Getting Beyond Agile Best Practices

Agile Best Practices

As working adults, most of us have limited opportunity to assimilate new skills and information. This is especially true for information that presents a disruption to established patterns that ease our already taxing cognitive load. So, while misbegotten, the search for ‘best practices’ for agile development is understandably popular. With plenty to do, and precious little time, most prefer the elevator pitch, the executive brief, the Cliff’s Notes version. Seeking agile best practices is essentially asking for a pre-sort: “help me fit this into a frame I already have so I can use it immediately with a minimum of effort”. …

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Agile India 2013 –Enterprise Agile Transformation Meets Agile Practices

Agile India 2013

Agile India 2013 took place on February 27 through March 2 in the IT hotspot of Bangalore, India. I attended both as a conference delegate and as a corporate sponsor, as CollabNet was one of the corporate sponsors of the event. There was a lot to like in this conference – it was well organized, there were great speakers, and I saw an engaged audience. The organizers split the conference into two sections – the first two days were focused on management aspects of Agile (“Management Agility”), and the second two days were focused on more technical aspects (“Technical Agility”). …

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A DevOps IT wish list for CIO’s in 2013…

DevOps Things to do list

CollabNet is engaged in IT Development conversations globally and is quickly emerging as a leading influencer and enabler for hybrid Enterprise IT strategies, like DevOps, and supports… Blended processes and tool-chains across Development & Operations, (Tweet This!) Clouds (private & public), on-premise systems and globally distributed data-centers, (Tweet This!) Local employees, contracted consultants & global outsource development teams. (Tweet This!) While modern IT transformation efforts need to address various IT culture, IT process and Technology issues, DevOps provides organizations the opportunity to re-think IT.  The DevOps model allows organizations to adopt and fully leverage modern innovations and collaborative practices across …

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Set A Course For The Future, Refactor 9!

(Apologies to Star Trek fans everywhere…) One of the popular characteristics of a language is how quickly it can be used to implement new features.  A language that requires developers to constantly rewrite lots of nit-picky fiddly bits of code just to get a string allocated (I’m looking at you, C!) is out of favor, even if the techniques for doing just that are very well understood and almost a “reflex” for most developers. However, the faster you chug along, grinding out new features, you will often be incurring “technical debt” — that is, your code might become fragmented and …

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Transitioning to Agile: Complex Releases Q&A

webinar Q&A

Q: At what point does an agile user story become a task and what is the best way to balance informing the development team of the intended functionality versus telling the development team how to complete the functionality? The user story is broken down into multiple tasks, typically during the Sprint Planning Meeting, but increasingly I see this happening with the team on a per Backlog Item basis. If we are ever in a situation were we are telling the development team how to complete the functionality that might indicate that we are having some issues with roles. Based on …

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Case Study of a Difficult Federal Government Scrum Project: FBI Sentinel

badge

According to today’s Wall Street Journal (“FBI Goes Digital, After Delays“), the FBI’s Sentinel system is finally ready for agents to use, replacing manual processes and older electronic case management tools.  As of Aug 2012 it’s difficult to predict how well it will perform over time.  If it serves the FBI well, Scrum and Agile advocates will cite it as evidence of Scrum working where prior approaches had failed.  For example, Sentinel was already cited in Ken Schwaber’s fourth book. A recent Department of Justice Office of the Inspector General (OIG) report provides a great case study of why both …

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15 Ways to Split an Epic, a Team Exercise

Your Scrum Team has been hired by a physical fitness expert to develop a mobile device application to prescribe daily personalized exercise routines and diets for a wide range of people. The app should adapt the routines to users’ fitness goals, current health, age, gender, preferences, food allergies, lifestyle, etc. The fitness expert is excited about all the possibilities of this app but promised a key user a working system in 30 days. The main feature of the system will be this epic: Generate Anyone’s Exercise Routine and Diet Your mission, should you choose to accept it: Extract stories from …

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Agile Beyond Software – Agile for the Whole Organization

In my last few Agile Basics classes, I have noticed a welcome trend: People with roles outside of IT are attending classes in conjunction with the development teams. People from sales, marketing, accounting, HR and even executive branches have started to recognize that learning about Agile has a positive impact on the whole organization. Agilists have long held that Agile transformations require buy-in from entire organizations, not just the IT and development teams which have adopted the most popular Agile framework, Scrum. To understand why this is, it is important to go back to Agile’s roots and understand what exactly …

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How Did Scrum Become a Straitjacket?

The ideas behind Agile (before it was a buzzword) largely arose from practitioners looking to eliminate painful or silly management practices between them and their craft. When I first did Scrum, it was more fun than any way I’d worked before. As a member of a self organizing team, we negotiated Sprint Goals with the PO and collaborated to meet them our own way. Scrum’s freedom from micromanagement opened the door to learning Agile technical practices that kept the code enjoyable to work on. So the autonomy, the social environment, and the state of the product itself made it fun. …

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Building a Better Backlog Q&A

On March 5th, I presented the webinar, “Building a Better Backlog: Strategies for Long Term Success in Agile Development.” In the session, I shared strategies on how to build and maintain a good product backlog by describing the overall concepts and techniques for backlog management and how each of the project contributors can contribute to its overall effectiveness. Specifically, I covered: What a product backlog is and how to create product backlog items How to write good user stories How to estimate product backlog items How to groom the product backlog, and The importance of treating the product backlog as …

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