Agile


Fitting The Pieces Together

Getting the work you commit to getting done in an iteration or sprint is not constrained to a conversation about Scrum or Scrumban. Timeboxing is common in almost all work to some extent. For example, the act of a person or a team saying what they will do to meet a need and when it will be done establishes a timebox and an expectation of performance. This expectation of performance is at the very heart of every technique, method, framework, and methodology. This expectation is often violated. Teams that chronically do not complete work they committed to in a sprint the third usual suspects is work hitting roadblocks before being shippable.

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Over the years I have gravitated towards the idea that work entry issues are the single clearest indicator of problems in an organization. My first job after getting my Bachelors’s degree was for a women’s clothing company. We had salesmen jumping the queue to get their orders in the system or shipped earlier.  We created all sorts of rules to help control the process. The rules generated a lot of overhead and anger.  Reflecting on the last six months, I have seen many of the same issues with teams I have worked with. Work jumps the queue because no one takes the time to consider or reconsider urgency. How can software changes for daylight savings time ever be a surprise and become urgent? I am not naive enough to think every event or defect is predictable, but having pieces of work thrust into a sprint or iteration after it begins reflects failures of thought, control, and caring. The second category in our tour through why committed stories don’t get done in a sprint is not controlling the work entry process after a sprint starts. (If you think just having a work entry process is the solution, you are in for a rude awakening. Assuming you have a process, the process is never the root problem). Two of the most critical roots of work entry problems during a sprint/iteration are:

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Play SPaMCAST 623 Now!

The Software Process and Measurement Cast 623 features my interview with Christian 

“Dr. Lambda” Clausen, author of  Five Lines of Code from Manning Publications. Dr. Lambda delivers advice on why refactoring is a necessity and how to refactor effectively.  Clean code is not an option, refactoring is a requirement for being good at coding. 

Buy a copy of the book at Manning using the code podspam20

The link is http://mng.bz/r2Og

Dr Lambda’s Bio

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One of the classic issues that pop up when teams chronically don’t complete work they say they will, in the time they say they will is that they are taking too much work at once. Being somewhat hyperbolic, I liken it to eating a very large hamburger (for example) in one bite. Even if it is possible to shove the whole thing in, it would be painful to swallow. I have facilitated more than a few retrospectives that discussed taking on more work than is completable in a specific timebox. Several of the reasons that generally surface:

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Not Done!

One of the topics suggested by the audience was addressing the problem of stories not completing during a sprint during a panel discussion in which I participated. The majority of the audience were using Scrum or Scrumban approaches to developing and maintaining software. Attendees provided several situations to add context to their topic request. Boiling down the stories they provided yields three usual suspects that are the bane of teams everywhere.

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The Software Process and Measurement Cast 621 features our essay on why agile coaches need a code of ethics. Agile is practiced in nearly every culture. Each culture has its own definition of duty and of right and wrong. Coaches help to establish and address the client’s needs by leveraging approaches that align with the values and principles of the Agile Manifesto. It’s time for coaching to grow up and be a profession.

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An Agile Coach’s Code of Ethics (ACCoE) will have a broad set of implications  Some of those implications will deliver tactical impact while others will have a more systemic effect. The systemic effects can be grouped into two categories. For example, an ACCoE will act as:

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Listen Now!

The Software Process and Measurement Cast 620 is something out of the ordinary. Ola Omiyale joined me as a co-host and we interviewed Nalin Parbhu, the Founder and CTO of Infuse, and useMango™. We talked about testing and test automation which is a passion for all three of us. We also explored the future of the role of the manual tester.  

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Agile is practiced in nearly every culture. Each culture has its own definition of duty and of right and wrong. Coaches help to establish and address the client’s needs by leveraging approaches that align with the values and principles of the Agile Manifesto. Coaching is a mechanism to help people, teams, and organizations change how they behave so that they are agile. Coaches come in a wide range of roles such as coach, Scrum Master, and manager – to name a few. People of unlimited diversity deliver each role. A common denominator is required to synchronize all coaches’ actions to the values and principles of the Agile Manifesto. The values and principles expressed in the manifesto generate a duty for those that take on the role of an agile coach. Immanuel Kant suggested that a person’s actions possess moral worth only when one does their duty for its own sake. Consequences don’t define rightness or wrongness but rather whether our actions fulfill our duty. Codes of ethics provide an outline that establishes the duty of a coach by defining a set of standards that govern conduct. A code of ethics will deliver five tangible outcomes for our profession. A Code of Ethics:

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Joe’s New Book!

The Software Process and Measurement Cast 619 features the return of Joe Schofield.  Joe and I talked about his new book, Aligning People and Culture for Agile Transformation: A Leadership & Change Story (https://amzn.to/2HCfRV1).  During our discussion we talked about how writing the book changes an author and his hope for how people will use the book to understand and create change.   

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