Agile


Today, we feature an essay titled, So I Asked What Is Agile. A simple question that yields interesting answers. One interesting outcome was that answers fit into three categories. We explore the process and people-oriented groups this week. I will come back to the rant category later this month.  

(more…)

If you ask the question what is agile in polite company you get a wide range of answers. I know because I have asked that question in polite and less cultured environments. Polite answers focus on ceremonies, people, mindsets, guardrails, or paths. The less than polite are usually a version that people are using the term agile as a form of gaslighting.  Pushing aside the last group, at least for now, we are left with two categories of answers. The first focusing on process and the second on people. Both are right because both reflect different real-world contexts and different personal and organizational needs. Perception of “what” is agile, how you define agile, is heavily influenced by what you want from agile; the why of agile. This is true for practitioners as well as organizations which is why specific agile practitioners are more comfortable in some organizations and vice versa. As a consultant, I have seen a wide spectrum of definitions — all tied to the reason the organization is interested in agile. 

(more…)

Until this week, Disciplined Agile was a topic we had not investigated on the Software Process and Measurement Cast. DA is an approach to scaling agile development.  Today, Jonathan Lee and I discuss Disciplined Agile and reinventing yourself to stay relevant in a dynamic world. 

(more…)

One of the most influential books in my career was Peopleware by Tom DeMarco and Tim Lister. One concept in the book was the concept of flow state, being fully in the zone so that a problem or piece of work can be focused on and delivered. Flow maximizes the amount of value delivered. Demarco and Lister’s introduction to flow paved the way for my interest in The Flow Framework. Chapter 3 of Project to Product introduces the Flow Framework.

(more…)

In Chapter 1, The Age of Software, Kersten established that we were at or just past a turning point; those that do not embrace change will face grave difficulties surviving to the next cycle. As a consultant, I work with companies wrestling with trying to transform. Not all succeed for a variety of reasons. In this chapter, the author highlights and compares the lessons derived from his visit to the BMW plant, his study of the development of the Boeing Dreamliner, and the transformation failures at Nokia and a large bank. The first two examples reflect the pinnacle of a product view from the Age of Mass Production which preceded the Age of Software.

(more…)

Luis Gonçalves and I talked about his new book introducing the ADAPT Methodology. We discussed why using a framework can help leaders stay relevant. Our conversation dovetails nicely into the Re-read Saturday focus on Project to Product. There is a lot of synergy between the ideas of Kersten and Gonçalves. 

(more…)

If we agree that transactive memory is a common feature of teams’ institutional memory and accept the benefits, then we must address the risks. That should not be a major assumption. In many situations it makes sense. Knowledge can be stored in a single place and then accessed by the team as needed. The idea of having one version of data was one of the reasons I was taught normalization when I was working in the database realm. Transactive memory acts as a form of normalization so teams can reduce redundancy and conflicting truths. When the process works, a team will be more than the sum of its parts. While this seems very mechanistic, I would not suggest ignoring the idea in a fit of humanistic pique. I have not found a team or relationship that has been together for more than a few days that is not leveraging transactive memory. However, as described in our overview, there are two macro scenarios where transactive memory causes problems for a team adopting new approaches. They are:

(more…)

As a coach, I use and observe transactive memory all the time. Used wisely, transactive memory means a team can be more than the sum of its individual members. Mess it up and you might as well put your hand in a running garbage disposal. For example, my wife remembers things like special events and then clues me in…if she is around. This year I missed an important birthday.  Coaches and Scrum Masters often act as the official process memory for teams until they move on . . . you can guess what happens next. This week we explore when transactive memory works and when it does not.

Also, Jeremy Berriault and I discuss helping improve Daily Scrums in his QA Corner column.

(more…)

This week we begin our re-read of Mik Kersten’s Project to Product. I am reading from my Kindle version published by IT Revolution (buy a copy). Today we are tackling the front matter which includes the Foreword by Gene Kim (author of the DevOps Handbook) and the Introduction, which is titled the Turning Point. In past re-reads, I have argued strongly that jumping immediately to the core of a book is a mistake, I again urge you not to make that mistake.

(more…)

We are back from backpacking on Isle Royale. Simply awesome.  Today, we feature a discussion with Tom Henricksen.  You know Tom from the Agile Online Summit and the Dev Ops Online Summit however Tom is more than just the Summits. Today we discuss learning and then get into whether hybrid working scenarios are all they are cracked up to be. I am not sure we agreed.

(more…)

Next Page »