Tag Archives: Team

It’s MAD to Have a Separate Discovery Phase

Here we are with another Misadventure in Agile Discovery (MAD). This one pairs well with the first misadventure, the separate discovery team. Even when that mistake is corrected and a balanced team is working together through discovery and delivery, the team may decide to spend some time furiously creating a slew of new ideas.

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dual track Scrum in brief

Coining the term “dual track” Desireé Sy‘s Adapting Usability Investigations for Agile User-centered Design(pdf) (2007) might be one of the first examples drawing out and labeling a process knows as dual track Scrum and stating, Although the dual tracks depicted (…) seem separate, in reality, interaction designers need to communicate every day with developers. This is not only to ensure that designs are being implemented correctly, but also so that we have a thorough understanding of technical constraints that affect design decisions

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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

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Finding Predictability in the Velocity

Being an independent contractor is exciting yet somewhat lonely, having to support myself and find every opportunity. I look to constantly improve my craft by finding others to collaborate with and have found those needs met by joining Rally. I now concentrate on improving my coaching and training practice with other coaches. We have a support system around us and I get to work with people who have different strengths and skills. One of the clients I work with is a networking company. One of the teams I worked with had a difficult time establishing a consistent velocity. Forecasting when … Continue reading

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Figuring Out How to Construct Teams

After the Agile coaching group shut down at Yahoo!, I decided to take a chance at being an independent coach. I quickly found work with a network management group. The business unit consisted of over 70 people, mostly working in San Jose and Bangalore. The Vice President of the technology group wanted to “burn all the ships”, and hoped this no retreat attitude would help the team convert to Scrum within a quarter. I spent over nine months with the business unit. Creating the Initial Teams To begin Scrum, the managers created three large teams along architectural boundaries and HR … Continue reading

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Gauging the Rate of Progress

An interesting pattern was revealed to me. I noticed it in my embedded team and with other teams who asked for help. Product Backlogs were not being estimated. Teams were not estimating in points, days, nor even time. It is unclear what led to this lack of discipline. A consequence of teams not being able to say when something might be done resulted in other people setting deadlines for those teams. Playing the Team Estimation Game Demand for coaching was high and we were always being called in to situations. In looking around if I found a backlog with hundreds … Continue reading

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Dealing With an Overwhelming Amount of Work

I located a job as an Agile Coach working at Yahoo! headquarters in Sunnyvale, CA.  I worked with a group of internal coaches, offering both training and coaching for the nearly 500 teams that were experimenting with the Scrum framework inside the organization. My directive there was to observe teams in action and offer help when asked. Observing Team Behavior Pretty soon I was invited by a Product Owner to observe his team’s stand-up. This team sensed that something wasn’t right with their Scrum implementation and he was seeking advice. They had also recently lost their ScrumMaster and people were … 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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Whole Team Incentives – Redeeming Features for Rewards

After VYC2.0 launched, I was asked who were the heroes in the group. The one or two people who deserved recognition for all of their hard work. I was hunting around for the email chain, but I’m pretty diligent about deleting emails. I wish sometimes I wasn’t so relentless at that, but I don’t have it. Essentially, I responded that calling out a couple of people creates competition, that everyone stepped up and deserves to be recognized. Management agreed, and everyone involved wound up with a Flip, and I was asked how we may be able to codify some whole … Continue reading

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Agile Team Members – Roles and Responsibilities

The following was written by myself and edited by my manager to help define roles in our group. Modifications have consisted of removing any reference to the specific group. This is largely influenced in the writing by David Anderson’s book Agile Management. Most of the wording for the roles of Product Owner and Scrum Master come from the Scrum Alliance, with specific cites on the role’s title. Influences in the editing have a decidedly more traditional feel to the statements, and leaves one feeling they are behind the steering wheel of some analogous car. Agile Team Members – Roles & … Continue reading

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