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Agile Project Management

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

Nov 292012
 
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I hope you’ll join me in welcoming Giancarlo Succi to our team! We’re excited to have him. In addition to his new role as Senior Consultant with Cutter, he remains a tenured Professor at the Free University of Bolzano-Bozen, where he directs the Center for Applied Software Engineering. He has consulted with private and public organizations worldwide (he’s based in Italy) in the areas of Agile methods, software quality/measurements, software system architecting, design, development, IT strategy, and training for software personnel. Dr. Succi’s research interests swirl around Agile, experimental software engineering, open source development, software product lines and software reuse, and software development over the Internet. He is a prolific writer, having authored or coauthored …

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I recently watched a talk by a self-appointed agile "expert" who tried to explain the key elements of Scrum. There were lots of minor and major mistakes in his presentation, but the sentence that struck me most was: "User stories are what we call requirements in agile." The sad thing is not that much that this guy said was completely wrong, but that his view is quite common. Another "Scrum" team I was visiting recently showed me its task board. On the left, the group had "prioritized" their stories by assigning them to three categories. Their choice was pretty representative: they had eight cards with priority one, three cards with priority two, and not a …

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Jim Plamondon, Cutter, and the API Economy

I’ve recently joined the Cutter Consortium as a Senior Consultant, focusing on the API Economy. This begs three questions: Why the API Economy? Why me? Why Cutter? Why the API Economy? The API Economy is, in brief, the exchange of information resources facilitated by: Exposing your entity’s core information resources to an ecosystem of developers through an Internet-based Application Programming Interface (API), and Combining other entities’ APIs to build new information resources. You may never have heard of the API Economy, but you will. It is the economic force that is driving cloud computing and mobile apps. The success of cloud and mobile computing is accelerating the API Economy towards a tipping point, in a …

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Be the Management You Want to Change — An Open Letter to Agilists

Dear Agilist, Everywhere I go I hear the same thing: “Culture and management are the major impediments to enterprise agile adoption.” Indeed, hundreds of us recently sought out the annual industry conference presentations and panels on how to change management — and culture — to facilitate the agile organization. I propose you and I stop hoping for management to change. Instead, why don’t we become the change we want management to be? That’s right, become a manager! Why the heck not? Here’s my reasoning. If you are skilled in the disciplines of: Prioritizing based on value, quality, and risk reduction Self-organizing cross-functional teamwork Transparent communication Making work visible Limiting work in process Feedback loops for sensing …

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Sep 052012
 
Pursuing Velocity

In my recent Cutter Advisor “Reassessing Your Software Process,” I tried to shed light on the relative velocity of an in-house process v. that of related processes in the market. I stressed that I actually perceive the two as “twins” that can’t really be separated as they mutually affect each other. Furthermore, I expressed my conviction that the boundary between the firm and the market shifts nowadays not “only” as a function of cost of transactions[1], but as a function of the disparity in velocity of the software process inside the firm versus the velocity of related processes in the market. In response to my advisor, Peggy Drew, an Agile Program Manager with Omgeo, wrote …

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Test-Driven Business: The Myth of Planning

In my first post in the Test-Driven Business (TDB) series, I took the liberty of being a little provocative, placing Planning after Ideation and Implementation as one possible way in which the three phases could be sequenced. This arrangement is illustrated in Figure 1. Figure 1: Cultivation Culture Obviously, Planning could precede Implementation and it might precede Ideation. The reason for my provisionally placing it last was to draw attention to the complicated interrelationship between the three phases, to the fact that in today’s markets linear order between the three can’t really be taken for granted. As a matter of fact, I would contend that sharp scholars have been observing that the order is not necessarily …

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August has officially arrived, which means the annual Agile conference is just two short weeks away. Whether you’re doing Agile, thinking about doing Agile, or are a leading Agile thinker, you’re aware of this event. This year’s conference, Agile2012, is headed to Dallas, Texas. The weather promises to be about 100°, so don’t forget to bring your hat and sun block (under 3.4 ounces if you’re carrying on)! I’m pleased to report that eight members of the Cutter Consortium Agile team are presenting at Agile2012. Led by Dr. Israel Gat, Director of our Agile Practice, Cutter’s team is ready to help you make the most of your Agile2012 experience. Dr. Gat’s “No Bull Know How” …

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Is there something intrinsically incompatible between Agile and CMMI that will forever keep this conversation burning? This always heated debate hasn’t lost its steam yet. But maybe it should. Instead of focusing on “why or why not” – let’s focus instead on “how” Agile and CMMI can work together to effect successful software projects. The upcoming Cutter IT Journal with Guest Editor Hillel Glazer seeks practical advice and insight on how to improve the understanding and compatibility between Agile and CMMI. How can Agile or CMMI as products and services — provided via training or education — contribute to fanning or resolving the conversation? Or is there a viable reason they should part ways? Let …

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Has agile crossed the chasm? Unambiguously: yes and no. To apply the concept of Geoffrey Moore’s book, we must first answer the question, “Is agile a disruptive technology?” To me, that answer is yes. If you do not agree, this is a good stopping point. Next, we must answer the question in regards to the market. Let us first focus on the software industry, both software product companies and IT. Then we can answer the question: yes, agile has crossed the chasm, from the perspective of the total addressable agile market. Certainly, mainstream has adopted agile. Traditional manufacturing organizations such as Caterpillar, Boeing, and Ford use agile methods. Insurance companies like Farmers, United Healthcare, and …

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Quick Reflections on the Voke Press Release about Agile

I recently had the pleasure of responding to the comments made by Voke in a press release about its new report that claims that companies do not understand costs of rework and cannot identify clear benefits of Agile. Brian Bloom of Computerworld Canada asked for my reaction, which was subsequently published in IT World Canada. Though I haven’t had the opportunity to read the full report, my impression is the report reflects a fundamental misunderstanding of the core tenets of Agile. An Agile phrase you might want think about as you read the article is value delivery. Basically, I view Agile software as a triplet {Process, Output, Outcome}, where: Process=The way a self-organizing team works in accord with an Agile …

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