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WSJF can’t go everywhere!

On March 10, 2015, I wrote an entry on Weighted Shortest Job First (WSJF), in a nutshell,  WSJF allows you to prioritize units of work using the lean concept of cost of delay and duration/time to complete. The approach provides a consistent framework for prioritization. This is my favorite of the advanced quantitative approaches. Instead of rehashing an old article (go back and read it before continuing), we will examine a few of the pros and cons of this approach. (more…)


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SPaMCAST 559 part one of our interview with Al Shalloway. I am breaking two guidelines this week.  First, rarely do I bring guests back so quickly. And secondly, I have not broken an interview into two parts for 7 years (ish). The conversation with Al was full of huge ideas, s, concepts, and calls to action cutting any of the content did not make sense. Al and I talked about about the troubles dogging classic agile, the Agile Industrial Complex, using a scientific approach to change, and FLEX.  Edited, the interview was 49 minutes (with about 20 minutes of chit chat ended up on the cutting room floor – figuratively). I have broken the interview into two parts of approximately 27 and 22 minutes.  Today we have part one and next week we will complete the interview.  (more…)

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SPaMCAST 533 features our essay titled, Can Agile (SAFe) Be Interfaced With Waterfall? The long answer is yes, but the short answer is yes, but try to find a way to avoid the self-inflicted complexity. If you can’t avoid mixing and matching frameworks, there are paths to success you can leverage.

Other essays in our series on interfacing SAFe and waterfall efforts include:

Can Agile (SAFe) Be Interfaced With Waterfall? –

Interfacing Agile (SAFe) With Waterfall? – Transparency –

Interfacing Agile (SAFe) With Waterfall? –  Synchronization –

Interfacing Agile (SAFe) With Waterfall? –  Code –

This week we also have a quick visit from Tom Henricksen.  Tom created the popular Online Agile Summit. Today he announces the DevOps Online Summit that will be held on April 8th through 11th.  After you listen, check out the website!

Jeremy Berriault brings a new installment of the QA Corner ( to the cast this week.  Jeremy leverages work by Simon Sinek and tackles the “why” of testing.

Re-Read Saturday News
This week we continue our re-read of The Tipping Point by Malcolm Gladwell. In chapter two, Gladwell dives into the law of the few.  There are three types of people that are important to pushing an idea up to and over a tipping point: connectors, mavens, and salespeople.  All three are required. Remember to dust off your copy or buy a new copy and read along!

Current entry:

Week 3 – The Law of the Few (more…)


Once you get to the point that you know you are going to have to interface a SAFe release train(s), with a waterfall program run outside your organization, success generally turns on three very related topics.  The three topics are transparency, synchronization, and code.  The timing of when the code from all parties is available and managing when the code can be integrated and tested is critical. Even if both programs produce the right code and the code works as it is expected, each program will produce functional code at very different times.  By definition waterfall projects create code after they have done a large part of the analysis and design while teams in a SAFe release train will have functional, demonstrable code earlier. By the time the waterfall project is ready to write code the agile project will have a significant investment in a code base.   Three suggested approaches (in addition to transparency and synchronization) for addressing the risk generated by the differential in code timing are: (more…)

millaa millaa falls

In our essay, Can Agile (SAFe) Be Interfaced With Waterfall?, we identified three major areas that had to be addressed so that a multiple inter-related programs with different management approaches didn’t turn into a train wreck.  Keeping related programs moving in the same direction is important, and synchronization is critical. In a recent interview for a future SPaMCAST Alan Shalloway, CEO of NetDynamics, reminded me that the more complicated we make work, the more we reduce flow and increase the probability of making mistakes. Staking the organization’s success to integrating two programs moving at different speeds is complicated. Synchronizing successfully requires spending time and money to keep the programs synchronized. Three effective techniques used to implement synchronization are: (more…)


In our essay, Can Agile (SAFe) Be Interfaced With Waterfall? we identified three major areas that had to be addressed so that a scenario of multiple inter-related programs with different management approaches didn’t turn into a train wreck. Lack of transparency causes misunderstandings and conflict. However, generating transparency has a cost.  Finding the right balance that fits cost and contract constraints is a goal for every complicated program. Generating transparency requires a specific set of behaviors. Several of the most common techniques for generating transparency include: (more…)

I was recently asked how an agile program could interface with a project developed by an outside firm.  The outside firm was using a waterfall process with a single planned delivery of code. The answer I wanted to give was “don’t do it”, but that isn’t a useful answer. Further context: The person asking the question works for an organization that leverages the Scaled Agile Framework Enterprise (SAFe); using the Essential SAFe instantiation for most of the work in the organization. While several release trains exist inside the organization, they are not closely interrelated. Therefore the organization does not need to leverage Enterprise SAFe. Assuming you cannot avoid having two separate but interrelated and dependent projects with one run by a separate organization and using a different approach than your organization, there are several major issues involved in answering the question. Three of these are: (more…)