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SPaMCAST 467 features our essay on value. Value is the most talked about and least understood concept in Agile. In terms of software development, enhancements, and maintenance, the value of a piece of work is the worth of the outcome that results from doing the work.

In the second position is Jeremy Berriault and the QA Corner!  Jeremy discusses testing in difficult situations. Are there differences? Jeremy has the answers!

Gene Hughson completes the cast by bringing a discussion of a recent missive, Management, Simple and Wrong – Semantics, Systems, and Self-Correction.  This entry at  Form Follows Function even includes a reference to Snidely Whiplash!

Upcoming Appearances

Metricas 2017

I will be keynoting on Agile leadership and then delivering one my favorites, Function Points and Pokémon Go
29 November 2017
Sao Paulo, Brazil

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Re-Read Saturday News (more…)

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A New Copy!

Today we tackle Chapter 3 of  Daniel S. Vacanti’s Actionable Agile Metrics for Predictability. Chapter 3 is titled Introduction to Little’s Law.  Little’s Law is incredibly clever and potentially life-changing if you are overly fixated on size.  Buy your copy today and read along!

We originally wrote about Little’s law in September 2014. Little’s Law brings WIP, Cycle time and Throughput (metrics discussed in chapter 2) into a relationship that can help deliver information that can be used to answer the basic questions of predictively. The basic configuration of Little’s law is stated as: (more…)

How to decide?

Consensus decision making requires a number of prerequisites to be effective.  The prerequisites include a common goal, trust, commitment, participation, facilitation and a decision-making process.  There are numerous documented processes for making consensus decisions, each tailored to a specific set of circumstances.

Clear Process

A clear process makes consensus decision making easier because the process ensures that all viewpoints have time to be examined.  Following a defined process tends to be most impactful when the team is new, membership is dynamic or the group is large.  In all of these cases, a process helps to control potential chaos. The following process flow is a synthesis of a number of methods for team level consensus decision-making. (more…)

Consensus decision-making is perceived to be one of the most prevalent decision-making tools in organizations today due, in part, to organizations’ use of teams and Agile. To be efficient, consensus decision-making requires five significant prerequisites. They are:

Common Goal

A common goal provides a decision making group with a rallying point that helps keep teams and organizations moving in the same direction.  In addition, decision-makers can evaluate whether each individual decision generates progress toward the goal or at the very least which potential decision in any decision set will move the needle.

Commitment to Reach a Consensus

Everyone needs to agree that they will arrive at a consensus.  Without a commitment to consensus, an individual or a small group can block movement. Individuals or subgroups that resist not only can stop a decision but also force others to come to a consensus with their point of view even if that point of view is unwise or unhealthy for the group.

Trust

Team members must trust that everyone participating in making a consensus decision have both the same goal and the best interests of the team at heart.  There can be no fear that after making a decision individuals will actively or passively subvert the decision.  Throwing members under the bus when a decision is questioned is a trust killer and will make forming consensus in the future nearly impossible.  Trust and commitment to reach a consensus are highly intertwined.

Active Participation

Active participation in the decision process includes both listening and engagement.  Participation helps a team to move toward consensus because it shortens the time it takes to expose and synthesize alternate views. The lack of active participation might be interpreted as an ability to live with a decision or it can be a sign of resistance. When facilitating a decision where people are not participating, the facilitator must probe to understand what is really happening.  Stating that lack of a response will be taken as acceptance is not active facilitation. Lack of active participation in the decision process can also be a reflection of the wrong people being involved in making the decision.  Before convening a meeting to generate a consensus decision ask who should be involved and why.

Good Facilitation

Simply put, someone has to herd the cats in an effective manner.  An effective facilitator can help guide towards consensus rather than letting the group drift toward an answer.  Facilitation also helps avoid many of the potential pitfalls we will explore in the fourth entry of this theme.

Consensus decision-making is powerful and popular decision-making technique.  Teams often embrace the technique even when they haven’t ensured that they have all of the prerequisites lined up. Not dealing with the prerequisites will often lead to teams failing to generate a decision, generating an imperfect consensus, and/or splits in the team leading to resistance and infighting.  

 

Consensus Decision Making Theme:

  1. Consensus Decision-Making
  2. Prerequisites and Attributes for Consensus Decision-Making ** Current **
  3. Process for Consensus Decision-Making
  4. Issues with Consensus Decision.-Making

 

 

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SPaMCAST 466 features our interview with Ross Smith.  Ross and I discussed legacy application modernization.  Legacy application modernization delivers quantitative and qualitative value to organizations. Modernization can breath new life into old applications.  We also discussed why organizations sometimes avoid biting the modernization bullet!

Ross Smith is Chief Architect at PITSS America.  He has been on the PITSS team for five years, a time during which the company transformed from an Oracle Forms upgrade vendor into a business process and application transformation provider.  He recently spoke at Oracle Open World about the untapped potential of leaving vital legacy applications out of a digital transformation strategy, and the realities of integrating them into a modern enterprise environment.

Email: rsmith@pitss.com
Web: https://pitss.com/
Linkedin: https://www.linkedin.com/in/ross-smith-5427497

I am participating in the Agile Online Summit
30 Oct – 3 Nov 2017
At the summit, I talk about the power of storytelling with Tom Henricksen!
Register

Metricas 2017
I will be keynoting on Agile leadership and delivering one my favorites, Function Points and Pokémon Go
29 November 2017
Sao Paulo, Brazil
Register

Re-Read Saturday News

This week we re-read Chapter 2 of Actionable Agile Metrics for Predictability: An Introduction by Daniel S. Vacanti. Chapter 2 is titled The Basic Metrics of Flow. We go deep on WIP, Cycle TIme and Throughput.  Powerful metrics that every team needs to understand and leverage.  Buy your copy today and read along!

Previous Installments

Introduction and Game Plan

Week 2: Flow, Flow Metrics, and Predictability

Week 3: THe Basics of Flow Metrics (more…)

A New Copy!

Today we tackle Chapter 2 of  Daniel S. Vacanti’s Actionable Agile Metrics for Predictability. Chapter 2 is titled The Basic Metrics of Flow.  The concept of flow is critical to predictability.   Buy your copy today and read along! (more…)

So the answer is . . .

Consensus decision-making may be one of the most prevalent decision-making tools in organizations today.  Simply walk around and ask the denizens of cube farms and team spaces how they make decisions. My perception is that the increase in the prevalence of using consensus as a decision tool has paralleled with an increase in the use of Agile and teams as a significant tool to deliver value. Defining consensus decision-making is a critical first step in understanding how to harness the power of the technique. (more…)