I recently spoke with Susan Parente while recording an episode of her Not A Scrumdamentalist column about the idea of hybrid agile. The definition of hybridization spans a wide range of territory ranging from combining methodologies and frameworks to changing techniques. For example, Scrumban combines Scrum and Kanban.  SAFe combines many frameworks and methodologies. Prima facie evidence suggests that hybridization at the methodology level is part and parcel of agile implementations. Hybridization of techniques is characterized as changing or combining techniques so they serve other purposes.  For example, changing the daily scrum from a planning meeting to a status meeting. Hybridization has the potential to generate value or conflagrations that destroy value.  

Evaluate Hybrizations using the following simple checklist: (more…)

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SPaMCAST 572 features our interview with Michael Larsen.  Mr. Larsen and I battled fires, Santa Ana winds, and power cuts to have a great conversation on testability.  Anyone that has participated in delivering software EVER has wrestled with a discussion of whether a story or requirement can be proved.  Michael brings fresh and actionable insights into how to assure testability.  

Michael’s bio

Michael Larsen is a Senior Quality Assurance Engineer with Socialtext/PeopleFluent. Over the past two decades, he has been involved in software testing for a range of products and industries, including network routers & switches, virtual machines, capacitance touch devices, video games, and client/server, distributed database & web applications.

Michael is a Black Belt in the Miagi-Do School of Software Testing, helped start and facilitate the Americas chapter of Weekend Testing, is a former Chair of the Education Special Interest Group with the Association for Software Testing (AST), a lead instructor of the Black Box Software Testing courses through AST, and former Board Member and President of AST.

Michael writes the TESTHEAD blog and can be found on Twitter at @mkltesthead. A list of books, articles, papers, and presentations can be seen at http://www.linkedin.com/in/mkltesthead. (more…)

Book Cover

This chapter formally introduces the Prospect Theory and talks about the difference between it and the Expected Utility Theory. When doing a little background research, prospect theory (part of his research on decision making under uncertainty) was noted as contributing to his winning the Nobel prize in economics. 

In Expected Utility Theory, a gain is assessed by comparing the calculated value of two states. The value delivered by a decision is calculated by multiplying each of the possible outcomes by the likelihood each outcome will occur and then summing all of those values.  If you have a 50% chance to make $500 and a 50% chance of breaking even, the value is $250. When the value is positive the theory would predict that humans would always accept the gamble. Kahneman and Tversky observed that real-life behavior often differed from the behavior predicted by this Expected Utility Theory because of the context in which the choice is made makes a difference.  Changing our example to a 50/50 chance of either making $500 or losing $400, Expected Utility Theory would predict that a rational economic human would accept the gamble. However, if the person being asked to make accept the gamble has a net worth of $1,000 they would naturally be more risk-averse because the potential loss would be perceived to be psychologically larger. (more…)

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SPaMCAST 571 features our essay titled the Art of Saying No.  I recently presented a workshop on saying no — a simple word that is very difficult to say.  During the session, three specific reasons why participants could not say no generated a huge debate. Today we ask you to decide how you feel about the impact of a history of performance, interruptions, and demands. Feel free to share your opinion. 

We will also have a visit from Jeremy Berriault.  In the QA Corner this month, Jeremy provides observations about outside interests and their ability to improve focus and reduce burnout. Jeremy’s outside interests are Jiu-Jitsu and his family.  Jeremy can be reached at Berriault and Associates Consulting Group or by email at Jeremy.Berriault@Berriaultandassociates.com. 

We had planned to have Michael Larsen on the cast this week, however, Mr. Larsen was affected by power outages in the Bay Area of California due to wildfires.  (more…)

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Kahneman opens the chapter by establishing the economic definition of a human as someone who is rational, selfish and whose tastes don’t change. This flies in the face of how a human is envisioned in psychological theory – not always rational, sometimes generous, and whose tastes change. I have always had trouble with rational human definition because I grew up in a family tied to the retail and wholesaling of clothing — at the very least I have direct evidence that people’s taste change which means part of the definition does not track. The idea that people act as a pure economic being is a tantalizing simplification when planning changes in an organization. Many changes agents try to sell the process change on a purely economic basis only to be shocked when there is resistance. (more…)

Birds lined up as a metaphor of lining thngs up

Lining things up!

Items on any backlog proliferate. Product backlogs used in agile and lean development approaches are no different.  Many outsiders have the mistaken notion that once on the list that that is the end of the story. Mentally the story goes something like, I told that product owner in the email that I needed “x” and that it was important to a C-level executive, therefore it is in the backlog, the team will expedite their new priority, and magically new functionality will be delivered. (more…)

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I apologize for the delay in publication — ahhh the vagueries of travel!

SPaMCAST 570 features our essay on the components of good sprint goals. Sprint goals provide direction and energy, and they communicate with the outside world. A sprint goal should be a straightforward statement that a product owner should be able to craft quickly and then agree upon with a team. We provide a structure to keep goals simple and impactful.  

We will also have a visit from Susan Parente. In this installment of Susan’s Not a Scrumdamentalist column, we discuss value.  Value is core to many practices, the problem is that value is a very nebulous concept. Susan provides guidance. Continue the conversation with Susan at parente@s3-tec.com and visit her company at www.s3-tec.com (more…)