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Monthly Archives: November 2016

How Self-Organized Is Your Self-Organized Team?

The concept of the self-organized team is a lofty one—to be able to make its own decisions and pursue business goals in its own way without sitting through bureaucracy. In practice, teams actually experience varying degrees of true self-organization. In an article for Scrum Alliance, Priya Yennam examines the nuances. Useful Arrangements Here is an unfortunate scenario of what can happen when management still lingers over alleged self-organized teams, and how it can be remedied: …

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Are Agile and Corporate IT Incompatible?

Silicon Valley is full of agile startups that iterate at a breakneck pace to deliver better solutions. Dense corporate IT typically does not operate at the same speed. But that does not make the startups better. In an article for CIO Insight, Marc J. Schiller explains the nuance in how agile is theoretically good, but not “good enough” if taken just by itself. Do you agree? Sync Issues For starters, when you factor in how …

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Agile Workspace: The Undervalued Success Factor

Agile appreciates and celebrates creativity. That means loading people up with markers and dry-erase boards and calling it an agile office is only half true at best. A genuinely agile workplace seeks to simply foster individuals’ creativity according to the type of task at hand. Stefan Wolpers elaborates in an article for Business 2 Community. Designed to Facilitate He believes the best thing that can be done is to offer a diversity of workspaces in …

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Anatomy of a Scrum Master (Infographic)

So much thoughtful action goes into creating a successful scrum process. It sure would be nice if someone could summarize all of that information attractively. Well, Simplilearn did exactly that. Please enjoy this infographic on the anatomy of a successful scrum master, useful for those who are getting started with agile and for those who are seeking to become scrum masters. (For best viewing, you may want to open the image in a new tab.)

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Best Practices for Parallel Development

Scrum master Marius Seebach recently got the chance to do something unusual: He worked on a project where he built the same thing twice, simultaneously. In this case, it was building Android and iOS versions of an app. In an article for Scrum Alliance, he explains how they achieved their goal, in the hopes that some of their practices might be transferable to your situation. Double Trouble So that new features only had to be …

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4 Reasons Your Agile Implementation Isn’t Working

The instruction manual taught you how to build a bookcase, yet your finished work looks more like a doghouse, or maybe a trebuchet. How do things go so wrong when ostensibly following a process? In an article for DZone, Robert Pieper identifies four reasons that organizations feel their agile implementation is not living up to expectations, and what can be done about each: You’re not limiting risks. Lead times are too long. There are consistent …

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Nonverbal Exercises for Agile Retrospectives

Throttling quiet team members by the shoulders until they bark up their insights seldom works as intended. Is there a better, less illegal strategy? In a post at his website, Ben Linders shares a few examples of nonverbal exercises for agile retrospectives, so that the shy bunch can still give their input comfortably. Drawing Conclusions For starters, there is what he calls “brain writing,” which is actually just drawing a picture of an idea that …

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The Chief Product Owner on Large Agile Projects

The product owner is a citizen of two different worlds: one internal to the team, the other external to users, stakeholders, and everyone else. This workload is manageable when the project encompasses one development team, but it is impossible to maintain across multiple teams on the same project. In a post for Mountain Goat Software, Mike Cohn discusses how to divide product ownership on big projects. The Product of Products Ideally, for every team within …

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10 Ways for Scrum Masters to Facilitate Team Success

Scrum masters, like project managers before them, just want to find ways to help their teams achieve more. Marine veteran Tanner Wortham has some particularly insightful tips on the subject. In a post at his blog, he outlines 10 points that create a better experience for everyone on the team: Never surprise the product owner. Scrum is not scripture. Put yourself out of the job. Challenge the system, not the people. Managers are assets. Map …

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Scrum Teams: Hard Skills and Results

Introduction There is a trend in the agile/scrum world to focus on soft skills rather than hard skills. When I talk to a typical “agile coach” or “agile transformational coach,” they are able to summarize scrum and might have some good skills on organizational change, dealing with resistance and getting introverted developers to talk. These are soft skills, important but limited. The lack of hard skills (e.g., requirements, design, estimation, risk management, and verification) leads …

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