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SPaMCAST 558 features our essay Story Points – Leave Them, Don’t Love Them.  Story Points are not evil and they may be useful in some circumstances. But like most tools, at some point, they lose focus. They have outlived their usefulness, therefore, I will leave them when at all possible.  

This week, Jeremy Berriault brings his QA Corner to the podcast.  We talked about focus. How much focus is enough and how much is too much? Mr. Berriault has an opinion and stories to back his opinion up.  (more…)

Book Cover

 

In Chapter 15 of Thinking, Fast and Slow we explore two types of fallacies. Logical and conjunction fallacies can impact any process improvement effort, typically in a manner that does not benefit change. 

The central plot device in this chapter is an experiment performed by Kahneman and Tversky that asked sets of respondents to rank attributes by representativeness and another group to rank by probability. The experiment begins with a description of the person, Linda,  (similar to the experiment at the center of Chapter 14). A set of statements about Linda’s potential profession is then listed. In this case (as compared to the experiment in Chapter 14), there are items in the list that require the application of logic to judge. For example, one item is “Linda is a bank teller” and a second is “Linda is a bank teller and is active in the feminist movement”. The lightbulb moment from the experiment was when there are two items that have a logical relationship, respondents distinguished between the two based on the story System 1 constructs.  (more…)

Every Day?

 

Daily Scrums or stand-ups are a fixture of teams, agile or not, whether they are fulfilling goal identified in the Scrum Guide or not. The Scrum Guide identifies the Daily Scrum (often colloquially known as a stand-up) as one the key events in Scrum.  The purpose of the event is to plan work for the next 24 hours. The meeting are short, approximately 15 minutes, therefore don’t feel like a huge investment of time and money. Wrong!  An agile coaching colleague, Anthony Mersino points out that the Daily Scrum has a cost.  His estimate of $60,000 – 110,000 annually for a typical Scrum team is probably conservative if you factor in the impact of gathering time and getting coffee afterward. Done well there is an offset to the cost.  The value of the meeting comes from micro-planning and collaboration that occurs during the stand-up. The issue is that Daily Scrums or stand-ups don’t always make sense, at least the daily part. Don’t spend the money for a daily stand-up meeting when: (more…)

Not a status meeting!

The stand-up meeting is a simple meeting that Agile teams hold on a daily basis to plan and synchronize activities. The Scrum Guide states:

“The Daily Scrum is a 15-minute time-boxed event for the Development Team. The Daily Scrum is held every day of the Sprint. At it, the Development Team plans work for the next 24 hours.” 

Conceptually the daily stand-up is a simple event and when done correctly provides microplanning adjustments that keep a team on track. This simple meeting can be a great tool; however, it often becomes a HORROR story.  Nothing has changed since the last time we addressed the stand-up meeting in 2016 (more…)

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SPaMCAST 557 features our interview with Jorgen Hesselberg.  We talked about his book Unlocking Agility,  assessing agility, and whether leadership and structure lead culture when adopting an agile mindset.  It is a thought-provoking and fun interview. Jorgen’s irrepressible nature shines through even when tackling tough topics!  (more…)

 

It is easy to fall into the trap of using Socratic Questions all of the time. The approach might have worked for Socrates, however, there are situations in today’s business environment when the technique is of little value or can be used maliciously. Socratic Questions is a powerful tool but isn’t a silver bullet to be used willy nilly (no vampires were harmed in writing this essay). (more…)

In a land far far away, I overheard a conversation between a team member and a coach.  The dialog is a reflection of my memory and a bit of poetic license. I was present, waiting for a meeting with another team to kick-off and was not part of the conversation. I bit my tongue to keep for jumping in.  (more…)