Tag Archives: Agile

What Works Right Now?

Agile infiltrates an increasing amount of organizations. Changes in the jargon detect its influence. Phrases and words like “inspect and adapt”, “vertical slice”, “velocity”, and “collaborate” start getting batted around like volleyballs at a beach party. People ask questions in the serious tone of a late-night host discovering what is interesting about the guest: “What is the highest ranked item?”, “What are the acceptance criteria?”, “What does the team think?”. Zealots mutter incomprehensible phrases like “maximize the work not done” and “tracking actual hours worked is unnecessary”. People insist it takes a shift in mindset to understand, and yet we … Continue reading

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What About the People?

Lately I’ve been reading about people lamenting unsuccessful adoptions of Scrum within organizations. Somehow, these entities survived before Scrum was introduced. They are not just going to fold because they have not done it right. They may choose to ignore some of the principles of Agile and continue to bring in revenue without coming all the way around. So the Agile community has some advice. Make sure good technical practices are in place. Have motivated and skilled people in the trenches with the will to change. Make sure there is executive support. Use some assessment tool. There are other suggestions, … Continue reading

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Interview with Kenji Hiranabe – 2008 Pask Award Winner

Aaron: How did winning the award help your efforts with Agile? Kenji: Being honest, actually nobody in Japan knows that award. Some Japanese colleagues really congratulated me about winning and that made me cry. But, no other business effect. Aaron: Why was it emotional for you? Kenji: I have been long trying to introduce Agile to Japan, to change engineers’ lives for the better. That effort was acknowledged outside Japan. My colleagues and friends also helped me with the effort together. Aaron: So winning the award was a collaborative effort? Kenji: Yes. Along the way of introducing Agile to Japan, … Continue reading

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12 Agile Adoption Failure Modes by Jean Tabaka

Last night at the BayAPLN, Jean Tabaka from Rally Software gave a presentation about the typical failure modes of Agile. This is distilled from her observations and being asked from people who have heard the hype, what are the real problems with adopting an Agile approach? Which is your current favorite?

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What a Pile of Product Backlog

What is all this stuff? Can we take a look at the Product Backlog? Does this backlog contain a long list of prioritized “stuff to do”? Does this list include defects, functional tasks and/or feature requests? What else? Does this list include everything? Are there more items in the backlog than we can see in one glance? Have we determined the business value in this “stuff” as a basis for stack-ranking these Product Backlog items? Can we estimate this “stuff” in terms of relative complexity and help with prioritization? In reality do we have multiple lists for the product being … Continue reading

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What makes this Agile ours? A talk with previous Gordon Pask Award winners.

This is the submission I had accepted for Agile 2009. Since the link to the submission may still be password protected, I’ll include the session here. Stage: Leadership & Teams — Type: Panel room: Toronto — time: Monday 11:00-11:45, Monday 11:45-12:30 Level: Practicing The Agile Alliance states that “The Gordon Pask Award recognizes two people whose recent contributions to Agile Practice make them, in the opinion of the Award Committee, people others in the field should emulate.” This panel brings together some of the previous winners so that they may share their contributions and help encourage others to participate in … Continue reading

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Interview with Jim Shore – 2005 Pask Award Winner

Aaron: What one thing was most important for you to mention in your acceptance speech? Jim: When Brian told me the main thought that came to my mind was, “Oh, boy… what am I going to do with this?” It is the only award that the Agile community gives. I had this overwhelming sense of responsibility, “How can I live up to this?” For the acceptance speech itself, I felt it important to mention the other people out there who are also contributing. Aaron: How did you get involved in Agile and why is it important to you? Jim: In … Continue reading

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Interview with Brian Marick – Intent of the Gordon Pask Award

Aaron: I was reading your old blog and found, “We in the Agile community need to do more to promote and encourage the rising stars of tomorrow”. What was happening at the time that prompted you to assert this? Brian: I was at that time hanging around with a professor of sociology at the University of Illinois, who was writing a book on the British cyberneticians; very larger-than-life figures, but who had no effect. Eventually they retired, or died, and that was kind of the end of it. The first wave of people failed to build up the next wave. … Continue reading

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Death by Scrum Meeting

I recently received an email from a senior-level manager, who raises a valid question about all the meetings associated with Scrum. This particular instance of Scrum has over 50 people working in more than one locale. When yet another meeting was created, he raised a valid question: 90 minutes every week for backlog hygiene? And that is on top of all other scrums, scrum of scrums, business reviews, can we ship, planning etc. meetings and scrums? I am getting seriously concerned about our state and efficiency. If we need to spend 90 minutes on this weekly, than, IMHO, someone is … Continue reading

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Obstacle, Begone!

If you track obstacles electronically, some of this process changes. Many APLM tools allow for issue tracking. Hopefully, the intent and result of this post still makes sense. Blocker Board Always preferring high-touch and visible information radiators to track items, I tend to make a physical blocker board for teams I work with. Why do I call it a “Blocker Board”? It alliterates. I am finding it to be a problem to call it this. Perhaps I should change it to an “Obstacle Catcher”, or something that doesn’t make people think the sky is falling, just that we’re hunting for … Continue reading

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