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Monthly Archives: May 2017

Agile Transitions: Starting with Practice Instead of Theory

In a post for the Clever PM, Cliff Gilley notes how most agile training begins with teaching the theory—as in teaching the perfect, golden ideal of agile. The problem is that theory will not help people do their jobs, and teaching the theory at all can feel more like an effort toward indoctrination. So Gilley proposes a way to provide agile training that results in agile teams that can function without theory and indoctrination. Practically …

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Responsibility and Self-Organized Teams: Are We Doing It Wrong?

Self-organized teams agree to take care of themselves, in varying degrees. They likewise agree to share responsibility for all of the tasks that go into completing their project. However, in a post at his blog, agile coach John Yorke observes a tendency of self-organized teams to direct disproportionate energy toward the wrong tasks, or to neglect doing work if it does not seem important enough to the goals at hand. Freedom to Meander Yorke points …

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What are the Three Most Important Agile Practices?

Being both a methodology and a mindset, agile encompasses many things. When hoping to run a successful agile implementation though, you cannot afford to be watching every moving part all of the time. You need to focus on ensuring some essential elements are in place instead. So what are the three most important agile practices? In an article for Scrum Alliance, scrum master Rex Lester shares his compelling three picks: Ensure that the voice of …

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What Is the Career Path of a Scrum Master?

Once a scrum master, always a scrum master, right? What does that mean in terms of actual career trajectory though? In a post for Mountain Goat Software, Mike Cohn discusses what he sees as four potential paths for scrum masters’ careers. Branching Evolution For a scrum master that has become seasoned in working with one team, the next logical step may be for that scrum master to start working on a more complex project, or …

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How Self-Managed Teams Can Resolve Conflict

By their nature, self-managed teams have to police themselves. Nobody can just complain to a manager about a minor dispute or another person’s mildly irritating behavior. People have to learn to be direct with each other instead. In an article for Harvard Business Review, Amit Maimon shares three tips for how self-managed teams can resolve conflict without destroying people: Encourage openness to productive conflict. Prioritize accountability over blame. Quantify the impact of the problem. Peace …

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A Contest in Transparency to Improve Predictability in Scrum

Practice makes perfect, but sometimes practice is not enough. Some organizations earnestly get agile and adopt scrum and still struggle over a long period to find the value they were expecting. What can be done in this situation? In an article for AgileConnection, Darin Kalashian, Chris Jalbert, and Rahul Jain describe an experiment in transparency they conducted at their organization to improve their sprint planning. No More Mysteries Prior to the experiment, teams had tried …

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4 Pillars of Agile Integration

Agile integration has to do with understanding—from conception—how software will integrate with other business components and services in order to generate success. Senior Directors from Red Hat at the Red Hat Summit from May 3 discussed what they view as four pillars of this crucial integration. In an article for TechRepublic, Scott Matteson shares and breaks down these four pillars: Distributed environments Containers APIs People Raise the Roof Old integration efforts fixated on having a …

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How to Onboard New Scrum Team Members Fast and Reduce Risk

A scrum team is a carefully balanced ecosystem. When even one team member leaves and is replaced by someone new, it can throw the whole system into chaos if mismanaged. In an article for Scrum Alliance, Sanjeet Biswas describes some useful tips to ensure that the whole team is happy with the new arrangement. Maintaining Balance First, begin with the obvious—make sure new team members will have all of their necessary equipment ready to be …

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The Secret of How Amazon Keeps an Agile Mindset at Its Huge Size

Amazon is a world leader in business and technology, known for its innovation. And its innovations sometimes take quirky forms, as shown with the new Echo Look, which is equipped with a camera that can help you select the most fashionable outfit to wear for the day. As Howard Yu explains in an article for Forbes though, the quirky new functionality of Echo Look is actually part of a familiar pattern in the business’s mindset. …

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Does the Scrum Master Role Ever Go Away?

The scrum master essentially fulfills the Obi-Wan Kenobi role on the agile team. This person guides, coaches, and ensures that the Force *ahem* scrum is being used the right way. But when the whole team is living and breathing scrum, does the scrum master role remain necessary? Mike Cohn addresses this question in a short post for Mountain Goat Software. Here Today… The scrum master role does entail more than just building up the team. …

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