Posts Tagged 'agile teams'

Feb 162016

[All posts in this series: 1, 2, 3, 4] Continuing on the agile framework discussion that Tom and Maurizio have started… Agile frameworks are indeed something that many organizations are now considering. Some of these organizations believe they have been doing agile well at the team level and are now starting to apply agile across their organization. Others are just starting their agile transformations and simply want to do it right the first time. To satisfy the needs of these organizations, numerous agile frameworks are now on the market. Most, if not all, have worked someplace and are the result of someone codifying that experience. But just because it worked in other places, how do Read more

Nov 012012

IT organizations worldwide use dashboards to provide managers with the key performance metrics they need to steer their organizations in the right direction and make important strategic business decisions. However, the data being measured must be meaningful for the dashboard to be valuable. Considerable effort and resources can be wasted tracking the wrong information. Dashboards need to be regularly reviewed to ensure they incorporate data from all relevant sources. For example, organizations must now incorporate and leverage the vast amount of data coming in through their various social media channels, as this data provides key information on trends that can affect an organization’s bottom line. So what is the secret to designing a dashboard that Read more

Feb 142012
Agility, Adaptability, and Alignment

It often starts as a seemingly plain training request. Having decided to go the agile route, a client would like Cutter to train a certain number of employees in one agile method or another. We collect data on the demographics of the target population: architects, UI designers, product managers, project managers, developers, testers, and so on. We then move on to discuss the way these folks are geographically dispersed and what the team structure for the launched agile teams will be. Once these parameters have been nailed down, it largely becomes a matter of figuring out the logistics for training and coaching. A fairly straightforward process for rolling out the agile process, one might say. Read more

Apr 142011

The devops phenomenon is gaining traction in enterprises worldwide and its results have been turning heads in the business and user community. Bridging the gap between projects and operations, devops has the ability to deploy and manage business services in “real time.” The July 2011 Cutter IT Journal, with Guest Editor Patrick Debois, will examine both the opportunities and challenges created by the devops movement. Proposals of interest are due 29 April 2011. To respond, please visit

Mar 082011

“You did not finish the stories you committed to!” a product owner at a client of mine recently raged against the team. “What the hell are you doing all day long? This commitment was pointless!” And he was right. The team commitment Scrum includes as part of the planning ritual is a dangerous practice that needs care — and committing on a certain number of stories or story points really is pointless. “Commitment” is one of these management buzzwords you have to use carefully. You should be very clear about what you commit on, what the appropriate tools to keep that commitment are, which tools are illegal, and what happens if you don’t keep the Read more

Jul 132010

In First, Break All the Rules,1 management consultants Marcus Buckingham and Curt Coffman report that an employee’s relationship with his or her manager is key to that employee’s success and long-term happiness in the organization. Moreover, if people have friends at work, they are more likely to be successful and happy at work. In an agile team, it’s easy to build camaraderie among team members. But if a technical person’s primary affiliation is with his or her colleagues on an agile team, how does a manager build the relationship key to retention? […]

Jan 262010

A spider is an eight-legged arachnid that has a head attached to a central body. Pull a leg off a spider and most can still walk, even if a little lopsided. Cut off the head, and the spider dies. Not so the starfish. While many people know that if you cut off a starfish’s leg, it will grow back, most don’t know that a starfish’s major organs are replicated throughout its body. One species, Linckia, can regenerate an entire starfish from each of its severed parts. A starfish is a decentralized network. A final interesting factoid — “for the starfish to move, one of the arms must convince the other arms that it’s a good Read more

Jan 112010

The notion of a self-organizing team runs deeply in the agile community. However, there is a flip side to self-organization, one which agile teams often forget—self-discipline. Just as freedom and responsibility go hand-in-hand in a democracy, so do self-discipline and self-organization. Companies cannot empower teams that do not want to be empowered—those who are populated with individuals who refuse to accept any accountability for results, those who refuse to confront reality, those who gravitate to their cubicles and refuse to engage with other team members, those who are unwilling to accept team decisions, and those who disrespect colleagues. Jim Collin (Good to Great: Why Some Companies Make the Leap and Others Don’t) presents three key Read more

Oct 202009

Much of the discussion about agile has in the past been about creating “working software,” team dynamics, technical practices, and even the project management required to get effective and acceptable code delivered and/or deployed. What teams quickly find out is that they depend on other organizational dynamics outside their purview, such as securing customer involvement, issue escalation, and resource allocation; even facility management becomes important. When these issues arise, unless they are in a small enough company where there is only one team working, they will need to become aligned with the rest of the organization to ensure the best collaboration possible. However, what most leaders discover is that by taking on agile as their Read more

Tiger Teams

 Posted by on Sep 30, 2009  2 Responses »
Sep 302009

Armies don’t fight as individuals, they fight as teams. In the U.S. Army, squads are grouped into platoons, then into companies, and then into battalions, regiments, divisions. If these multi-person squads are the basic building blocks in the military, then why is the basic unit of resource on most IT and software development projects the individual person? There are five individuals in an infantry squad. Three squads, plus a headquarters contingent make up an infantry platoon. As the size of the group increases, specialized groups are added, for example, a division could have a hospital, military police, signal, logistical support, and even a band. XP proponents advocate programming in pairs and agile methodologies in general Read more