The 10 minute / 1 minute / 10 second Agile OSS challenge

Check out the video below, which gives an example of the 10 minute / 1 minute / 10 second challenge (you can check out more of them here).

When given 10 minutes to sketch Spiderman, the result is far richer than when the artist is given only 10 seconds… well obviously!!

But let me pose a question. If Sketch B was compiled from 60 sequential 10s updates (ie Sketch B would also take 10 mins total sketching time) do you think the final sketch would look as impressive as the 1 x 10 min sketch (Sketch A)? The total sketching time is the same, but will the results be similar?

From the 10s sketch above, you can see that the composition is not as precise. Subsequent updates would have to work around the initial structural flaws.

Do you wonder whether this is somewhat analogous to creating OSS using continuous development frameworks like Agile or DevOps? By having tightly compressed (eg weekly) release cycles, are we compromising the structure from the start?

I’m a big believer in rapid prototyping with subsequent incremental improvements instead of the old big-bang OSS delivery model. I’m also impressed with automated dev / test / release frameworks. However, I’m concerned that rapid release cycles can enforce unnecessary deadlines and introduce structural compromises that are difficult to fix mid-flight.

It all comes down to the way you design / plan / solution the updates at the start. Do you have a tactical / strategic approach planned out?

I’ll use another example here to explain the thinking. Let’s say you have a prime piece of land and want to build a 10 storey hotel on it, but only have the money to build the first storey this year and hope to use the rental income to fund an additional storey each year after that. Do you build the footings to cope with the 1 storey build now and try to strengthen those footings each year later? Or do you build footings suited to a 10 storey building from the outset? I’m assuming you’d choose the latter.

As you may’ve noticed, I’m not in the construction industry so both options might be completely flawed, but hopefully the analogy works for you.

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