Agile and The Iron Triangle – Don’t Forget Quality

Most all project managers are familiar with this Iron Triangle of project management. When a project comes up, one must weigh the project based on the scrop, cost, and time to market. But what ever happened to the quality? Where does this come into the equation?

Agile project managers, per Bob Galen, need to take a different approach, focusing on the scope and quality of the project.

  • Maintaining a quality focus with their team so that no feature leaves the line as undone or with known defects
  • Passionately varying scope with their business partners—while always looking to deliver a high value and minimal marketable feature

Continue reading “Agile and The Iron Triangle – Don’t Forget Quality”

[InfoGraphic] – What is a Product Owner Responsible For?

Sometimes pictures are the best way to communicate something. When we came across this diagram of a Product Owners responsibilities, we liked it a lot.
Here’s a list form.
Product Owner Responsibilities:
  • Creates the product vision
  • Grooms the product backlog
  • Plans the release
  • Collaborates with ScrumMaster and team
  • Manages the product roadmap
  • Attends the sprint meetings
  • Collaborates with stakeholders
Product Owner Artifacts:
  • Product vision
  • Product backlog
  • Release burndown
  • Product roadmap

Practice Agile, Don’t Just “Do It”

Agile software development is all about inspecting, adapting, and improving upon findings to better your ___ (fill in the blank) or business or product development. Or “being” Agile as a lifestyle is to continually improve, or Kaizen.

Yep. We get that, and so does Tom Perry, who wrote a recent article on A Call to Practice. So many organizations don’t necessarily practice Agile more than they just “do it.” Never improving upon what they’re doing. That doesn’t seem very Agile at all, now does it?

And that’s exactly Tom’s point.

“We call a lot of things practices and what we really mean is “things we do”. We don’t really practice them… my call to action: find the practice in what you do. Engage in real practice with thoughtful deliberation. Find the techniques that we can all practice… to become the very best at what we do.” – Tom Perry

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2010 Agile Survey from Scott W. Ambler – Interesting Facts

AgileStateOfArt201011

Thanks to Scott. W. Ambler who put out a recent survey on Agile practices. There seemed to be enough respondents so a robust set of metrics could be pulled from the survey.

A couple interesting facts here:

  • Experienced teams only took a little more than a week longer to release a product than an inexperienced team.
  • Regardless of experience, most teams chose an iteration length of 2 weeks.
  • More experienced Agile teams gave less estimations and budgets up front (Sounds about right) 🙂

AgileStateOfArt201011
[HT: AmbySoft.com]

Cub Scouts and Agile Scouts – Citizen of an Agile World

After reading The Agile Warriors blog this past week we were inspired.

Inspired to do a terrible photoshop job.

Hey, sometimes inspiration comes in many forms.

Like us being in a StartupQuote.com! <- Check it out!

But one thing you may not know about Agile Scout is that we actually have a similar credo:

The Agile Scout Order of Agility

Live long and prosper!

Did you know you can be an Agile Scout too? Be an Agile Scout!

[HT: AgileWarrior]

Thanksgiving and Agile – 10 Reasons We’re Thankful for Agile

Thanksgiving is a time to reflect on the many things we’ve been blessed with. Today’s turkey special includes our reasons to love Agile.

10 Reasons We’re Thankful for Agile This Thanksgiving:

  1. Customers come first – We love interacting in real-time with our Product Owners. They give us direction and meaning.
  2. Continuous improvement or kaizen – Agile is about always improving over time. It’s a lifestyle!
  3. Huge documentation is #fail – We want to work quicker and faster. Give us (developers) just enough to start kicking butt.
  4. Project course-correction is easy – We welcome changes and can make changes quickly and efficiently. Lessen your change management!
  5. Large projects are history – We can break projects into logical feature-rich chunks. Deliver early, deliver often. Keep it simple!
  6. Developers love quick wins – We can iteratively feel good about what we’re building. Every couple of weeks or so we produce valuable software.
  7. Agile isn’t prescriptive in methods – We can pick and choose different ways to apply Agile in our work environments. We love flexibility.
  8. Agile has created a community of believers and contributors – At a loss for a best way to implement a facet of Agile? Google it. Find Agile thought-leaders. There are plenty out there.
  9. Agile insists on good people who are motivated and flexible – Agile creates a need for best-of-breed-top-quality developers and workers. Design and build your company and teams around people who love challenges!
  10. Agile created the Agile News site: AgileScout.com – Yep. We’re benefactors of this awesome thing called Agile. 🙂

So, what are your top reasons to love Agile?

Continue reading “Thanksgiving and Agile – 10 Reasons We’re Thankful for Agile”

Leaders Make Mistakes Too – Agile Communication

rejectedThere isn’t a week where we don’t see some leader in business or politician in office that is falling off the pedestal of perceived-perfection. Check the news and stay on that channel for 30 minutes. You’ll see it.

Being in a position of authority is a tough spot to be in. With the pressures of running a business well it seems like there is very little room for mistakes. If people do make mistakes, it’s easy to pass it down-hill or just glaze over it saying that it was “All part of the plan.”

I would think that people these days have had enough of the fakery. It’s time to get real. It’s time to be real and take ownership of mistakes and mis-steps. What encouraged us this past month was an article by Scott Lowe, CIO of Westminster Collage.

“I’m not a perfect human and not a perfect leader.  Every so often I blow it.”

Continue reading “Leaders Make Mistakes Too – Agile Communication”

Agile Certification – Who To Certify?

Uncle Bob recently blasted out a posterous blog post about a “Certification Worth Having.”

Haven’t we heard a ton recently about Scrum certification and Agile certification in general?

As many Agile organizations roll out certifications (Scrum Alliance, Agile Alliance, Scrum.org, et.al.) a person has to wonder,

“What are the real criteria for giving an individual a certificate?”

As we posted earlier on a satire about Agile Manager award (and the one here), we just made one up!

Continue reading “Agile Certification – Who To Certify?”

Agile Adoption Challenges in the Enterprise Applications

[This article is a guest post by Rajesh Raheja, who is a senior director of development in the Oracle Fusion Middleware SOA group, responsible for developing SOA governance tools and providing engineering guidance to key customers and partners for Oracle’s Application Integration Architecture. He is a Certified ScrumMaster and a Stanford Certified Project Manager. You can visit his blog or connect on Twitter @RahejaRajesh.

Note: The views expressed on this blog are his personal views and do not necessarily reflect the views of his employer.]

Agile faces some key challenges to overcome when dealing with adoption in the enterprise. Projects in the enterprise come in various flavors – from developing minor utilities to large enterprise business applications. The latter kind of projects have characteristics that are a bit different from other projects. For example, integrating multiple heterogeneous applications to satisfy an end-to-end business process, requires a lot of time doing functional analysis as well as testing. A rough estimate pegs approximately 70% of the project time (of around 9-15 months per release) on just analysis and testing.

(More)

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The End of Scrum and Scrum Teams?

What Killed Waterfall Could Kill Agile Scrum

Robert C. Martin has written a very interesting and compelling piece on the “elitism” that plagued the waterfall movement and certification and how it is coming back in the form of Scrum.

While we certainly hope that this won’t happen for Scrum and Scrum teams, the recent issues plaguing the Scrum Alliance and Scrum in general seem to be taking it’s small toll on the Scrum community at large.

Take a look see and read it for yourself. You may find yourself agreeing or disagreeing with it. Again, we hope that this won’t happen for Scrum.

Continue reading “The End of Scrum and Scrum Teams?”

Agile Estimating 2.0 – A Cheat Sheet

Agile Estimating 2.0 Cheat Sheet

Steve Bockman has supplied a pretty cool cheat sheet for doing an Agile Estimation exercise. This exercise reminds us of the Agile Estimation practices from Manoj Vadakkan at PW&WCBA (here).

Take the exercise for a spin and see if it can help your team estimate your stories better and more accurately!

[HT: SteveBockman]

[Satire] – World’s Most Agile Manager?

Martin Proulx has announced a new contest: “World’s Most Agile Manager” (or WMAM for short) Award this last week. I didn’t know what to make of it, frankly, I didn’t know you could just make up awards like this. But we guess you can!

What to make of this?

While I’m all about giving recognition where it is due, I wonder what the real value of receiving this award is. Martin tells us that the winner receives:

“Public recognition and the rights to brag about being the World’s Most Agile Manager, the winner is likely to receive countless job offers, a potential salary increase from his/her existing employer, much publicity in well-known blogs, and maybe even a plaque to be posted on his / her office walls.”

The criteria of the “World’s Most Agile Manager” is:

“[Someone] who clearly demonstrated his/her adherence to the Agile values and principles in 2010.”

Seriously?

Continue reading “[Satire] – World’s Most Agile Manager?”

Scrum Alliance 2011 Strategic Plan Now Available

Strategic Plan 2011 Scrum Alliance

Big thanks to Mike Cohn for providing this for the general public. Give it a read-through. This sounds like great step for the Scrum Alliance. Here’s to hoping!

Check out the summary below on the Scrum Alliance Values, Vision, and Mission:

Continue reading “Scrum Alliance 2011 Strategic Plan Now Available”

Week in Review 7 – Thoughts on “Agile”

This week has been an interesting week, with lots of feedback on a couple of posts:

Growth has been steady and sure. Our traffic is only increasing and our ‘reach’ is growing tremendously. We are very happy about this.

We’re currently setting up more conferences that we may be the live-blogger for. Always excited about these!

Metrics for the week:

Continue reading “Week in Review 7 – Thoughts on “Agile””

[Tool Review] – Podio – Seriously Awesome PM Tool

After months of waiting to get an account, Agile Scout is finally in and ready to view one of the hottest project management and collaboration tools out there.

Fan of Basecamp? You’re in luck. Because this tool is FREE (For now…)!

Enter: PodioThe New Work Platform

Continue reading “[Tool Review] – Podio – Seriously Awesome PM Tool”

[Tool Review] – Give Your Clients Realtime Updates with ClientStat.us

Want an easy way to keep your team or client updated on what’s happening? Don’t want them to go through labor-intensive sign-up processes? Want to be able to give clients and customers updated often on the status of their project quickly and efficiently?

Well the Rails Rumble 2010 attendees pushed out this program in 48 hours.

Enter: ClientStat.us Updates Without the Hassel of Logins or Passwords

Continue reading “[Tool Review] – Give Your Clients Realtime Updates with ClientStat.us”

Tracking Value – How do you do it?

How do we track value? Some food for thought on a Friday.

One idea that I recently read about was a technique involving assigning value points to each feature or user story by the product owner. For example, the most important feature may get 10 points, some minor feature only gets one point (btw, business should assign value points).

As features are delivered, you track the points to show how much value is being delivered.

If you create a graph you should see the value goes up pretty quickly but then levels off since by the fourth or fifth iteration we won’t be delivering as much value.

Any ideas on how to track value?

[Image Source]

iPad Winner Alert!!!

We have a winner: Sarah B. from Jacksonville, Florida. We wondered why we kept seeing her name through all the entries. “How?” You ask? She entered in all 5 ways! Talk about diligence!

Well, you have your winner. Sarah, we know you’re following us… almost too closely. Hit us up with your info and we’ll ship you out an iPad!!!

Want your chance to win in our next Giveaway? Follow us at links above.

See past Giveaways here.

Scrum to Evolve Over Time?

I recently had a quick discussion with a project manager about how an entire industry has been made out of one position: The Project Manager. There are certifications, classes, seminars, books, consultants, coaches, and entire conferences built around the role. He sarcastically told me that the entire industry is built around one tool: MS Project. Ha! So how did it get to such a behemoth?

One could look at the numbers and see several ways why it has increased over the years: Marketing (external or word-of-mouth), certification and business value (perceived or actual), consumer demand as professionals pay for extra knowledge and skills (perceived or actual).

So is this the same way that Agile and the most popular methodology, Scrum, is headed?

Continue reading “Scrum to Evolve Over Time?”

The Agile Brand – What is Being Marketed?

During the past conference that we attended, we met with so many people who have heard of Agile, but wanted to learn more. One of the questions we should have asked participants is:

“What do you think Agile is?”

Or:

“What have you heard about Agile?”

Maybe, first, it would help to know what Agile is NOT.

Continue reading “The Agile Brand – What is Being Marketed?”

[Tool Review] – GoMockingBird for Wireframes – Now Out of Beta!

Enter: GoMockingBird.comWireframes on the fly

If your into Agile and UX this may just be a tool you can use. Plus, it’s free to try out.

We here at AgileScout have been big fans of tools like this. We actually talked about another wireframe tool called LucidChart before, which we like a lot.

Continue reading “[Tool Review] – GoMockingBird for Wireframes – Now Out of Beta!”

Agile is NOT a Methodology

Ok. Now we have your attention. Yes, Agile is NOT a methodology. The impetus for this article was that I was recently thrown an article by another Agile coach. He simply asked me what I thought about it. I read it. Digested it. Disagreed with it.

The article was essentially selling Agile as a methodology, using “Agile methodology” buzz words. Wait you say, do we sound like purists? Not really. An easy click over to the AgileManifesto.org tells us that Agile isn’t a methodology at all:

  • Individuals and processes over tools
  • Working software over comprehensive documentation
  • Customer collaboration over contract negotiation
  • Responding to change over following a plan

Oh, and there are some principles (12) to the manifesto too.

But none of this talks or even looks like a methodology. So this begs the question, “What is Agile methodology?”

Continue reading “Agile is NOT a Methodology”

[Agile Guide] – PechaKuchas – How a Team Can Self-Educate Continually

[First: See my Agile 2011 Presentation on Pecha-Kucha HERE]

Never heard of PechaKuchas? Well neither did we until we had a client with some developers who were doing it. So what is it, exactly?

A PechaKucha is:

  • 20 slides (pictures), 20 seconds each.
  • Started in Japan in 2003 when designers wanted to show their stuff to the public.
  • It means “Chit Chat” in Japanese.
  • It creates discussion and collaboration.

Meaning, that a presenter goes (very quickly) through a powerpoint slide deck of 20 total slides talking about each slide for 20 seconds. This is a total of 5 whole minutes! Then discuss.

Ok. So where’s the value?

Continue reading “[Agile Guide] – PechaKuchas – How a Team Can Self-Educate Continually”

Week in Review 6 – PW&WCBA Conference Wrap Up

This past week has been crazy-busy. The Agile Scout’s were on the scene with the ProjectWorld & World Congress of Business Analysts down in Orlando, FL.

Find a full list of all talks Agile Scout covered:

Check the link above for a full-weekend worth of reading. Make sure you check out some of the very cool interviews we did with some of the outstanding speakers.

Continue reading “Week in Review 6 – PW&WCBA Conference Wrap Up”

Real Agile Developers Use QR-Codes

Don’t know what this is? Thats ok. We’re here to enlighten you.

This is a QR-Code, one of the many ways to provide your viewers an extra way to interact with your site. We’re still trying to figure out how to utilize these little gems. Stay tuned as we figure it out for ourselves!

So what do you need to utilize this little code?

  • A smartphone (iPhone, Android-based phone)
  • An app for your smartphone (QR Code Widget, QuickMark QR Code, App to QR)

Boom. You’re done.

Try it out on the code above. Who knows, a little secret (read: free swag) could be going your way!

Grow Your Craft as a Professional – Agile Reading

We here at Agile Scout began our lives as code-junkies. Thanks to the rise of telnet, bbs, cow email-bombs, ICQ, html, and those awesome animated gifs at our disposal we began developing what is now the worst examples of code known to man (Think blinking and flashing web pages back in the 90’s).

I had a lot of conversations over the week with many project managers at PW&WCBA who are looking to move their IT support division into something a little more Agile. One in particular had a department that mainly supports bugs and quick fixes to websites. Wow, if that isn’t an opportunity for Agile then I don’t know what is!

We began to discuss his need for an Agile project manager to come on board but hasn’t found success in the marketplace as of recent due to the number of project managers that just don’t know how to code, or don’t come from a coding background. He was very dogmatic that a good project manager comes from a development background.

“How could a person who manages development teams know nothing about development and coding and be successful?”

Continue reading “Grow Your Craft as a Professional – Agile Reading”