Direct Playback

Subscribe: Apple Podcast
Check out the podcast on Google Play Music
Listen on Spotify!

SPaMCAST 551 features our interview with Michael (Mike) Lynn.  Mike and I talked about leadership and agile. Leadership is important any time two or more people get together to pursue a goal. Mike shares his expertise, experience, and wisdom to help shine a light on the relationship between agile and leadership.   (more…)

Direct Playback

Subscribe: Apple Podcast
Check out the podcast on Google Play Music
Listen on Spotify!

SPaMCAST 550 features our essay titled, Intertwining Conway’s Law And Agile. Conway’s Law trains a spotlight on how an organization’s structure impacts the product they ship. The “Law” states that the structure of a software product will mimic the structure of the organization that produces the software.  It can (and has) been said that you are shipping the “org structure.” How you are structured therefore is going to impact just how much agile you can achieve.

We also visit the QA Corner with Jeremy Berriault.  Jeremy discusses the differences between test engineers and testers. We also tackle whether every person with the word test in their title should have the ability to code or script. Jeremy’s LinkedIn:  https://www.linkedin.com/in/jeremy-berriault-mba/

I know this is not the show I promoted last week but my guest, Mike Lynn,  is out of pocket this week and wanted to around when the show went live. Not only am I agile, but I am also flexible therefore we are rearranging the lineup!   (more…)

Think About It!

 

I am celebrating my birthday this weekend instead of working on the re-read of  Thinking, Fast and Slow.  We will be back next week, so in the interim, I decided to reprise and revise an entry from 2014.  I hope you will enjoy and reflect on the piece!

Teams are an important concept in most IT organizations, regardless of their development philosophy. Philosophies like Agile may put more emphasis on teams, but even in organizations that do not embrace Agile philosophies, teams are important. Dan Ariely in his Ted Talk, “What Makes Us Feel Good About Our Work” suggests that overly self-interested, cynical behavior can negatively impact organizations by reducing their ability to communicate and innovate. The same problem can occur, albeit on a small scale, at the team level. In a recent presentation, a fellow Agile coach described a team engaged in overly self-interested behavior. He described a scenario in an organization that cuts the bottom 10% of all groups annually and stated vision that IT should maximize the value it deliverers to its customers. After losing a popular team member the previous year, the team had decided to make sure that his replacement was given the worst assignments in order to ensure he stayed on the low end of the performance scale in the coming year. Their goal was to ensure that the core team stayed intact during the next review cycle. In their mind, keeping the core team together ensured that they would deliver more value to their internal customers. The behavior of the team attempted to circumvent the idea that adding new and more highly qualified personnel would lead to improved performance. Viewed from the point of view of organizational policy, the whole team was acting in an overly self-interested behavior manner, but from the point of view of core team they are acting rationally and within their interpretation of the rules as seen through IT’s vision of value delivery. The team did not believe that their behavior was at odds with the behavior the organization wanted to incent. (more…)

Story Points: No Parking

Story points are a planning tool that has proponents and opponents. Like most tools, story points are not prima facie evil, it is only through misuse that they are problematic.  Problems tend to occur because leader, managers, and team members have a need (or at least a very strong desire) to know when a piece work will be done, what they are going to do next, whether they are meeting expectations, and in many cases what something will cost. Story points are a relative measure, a proxy of a proxy that makes answering any of these questions with precision very difficult. The best anyone can hope for is that the answers story points provide are accurate enough and provide a coherent feedback loop for teams. This could be considered damning with faint praise, however, in the right circumstances story points are a useful tool for a TEAM. I am a proponent of using story points in three scenarios. (more…)

Story Points Are A Reflection!

Last week Anthony Mersino published a blog entry titled Story Points – Love Them or Leave Them? He ended his blog entry with the question, “What do you think?” I know it will shock some of you, but I have an opinion. An opinion born from observation, research, and hands-on experience. Story points are specific to every team that uses them. I have used and still do use story points in some very specific scenarios. To answer Anthony’s question, over the years I have migrated into the “leave them” camp with a few caveats (we will tackle those later in the week). Story Points have a litany of problems including a myriad of definitions, they are a poor tool to compare performance, they are conflated with hours, and they institutionalize bias (see The Slow End Of Story Points for in-depth discussions on these points). In the last round of articles I wrote on story points, I did not address the basic conceit at the core of story points. Story points assume that teams need to size pieces of work in order to know whether the work is too big or too risky to accomplish in a specific period of time. That assumption is wrong for any team that has worked together for more than a sprint/iteration or two and breaks its work down, plans and commits to that work, and then use the results from that sprint or iteration to improve how they work. These steps are basic activities for an Agile team. The inspect and adapt feedback loop provides an experiential platform that negates the need to have a debate over Cohn’s Numbers or an entry on the Fibonacci scale. That time is better spent discussing what the work is that is being requested by the product owner and how that work is going to be delivered. (more…)

Direct Playback
Subscribe: Apple Podcast
Check out the podcast on Google Play Music
Listen on Spotify!

SPaMCAST 549 features our essay Seven Issues Testers Experience Being Agile.  Recently I attended the QAI Quest Conference in Chicago, during the conference I got to talk with lots of people from across the development spectrum. From the conversations and workshops, I identified seven common threads that test and quality focused personal experience being or trying to be agile. In order to be agile, not just do agile, we need to tackle these seven issues

We also have the completion of Susan Parente’s three-installment discussion of distributed agile.  In this installment of Not a Scrumdamentalist, Susan discusses tools and whether they are the hurdle some people make them out to be.   (more…)

Pizza and Pie Intertwine Each Influences Each Other

Conway’s Law trains a spotlight on how an organization’s structure impacts the product they ship. The “Law” states that the structure of a software product will mimic the structure of the organization that produces the software.  It can (and has) been said that you are shipping the “org structure.” Three common organizational structures are useful to show different influences on the resultant product. (more…)