we did bad. I think that if we were to work another straight weekend there would be a list of things that we would change and I think that after experiencing what we did our first weekend we would have some better understanding as what we need to do to get everything done, and would have a list of bugs, design implementation, and some new features to add.

Anyone that is thinking about hosting or attending a Startup Weekend, I think you should really look into this. It was a great experience, and if the opportunity were to present itself again, I would attend. After checking out some of the other developers blogs, I thought I would include them here so that you can read some of what they say as well; Chris Selmer, Matthew VB.