Wednesday , April 26 2017

No More Limits! Why WIP Targets Are Better for Improving Team Performance

For decades now, the Operations Research and Industrial Engineering communities—and especially Lean and Theory of Constraints (TOC) practitioners—have preached the importance of limiting “work in progress,” or WIP, in order to improve flow in a process or system. The conceptual foundation for such WIP limits is known as “Little’s Law,” named after John Little for having provided the first proof of the theorem back in 1961. In order to boost the throughput of a system, Little’s Law asserts ...

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Five Common Myths about Iterations

Typically, iterations are a common aspect of agile implementations. However, ideas of what an “iteration” actually is have mutated over time. In a post for the Clever PM, Cliff Gilley shares five tips that dispel false beliefs: Iteration does not always mean a “full bite of the sandwich.” Iteration does not mean doing the same thing every time. Iteration does not mean that every step is perfect. Iteration does not mean that you will go ...

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Review Your Sprint Review

The sprint review is for collecting feedback on deliverables and deciding together how to proceed from there. If you try to abuse the review’s function to extend to other needs, problems will likely result. In an article for Scrum Alliance, Manjunatha Gopalakrishna shares some pointers to keep your sprint fulfilling its proper purpose. Checking for Pot Holes The first thing he recommends is to prepare throughout the sprint: Have the PO on board regularly to ...

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The Explicit and Implicit Costs of Not Building in Quality

Delivering new requested features is satisfying and provides clear value. But even when it comes to features, there is such a thing as too much of a good thing. In a post at her website, scrum master Natalie Warnert discusses the cost of working when no one is keeping an eye on quality. Quality Quagmire The scenario Warnert poses is simple—a team can deliver loads of new features quickly to make the business happy, but ...

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How to Help Agile Teams Avoid Fatigue and Burnout

A splash of ice water to the face may not do the trick in keeping an agile team alert and energetic in the long run. The only thing that can keep an agile team from burning out is ensuring that they are working under the right conditions. In an article for GCN, Todd Hager and Eric Protzman share some tips to strike a healthy balance. Make a Splash Regularly One of the fastest ways to ...

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12 Early Warnings of a Failed Agile Transformation

The ominous signs are all around. Do you hear the shrieking violins surrounding your agile transformation? Maybe not, but others can. In an article for Scrum Alliance, Prabhakar Gumma and Alok Kumar share a dozen early warnings that you should rethink how you are implementing agile: Moving to agile without a readiness check or assessing needs Selecting the wrong pilot project Not making the role of executive leadership in transformation explicit Leadership awareness of agile ...

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Retrospectives above the Team Level

Agile teams understand the value of retrospectives to improve how individuals work together. Why not try spreading that magic beyond just your team though? In a post at his website, Ben Linders discusses some ways you might apply retrospectives to multiple teams and to stakeholders. Bigger Perspective Why would multiple teams want to do a retrospective together? Well, as Linders notes, there are some issues in an organization that are systemic of that organization. In ...

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The Challenge of Hybrid Agile-Waterfall Projects

The verdict is still out on the effectiveness of hybrid agile-waterfall approaches, because the available data conflicts with itself. But it is still not surprising when such approaches fail. In an article for TechBeacon, Yvette Francino explains why hybrid approaches are especially susceptible to failure. A Tangled Web Francino looks particularly at data from Hewlett Packard, where 32 percent of 403 development and IT professionals used a hybrid agile-waterfall model—and their results ranked the worst ...

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4 Common Mistaken Beliefs of New Scrum Masters

The thing about passion is that it can become twisted into zealotry, which is a bad thing if you happen to believe things that are not quite true. Even scrum masters are susceptible to such dangers. In an article for Scrum Alliance, Ujjal Banerjee describes four common misconceptions that new scrum masters might have about their role: “I am the owner of the scrum team, so I must manage all the work.” “It’s my team, ...

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7 Ways Internal Auditing Might Become Agile

Agile is kind of becoming the new salt (Splenda?). People want to sprinkle a little of it on everything and see what happens. In an article for Forbes, Steve Denning considers the applications of agile for internal auditing. He examines recent research by PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC) and shares seven keys for agile internal auditing: Active and broader involvement in disruption Being prepared and adaptive Assessing the risk of future disruption Proactive involvement in disruptive events Flexible ...

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