Dear Formula 1, please liberate your data

I looked forward to the 6th edition of the F1 Innovation Prize by Tata Communications since I left Austin last year, but unfortunately 2019 competition doesn’t seem to be held.

At the same time, the pace of the innovation on the fan experience side of things doesn’t impress. From time to time “the pitstop predictor” appears on the TV screen but it seems to be all there is, and even that is not on the level we (competition finalists) dreamt about last year.

I cannot know what is the reason behind not having the competition but if I could have a little suggestion: Dear F1, please liberate your data.

Please provide real time access to the telemetry data. Let the community of Formula 1 enthusiasts help you with the innovation. All we need is “For Developers link” in the bottom of F1.com where we could find the API and its documentation. Let us experiment, build PoCs and compare ideas in a modern and scalable way. Daily, not only once a year.

 

We are not selling jeans here

Do you remember this scene from the movie Moneyball when Billy Beans (Brad Pitt) has a conversation with his scouts about building Oakland’s baseball team for the next season ?

img_1202

Scouts evaluate players using all kinds of poetic terms. At some point they even rate a girlfriend of one of the players (rating her 6) and use this number as a proxy to estimate player’s self confidence…

At that moment Billy introduces the data guy, and the rest becomes history…

When watching it, my one track mind kicked in and I started getting flashbacks of all  software project discussions I ever took part in. Always fun. All those people using all kinds of poetic terms trying to estimate the complexity of software.

Estimating software is hard. We never do the same thing twice, people in the dev team change, no two customers are the same etc.

However, every day, every software project generates lots of data. Code commits, test results, issue updates, customer support items, testers feedback you name it. Wouldn’t it be great if we use this data to evaluate and estimate software projects ?

we are not selling jeans here“… Say hallo to geigr.io

Making Agile measurable again

My love-hate relationship with Agile/Iterative software development goes back to 2001 (Extreme Programming-RUP-Scrum). All those years and projects led me to a funny conclusion that Agile is very much like Democracy.

Agile is the worst way (to control software project), but we do not have anything better.

Agile works very well, as soon as you have a team and an organization experienced with it. As soon as everybody knows the process well, and all aspects of CI/CD are successfully introduced everything is great.

Before it happens, however, there is this period of “almost”. The time when all things are moving fast already, but the control is still to be found. Everything is based on some opinions. Opinions expressed during a stand-up (“…almost all my items are almost ready…“), statements during project meetings (“…I’m almost sure we’ll make the release…“) etc.

The problem is that we are in this “Before state” 90% of the time.

However there is also good news. Agile projects have large data footprint. Everything what happens there is a data entry somewhere, in the source code repo, in the issue tracker, deployment log, test log etc.

The collection and interpretation of all project data takes time and skills, so it is rather difficult to do it frequently, or for multiple projects manually. But… But what if we look at it as a data problem ?

I believe that to take full advantage of Agile, it has to be made measurable first. And not with a simple burn-chart, but by combining as much project data as possible, by applying data analysis continuously, and by visualizing it from different perspectives for different stakeholders.

Say hallo to geigr.io.

Screen Shot 2018-12-29 at 16.10.51

 

 

Competition mode off, business mode on

I’m leaving Austin without the prize, but with a lot of great memories and new experiences.

James Gough took well deserved 1st prize and my concept focused more on data and architecture came short on the visual side.

775106452_MT_5464_58B2BA28B931D188EB73E02EBD5B6E53.JPG

The level of all entries was very high making it a very close call. The fact that my solution as concentrated more on the backend, feasibility and architecture got to the final 5 out of > 300 entries in the UX oriented competition makes me really happy.

I was very glad to hear from Roberto Dalla and Andrew James that as engineers they preferred my concept. And my chat with James Allen, who found predictive aspect a great idea, made my day complete.

The idea to liberate F1 data, create community around it and stimulate ongoing crowd based innovation couldn’t out-weight the visual side in a competition built around UX, but I’m glad I had a chance to talk about it with some of the most important people in my favourite sport.

And now going back to the normal world imagine you can visualize and translate your project like this in your business environment…

To be continued 🙂