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Monthly Archives: March 2015

Struggling with Scrum? Try Kanban for IT Projects

As someone who is certified in scrum and even teaches it, Neil A. Chaudhuri is still willing to admit that scrum is hard. People who have a hard time disciplining themselves in this framework are likely to endanger a project. In order to keep agile without pigeonholing people into a certain process before they are ready, Chaudhuri recommends kanban. He focuses on three key objectives that kanban emphasizes: To visualize work To limit work in …

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Multiple Levels of Done

Done means done, except when done means relatively done. Then done is probably not done, but it might be done. Mike Cohn explains the situation a little more thoughtfully in a post at his blog. Done with Ambiguity The wide majority of scrum teams employ a “definition of done” (DoD), which dictates when a backlog item has truly been completed. Some traditional features of DoD according to Cohn are that the code is well-written, checked …

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Taking a Timeout in Agile!

The time to relax is when you don't have time for it. –Sydney J. Harris Don’t be misled! Agile methods are mainstream! Forrester Research reported in 2010 that “Agile methods rapidly joined the mainstream of development approaches.” Productivity increases are the number one reason organizations adopt agile. For example, a 2012 study reports 91% of respondents cite increased productivity as the reason for adopting agile[1]. In this study, 69.21% report their productivity improved or significantly …

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Simple Agile Stepwise Refinement

Just do what must be done. This may not be happiness, but it is greatness. – George Bernard Shaw I am often asked what documentation I recommend on agile projects. My answer changes based on the situation, but it normally follows a simple pattern of stepwise refinement. I have written about this in my blog Keeping Agile in the post “Turning Damnable Iteration into Elegant Stepwise Refinement in Agile.” But I did not address flow …

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5 Tactics to Build an Agile BI Organization

Building business intelligence (BI) apps is a task often better-suited to agile than waterfall. Forrester’s Boris Evelson writes for Computerworld UK with a handful of ways to use agile to create the most current and useful BI for your organization. This is the intelligent thing to do. Five Tactics Focus on business outcomes, not just technologies. Put business in charge. Drop the technology-centric mentality. Move beyond project silos. Focus on functional reporting capabilities while not …

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3 Best Practices for Agile and Outsourced QA Testing

As Tirrell Payton notes, offshoring was one of the great trends of the 90s and 2000s, seen as a win-win scenario for everyone involved. Agile has been experiencing similar but quieter growth. Now that many organizations want to have their cake and eat it too—outsourcing and agile—there are best practices to consider. Payton offers three regarding outsourced QA testing in an article at Business.com: Improve communication and decrease handoffs. Create a clear separation of testing …

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Bring Agile to the Whole Organization!

Everybody is getting agile today! Well, agile with their software engineering at least. Otherwise, things are kind of business as usual. But Jeff Gothelf recognizes in an article for the Harvard Business Review that there is so much further that businesses can take agile. He discusses how we can shrink the process of business decision-making from months down to hours. Agile Fits All Gothelf starts by addressing how to inject agile into HR. He finds …

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Agile Manifesto: Both Timeless and Outdated?

The Beatles produced timeless music, but would you want to listen to them on an 8-track? The Agile Manifesto faces a similar age challenge. Jennifer Lent reviews the 15-year old Agile Manifesto for TechTarget, explaining how some of it is still as useful as ever, while other parts are covered in cobwebs. The Inexorable March of Time The most obvious thing that happened between 2001 and now is that software development picked up whole new …

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The Smart Way to Fill a Sprint

How do you know how much to put in a sprint? Too little is a waste of time; too much can defeat the purpose of the sprint. Mike Cohn helps provide an answer to this recurring question, and he does so by breaking the sprint into three different types of time. Filling the Agile Tank Corporate overhead is the first type of time spent in a sprint. It is all the necessary stuff that keeps …

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Agile Government: How Agile is Helping Our Veterans

One thing we too seldom associate with the government is efficiency, but Jason Bloomberg writes for Forbes with great examples of how agile is making the US government work better. And if agile can work for the bureaucratic behemoth that is our government, then it can surely work for your organization. Red, White, Blue, and Agile At the Agile in Government: Mutual Adaptation conference, Roger Baker related his experiences on agile. Baker was Assistant Secretary …

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