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I recently introduced a new Scrum team across two sites to the practice of planning poker. While they had never done estimating in this way before, the idea was readily accepted and they seemed excited to start. It was never going to be quite so easy over video-conference, but better than not doing it at all, right? Continue reading
Over the last couple of years, I have transitioned from being employed by an insurance company trying to be more agile, through being employed by a small consultancy on-site at clients doing agile project management and coaching, to where I am now – an independent Agile Coach and consultant. Continue reading
I am continually surprised by how many traditional activities and behaviours survive long into an agile transformation. The Red/Amber/Green status reporting is one of them. Even allegedly Agile people seem to hang on to the RAG status like a comfort blanket, but in my experience, it has little, if any, benefit. And the reason is that each status colour causes certain behaviours, which are, at best, served in other ways, and at worst are counter-productive. After all, what are they actually measuring? A subjective opinion on the part of the person doing the reporting of the status of the project. Or rather, what he/she wants the stakeholders to hear. Continue reading
I recently developed and presented a one-hour 'master class' on MoSCoW prioritisation. It's not a hugely complicated topic, and one I have written about before. This time, though, I was able to talk people through the process of going from project priorities to increment priorities to timebox priorities, and how prioritisation leads to feature-contingency. As part of that presentation, I created a short exercise to demonstrate how to prioritise, the things you learn in doing so and the importance of having the right people present, including those who set the project vision and define the business case. Continue reading
In an Agile sense, you probably work in one of two types of companies. While there are certainly hybrids of these two examples, bear with me for a while. The first type are IT-focussed, tech-savvy, often relatively new companies. They sell stuff online generally or at least create products that require frequent changes or improvements. Continue reading
Almost every day I read about doing agile 'properly'. Some people are asking what is the right way to do something, others (including me, it has to be said) are giving their views on what works for them. For someone new to agile – perhaps considering adopting it in their workplace – it is potentially very off-putting, as it may give the impression that we agilists actually can't agree on what's right and what isn't; that agile is actually just a bunch of techy geeks making it up as they go along in ill-disciplined fashion. But that's not true. Continue reading
I first wrote about governance of Agile projects three years ago, when I was developing a governance approach at a DSDM development site. That work, and the work I have done elsewhere since, have further convinced me of the basic 'correctness' of that theory. I presented that theory at the Agile Business Conference that same year to a very interested audience. Continue reading
Peel away the layers of agile practices, dig down through the principles and values of the Agile Manifesto, and what is at the very core of Agile is one simple objective and two activities. The objective is Risk Mitigation. Think about it – all the practices that distinguish Agile approaches – daily stand-ups, user stories, test-driven development, pair-programming etc – were adopted in order to reduce the risk of project failure inherent in predictive or plan-driven methods. Continue reading
One day some years ago, I spent a couple of hours in the car while my son – then aged about 13 – told me all about what he'd been doing recently. What was occupying most of his time was World of Warcraft and he was now online playing this most iconic (apparently) of MMORPGs. I sighed in frustration. Gone were the days when he used to spend his afternoons and evenings playing football or cricket with his mates; now it was online games with virtual friends. This wasn't doing him any good at all. Or so I thought. Continue reading
There is a recurring theme that has been around the agile community for a while now. One so pervading the industry that I have spent quite some time reflecting on it. Have you noticed that people are questioning the very nature of Agile itself? What IS Agile, people are asking. Is it a set of practices? If so, which ones? Some basic values and principles? Then how do we live them in our workplace, it seems too hard. What do you mean there's no place for a project manager in Agile? We have loads of them! Speak to people at a conference or two, or even just read through the Agile LinkedIn groups forums and there are lots of examples of this type of question. Continue reading