Does Agile Have a Dirty Little Secret?

“Most of the project management methodologies utilized today evolved from the processes used in developing the assembly lines of the early industrial revolution…That being said, you might be interested to know that next to accounting software, project management software is the oldest software product. It’s been around, in a very similar form to what it is now, for a very long time.” – Ty Kiisel

So what is the dirty little secret of project management?

“The dirty little secret of project management is that after all these years of software development, the tools have become so complicated that end users don’t use them.” – Ty Kiisel

I was talking with a colleague who is a PMP and an outspoken individual last year at a conference. He asked me a simple question and then answered it himself:

“You know what is a racket? The PMI (Project Management Institute).”

I asked him why that was.

“You have an entire industry: certification, consulting, seminars, conferences like this (the one we were at), software products, and so-called experts… whose entire career and industry revolves around the Gantt chart, and outdated and worthless construct when it comes to software development.”

While I do not agree with his statements, it does make you think, doesn’t it? Sounds to me like Ty and my colleague need to get together and collude to fix the project management conundrum.

But this got me thinking. Does Agile have a dirty little secret? Are we making Agile more and more complicated over time? Is it time to come back to the basics of the Agile Manifesto 1.0? Agile Manifesto 2.0? Agile Manifesto 2.1?

The Agile industry has just as much as the PMI: certification, consulting, seminars, conferences, software products, books, experts, etc. Have we gone too far? Have we monetized Agile beyond it’s original intent? Has the brand been tarnished? Has it lost it’s luster and new-car smell? 10 years later, have we improved because of Agile?

  • What do you think about my colleague’s comment?
  • What do you think about where Agile is today?

[HT: PMHut]

[Fun] – Obama Says “NO” to Facebook

Michelle Obama says her daughters aren’t on Facebook, and that’s the way she likes it.

The first lady says her girls, Sasha, 9, and Malia, 12, have certain restrictions that other children don’t have because of security issues. But she also said during an interview on NBC’s “Today Show” on Wednesday that she’s:

“Not a big fan of young kids having Facebook.”

With all the news out there, we use Facebook as an information radiator to present our news via the Facebook medium. Is it an “access to information” issue or just good parenting?

How much news do you get from Facebook?

[HT: Associated Press]

Week Retrospective 21 – PMI Certification and Pecha-Kuchas

Kidzban – Kanban for Your Classroom

If you’re a teacher, you need to check out what one teacher @topsurf is doing for her class: Putting her kids on a Kanban workflow system.

A quick scan of her blog will tell you, she loves her some personal Kanban. While Kanban is great for software development and teams new to Agile, personal Kanban can be used for life.

Dubbed, “Kidzban,” personal Kanban on a Child’s level, Patty has seen many posts on successful kidzbans being used at home. That led her to think about bringing it into the classroom last year and using it on the Pre-k level. So far Patty has found great success in it.

“I have used Personal Kanban in almost every aspect of my life since learning about it on the Personal Kanban website. I truly believe there is not one instance in which you can’t apply Personal Kanban. NOT ONE.”

A huge Kanban fan? You betcha. Patty’s other blog posts range from personal Kanban with swimming to dealing with sleeping issues.

There seems to be a place for personal Kanban in every part of life. If your looking for a good read and how to apply Kanban to your life, make sure you hit up her blog below.

By the way, she also runs Layers of Love, an organization dedicated to supporting chemotherapy patients. +10 to charisma.

[HT: NothingIsOutofReach]

[Tool Review] – Action Method for iPad – Task Management on the Go

As iPad saturates the IT development environment more and more users are wanting iPad support for their favorite task management tools. We know that Pivotal Tracker has iPhone support, and a tool we reviewed before is specific for the iPhone (Scrum2Go Review), but how about the iPad?

At my current client, at least 5 developers have iPads and use them regularly. Should tool developers be looking towards mobile and tablets? Absolutely.

Enter: Action Method Powerful Mobile Task Management

Continue reading “[Tool Review] – Action Method for iPad – Task Management on the Go”

LIVE with Brian Bozzuto – Agile Games Conference – 2/25/11

This Friday 3:30EST 2/25/2011 we’ll be hosting Brian Bozzuto, the guy behind the Agile Games Conference.

Brian Bozzuto is a principal Agile Coach at BigVisible Solutions. With an extensive background in health insurance and financial service companies, his current focus is supporting teams as they adopt Agile and lean practices and deal with the challenges of organizational change. Brian is an expert helping foster better relations between business and technology to achieve more response projects and better business results. He has a broad range of experience using applying various process improvement frameworks including Scrum, Six Sigma, Lean, and CMMi in large organizations.

Brian has been certified as a Project Management Professional (PMP) and Certified Scrum Practitioner (CSP). He is one of the founding members of the PMI Agile Virtual Community of Practice and the creator of the annual “Agile Games” conference in Boston.

We’re excited to hear what he has to say!

[Tool Review] – Geckoboard – Create Your Own Personal Dashboard

Want a cool web app that allows you to create your own sweet dashboard? You have to know a little about API’s and stuff, but this online tool could put just what you need in front of you.

[Enter]: GeckoboardYour Business in Real Time

“Want web analytics, CRM, support, infrastructure, project management, sales… all in one place? Geckoboard is a hosted, real-time status board serving up the indicators that matter to you.”

It took a little bit of time to get a beta invite to join, but once we got in, we really liked what we saw. It’s as easy as one-two click to add a widget. From CRM, email, project management, social media, and web analytics, you can click and choose what you want to see.

Continue reading “[Tool Review] – Geckoboard – Create Your Own Personal Dashboard”

AgileBlend.com – Distilling the Best Agile and PM Links

Invite alert. Looks like a brand spankin’ new site has emerged… and the Agile Scout is trying it out (and will continue to use it)!

[AgileBlend.com] – Simple enough. You like DIGG/Reddit? This one is simply for Agile and Project Management.

  1. Quick Signup
  2. Add a link
  3. Put in a blurb about what it’s about
  4. Let the community vote for the best Agile and Project Management links out there

If you have a blog and want to drive traffic? This could help you do it. Gotta love the logo too, it’s pure blended sweetness!

[VIA: AgileBlend]

[Guest Post] – Let’s Play Name That SDLC: Volume 1

[Guest Post by David J Bland – With over 10 years of experience in the technology industry, he strives to find a balance between Agile theory and Agile reality, while expanding into complimentary process areas such as kanban and customer development.]

You can find him blogging on Scrumology.net and on Twitter @davidjbland.

Let’s play a game. The rules are very simple. I’ll show you a visual depiction of a software development life cycle and you respond with what you think it represents.

Ready?

Name that SDLC!

Do you think you know the answer?

Oh wait, I forgot one more set of labels…

IT IS THE AGILE SDLC!!

Wait… what?

Continue reading “[Guest Post] – Let’s Play Name That SDLC: Volume 1”

[Tool Review] – CollabPress – Project Management for WordPress

[We review Agile tools. Have you seen our Agile tools list?]

Many bloggers use WordPress as their blogging platform and even as a content management system. So why not add a little bit of project management to the mix?

[Enter]: CollabPressProject Management for WordPress

CollabPress is a plugin which adds project and task management functionality to WordPress. Easily create projects and assign tasks to users.

  • Unlimited projects, task lists, tasks, and comments
  • Easily edit/delete projects, task lists, tasks, and comments
  • Email notifications for new tasks and comments
  • Task due dates with a calendar view
  • Uses built-in WordPress user accounts
  • Activity log tracking all activity
  • Multisite compatible
  • 100% GPL and Free!

I’m a big fan of WordPress.

Continue reading “[Tool Review] – CollabPress – Project Management for WordPress”

Pecha-Kucha and Team Self-Education Presentation

[First: See the Pecha-Kucha GUIDE here]

Below are two versions of my submissions for Agile 2011 and Product Camp 2011 speaker decks.

If you don’t know, Pecha-Kucha is a fantastic way to have your teams self-educate.

If growth is implicit in life, we expect ourselves to grow, and expect others to grow as well… wouldn’t we naturally assume that teams need to continually grow as well?

Pecha-Kucha enables teams to continually grow and learn from each other. Take it for a spin!

Feel free to ask me about anything in these presentations, it’s not always explicit without someone presenting it to you.

Pecha-Kucha Agile 2011 Peter Saddington

Week Retrospective 20 – Selling Agile, Scrum Pocket Guide Winners, and #StartupRiot

[Sunday #Fun] – Your Kid Knows More About Cloud Computing Than You Do

As cloud computing gets more play time and people are becoming more aware of the power of the “cloud,” the time is now to for those in Agile to write more about how Agile fits within the context of cloud computing and software and systems.

I haven’t read a lot about it. Maybe it’s time for someone to capitalize on the growing market…

LIVE with Paul Klipp – Selling Agile

On this edition of AgileScout LIVE we had guest speaker Paul Klipp talk with us about selling Agile to your team, your project managers, and clients. A very fun discussion.

A couple of really good points to watch this video for include:

  • How to sell Agile – Building trust?
  • Overcoming the fixed-price issue with Agile – Creating a Target Price Contract (I LIKE)
  • Paul shutting down his Twitter account
  • Kanbanery Iphone App out soon!

Scrum Pocket Guide Winners!

We love giveaways. With such an overwhelming response to our Scrum Pocket Guide giveway, we just felt that it would be even more uber awesome give MORE of the eBook away!

We started with a giveaway for 3 winners… we’ve now decided to give away 5!

#epic #win!

So again, why is this book so full of #win?

  • Any level of ScrumMaster or Project Lead can utilize this book to refine and develop their facilitation and Agile knowledge
  • Simple and easy application for you and your team
  • Know when you are ready to apply the principles through questions to ask yourself or your team
  • See the value of Agile principles applied through case studies
  • Download the Introduction to the book and example chapter on High Performance Teams [here]

And our winners are…

Congrats to all our winners! Please email us at info [at] agilescout [dot] com and we’ll shoot you over a link to download (Link expires after 7 days)!

[HT: AgilePocketGuide]

It’s OK to Fail in Agile

This is a week full of Startups. Many startups fail. Most startups don’t live past 10 years. The failure rate is high. But the rewards can be even higher.

Agile adoption and implementing facets of Agile into your company or team is a process. It’s OK to fail.

We talked about Agile failure before and found some very interesting quotes about failure. In reality, failure can mean growth in the long run.

DanielBMarkham recently wrote a post about startups and failure. When coaching teams and companies to Agile:

“In fact, the first thing I look at in any system of people is whether or not they have created a culture of failure. We desperately need more failure in the world, and we need to start encouraging it.” – Daniel Markham

Failing is ok. There will be many enthusiastic and excited startup folks at Startup Riot 2011 tomorrow. Some of them may get angel investment, some venture capital, but many will go away into obscurity. Nothing wrong with that! It just means that you have to keep trying.

“Innovation is not a science. It doesn’t work from the top-down. It works from the bottom-up… Because if you’re not having failure — and a lot of it — it’s never going to work.”

Continue reading “It’s OK to Fail in Agile”

Scrum.org – Fellowship of the Scrum Complete with PSPO

Sometimes tweets just hit you in the face. Simple. Straight to the point.

BOOM! “VALUE.”

The PSPO program includes a course, a rigorous assessment, and an industry standard certification awarded on demonstrated knowledge, as opposed to attendance. The course focuses on how a product manager leverages Scrum and Agile to support the continuous delivery of value to customers and organizations while optimizing Total Cost of Ownership (TCO) and maximizing Return on Investment (ROI).

Ken, with all the service offerings and certifications done, now what?

[Via: Scrum.org]

Top 5 Entrepreneurs I Would Interview #StartupRiot

[Site: Mixergy.com]

In light of today’s event for Startups and entrepreneurs, here are the top 5 people I would love to interview if given the chance:

I would love to interview these entrepreneurs because they (in their own right) have changed the game in their own demographic. Each of these individuals have found a niche, filled that niche, and succeeded. I would love to get their take on how they turned their startup to a full business model that thousands of others look to as a example.

I also chose Walt Disney, though he is deceased because I’ve always looked up to him! Disney #ftw!

Would would you interview?

Agile Startups – 5 Must-Have Characteristics for a Startup

This week on February 16th, AgileScout will be at Startup Riot 2011. We’ll be covering the LIVE event in full with potential live blogging and checking out the newest stuff coming out. These events rock.

We love startups.

Especially technology startups. As a startup ourselves, Agile Scout works and runs like a lean-startup.
A question was posed to the Agile Scout as to what we look for in an individual who wants to be part of a startup. Here’s our answer:

Top 5 Characteristics of a Startup Person

  1. Enthusiasm – Does the team and leadership of the team LOVE what they do. Are they saturated in it and absolutely ooze their product or company. Take Apple fan-boys for example. They love Apple. You just KNOW it when you see it.
  2. Expertise – Does the team and leadership know their domain-space. Meaning, do they know their market? Are these guys thought leaders? Are they active in their community (i.e. Software development community). Are they using social media? Are they the best ruby developers working together? Even to the point if some of them are avid bloggers or writers. These guys have to continue to love their craft. Grow themselves personally for the company.
  3. Know their Mission – Does the team and leadership share the same values and mission for the company? Could you pull any of the guys off the team and ask them what the mission and vision for their product is. You should get 100% of the same answers from any of the team members. Then you know they’re working together and understand the core of their business.
  4. Know the Plan – What is the 3-6-9-12 month plan? What iterative development plans do they have to build the next great features for the product? How are they taking community feedback and incorporating it into their next build? What are lessons learned that they have taken to heart and have learned from? Plans change, we understand that. But there has to be some plans in place.
  5. Who are they listening to? – This is the absolutely most crucial part. Working in a vacuum doesn’t help a company. Who is on their board? If they don’t have one, what thought leaders are they going to for advice? Who are they listening to? Who advises them on their product? Who are they leveraging to help them build the best product they can? This is crucial. A wise man once said that plans fail from lack of counsel. This is absolutely true with web development and web product development.
**Notice we didn’t talk about having a stand-out product or something that is niche. Tons of cool products come out all the time. Some have already been done. A solid team can make something that’s been done before look even better. With correct strategies in place you can make the next facebook, next twitter. Why? Because your team know’s it’s core business and can build something great from it. It’s just a matter of time before some code-savvy entrepreneurs come along and make the next Facebook.

So, are you ready to be part of a startup? Looking to get involved in one? Drop a comment or let us know, let’s have a conversation!

LIVE with Paul Klipp – Kanbanery and Agile 2/18/2011 at 3:30PM EST

We’ll be interviewing Paul Klipp this Friday, 2/18/2011 at 3:30PM EST!

Paul Klipp is a seasoned expert in agile software development and outsourcing. Paul serves as President and scrum Coach at Lunar Logic Polska in Central Europe. He started Lunar Logic’s project management department and assisted with the development and implementation of the company’s overall growth strategy.

He’s also the “Agile Activist” and guy behind the beloved Kanbanery app!

Continue reading “LIVE with Paul Klipp – Kanbanery and Agile 2/18/2011 at 3:30PM EST”

The Nokia Test with Scrum is Done, Gone, Kaput!

Ouch. Harsh words. If you’ve been following the Nokia-Microsoft deal as well as the upcoming layoffs from Nokia, you’ll see that the future is uncertain for the mobile phone company.

If you’re a proponent of Scrum, and have been around the block for a while, you’ve probably also heard about the Nokia Test, or, the test for whether your company or team is doing Scrum well in two parts: Iterative Development and Scrum (Nokia’s version).

What happens when the standard falters? What happens when the supposed leaders show their true colors? Or is it not so much that Scrum failed, but that there were deeper issues at Nokia that led to failure?

Brad Murphy, Founder & CEO of Gear Stream, is telling the community to wake up:

“Today I want to call out the Scrum community who continues to promote the bankrupt idea that managing and building software oriented products and services will automatically be somehow “saved” or “revolutionized” by fostering the adoption of Scrum.” – Brad Murphy

Ouch. So wait a minute Brad, you sound like you’re taking a bite out of Scrum here.

Continue reading “The Nokia Test with Scrum is Done, Gone, Kaput!”

Week Retrospective 19 – Personal Kanban and Agileurls.com

LIVE with Jim Benson – Personal Kanban

Today we got an inside look at the guy behind the Personal Kanban book, Jim Benson.

We had a very engaged audience and it was certainly my pleasure to meet and talk about Kanban and Kanban-related-life with Jim. Make sure you check out the video to get the latest. We’ll be looking forward to having Jim back on to retrospect later about how the book reception and things have been going!

You can find Jim Benson on http://personalkanban.com/ and on Twitter @OurFounder.

[By the way, Patty, the Kidzban post will come out on 2/25/11] 🙂