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Monthly Archives: December 2016

Is Scrum Really Agile?

Let’s get philosophical for a second here. Yes, for all intents and purposes, scrum is the most popular form of agile framework. But is scrum itself truly agile? Scrum master Tanner Wortham argues in the negative in a post at his blog. He lays out a short case for why scrum is not agile, in spite of how much he loves it. Mind Frame & Framework For starters, this is what “agile” means to Wortham: …

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When Agile and Design Thinking Collide

Somewhere along the lines, people started thinking of agile and design thinking as kissing cousins. They basically come from different places, but their goal is about the same. In an article for ZDNet, Joe McKendrick observes the commonalities between them and how they are beginning to merge. Imagining Agility Agile and design thinking both make use of iterations, refinement, and examining the needs of people outside of the project team. While design thinking might look …

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7 Retrospective Mistakes that Leave You Weak

Retrospectives are a period of molting for agile teams: They should come out of the experience bigger, stronger, and better prepared for life’s problems. A team that does not grow is a team that is waiting to get eaten up. In an article for Medium, Szymon Skórczyński addresses seven mistakes made in retrospectives that inhibit growth: Skipping retrospectives Not allotting enough time Having selective memory Going too easy Sipping too much haterade Not having action …

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A Day in the Scrum Life

Properly applied, agile and scrum are the bee’s knees for improving business. If it works out that well at work, why not try applying them elsewhere? In an article for Scrum Alliance, scrum master Ronald Breese describes how he has incorporated scrum into his life. A Scrummy Time The big example Breese shares is that of having to replace half a bathroom: The first thing I did was prepare a bathroom backlog, consisting of an …

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Agile Techniques for When Multitasking Is Unavoidable

Most conversations on multitasking conclude that it is a bad thing and businesses need to stop treating it like a valued skill. But reality will sometimes force multitasking into your work process anyway. For those times, Charles Cain writes for AgileConnection with some tips to mitigate the damage of multitasking. Structure in Chaos The most common type of multitasking is the kind where you are switching tasks as a result of interruptions, and it often …

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How to Reward Agile Teams

Mike Cohn makes a pretty important observation about the nature of change: Work change only sticks when the related incentives change with it. Thus, when getting agile, meticulous care should be put into how to reward teams. In a post for Mountain Goat Software, Cohn elaborates on smart ways to do it. The Gift of a Job Well Done He starts with demarcating “bonuses” from “incentives.” Bonuses are rewards granted without prior notice as a …

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A Quick Reminder That Kanban Isn’t a Cure

It is not too strange to see a scrum team decide to switch to kanban. However, it is also not too strange to see a scrum team switch to kanban for the wrong reasons. In a concise post at his blog, Marc Löffler describes the ways that kanban may not be an improvement for scrum teams. A Short-Lived Placebo Here are a few—bad—reasons Löffler has heard of why scrum teams switch to kanban: “All these …

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A Prescription for Your Team’s Agile Transition

A lot of people make a New Year’s resolution out of losing weight, much to the excitement of people who make a commission off gym memberships. But then they remember how much work it takes to lose weight and keep it off, so they give up on it. They figure Oreos are worth shortness of breath and heart problems. They might be right, too. But is a lack of commitment to becoming agile worth the …

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Can IT Service Management Be Agile?

IT service management (ITSM) is old faithful. Agile, in a matter of speaking, is new faithful. Can ITSM get agile to become new old faithful? Joe the IT Guy considers such a possibility in a post at his blog. He glues scrum concepts on top of ITSM and sees how much sticks. New, Old, Exciting, and Stable For the purposes of ITSM, Joe particularly addresses two of the four main agile values: “individuals and interactions …

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Fundamentals of a Good Agile Leader

It is pretty easy to toss out a bunch of positive adjectives describing the way we would like our leadership to be. Do all those pretty words actually describe us though? In a post for the Association for Project Management, Steve Messenger runs through the fundamental qualities that describe a good agile leader. You-in-Progress Agile leaders need to be open-minded. This is critical, in that teams are the cornerstone of agile, and leaders must both …

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