Tag Archives: Yahoo!

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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Ten Tales of Positive Change – Introduction

Reading that AgileScout is looking for case studies and not just the theory of Agile, I thought I might start posting these stories from my career. These come from an IEEE paper that was first published for Agile2011. The paper is too long for one blog post. Leaving the tales as close to the original as I can, I am posting each one as a separate article. Ten Tales of Positive Change Is it possible to make a difference? Or at least enjoy the interactions more? These tales relate successful attempts at making improvements. They are my experiences working in software … 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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The Project Is Not the Team

I’ve always been under the impression that Scrum and Sprints can only go as well as the shape of the product backlog. Having Continuous Integration in place is essential to move effectively through this good backlog. Recently, I realize I’ve been making an assumption, that there are already well-formed teams in place. During a recent visit to one of our offices, I observed the following: Some people are segregated to a functional unit of a manger and a couple of directs. Collections of individuals are resourced to one or more projects. These groupings create many integration points and external dependencies … Continue reading

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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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Isolated, Code First, Manual Test Last QADD with Continuous Meeting

Sitting on another call with a few dozen people talking about an application being developed by one full-time person. It’s one of the few things which actually brings in revenue for the group. Some of the highest priority work. It crosses the boundaries of business units and is a big bet. Seems like we should be collaborating to get out the working software using a group of talented engineers. Instead, managers of every stripe are in meetings-go-round discussing dates and pushing in more scope. The build/fix cycle lengthens and we go through levels of complete, not unlike the circles of … Continue reading

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Speaker Series

A lot of popular folks come to Yahoo! and hang out. There are experts, authors, musicians, luminaries, – giving talks, running workshops, attending conferences, performing, and being a presence on the campus. Our own group has had people in. I’m not sure who they all are. I hear there was Mary Poppendieck, who’s suggestion of eliminating waste may have been interpreted by a few as meaning some roles could be considered redundant. Seems a shame. Since I’ve been around, there has been two people we’ve brought in. The first was Jim Coplien, who shook things up a bit. People are … Continue reading

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Blessed from another Yahoo! blogger

We have a few people here that blog, and some are listed in the blogging guidelines as experts. I sent a note out to ask see if they thought I was within the guidelines. Here’s what I got back from JR Conlin: Hey Aaron, The fact that you’re asking puts you in a reasonably small group of folks. The fact that you read the guidelines puts you into a smaller one. You’re doing the right thing. Looking at the posts on your blog, i don’t see anything that’s a red flag. (heck, I don’t see anything that’s even lightly yellow … Continue reading

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Finding and Releasing a Product Development Bottleneck

With iterative software, we talk about doing all the necessary functions, such as Design, Develop, Inspect, and Release, within each cycle to increment the value of available software to the customer. Our team divides the things in progress in to these categories, and has a finite amount of slots available to each category. Friday after the daily stand-up found me, the Product Owner (PO) and the Lead Developer discussing a constraint to work. The Design category is done with its work, but the ready slot for Development is full. The team cannot pull any work in to this area. The … Continue reading

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