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Agile Software Development

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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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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Optimizing the Daily Standup into Oblivion

The daily standup, rather fittingly, does not put people at the edge of their seats. It just serves an important and respectable function. But some optimization-minded people will try to “improve” standups—and these improvements run the risk of causing damage. In an article for Scrum Alliance, Jack Reed describes some instances of standup “improvements” not working out. Better Fix It Firstly, some scrum teams really do decide to sit down for standups, adopting an attitude …

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How to Fix Three Mistakes Scrum Masters Make

Everyone is fallible, except maybe Mr. Rogers or Fonzie from Happy Days, and neither of them was ever a scrum master. That means everyone is going to goof up in scrum at one point or another. So in a post at Mountain Goat Software, Mike Cohn describes three common mistakes scrum masters make and how to fix them: Letting work drag on into the next sprint Actively running the daily standup him or herself Allowing …

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Dealing with Technical Debt in Agile

As Judge Marilyn Milian says on The People’s Court—the cheap comes out expensive. This is an easy way to describe the problem of technical debt. Code gets deployed because it provides a quick fix for little effort at the time, but it is not designed to scale to the level that the project needs. If that code is not replaced in a timely fashion, then the cost of replacing it once it becomes a problem …

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How to Take the Bloat out of Your Backlogs

Is it possible to be too good at identifying backlog items? Maybe. After all, if you identify multiple dozens of user stories all at once, you are probably halfway to having planned a waterfall project. In an article for AgileConnection, Michelina DiNunno discusses how to take the bloat out of your backlog. Weight Loss DiNunno believes that bloat occurs when you take on too many stories of low priority or stories that are just unnecessary …

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4 Steps to Agile Success in Government

If there is anyone who could stand to work faster and more efficiently, it is government offices. Gradually, agencies are coming to realize that agile could be the injection of vitality that they desperately need. In an article for GCN, Matthew Schenck shares four steps to introducing agile successfully: Build teams the right way, with overlapping roles. Implement the right tools. Use data to track progress. Be patient. Speed Eventually Team members need to be …

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Why the Whole Team Should Participate When Estimating

The whole team is expected to participate in estimating the size of product backlog items, but not everyone on the team is always going to have the experience to know how to estimate a certain item. How can you still be useful in such a situation? In a post for Mountain Goat Software, Mike Cohn explains how team members can be useful during estimation even when their skills do not apply to the item at …

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Capacity Planning Is Not Sprint Planning

As agile practitioners know, not all planning is good planning. But it is not just “too much” planning that causes issues. Trying to plan the wrong way is a recipe for disaster too. In this case, a quick article for Scrum Alliance serves up a reminder that capacity planning is not sprint planning, and we must not treat it as such. The Right Planning Scrum teams operate as a collective unit at all times. Capacity …

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