Retrospective 30 – #Agile, #Scrum, and #CSM Fun

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Shout outs to our top commenters this week!

  1. Jordan Bortz
  2. Tobias Mayer
  3. Scott Ambler
  4. Derek Huether
  5. Dagfinn Parnas
  6. Dave Nicolette
  7. Yves Hanoulle
  8. Mark Levison
  9. Manoj Vadakkan


Agile or Scrum?

This past weekend, like every weekend, I go to Whole Foods with my wife for our weekly food run. While sampling some of the very good wine, I ran into an old neighbor that I hadn’t seen in years.

We ended up having a long conversation about his company doing this whole “Agile and Scrum thing.” I found myself saying things like the following to help clarify his questions:

  • “Yes, that is Agile.”
  • “No, that’s not a Scrum principle.”
  • “Yes, that’s part of iterative development.”
  • “Well, that isn’t explicitly in Agile…”
  • “Well, Scrum doesn’t prescribe you to do…
  • “No, that would be waterfall…”
  • “Can we… I… get back to drinking free wine?…”

Sometimes it’s best to just get working. Forget what it’s called. Agile, Scrum, a lamp, who cares. Learn about some better practices in software development and get moving. Pick and choose some facets of Agile that make sense. Wash, rinse, repeat. Iterate, take another Agile principle, implement, find the value, go again. Take small steps.

Time is awastin’! Get to it!

Failed Agile Program a Crime?

You know, I’ve thought about this before:

Is it corporate crime for a consulting company to work with a client and fail to implement their full service agreements? Or does it simply amount to scope creep and contract negotiations? I know for the government, it equates to contract negotiations…

With plenty of examples fill our newspapers of failed businesses and corporate scandals, one has to wonder how it all gets started. John Steen asserts that:

“[The most] fundamental importance is the revisiting of the business model and understanding what the key factors are that make it work.”

If you understand and revisit the business plan, model, and strategy for a client you will always be able to re-orient yourself to what the goal of a product or service is.

There are enough consistencies here to identify three links between all of the companies that ended in corporate fraud cases.
1) Strong orientation towards growth
2) Useage of mergers and acqusitions to accelerate growth
3) Reliance on debt finance

The fraud usually creeps in when the strategy fails to generate returns and the debt gets bigger. In these cases the temptation to ‘cook the books’ just long enough to let the turnaround happen is almost overwhelming. Small adjustments to reports become bigger and bigger until the receivers reveal the full horror of the failure.

I’m sure you can look at this an see where I’m going with all of this:

As more companies are turning to Agile to help “fix” their software development process, Agile consultancies need to be ever so careful at creating an Agile Adoption Plan that really works for the client. I have personally run into so many companies and clients who have “implemented Agile” but fail to understand its true value. Why? Because the predecessors and vendors that came before have just dropped an “Agile Bomb” and then left. Leaving the client without the pragmatic steps to implement Agile in their particular environment.

So what am I saying here? Know your Agile. Know the client’s environment well. Implement incrementally. Implement focusing on highest value. Start small. And please have a solid Agile strategy!

[HT: Tim Kastelle]

Go Agile Go! – Race to win!

Jim Highsmith, one of the signers of the Agile Manifesto looked back at the last 10 years of Agile and tells us to continue on. Agile will grow through these 10 years and move into the teenage years. Any parent of a teenager will tell you that this is a time for a teenager to grow, change, and make many mistakes. This is exactly what Agile will do in the next ten years.

Innovators, Imitators, Idiots

“First come the innovators, who see opportunities and create genuine value. Then come the imitators, who copy what the innovators have done. Sometimes they improve on the original idea; often they tarnish it. Last come the idiots, whose avarice undermines the innovations they are trying to exploit.” – Warren Buffet on the American financial meltdown

So how does Jim Highsmith suggest we make sure we’re not surrounded by idiots in the next coming years? He suggests four things:

  • Innovate. I’m encouraged by the continuous innovation I see in Agile: DevOps, continuous delivery, the conversations over technical debt, Lean, Kanban, Agile/Adaptive Leadership, and more.
  • Idealism vs. Practicality. As Agile permeates into larger organizations; we have to focus on both idealism and practicality. Many people don’t care much about esoteric arguments — they care about results. Idealism and innovation are absolutely necessary for a vibrant movement, but they need to be balanced with a dose of practicality in organizational transitions. Continue reading “Go Agile Go! – Race to win!”

Not Scrum Certified and Staying that Way

“We believe that Scrum certification is of limited value.”

[Not April Fools] – This was stated by the guys over at a new site, promoting the growth and registration of those that have taken the vow of non-CSM-status. If you never want to become a CSM, or you’re interested in joining (a small group of less than 10 people) that will not become CSM, then join up! Why not.

Their values per the site:

  • Practical agile experience over attendance at a classroom based course
  • Practical agile experience over meaningless certificates
  • Practical agile experience over references from other certified individuals

We hereby renounce any Scrum certification we may already have and declare our intention to remain “Not Scrum Certified.”

Are people taking this denouncing your Certified ScrumMaster-issue way too seriously?

Continue reading “Not Scrum Certified and Staying that Way”

[Tool Review] Agile Soup – Simple Web Program with Android App

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

We found out about this cool little app while we were browsing for android applications. It seems that we may have found another addition to our growing list of Agile tools that has a bit of ‘flavour’ to it.

[Enter]: Agile SoupAgile Project Management on the Go

Load this baby up, and you have a simple tabbed interface with:

  • Dashboard
  • Projects
  • Stories
  • Tasks
  • Agile Wall
  • Reports
  • Users

Continue reading “[Tool Review] Agile Soup – Simple Web Program with Android App”

Retrospective 29 – Tiger Blood and Agile Chicken Guns

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