Different constraints lead to different trade-offs. In December 2015 I joined a team dedicated to a simple idea: accept as much money as possible for Hillary For America. We built the team, technologies, and relationships necessary to succeed far more rapidly than any other project I’ve worked on—and enjoyed ourselves in the process.
When a small improvement long-term is worth less than the possibility of a big win right now, the payoffs change: before important deadlines, we often swapped to building shorter-term big bets. These had to be developed very rapidly while still being rock solid and usable by the deadline. Progressive feature development supported those goals and also enabled early feedback from stakeholders.
Besides these deadlines, what made the campaign a unique experience was the shared purpose and values. We used Agile development to build trust with our stakeholders, integrating on the fly with the well-established rhythms of campaign life. As technology reaches more and more places, the tendency is to resist integration, building technology separately from the people who use it. Our experience shows the power of choosing a different path: applying well-understood engineering techniques from inside existing institutions.
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