I was traveling to Milwaukee, WI for the last few months. The project was with Miller Breweries. This was the first Agile project for Miller and for me. As usual, I was excited about new opportunities. I read up as many articles and books I could on Agile methodology and was ready for some action.
At many level, this is the second worst project I have worked on in my entire career. The first one was with my very first employer. Here are some of the takeaways for me from this project:
Miller allows its employees to smoke in their office as long as they have a door to their office or in certain break rooms. Closing their door while smoking is not mandatory.
Miller decided to improve productivity by moving 30 plus bodies to the office space that is partitioned out of a large conference room with poor ventilation. Guess what happens when someone outside this room decides to smoke cigars? A big bonus for this project is second hand smoking.
Agile Project Methodology is not a staggered Waterfall Methodology.
Being on road for six days a week is not worth it when you have young children in the household.
Do not expect managers from other regions to be as sincere or as efficient as from US West region. The PM I worked with in this project is a great combination of Dilbert characters. He manages to say wrong things at wrong time to everyone. I talked to the client managers, our team, and subcontractors. I have not heard a single positive feedback on him.
If the project management does not have time to talk to you before you start on the project, they probably don’t know what they are doing.
If the architect would not explain the detailed design of the system and organization of code after giving an overview, the project is in dire trouble.
I can go on a much longer list of ‘lessons learned’.
There are also some positive outcomes from this experience.
Miller brews great beer. I love their Sunset Wheat, Creamy Dark, Peroni, Mickys, MGD, Miller Highlife, and Miller Lite.
Miller Time — 4:30 PM till 7 PM — is free beer time. It is the best time to get to know individuals.
The beer brewing process is awesome. I enjoyed going on a hard hat tour to the manufacturing and packaging facility.
My immediate development team is the best team I worked iwith n a very long time. We had a great chemistry. I have identifed a few talented developers and earned a few friends in this engagement. When I have my own company, I will certainly partner with many of these very talented and dedicated problem solvers.
While the overall project experience was bad, I felt a bit of sadness on the day I left. I have not had that feeling since I left Microsoft.