Failing towards victory

A 45 minute Case Study by:

Will Jacobs


Download the slides

The slides used for this session are available to download here.

About this Case Study

Experimentation is at the heart of continuous improvement. However, you should expect that not all of your experiments will be successful - this is the nature of the scientific method. (Especially when one of the ingredients is the chaotic effect of human behaviour).

Of course, a failed experiment is not always a bad experiment. We can learn much from any experiment, whether it failed or succeeded (in fact, we may learn even more from failure than success!).

This session is a deep dive into an actual experiment carried out recently in an agile feature team. Will Jacobs (NewVoiceMedia) will:

  • give an overview of his use of the Improvement Kata at NewVoiceMedia, and how constant experimentation helps them to improve
  • explain the problems he saw, and how the team came up with an experiment to improve things
  • detail the experiment, and the measurements by which he would determine whether it was successful
  • explain the results of the experiment, both in terms of the positive effects (more accurate metrics, better visualisation of work) and the negative
  • talk about their conclusion that they needed to revisit the experiment, and what the next experiment was
  • explain the results of the subsequent experiment: did they learn from the experience? Did they end up with an improved process?

This session will take the form of a presentation, but there will also be an opportunity to use the experience as the context for two larger, speculative questions that will be designed to prompt some discussion:

  1. What's more important, if you had to choose: Product Owner acceptance, or delivering value?
  2. What does Done really mean to a DevOps feature team?

About the Speaker

Will Jacobs is a Scrum Master at NewVoiceMedia. For over 15 years, Will developed software in the financial services, secure back-office payments and telecommunications industries. Upon joining NewVoiceMedia, Will discovered agile, and traded development for scrum mastery. He has found his true purpose in this world: enabling great DevOps teams to collaborate, deliver and improve, powered by agile techniques. His spare time is spent losing at board games, taming his children and avoiding most forms of exercise. Though he has been able to talk for the majority of his life, Will is a new conference speaker.


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