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Monthly Archives: October 2015

Ensuring a Consistent Design without an Upfront Design Phase

Mike Cohn has said that UI designers should work as part of the team during the sprint, while also looking ahead to what comes next. How can UI designers be expected to keep everything consistent over time though? Cohn answers this question in a post at his blog. Intelligent Design Emergent design is what occurs when there is no design phase to the project. Nonetheless, any competent designer will be guiding the design along, so …

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Rethinking Workflow for Virtual Teams

There are a few perennial tips you hear about being part of an agile virtual team, things like making good use of teleconferencing to have global daily standups. Well, Magnus Ljadas does not recommend any of that. In an article for AgileConnection, Ljadas gives some very practical reflections on what has worked best for him instead. Easy, Lazy Virtual Teleconferencing does have its place now and then, when the desire for human interaction bubbles up, …

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Should You Limit Work in Progress?

It is probably a pretty noble reaction to resist a limit on work in progress (WIP). When limiting WIP is met with opposition, should we attempt to implement it at all? It might be worth a try, says Pawel Brodzinski, but there are alternatives to consider too. In a post at his blog, he makes the case for a more efficient way to guarantee work gets finished at maximum quality. Limitless Opportunity to Work Hard …

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Incorporating UI Design in Scrum Sprints

Should the user interface (UI) designers be part of the scrum team? Should their work align with the agile sprint? Mike Cohn answers these heavy questions in a post at his blog. U&I Cohn begins by dancing around the questions entirely to instead discuss what he considers the two major goals of any sprint. The first goal of course is to build new functionality; otherwise, the sprint would have no reason to exist. The second …

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7 Signs of Great Agile Leadership

A really good, cohesive agile team will find ways to stay on target even amidst shaky leadership, but with a great leader at the helm, there is no limit to what can happen. In an article for AgileConnection, Lanette Creamer highlights seven signs of this fabled leader. Let’s see how you measure up to these. Great Leaders… Uphold the Agile Manifesto Amplify the voices of doers Are genuine Represent the team Are useful Say no …

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5 Major Symptoms of Ineffective Retrospectives

What could be more fun than a retrospective? The work is already done! Now you just get to talk about what went well, what could have gone better, and how you can run a tighter ship heading into the next sprint. Retrospectives are not always executed as well as we would hope though. To that end, Suman Bhowmick points out five major symptoms of bad retrospectives, so that we can then remedy them. Five Signs …

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There Is No Coming Back from Culture Experiments

Experimentation is the fuel that keeps a business going. Without a strange new idea now and then to keep the company from idling, you are basically waiting to get dumped into the scrap heap. Pawel Brodzinski reminds us in a post at his blog though that when it comes to company culture, experimentation is always necessarily high-risk. Experiments Gone Wrong In business, the best kinds of experiments are the ones that are safe-to-fail, and such …

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4 Steps to Good Product Backlog Refinement

When distributed teams meet via teleconferencing, and one team is under-caffeinated while the other is hungry for lunch, sloppy sprint goals can result from the ensuing rushed discussion. Samantha Webb writes for Scrum Alliance that improving the product backlog refinement process could indirectly solve this problem. Telling the Story Right Since scrum practitioners are generally encouraged to spend 10 percent of their time on the activity of product backlog refinement anyway, they might as well …

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5 Ways Testers Can Mitigate Practical Risks in an Agile Team

The same flexibility that allows agile teams to pivot at a moment’s notice is the flexibility that also allows all manner of unintended risk to seep into the project. In an article for AgileConnection, Nishi Grover identifies five practical risks that all agile teams face, and then discusses how to get rid of them: Ambiguous user stories Not delivering the highest business value Quality concerns Resource and time conflicts Failures in collaboration and communication Five …

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Agile Innovations in Data Management

You can apply agile to basically anything if you try hard enough, including data management. In an article for CIO.com, Nancy Couture believes that agile can get important raw data to analysts quickly while still being able to house it in an enterprise data warehouse (EDW) later. It is a win-win, where analysts get what they need now, and the data can be incorporated into the bigger picture for future reuse. Bring Out the Data …

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