Tag Archives: Agile
My response for a Project Manager trying to improve the use of Agile
tl;dr A Project Manager asks me at the end of a class how best to show progress in Agile projects, since phases can’t be checked off complete. My questions for him are: can measures like lead time, throughput, and defect rates be measured across any type of project? What tools are used to track the work from larger goals and initiatives through to smaller stories and tasks? He decided to have the tool vendors used demonstrate full system capabilities, from portfolio management to daily task tracking.
Certified ScrumMaster Slides Now Available
Certified Scrum Master Course from Aaron Sanders The following is a little story of how I came up with flow to this deck. And what you won’t find in it.
Making changes to Project Management during an Agile transition
What can you change right now At the end of my Certified Scrum Master class I ask people to reflect on what resonated with them in the class and come up with something to try at work tomorrow to make a little positive change. This last time as people went through their notes, wrote ideas down for action and discussed with others, a couple of people came up to run things by me.
The Weather Channel Lean UX Case Study Now Available
On September 17, 2013 Jeff Hutkoff and I presented a case study on a travel feature made for the iPhone application. Special thanks to Jeff Gothelf from Neo and Lauren Cramer from UIE for organizing the event.
Ten Tales of Positive Change – Conclusion and Acknowledgements
What do all of these tales have in common? They started out as an idea that led to a small change. These changes could be implemented easily, cheaply and quickly when there was complete buy-in from everyone that the change was necessary and for the better. Of course, I didn’t always find myself in a better place. One result had us building a product that became attractive for an acquisition, while our related labor cost did not. Many of us lost our jobs to promote the sale. Another consequence of success was having a senior executive in our organization determine … Continue reading
Allowing for Cross-Functional Teams
A home entertainment provider called me in to facilitate User Story writing followed by release planning. The business unit had not tried either activity before. Leadership had been replaced and the new General Manager and Vice President of Technology decided to invest in the group’s burgeoning Scrum effort. The organization followed a structured work breakdown approach with tasks functionally derived. People were willing to approach product definition in an Agile way and wanted to experiment with User Stories. We discussed the vertical nature of Stories and that teams were formed orthogonally, based on the architectural stack. A few people pointed … Continue reading
Admitting to the Real Date
We established a trusting relationship at vianet with our customer. We invited them to each Sprint review and planning ceremonies. They checked out and deployed our code from our servers in to their environment. Negotiating the Date It was the end of fall and our customer said they needed the work finished by the start of spring. Everyone wanted some buffer in case something delayed deployment and we agreed to finish development by the middle of winter. This date was written in to the contract drawn up by lawyers and signed by both sides. The rate that we were now … Continue reading
Reassigning Points to Validate Estimation
Keeping a Good Agile Estimation Practice As part of our Scrum practice at vianet, we spent time as a team tending to the Product Backlog. We played planning poker and kept all our stories sized. We knew the entire size of the Product Backlog. Every Sprint we looked ahead and refined some User Stories. Our velocity was stable and we could predict what User Stories would fit in a Sprint. The total size of the Product Backlog and the number of Sprints left projected that we would not hit the date promised to the customer. Verifying the Estimates The Product … Continue reading
Keeping Progress High and Questions Low
Everyone Wants to Know Status Vianet established a cadence around Scrum and soon our customer, stakeholders, executives and others would ask how the current Sprint was going. The people asking questions numbered more than we had on the team. The questioning increased as a Sprint neared its end. I asked if people could hold off with the questions until the end of the Sprint. It had become too much of a distraction for the team. Designing Good Retrospectives A friend suggested that I read “Agile Retrospectives” by Esther Derby and Diana Larsen. The book was recommended to me to help … Continue reading
Staying Focused at Stand-up
Having learned what Scrum and XP could do; I convinced the next organization I joined to try Scrum, with me as the ScrumMaster. The company built a reservation booking and payment engine called vianet.travel. Small proprietors with manual bookkeeping used it to advertise and rent out their places to people on holiday. Stand-ups Take Too Long Splitting my time as a developer and ScrumMaster, I was as likely to join in the conversation during stand-up. Stand-ups took too long, where we did more talking than we should. Sometimes it took us over an hour for everyone to answer the three … Continue reading