May 29, 2016
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The Software Process and Measurement Cast 396 begins our run up to Episode 400 with our interview of with Mike Burrows. Mike and I talked about his game changing idea of Agendashift. Agendashift Identifies opportunities for positive change by exploring an organization’s alignment to the values of transparency, balance, collaboration, customer focus, flow, and leadership. Along the way, we also revisited parts of our previous interview on the podcast covering Mike’s book, Kanban from the Inside (Kindle).
Mike is the founder of Agendashift, author of the book Kanban from the Inside, consultant, coach, and trainer. In recent months, he has been the interim delivery manager for two UK government digital “exemplar” projects and consultant to public and private sector organisations at home and abroad. Prior to his consulting career, he was global development manager and Executive Director at a top tier investment bank, and IT Director for an energy risk management startup.
Agendashift Blog: https://www.agendashift.com/
Twitter: @asplake and @KanbanInside (more…)
May 26, 2016
A story helps you see the big picture
At one point in my career, I gathered requirements on an almost daily basis. I got good at interviewing people to help them discover what they wanted a project to deliver. In most cases I collected all sorts of “shalls,” “musts,” “wills” and an occasional “should.” The organization I worked for detailed the outcome of the process in a requirements document that included technical, non-functional and functional requirements. All of the requirements toed the line defined in IEEE standards. Once we had requirements, my teams would leap into action writing, coding and testing to their hearts content. Looking back the problem was that the cocktail napkin or cost-benefit analysis that spawned this orgy of action often did not capture the nuances of the business outcome. The failure to anchor the nuances of the business outcome in everyone’s mind meant that despite carefully crafted charters, projects were apt to wander off track. This caused all sorts of stress when they were winding down to done. One solution to this problem is to have the sponsors, stakeholders and team capture an outcome-based big picture. Storytelling as a tool to anchor an idea is not new. If you need proof that storytelling is part of human nature consider that some of the oldest human artifacts, the Lascaux Cave paintings reflect the history (story) of people from approximately 15,000 B.C. Stories help us remember and they help us connect. In the workplace, the big picture acts both as an anchor for the team and as a container to shape or guide the outcome. Effective storytelling to guide work requires the right participation, proper timing, and a process. (more…)
May 24, 2016
Agile reminds us that the focus of any set of requirements needs to be on an outcome rather than a collection of whats and whos. Storytelling is a powerful tool to elevate even the most diehard requirements analyst to a from a discussion individual requirements to a discussion of outcomes. The onion metaphor that is popularly used in agile planning (Cohn’s Planning Onion) can be used to describe the evolution of backlogs. Building an initial backlog is much like peeling through the layers of an onion to get to the core. There are many mechanisms for developing and maintaining the detailed backlogs, including: asking, observing, showing and all sorts of hybrids. Using the onion metaphor, the techniques we have explored in the past are the second layer of the onion. However, before getting to the center of the backlog evolution onion composed of features, epics, and user stories we need to understand the big picture. Structured story telling is effective to tool to elicit a description of an outcome and nuances behinds that description, the outer layer in the backlog onion. The outside layer of the backlog evolution onion provides a strategic vision used for budgeting, change management and to provide context to guide the team or teams of teams as the development process progresses. (more…)
May 22, 2016
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The Software Process and Measurement Cast 395 features our essay on productivity. While productivity might not be the coolest subject, understanding the concept is critical to every company’s and every worker’s financial well-being.
Gene Hughson brings another entry from his Form Follows Function blog to the Software Process and Measurement Cast. Gene discusses the idea of accidental innovation. Gene suggests that innovation is not a happy accident, but is a result of a process, structure, and technology that can enhance innovation. However, it can just as easily get in the way.
In our third column this week, Kim Pries, the Software Sensei, brings us a discussion of how software developers leverage assimilation and accommodation in the acquisition of knowledge.
May 21, 2016
Staff liquidity takes a central position in this week’s installment of our read of Commitment – Novel about Managing Project Risk by Olav Maassen, Chris Matts and Chris Geary (2nd edition, 2016) . Chapter 5 is a relatively short chapter, but exposes one of the critical mechanisms for how Agile teams are able to self-organize and self-manage. If you are an Agile coach or involved in an Agile transformation, once you recognize the concepts in this chapter you will be surprised how many times you use them. If have been struggling with the concept how Agile teams can handle the need to shift roles to address changes in needs with management intervention this chapter provides you with the knowledge you will need. (more…)
May 19, 2016
The simple cumulative flow diagram (CFD) used in Metrics: Cumulative Flow Diagrams – Basics and in more complex versions provide a basis for interpreting the flow of work through a process. A CFD can help everyone from team members to program managers to gain insight into issues, cycle time and likely completion dates. Learning to read a CFD will provide a powerful tool to spot issues that a team, teams or program may be facing. But to get the most value a practitioner needs to decide on granularity, a unit of measure, and time frame needed to make decisions. (more…)