Category

Agile Project Management

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

 
A New Arithmetic for the Backlog

The delineation ‘functional vis-a-vis non-functional’ requirements has been used by many/most of us for quite a few years. Useful that it is, I find various Cutter clients needing a more granular delineation. For example, in a recent engagement the client has actually identified the following kinds of requirements: Functional “Traditional” non-functional Devops Technical debt (TD) Striking the balance between the four is a tricky business. It is hard enough to generate some kind of (fast changing) equilibrium between the first two. Doing so across all four is a stretch for most teams. It requires good grasp on numerous subject matters. Even if the team includes a member versed in devops and another one who is …

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Sep 252011
 
Our Walls are Thicker

A couple of years ago I found myself immersed in a devops dialog with an executive of a fully integrated service provider. I forgot how many hundreds, if not thousands, of developers reported to her. While all might not have been well with the way software was produced in her organization, the bigger problem she was wrestling with was time-to-value. The software might be done, or even ‘done done’ as Agilists would often say, but its deployment unto the data centers owned and operated by the very same service provider was agonizingly slow. In particular, time to deployment of anything that touched legacy code was “infinite.” Figure 1: Wall of Confusion Slide By Patrick Debois …

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Sep 202011
 
From Here to Agile2021

  Agile 2011 has been something of an epiphany for me. The confluence of workshops, discussions and interactions with Cutter presenters in the conference led me to thinking of the shape of things to come in quite a different manner than I used to. In particular, I reached the conclusion the forthcoming 2011-2021 vintage will be quite different from the tried and true Agile 2001-2011 vintage. I have no doubt the nuts-and-bolts of Agile will continue to be a major component of the Agile “curriculum.” You simply must get the Agile practices working at the team level. Metaphorically speaking, you are building towers in the sand if your teams are not proficient in the Agile method. …

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Sep 202011
 
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One of the saddest patterns I’ve seen several times in my career is that of an agile island. The story usually goes along this route: a highly motivated middle manager finds herself in some difficult situation and decides that agile is the right way out of her turmoil. She starts to read books, she engages skilled consultants, she gets the team on board, introduces self-organization, finds skillful product owners, and, after one year or so, she has a highly successful agile team. Well, not everything is really perfect, but after all, the situation is way better than it was before the transition and the clients notice a significant difference — though there is still some …

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Sep 112011
 
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Last February I developed an Ear, Nose and Throat (ENT)  problem that placed me squarely in the category of “interesting patient” (as one of the physician I saw told me with a wry grin). Just at the point the number of medical specialists I had to consult grew to the level that my medical insurance started suspecting a fraud, I reached the conclusion that while nothing is too wrong with any single organ, I am probably struggling with some from of a system problem. Since then I have been known to quip that henceforth Jerry Weinberg will be the only “physician” whose help I would seek.. Imagine my delight getting the thoughts captured below from Ernest …

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  My friend Annie Shum has drawn my attention to prosumers and their effect on the value chain. According to Annie, three things are happening in an interlinked manner: Consumers become prosumers – they both consume and produce; consequently, The value chain becomes composite; hence, The whole product is transformed. Consider, for example, a keep-the-memories photo storing, sharing, processing and printing service like Snapfish. The company must have hundreds of millions of customers, many of which are obviously creative. A creative customer who prepares a photo album of her son’s wedding, might design a template she will use to produce the album. This template could be posted and sold on the Snapfish web site for …

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Aug 212011
 
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San Francisco, CA Aging Israelis like me are very fond of the song San Francisco on the Water [1]. We actually melt when we hear Arik Einstein sing it. His golden voice brings back to our hearts precious memories of what we call Good Old Israel: being in harmony with ourselves, with one another and with the mission. In our youth we did not need the inspiring words of JFK – we were really really really asking what we could do for our country. I am literally sitting at this very moment on the water in San Francisco. I am sure I look absolutely lost to the world. I did not have the time to …

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San Francisco, CA. Believe you me – they don’t come any better than that. A morning to die for, or, even better, to live for. I have spent the better part of this gorgeous morning on the phone trying to reason with various Orbitz and JetBlue service/sales reps. Each one of them was courteous, professional and really really really trying to help me.  However, things did not add up between these service representatives, the numerous systems they use (“Please wait one minute, Sir – I need to access another system”) and, may I say, my “legitimate” travel needs.  Actually, I am under a fairly stern warning from one of the JetBlue service reps that I …

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Aug 102011
 
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Check out Cutter’s Patrick Debois (@patrickdebois) and Julian Simpson on Thursday morning at Agile2011 (9:30 – 10:30). They believe that organizations can greatly benefit from agile infrastructure and have built a demo just for this conference to prove that the concept of ‘”infrastructure as code” can help. This session is part of the New Horizons stage, so you can be certain you’ll be discovering something you hadn’t really thought about in this way before! At the same time (unfortunately!) Cutter’s Mark Levison and Roger Brown are presenting a refinement of their Agile2009 presentation, Creativity for Agile Teams. They focus on how to support, enable and enhance the creative abilities of Agile teams. Next, Scott Ambler, …

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Aug 092011
 
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Gil Broza is an amazing coach. He’s also a really terrific trainer, focused on agile engineering practices. His specialties include techniques for increasing quality and reducing time-to-market, how to be a good Agile Customer, and Pragmatic Scrum. Tomorrow at 1:30 at Agile2011, he’s turning to Refactoring Conversation Smells. In his back pocket, he’s holding a simple set of patterns and questions that will help you tackle and get your conversations unstuck. Also in that pocket are a couple of decks of Cutter Planning Poker cards. Ask him for one!