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Monthly Archives: April 2016

Why Product Owners Must Craft Acceptance Criteria

Acceptance criteria are the breath of life into a user story—they are the thing that completes it. What does the best acceptance criteria really look like though? Alex DiPasquale seeks to answer this question in an article for Scrum Alliance. Criteria for Criteria DiPasquale finds that acceptance criteria are the technical requirements of the user story that address the “what” questions. They are the “must haves,” as opposed to the “nice to haves.” He believes …

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3 Misconceptions CIOs Have about Agile

Nobody can know everything, so you do not need to be a doofus to pick up a stray misconception here and there. In an article for CIO.com, Sharon Florentine identifies three misconceptions CIOs may still be having about agile. She clears things up. The Falsehoods Agile teams should be driven by the operating budget. Agile removes managerial oversight. Agile is simple to implement. Most agile processes are still budgeted in a way that would have …

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Small-World Networks: A Lighter Alternative to SAFe for Scaling Agile

All it takes is one look at one of their huge diagrams to understand that SAFe is complex, and perhaps necessarily so. In an article for TechBeacon however, Johanna Rothman shares an alternative to scaling frameworks that she believes could be less complicated. Her solution is program management with “small-world” networks. Small World, Better World? Here is how Rothman defines a small-world network: Small-world networks are our interconnections with people not on our team, not …

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Is Your Product Owner an Overloaded Operator?

Software is not the only thing that can get overloaded. It can apply to product owners too. When product owners become too overloaded by conflicting expectations and responsibilities, the agile implementation suffers and work seldom reaches finished. Johanna Rothman explains for AgileConnection how to improve this situation. Power Down If the product owner is also the product manager and the business analyst, that is immediately a hefty and somewhat clashing set of responsibilities. The business …

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When MVP Is Not Enough: Minimum Viable Investment

The way project manager and business analyst Chris Matts sees it, the point of the minimum viable product (MVP) is to test if your assumptions of the interests and needs of your customer segment are true. He does not think the MVP has much to do with an actual product. In organizations with many existing products and customers, an MVP may not be practical, so Matts conceives a new solution. Valuable Ideas Existing companies looking …

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Sprint Planning for Agile Teams That Have Lots of Interruptions

Sixty years ago, you could play stickball in the streets of New York City and only stop playing for the occasional passing car. If you tried that today, you would end up glued to the bottom of a Chrysler in 30 seconds. The point is that context dictates how often a team gets interrupted. In a post for Mountain Goat Software, Mike Cohn discusses how to handle sprint planning with interruption-ridden teams. Handling Heavy Traffic …

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Proactively Planning for Risks to Your Agile Project

Teams have had a tricky time reconciling traditional project risk management with agile, and so various approaches are cropping up. In an article for AgileConnection, Dave Browett tackles it from the angle of having clear, previously agreed-upon risk responses using PRINCE2 as the basis. He applies the standard risk responses—avoid, reduce, fall back, transfer, and accept—to the context of agile. Risk Strategies Browett takes the example of deciding how to handle the risk of unsized …

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Ways to Apply Agile outside of Tech

IT need not hoard all the agile goodness for itself. Kanban and scrum concepts can apply in other settings too. In an article for TechRepublic, Tori Funkhouser shares some examples of agile enriching business in other departments. Agile for All She first shares the story of a Senior Director of Learning and Development for an emergency air transport company. The business had a hard time understanding how long it would take to create all the …

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The Argument against a Self-Directed Agile Team

Self-organized and self-directed teams are the cornerstone of agile. Without these, you might end up with some quasi-waterfall mutant, and yet Vijay Kulkarni makes a case for why teams should not shift into this mode so quickly. In an article for Scrum Alliance, he explains what is actually at risk when teams become fully self-organized and self-directed. Self-Defenseless Essentially, Kulkarni makes the argument that we are instructed throughout our lives about what we are supposed …

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Discovering Your Leadership Drive

If the origin of truly great leadership could be neatly traced back to one source, then the world would be full of outstanding leaders hitting home runs all day. The reality is that many ingredients add up to great leadership, but these elements can be deftly learned. In an article for AgileConnection, Leslie Sachs examines what it takes to embrace the best leader within yourself. Take the Lead Sometimes, the start of being a great …

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