[Tool Review] — Pie — Work chat that’s all signal, no noise

pie-this-agile-scrum-communication-platform-tool

If you’re running Agile in your team, you’re likely logged in to several group chat rooms right now. At the very least, you’re plugged into rooms for engineering and product discussions. There’s also rooms for design and marketing that you pop into every now and then. And you’re definitely in some kind of ‘random’ chatroom for watercooler stuff.

With so many chat rooms, and so many discussions, it can sometimes be hard to keep up. There are times where you load your chat app and find something like 500 unread items. If you work in a distributed team, or even if you’ve just stepped away for a few hours, you’ve definitely seen this before. How can you separate the important discussions from the off-topic fluff?

[Enter]: Piework chat that’s all signal, no noise.

Pie lets you quickly create a new chat room for everything you want to share, so discussions stay focused and on-topic.

Let’s have a look:

pie-this-1

A chatroom for every topic. This is the first thing you’ll notice when you first use Pie. Instead of the traditional group chatroom model, Pie is more like a hybrid between message boards and chat.

You can quickly know what your team is talking about, and you can drop in and comment only on the topics you find interesting:

pie-this-2

You can post notes, upload files and share links to Pie, so you can start a conversation about anything you want.

Frictionless sharing. With so many articles and resources on Agile coming out all the time, one of the most common things we do in group chat rooms is to drop in, paste a link, and nudge everyone to read.

We do this several times a day, so that minute or two that you’re knocked out of your workflow to share something adds up.

Pie makes this a lot easier with their Chrome extension — it’s the only chat app out there that lets you share something without leaving the webpage you’re reading.

pie-this-3

And with the way Pie is set up, your link shows up as a new topic, so you won’t interrupt any ongoing conversations when sharing something new.

Tagged chat topics. You can use hashtags on Pie to create collections of chatrooms, or to help you find old conversations:

pie-this-4

 

Pie gives you a central place to have all your team’s conversations, instead of having to pay attention to email threads, comments in Google docs and all the group chats you have going on.

It’s free for companies of all sizes. Try it out with your team: http://piethis.com

Peter Saddington Session on the Science Behind High Performance Teams #agile2013

Dear Peter,

Thank you for being a part of Agile2013. Following is some information about your session.

  • Number of attendees at the beginning of your session: # 170
  • Number of attendees at the end of your session: # 170

We asked attendees to indicate whether they would recommend your session to their peers:

  • Yes (Green): # 120
  • Maybe (Yellow): # 3  ***CANT PLEASE EVERYONE*** 🙂
  • No (Red): # 0

 Thanks,

Agile Alliance Team

=========
Had a great time! Thanks Agile Alliance!

=========
Below is the scribd version:

Action & Influence – The Science of High Performance Teams Teams Agile2013 Peter Saddington FINAL

WordPress and Pictures [PressGram Kickstarter App]

pressgram-iphone-app

I know there are more than a few Agilists who are bloggers among us and even more than enjoy taking pictures of their families, friends, their work, and maybe even their food on occasion (admit it, you do it).

Well, if you’re a blogger then there’s a chance you’re also using WordPress, which is what we use here on AgileScout.com – and we’re always looking for neat implementations that help keep more pageviews and more eyes on the content and community we have here.
Pressgram, a recent Kickstarter project that connect filtered photos directly to WordPress, is doing just that. If you’re a fan of taking photos and blogging about them but also in growing your own business and brand around content, then Pressgram is something that you may want to back.
There are some strong business cases as well as creative control that are worth a second.

Atlanta ScrumMaster Training – Action & Influence Growing the Atlanta Market

In Atlanta, GA news:

Action & influence, Inc. announced today that they are hosting more Certified ScrumMaster (CSM) and Certified Product Owner (CSPO) courses in Atlanta due to increasing demand. As the only company in Georgia to have a local Certified Scrum Trainer, Peter Saddington, they want to bring even more value to the Agile community and local Atlanta companies who want to leverage Agile or Scrum to bring quicker development value to their software and services. Having a local CST gives Georgia companies a great advantage, as their employees can attend local courses without incurring the costs associated with travel. Peter Saddington is one of the 140 Certified Scrum Trainers in the world and about half of them reside in the United States. Peter Saddington is the first CST to reside in the state of Georgia. Saddington says, “Our local clients who are looking towards Agile and Scrum have greatly enjoyed having a local trainer who can service their needs without flying in another trainer from out of state. Most of our clients in Atlanta have private courses for their entire development teams and organization.”

You can quickly find local Atlanta Certified ScrumMaster classes, http://atlantascrummaster2013.eventbrite.com/and sign up as an individual, team, or company.

According to one of Action & Influence’s students, Mike Rucker, who recently took a Certified ScrumMaster course in Atlanta said, “I was very pleased to find a local group that offered such a wide choice in class days and times. It was very easy to find a class that fit within an already busy schedule.”

Other testimonials of Action & Influence, Inc. classes:

“Peter’s mastery of the subject matter coupled with his excellent presentation and communication skills made for an outstanding learning experience.” – Jim Olwine from Atlanta

“Peter REALLY did change my life. He provided such great instruction on Scrum and the duties of a ScrumMaster. He gave lots of clarity on my career direction. Great job!” – Aletha Hill from Atlanta

“VERY INSPIRING. [Peter Saddington] is one of the best instructors I have ever seen in my life.” – Parveen Yadav from Atlanta

“I can honestly say that the ScrumMaster class has changed my view on software development, and breathed welcome fresh air into some tired sails. I am genuinely looking forward to the second half of my career now, with hopes to embody in my work all that Peter laid out in the class and the skill set of a true servant leader in the technical world.” – Mike Rucker from Atlanta

[HT: PRWeb]

Agile Designers – Marketplace for Awesome

agile-designers-homepage

 

Are you an Agile Designer? Or just a designer looking for great resources? This webbie came up on our radar and so far I like what I’ve seen.

Now, sharing sites are a dime a dozen these days, this is nothing new. What I do like is that designers register, drop web pages or things of interest for others and they get ‘accepted’ by the community as valuable. Crowdsourcing at it’s best.

Don’t get it twisted though, this isn’t a FREE DESIGN TEMPLATE webpage. It’s more on the workflow, the process… helping a designer become more agile… or rather, able to be productive.

Worth a look.

AgileDesigners.com

Becoming a Certified Scrum Trainer – CST

[I was recently asked what my journey to become a CST was like. So like an Agile blogger, I told them to wait for it to post on AgileScout.com 🙂 ]

The path to becoming a Certified Scrum Trainer (CST) is one of the most arduous yet rewarding experiences I have ever gone through (and I spent 7 years in Master’s programs!). It has not only stretched me, but brought about a greater understanding of “mastery” of a craft, that, no matter how good you ‘think’ you become at something, you can always improve, become better, learn more, and grow as a person.

The day you stop learning is day you become ineffective in your work.

My CST Journey

I began my journey to becoming a Certified Scrum Trainer back in early 2009 when I began my investigation into the process and started collaborating with other CST’s about co-training opportunities. This was a time when the CST application process was evolving (and still is) and the requirements and application process wasn’t fully fleshed out. I, at the time, had been in my 8th year as an independent Enterprise Agile Coach and felt like the CST was the right way to go. I had completed my Certified ScrumMaster designation and my Certified Scrum Professional designation previously.

In early 2009 I had my first co-training opportunity with a fellow Agile coach. They went very well. I was stoked. I was excited. I had gotten a great review and was given priceless advice on how to become better. I felt like the CST was fast becoming a reality. I flew out to meet my 2nd co-trainer and we trained together. Another great workshop. I felt great… Then:

  • Client work picked up.
  • Timing just wasn’t working out.
  • Work-life balance just wasn’t what it used to be.

A full year later, I still had yet to co-train with other coaches and trainers. My client list was full, my schedule was so tight that it became apparent to me that I may not be able to finish this race due to scheduling conflicts and overall timing not to mention funding from the CFO of my house (wife). I was burnt out, tired, and a bit frustrated.

It was all about the timing. It just didn’t seem to work. So what did I do? I made the tough choice to lighten my client load (OUCH! SCARY!) so I could open up opportunities to co-train. I made the time available, I reached out to friends and fellow Agile coaches for time slots, and I invited Agile coaches to come train with me at my client sites. I patiently prayed that the opportunities would come… and they did.

After a full 3.5 years I completed it… The road to becoming an official CST was complete… but the journey forward has just begun. YES!

[Peter Saddington Training on ScrumMaster Roles]

On Co-Training Continue reading “Becoming a Certified Scrum Trainer – CST”

[Scrum Tool Review] – SonicAgile – Manage Your Project in a World of Blue

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

We’ve been looking around for another tool to review and it landed on our desk for sure.

[Enter]: SonicAgileAn Easy to Use Scrum tool in Blue

The SonicAgile folks tell us that they built SonicAgile because they wanted a lightweight and easy to learn project management tool which the developers could coordinate the work that their team performs on software projects.

SonicAgile supports the basic features that many other tools cover as well: creating backlogs, scrumboards, and burndown charts. It includes support for acceptance criteria, story estimation, calculating team velocity, and email integration.

Interested already? It’s simple. You can sign up for 30 days free. Booyah.

SonicAgile Backlog

You use the backlog to create a prioritized list of user stories such as features, bugs, and change requests. It’s a snap, prioritize a story by just drag and dropping the story from one location to another.

Likewise, it’s easy to add stories from the product backlog to the sprint backlog:

Tracking velocity is pretty intuitive and easy as well. Try it out… and then try to overload your team. A nice addition is that when you add too many stories to a a sprint… the system warns you automatically:

SonicAgile Scrumboard

If you’re running a daily Scrum everyday, you can use the Scrumboard to view at a glance what everyone on the team is working on. Below is a view of what an individual is working on in the Product Details Page:

Every story can be broken into tasks and acceptance criteria:

One caveat though, you cannot close a story — and remove the story from the list of active stories on the scrumboard — until all tasks and acceptance criteria associated with the story are done.

SonicAgile Burndown Charts

Currently, SonicAgile supports several versions of burndown reports: Release Burndown, Sprint Burndown by Task Estimates, and Sprint Burndown by Story Points charts. Below is an example of a Sprint Burndown by Story Points:

Email Integration

The folks over at SonicAgile tell us that their system was designed to improve your team’s communication and collaboration. Most stories and tasks require discussion to nail down exactly what work needs to be done. If your rockin’ a dispersed team, or a team that isn’t local, you can collaborate through email, right? When you use SonicAgile, all email discussions concerning a story or a task (including all email attachments) are captured automatically. At any time in the future, you can view all of the email discussion concerning a story or a task by opening the Story Details dialog:

Summary (And some Technical Details)

SonicAgile is very close to being a pure Ajax application (which I like). Looking a bit deeper we’ve found that SonicAgile was built using ASP.NET MVC 3, jQuery, and Knockout. Almost all of the MVC controller actions return JSON results. The controller actions are invoked from jQuery Ajax calls from the browser.

SonicAgile was built on Windows Azure, and the team over at SonicAgile is taking advantage of SQL Azure, Table Storage, and Blob Storage.

Going through the system, I wasn’t too disappointed with the experience. It was intuitive and pretty easy to navigate. I specifically liked the ease of the drag and drop functionality, which is a standard these days. The color scheme took a little bit getting used to though.

Since they’ve opened it up for free sign ups and 30 days of trial, it wouldn’t be a bad ride to take if you’re looking for a new tool to use. Consider dropping a couple minutes on this one, you might just find that it will work for you and your team!