Tag Archives: Agile

Setting a Minimum Bar for Scrum

At one of our Program Management meetings, I was asked what was absolutely necessary to do for Scrum and Sprints. I was very reticent to write up a check-list of what is needed as it will always have a prescribed, controlling feel to enforce how to work. Using a cheat-sheet like this can leave short that full understanding, of being able to grok Agile. There is so much more to it, and so very much that has been left out, or could be misinterpreted. Yet I wound up writing it. Our group is so distributed and the team was asking … Continue reading

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Phrases to Say a Lot

When asked any question, just reply with something like the following. Or work it in to a conversation. The team says, “look what we’ve done” when there is a good leader. A typical manager says, “look what I’ve done with this team” QA is a platform Prioritize features by risk and known market needs. Group them by goals and technical similarity. What is the expected revenue from this feature? It is easier to automate 10 lines of code at a time than 10,000 for builds and tests Inspect and adapt requires looking at what’s going on before changing it Software … Continue reading

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The Shape of the Product Backlog

Sprints only go as well as the shape of the product backlog. Having a good product backlog is key to being able to deliver software in a Scrum fashion. There are very few required elements to generate an adequate backlog for beginning Scrum. These elements are: Forced ranking User Story Acceptance Criteria Size The first steps are to get customer facing features ranked by their expected ROI and risk. If the backlog is a list of requirements, functional, and task-based, Scrum will be of little use. If the customer or Product Manager understands how to write effective user stories, then … Continue reading

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The Three Pound Gem

Last weekend my wife and I went to Body Worlds 2 in San Jose. It is a show we saw in Denver a couple of times, once for free as a preview for educators in the area. There is plenty of controversy surrounding the show, and I couldn’t help but compare the height of the bodies to myself, and they do seem very small in stature. There is a difference in the show this time, with a focus on the brain and nerve activity. Erica had just been to a conference for teaching gifted children and a lot of the … Continue reading

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Predictability in Action

An article in the Scrum Alliance.

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Carnival of Agilists – 9/20/07

A little while ago I received the following email: Dear agile bloggers, Your recent blog post, reference or article has been referenced in the latest Carnival of Agilists – the blogroll pointing you to some of the latest thoughts in the agile community. The carnival is a biweekly blog posting rotated through the agile community to point others seeking to learn more through agile practitioners. The source for the carnival posting this week is at http://trailridgeconsulting.com/blog/?p=99 It is also referenced at the Agile Alliance Carnival located at http://www.agilealliance.org/show/1670 Thanks for your contributions and feel free to spread the word through additional … Continue reading

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Kanban Ground Rules Example for a Specific Team

Kanban System for Software Engineering Kanban System for Software Engineering – KSSE Introduction Definitions Roles Acronyms Metrics Queue sizes Process Getting Things into TIP and on through to production Self-organization Get Things Done Releasing Constraints Other Interesting Work Kaizen Generating and Verifying Acceptance Criteria Stand-up Measures of Success Visual tracking Tradeshow For Finished Features Retrospective Regular Cadence Whole Team Incentives Introduction Kanban (in kanji where kan, means “visual,” and ban, means “card” or “board”) is a concept related to lean and just-in-time (JIT) production. Kanban is a signaling system. As its name suggests, Kanban historically uses cards to signal the … Continue reading

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Leading a Retrospective Before Introducing Kanban to a Team

Introduction On September 25th I facilitated a Product-level retrospective. The purpose of this retrospective was to look back at how user stories find their way to production, and to find ways to shorten the process and increase quality. The format of the retrospective was taken directly from the book Agile Retrospectives. This style can be used on iteration/release/product cycles. It breaks the meeting down in to 5 components: Set the Stage, Gather Data, Generate Insights, Decide What To Do, and Closing. There are many activities which can be used to help with each phase. Choosing the correct activities becomes much … Continue reading

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Impediments Need to be Removed, Not Excused

I find that a lot of times in the stand up, most people do not raise impediments. Do people feel this reflects badly on their performance? Because when they do, I see a reaction by the team to just brush it off. Something like this: Developer states, “Yesterday I worked on the sensitive content module. I’m not quite done because I am still waiting on legal to review the verbiage, since it is so sensitive. So today, I’ll work on the uploading pictures module.” Someone else on the team says, “Yeah, those people in Legal can be slow, I had … Continue reading

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Naked Planning Explained – Kanban in the Small

While attending Agile2007 I kept finding myself in the company of Arlo Belshee, especially as he was going through his implementation of a Kanban System at BlueTech LLC. The conversations became for me one of the stand out ideas discussed at the conference. This process might have started when Arlo really got in to the lean literature and looked around for waste in the Scrum system. He believed he found it in estimation. The amount estimated to work always differs from actual amount worked, is therefore supposition and only a guess, so this estimation was declared muda. There are a … Continue reading

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