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Monthly Archives: April 2015

The Case for #NoEstimates

A regular hashtag lately on Twitter amongst those in project management is #NoEstimates. On the face of it, it sounds like juvenile nonsense dreamed up by someone fresh out of college. But as Johanna Rothman explains at Agile Connection, #NoEstimates does not really mean no estimates, and she makes the case for why it is more than another buzz phrase. #NoWorkDays #RaiseandaVacation The concept behind #NoEstimates is that you are able to get work done …

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Dealing with Agile Fatigue

The name “agile” says it all—quick wits, last-second pivots, and speed. The teams that truly embrace this philosophy become factories of project deliverables and results. But when do they take a break? Kim Wasson writes about the looming threat of agile fatigue and how to avoid it. Take a Breather Wasson says burnout is the most obvious sign of fatigue, and there are a few techniques for fighting it. First, you can set your own …

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Improving Agile with Software Craftsmanship

Are you a “software craftsman?” Maybe you should be. Ben Linders interviews Sandro Mancuso for InfoQ about his new book, and the role craftsmanship plays in agile development. Sculpting Quality Some companies suffer from what Mancuso calls an “agile hangover,” in which a business will, after a few years of implementing various aspects of agile, suddenly realize that no actual productivity gains have been made. Such hangovers usually occur when processes have been made more …

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4 Hard Truths of Scaling an Agile Team

When it comes to scaling agile, basic arithmetic does not apply. Nine designers and nine developers will not necessarily do three times the work as three designers and three developers. Kate Griggs writes at Scrum Alliance about facing some hard truths that will allow you to scale agile in the most efficient and stress-free way. The Truths At some point production will peak, and then it will plateau. It will be frustrating to see delivery …

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Three Ways to Accelerate Agile Adoption

There are often barriers to entry in trying out a new process, but Roger Kastner believes that agile does not have to be one of them. In a post for PM Hut, he writes about three ways to accelerate beyond the barriers to get your team lean and pivoting in no time. Three Barriers to Break New roles for line managers and project managers Performance transparency Decision-making The first barrier can be broken with simple …

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A Template for Writing Great Personas

A lot of odd things come to mind when you think of a “persona,” most of them deep and philosophical. Jung would be happy to hear it, but in agile, a persona means something else. Roman Pichler explains what a persona is in the business context and provides a template for building them. Who are You? A persona is an imaginary, archetypal user existing in a market you would like to tap. These imaginary people …

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Six Ways to Address Waterfall Challenges with Agile

For any number of reasons, like customers reluctant to involve themselves or having inexperienced distributed project teams, implementing a full agile process may not be possible. But aspects of agile can still be applied to waterfall development for the enrichment of the project. Deepali Bhadade writes for PM Hut, washing away six challenges of waterfall with agile. The Challengers No working software till late in the cycle “Big bang” plan-driven approach tends to resist changes …

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Making Sense of an Agile Contract

The business wants a project to come in at a certain expected cost and on a careful schedule. The business also wants to have the flexibility to work out detailed requirements as the project progresses. Sound like a conflict of interests? It can be, but as Chuck Cobb writes at his blog, the proper agile contract can satisfy both conditions. Seal the Deal The first and most important thing required to make a delicate project …

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The Difference Between a User Story and a Task

Explaining the difference between user stories and tasks is easy, so easy that Mike Cohn had to write a whole blog post in order to articulate the answer. On the face of it, user stories are in the product backlog, and tasks are identified during sprint planning and join the spring backlog. Uh, okay. It is a start. Some Elaboration Cohn quickly realized the above distinction was not very helpful, so the first point of …

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5 Regions of the Agile Mindset

The difference between “doing agile” and “being agile” is that the people who simply are agile are the ones who have embraced the mindset that comes with it. In an article for Agile Connection, Leanne Howard defines this mindset as, “There is no failure, only feedback.” She finds that there are five key features of this aggressively optimistic mindset: Positive attitude Thirst for knowledge Goal of team success Pragmatism Willingness to fail Agile in Name …

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