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Monthly Archives: August 2017

Implementing Agile for the Most Gain

Since we only know as much as our experiences have taught us, I suppose it is not surprising that some people still shun agile: One bad experience can spoil everything. So it is important to introduce agile into the IT organization correctly the first time. In an article for ZDNet, Mark Samuels relates how Tarah Lourens, CTO of Wonga, has used agile to positive effect in her business. The example might help you with your …

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Three Environments Where Agile Adds Value

Agile never works out in the long term without management support. Shrewd managers will understand the right applications for agile and will not just force it onto everything like putting ketchup on chocolate. In a post for Voices on Project Management, Lynda Bourne describes three environments where agile could particularly excel: Maintenance environments Contractual or legal environments Projects that lack a defined scope Agile Habitats In maintenance, agile can go straight to work without a …

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9 Questions Scrum Masters and Product Owners Should Be Asking

Questions are like a magnifying glass. Point them the right way, and you will uncover something you did not know was there. In a post for Mountain Goat Software, Mike Cohn shares nine questions to illuminate every aspect of your agile work. Question Everything First are two questions about estimates: “In the vaguest possible terms, would you estimate this work takes hours, days, weeks, months, or years?” This is a healthy, noncommittal way to get …

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What Is the Scrum Master’s Duty?

We can all benefit from a reset to our expectations from time to time. For instance, there are lots of different ways that people view scrum masters, and not all of the perceptions are accurate. In a post for Voices on Project Management, Christian Bisson briefly overviews all the right and wrong ways that people picture scrum masters. The Real Identity Bisson has heard of people describing scrum masters as “elves of happiness,” as “coordinators,” …

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Aligning Stakeholder Goals with User Stories

Practice Lead Ines Garcia has a bone to pick with the idea that stakeholders and delivery teams want different things. In fact, she outright calls it a myth that has perpetuated for too long. In an article for Scrum Alliance, she discusses what she sees as the real challenges to creating the right user stories. Use Your Words Garcia believes that, although different stakeholder groups may not be pursuing the exact same goals, it is …

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‘Fail Fast’ in Software Is a Myth

Remember those five seconds when people were writing articles about how we should “celebrate failure?” Those times have passed, but the concept of “failing fast” persists because businesses are insatiably hungry to innovate. However, even with failing fast, there are right and wrong ways to allow it, and the wrong way can kill a company. In an article for Co.Design, Aarron Walter discusses the real risks of failure. Speed with Direction Walter begins by highlighting …

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Where Self-Organizing Teams Fall in the Team Authority Spectrum

“Self-organizing” has a nice ring to it, so people feel empowered to say they are part of self-organizing teams. Is the term fully accurate to what goes on in scrum teams though? In a post for Mountain Goat Software, Mike Cohn describes different types of authority and explains where “self-organizing” fits into that spectrum. Powers Retained Cohn derives four types of authority pertaining to teams from Harvard professor Richard Hackman: Manager-led Self-managing Self-designing Self-governing Manager-led …

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12 Findings from the Quantitative Analysis of Agile Methods Study

Reifer Consultants have posted a lengthy study at InfoQ, examining data from 3,000 completed projects across 150 organizations globally. This study examines agile trends and how agile is improving productivity in the enterprise. Twelve findings were derived from the research: Agile methods continue to be the predominant approach used for software development. Scrum is the most popular agile methodology. Usage of hybrid methods and agile-at-scale methods on large projects are nearly equal. Agile reversal has …

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3 Phases of Agile Maturity: Where Do You Fall?

Valerie Silverthorne has interviewed Jeffrey Hammond, a VP at Forrester Research, for TechTarget. In this interview, they discuss the current state of agile in organizations and the upcoming Agile 2017 conference. Among other things, Hammond believes efforts to scale agile are being stymied by the wrong attitudes. He identifies three phrases of agile maturity, and only one of them can create a competitive advantage. Confused Perspectives Hammond recounts an instance of a customer who bemoaned …

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Use Your Spikes Well in Scrum

We often think of “spikes” in bad terms, as seen in “spiking the punch” or the spike traps in Mega Man. But as it applies to scrum terminology, spikes can be useful in the right context. In an article for Scrum Alliance, Leonel Zapien Lopez explains what a spike is and the correct ways to use it. Pointed Results A spike is a “technical” user story. It is inserted into a sprint and must be …

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