[Announcement] – AgileScout adds Sameer Bendre as Executive Contributor

AgileScout.com is happy to announce that we’ve grown +1 (again).

We’re happy to introduce Sameer Bendre as he joins AgileScout as an Executive Contributor.

Sameer has around 13 years of experience in IT industry. He started as a software developer and moved on to be a QA analyst, functional lead, project lead, business analyst and project management consultant. He has been an agile learner since 2006 and has been implementing & advocating agile practices since then on his consulting engagements. He has served in all the scrum roles: team member, scrum master & product owner. Sameer holds a Bachelors in Engineering and is also a Certified Scrum Master (CSM) & Project Management Professional (PMP).
Sameer is on the SF Agile 2012 conference committee. He volunteers as a Program Manager with PMI Atlanta’s Agile Interest Group and is a Product Owner on PMI Agile Community of Practice for Knowledge Management & Community Editorial board teams. He lives and breaths the servant leader principle.
He is a foody, amateur photographer, amateur golfer and likes to improve his guitar skills when he can find time between his crazy schedule. On weekends, he prefers to focus on health by going on long walks, hiking and swimming with his wife, Meghana.

FBI Fails at Agile Software Development

An FBI project to develop a digital case-management system to replace outdated, paper-based processes has been delayed again, despite the agency’s decision to use agile development to hasten its completion. The system, called Sentinel, is now due to be deployed in May, eight months later than the FBI planned when it embarked on the agile development strategy.

In 2006, the FBI awarded Lockheed Martin a $305 million contract to lead development of Sentinel, but it took back control of the project in September 2010 amid delays and cost overruns. At the time, the FBI said it would finish Sentinel within 12 months using agile development…

The FBI attributed the glitches to overburdened legacy computer hardware and said the hardware will need to be upgraded to support Sentinel’s use across the agency, according to the IG. (Looks to me that this may be a case of Agile development in hardware projects)?

“Because of the uncertainties associated with the hardware procurement and the cost associated with the additional delay in Sentinel’s development and procurement, we remain concerned about the FBI’s abilities to remain within its budget,” the IG stated.

The agile development approach is a big bet for FBI CIO Chad Fulgham and CTO Jeff Johnson, former IT executives with brokerage firm Lehman Bros. (wait, did they come from the failed company? See our post on Lehman Bros and Agile), who inherited the project when they joined the agency in 2008 and 2009, respectively, and determined that a new strategy was needed to get the high-profile project across the finish line. – Seems like Lehman couldn’t hold it together with Agile before… 

Nay-sayers of Agile will rejoice as it could be said that Agile fails once again. *derp.

[HT: InfoWeek]

Lean Kanban University – The Beginning?

Lean Kanban University (LKU) has now opened it’s doors for business.

This past week they announced the formation of the first-ever Accredited Kanban Training Program to address the growing demand for high quality training in the Kanban Method.

“The Lean-Kanban University Accredited Kanban Training Program exists to provide confidence to consumers about the quality of the Kanban training that they will receive. The program establishes the quality of Kanban training based on the status of 1) the organization, 2) the individual trainer, and 3) the training curriculum. Member organizations, their trainers and their training curriculums must meet the established criteria in all three areas in order to call their Kanban training “accredited” under the terms of the program.”

“As demand for Kanban grows, consumers worldwide will benefit from trusted Kanban training delivered by our member firms,” said David J. Anderson, the newly-appointed CEO of Lean-Kanban University.”

A friend sent me the PR news clip about this but also included a link to Diploma Mills along with it… possibly to instigate me to write about it in a negative light. As a reporting organization, we write to tell the news, to enlighten people to things going on in the software development community. We report. You decide.

What do you think? Is the community ready for another certification program or diploma to show expertise?

Necessary, Possible, Then Do the Impossible

“Start by doing what is necessary, then do what’s possible, and suddenly you are doing the impossible.” – St. Francis of Assisi

This is great advice, and it even applies to teams doing software.

Find the priorities. Do what is necessary. Then as you learn, move towards doing the possibilities as they open up to you. Inspect, adapt, retrospect, improve… suddenly, you’re doing the impossible: High-performance teams.

[Announcement] – AgileScout.com Welcomes Ken “Classmaker” Ritchie as Executive Contributor

AgileScout.com is happy to announce that we’ve grown +1.

We’re happy to introduce Ken “Classmaker” Ritchie as he joins AgileScout as an Executive Contributor.

Ken loves to help others build great systems and businesses, by:

  1. Building people – as coworkers, colleagues, competitors;
  2. Reaching out – to clients, customers, communities; and
  3. Finding better ways – improving ideas, tools, processes.

From Ken:

“I love to learn, love to share, and help others do so. By modeling servant leadership, facilitating interactions, and promoting agile practices, I help others succeed in learning, relating, and contributing to the success of their groups by self-organizing around shared goals for business and personal growth. I enjoy collaboration!

My technical background includes several decades of “hard core” software development, diversified “been there–done that” experience, and many lessons learned. My agile journey began in the 1990’s. I have been mentored by some amazing people, then hired to mentor others. Continue reading “[Announcement] – AgileScout.com Welcomes Ken “Classmaker” Ritchie as Executive Contributor”

AgileScout V3 – MVP and Future Updates

AgileScout.com – Version3!

We’re excited to announce AgileScout’s next update preparing us for the future of Agile Software Development News.

1. Updated Site

Focusing on the news you can use first and foremost. Our MVP (Minimum Viable Product) is rough on the aesthetics, but architecturally bad ass. What you don’t see on the back end is the revamped site structure, architecture, and uber-SEO packaging.

We’ll updated the site design in due time… stay tuned.

2. Preparing for Growth

We’re excited to pre-announce that we’re growing, potentially by 3-4x in terms of contributors. This means that you’ll get even better content, more often. Announcements of our lead contributors soon…

3. Branding

AgileScout.com will now become less of a personal brand of Peter Saddington, and more of a network/portal site for multiple writers and contributors. Peter will probably start a new twitter…

4. We’re Hiring

With our imminent growth, we’ve begun to think about hiring on potential contributors willing to help grow this community. If you’re interested, drop us an email.

5. Happy

We’re happy and excited to be reaching this stage of our modest site. It’s because of our viewers, guest contributors, advertisers, and community that we’ve gotten this far (and been able to give away so much free stuff). We hope to continue our growth towards something that brings even more value to the software development community. Here’s to 2012+!


Peter Saddington

[Agile Tool Review] – Planbox – Take 2 Review

[We review Agile and Scrum Tools, have you seen our Agile Scrum Tool List?]

This is review number 2. We took a look at Planbox a while back [see our original review here]. I particularly enjoyed reviewing it, giving some feedback and speaking with representatives from the Planbox team. What is so encouraging is that they have improved. Imagine that, an Agile team iterating and improving? Well, they did, and I welcomed a second review. Let’s dive right in.

A bit of back story, these guys couldn’t find an agile tool they liked so they built one.  The better part of the Planbox we see today was generated by their careful attention to user needs and feedback including, their own.

Planbox – Review Number 2 Continue reading “[Agile Tool Review] – Planbox – Take 2 Review”

Retrospective 71- Agile Coach, Transformations, Biz Roles


[Agile Coach] – Thoughts on Keeping Teams High Performing

Must destroy...

As an Agile coach, maintaining performance with your Agile teams is super important. A couple thoughts for this Friday:

  • Develop or maintain a strong commitment to the sprint goal // or release goal.
  • Help improve attitudes by knowing and investing in your team.
  • Practice acts of kindness.
  • Acknowledge frequently you have a goal to achieve, as a team, together.
  • Don’t allow impediments interfere with your commitment.
  • Practice common courtesy.
  • Be one another’s cheerleaders.
  • Develop and demonstrate empathy.

[Email] – Short Projects and Estimating Velocity

Hi Pete,

I have a question for you.

My IT department have what you would classify as a small pool of developers, architects and testers. As projects come along people are put on the projects – it can be a simple case of who’s available. The projects are typical quite short 1-5 months. Some developers are regularly pulled off on support tasks.

I feel short projects make calculating velocity almost pointless when the teams change. By the time you have a good idea of velocity the project is almost done. In addition, people (management) always want to know near beginning of a project when it will be finished. With this in mind I have been using ideal days rather than story points to size items on the “backlog” (release scope).

However, I’ve discovered of late that some developers can’t estimate very well. They also change their estimates dramatically when managers start questioning their estimates. Getting detail on some requirements can take weeks – either the true customer is not available or the feature requires investigation to know what’s feasible.

Can Scrum or another Agile technique work in such an environment? Am I flogging a dead horse?

BTW: Are there any good forums that can answer similar questions in an anonymous way?

Best regards


Very interesting conundrum you have there. Interestingly enough it’s not uncommon.

Universities Teaching Agile

Rutgers & Jersey Shore-Style Agile Training

Universities, such as Rutgers, based out of New Jersey, are now teaching Agile in their classrooms. Not only that, they are teaching the PMI-ACP, which we have covered a ton (see my experience with the PMI-ACP here).

The Rutgers University-Merit Systems course teaches Agile principles and practices used in Project Management to manage change through flexibility, adaptation and direct communication.  During this intensive, three-day course, participants develop and employ an Agile design beginning with Sprint Planning and Scrums.  Simulation is used during the class to reinforce important principles.  Every day, participants are provided the opportunity to manage an Agile project in a dynamic real-time environment.

You know what I’m curious about? Who’s training it!

If you are in Jersey, and interested in it, hit up the link in the HT.

[HT: Rutgers]

[Humor] – Business Roles and Designations – For a Baby

  • Director – Funds the Baby Project for 4 months, knowing that “typical” development like this could take 8-10 months.
  • Project Manager – A person who thinks 9 women can deliver a baby in 1 month.
  • Designer – A person who keeps changing the look-n-feel and color scheme of the baby when it has already been established that the baby is going to be brown.
  • Developer – A person who thinks it will take 18 months to deliver a baby.
  • Onsite Coordinator – One who thinks single woman can deliver 9 babies in 1 month.
  • Client – One who doesn’t know why he wants a baby.
  • Product Manager – One who couldn’t tell you the value and ROI of releasing such a baby.
  • Marketing Manager – A person who thinks he can deliver a baby even if no men and women are available.
  • Sales Manager – Will promise you a 20 pound, full-head-of-hair, and ready-to-walk baby in 9 months.
  • Resource Optimization Team – Thinks they don’t need a man or woman; they’ll produce a child with zero resources.
  • Documentation Team – Doesn’t care whether the child is delivered, they’ll just document 9 months.
  • Quality Auditor – A person who is never happy with the PROCESS to produce a baby.
  • Tester – A person who always tells his wife that this is not the RIGHT baby.
  • HR Manager – A person who thanks that a donkey can deliver a human baby given 9 months.
  • Agile Coach – …
  • ScrumMaster – …
  • Delivery Team – …
  • Architect – …
  • Compliance Auditor – …
  • DBA – …

[Funny – Kinda like What Consultants are All About and How Devs, QA, Designers See Each other]

Who else would you add? 

Other fun roles…?

Thoughts on Agile Transformations – What Does Success Look Like?

My friend sent me a picture that blew my mind. I mean, what a transformation!

Chinese Girl Makeup Transformation

This girl transforms… literally. All it takes is:

  1. TONS of makeup
  2. Artistry + Skill
  3. Time
But I had to think: “Is she healthy?” – Seriously. I mean, let’s think for a second. Let’s say she:
  • Smokes
  • Drinks a ton
  • Never exercises
  • And eats a ton of McDonalds
She still looks good, doesn’t she (subjective)? Or are we just covering up the greater complexities, failures, and systemic issues that plague her mind and soul?
OK. So what about “Agile Transformations” that are reported for companies around the world?
Are we really ‘transforming’ them? Or are we just covering up the blemishes and real continual issues that plague the company at large?

What Does Success Look Like?

So here is my question:

“What would you consider the bottom line success metrics for a FULL AGILE TRANSFORMATION?”

Is there a formula? There has to be some foundational “check marks…” right?

What would you say?

 [Click picture for larger view]

Retrospective 70 – Online Agile Videos & Scrum Tools


Mark Twain on Agile – He Knew What Was Up

“The secret of getting ahead is getting started. The secret of getting started is breaking your complex overwhelming tasks into small manageable tasks, and then starting on the first one.” – Mark Twain

Sometimes people of the past knew what was up before it was marketed, franchised, sold, and credentialed.

The Sad Triangle – Great Strategies Yield Great Products, Not Powerpoints

Used properly, no one outside the company will ever see your strategy. They shouldn’t see it… if you don’t come up with provocative ideas, your strategy doesn’t really mean anything. If your ideas merely repeat the adjectives on your pyramid, no one will pay any attention.

Great strategies yield great creative, and done right, the strategy will get no credit what-so-ever. Bummer, but that’s the way it is. No one ever said, “I love that brand, they have such awesome Powerpoint decks.”

[VIA: Division of Labor]

[Review] – Mike Cohn’s eLearning Agile Videos

Online Agile Videos

Mike Cohn recently announced that he’s providing a kick butt online eLearning tool to learn all about Agile. I reached out to him to see what it’s all about and we kicked a few emails back and forth. Regardless, I went ahead and got my hands on it. That’s what AgileScout is here for: Do the heavy lifting for you 🙂.

[Mountain Goat Software Online eLearning Agile Course] LINK

With so many Universities doing online learning these days, wouldn’t it be about time for Agile and Scrum Trainers to start offering online training tools? You’betcha. Who better to do it than Mike?

Here are my thoughts and experiences after a full 3.5 hours and taking all 9 of the tests:

Agile Topics Covered

  • Introduction
  • The Problem
  • Iteration Planning
  • Story Points & Ideal Days
  • Estimating the Product Backlog
  • Release Planning
  • Other Topics
  • Conclusion
I was captivated by the introduction video of a goat running around. Fantastic!

Review of Course Presentation Continue reading “[Review] – Mike Cohn’s eLearning Agile Videos”