Agile Project Management

Cutting-edge Agile methodologies, software development techniques and project management practices.

Jul 252017
Stop the Slowdown in Customer Responsiveness

Time has a significant impact on projects. You need to get to market. You need to respond to change quickly, but also remain responsive over time, which makes it critical to build maintainable systems. Add to that competition and the technology landscape, plus the cost of delay, and the cost of change can become quite high. According to Cutter Consortium Senior Consultant John Heintz, the increasing cost of change leads to a slowing down of customer responsiveness.: “One of the primary reasons that we slow down is because it gets harder and harder to change things. If the cost of change in our systems goes up, then at some point we become less responsive, and Read more

Jul 112017
Software Risk is Business Risk. Who's Responsible for Mitigating It?

Cutter Consortium Senior Consultant Pete Kaminski has been looking at the business risks posed by software, and how to mitigate them. He gives context to the issue this way: “Driving business risk down is just smart business. Software-related business risk is an increasing portion of business risk, so knowing how to assiduously reduce software risk has become part and parcel of today’s business reality. Fortunately, there is an array of tools and methods that you can apply across your portfolio of software assets and development projects to manage software risk, which we’ll explore in this Executive Update. Industrializing software risk management is critical for organizations in the digital age. It unleashes the “smarts” in developers Read more

May 162017
Some Advice for Middle Managers

From time to time Cutter Senior Consultant Jens Coldewey talks with middle managers who started their Agile journey some years ago and are unhappy with the results. Here’s his advice:   If you start changing an organization toward an Agile mindset, there’s no real end. Agile is about creating an organization of continuous learning and the transformation is done when there is nothing new to learn, which will probably be never. This puts an enormous challenge on middle management. In most organizations, lower management is responsible for actual delivery, upper management is responsible for keeping the organization prepared for the future, and middle management is responsible for stabilizing the organization. Now continuous learning means that Read more

Agility and Stability

 Posted by on Jun 28, 2016  2 Responses »
Jun 282016
Agility and Stability

The world is in a time of rapid change resulting from the usual culprits: The integrated economies and labor market have created a “flat world. The Internet has reduced friction in the marketplace The accessibility of data has revolutionized target marketing The low cost of processing, storage, and software environments (e.g., Java, Python, R) has made application development efficient, enabling innovation and disruptive technology. In the past, building business was associated with stability — creating an organization of lasting value that persisted even through a change of management or some market structure change. Running a business in the face of today’s changes, however, alters the nature of business management. “Agility” is the facility of quick response Read more

May 312016
Attention Agile Organizations: Alignment = Better Decision Making

A frequent complaint we hear from Agile teams is that their self-organization is not respected and their manager routinely overrules their decisions. If you talk to the manager, he or she complains that the team doesn’t respect company policies anymore and makes decisions it’s not entitled to make. What seems to be a battle about power in many cases and like a confusion of self-organization with autonomy turns out to be an unfinished Agile integration into the organization. Last December, we discussed this topic at a workshop of the “Supporting Agile Adoption” program of the Agile Alliance from the perspective of decision making. Decision making has been a topic of management literature since at least the middle of Read more

Apr 192016
Six Ways to Reduce Tech Debt

What strategies do you apply to modernizing a product code base? What results do you get with those strategies? This Advisor takes a retrospective look at a past project, both to describe the strategies my colleagues and I used to rearchitect the product and to validate the effectiveness of those strategies with two technical debt assessments via Cutter’s Technical Debt Assessment and Valuation practice. The six strategies we used are presented here. The two assessments are used to evaluate the measured impact on the system from the team’s efforts and compare it to the actual time spent modernizing the code. This is the story of the DeLorean system, a client’s longtime production setup. (While not Read more

Apr 142016
Don't Let Agile Become Bad Science

The latest enthusiasm for hypothesis-testing in the Agile community is a good thing…Until it turns bad. If we’re not careful how we do hypothesis testing, that’s exactly what could happen. Hypothesis testing means applying the scientific method, which involves doing something really, really hard: putting our cherished beliefs to the test, not to prove them, but to disprove them. Any fool can come up with “evidence” to support a hypothesis. Why do I think that matching socks keep disappearing after I do the laundry? Demons steal them. How do I know? If I’m really committed to this explanation, I’ll find some way to support this novel viewpoint. Without this core commitment to testing to disprove, we Read more