Agile Change or Adoption Always Starts with Why

Your organization has decided to become more “Agile.” Why? As we learned in a previous blog post, “Because Our Competitors Are” is not a valid – or sensible – reason. Before embarking on a change, adoption, or improvement program, you need to know the rationale behind that decision. So… why Agile? A traditional approach to answering this question might see the executive team going off-site...

Simplicity

In 201x, the global financial markets collapsed. Reason: mortgages were given to people who couldn’t afford them. This debt was then repackaged and sold to banks and other institutions as good debt. (“The Big Short” by Michael Lewis is an excellent indictment...

“Because Our Competitors Are” is No Reason to Become an Agile Organization

Companies are starting to fall into a trap, and it goes something like this, “Our partners/competitors/… are Agile, so we need to be Agile.” Becoming Agile without a valid reason will harm your organization. I can’t state that any simpler. In the ‘80s...

Taking Organizational Improvement Seriously – Case Study

(Presented as an accompanying case study to Part 4 in the Scrum Alone is Not Enough series.) In the previous post, we discussed how it’s not enough to practice Scrum at the Team level and expect that it will solve all problems. Senior Management has to get involved...

Red, Yellow, Green or RYG/RAG Reports: How They Hide the Truth

What is Red Yellow Green? Red-Yellow-Green (or Red/Amber/Green) is a status reporting mechanism used to help executives understand the current state of a project. Green means everything is good; we’re on track both with time and budget. In some cases, green means...

Scrum Alone is Not Enough

To be successful with Scrum in the long term you need more than the basic framework. This is intentional. Scrum provides the structure as a starting point, but it’s designed to work well when applied with other effective patterns. Like the Design Patterns movement...

Welcome to the High-Performance Teams Game

Your team is working on the World’s Smallest Online Bookstore, a site that provides the best results (just a few) for every search, not every result on earth. We’re a vulture capital funded company, so if we don’t deliver, our funding will be cut. So begins...

JIRA is Not Agile

I’ve heard people say, “We started using Jira and GreenHopper, so we’re Agile now”. Similar things are said of Rally, VersionOne, LeanKit, TargetProcess, etc. In making those declarations, it’s clear that they don’t understand Agile at all. At its core,...

ScrumMaster Tales – Stuck Waiting for Other Teams

John (ScrumMaster) and the team are humming along nicely building great new features for the SmallestOnlineBookStore. With the huge success of the first big release nine months ago, venture capital money has come flowing into the company. Significant investments...

Lifecycle of a User Story

User Stories are often used as a lightweight form of Agile requirement. Their goal is  to replace heavy weight-specification documents with “a Card, a Conversation and a Confirmation”. When people first discover User Stories it’s hard to see how they...

Stable Teams Really Do Matter

  For years now Rally has been performing a large ongoing experiment on the Agile world. As a side effect of providing one of the better known tools they’ve managed to see a lot of data accumulate about what makes an effective Agile team. In a report called...

Story Splitting – a Play – “Spike Sherman”

User Stories are a common tool used by Agile Teams to capture the spirit of a requirement without too much detail. Sometimes User Stories are too large for the team to complete safely in one Sprint. In fact, I recommend that you split the Stories  into small enough...

ScrumMaster Tales: The Team collaborate on Acceptance Criteria

Image Credit: robinsonma http://www.sxc.hu/photo/917101 The team has just completed Sprint Planning, committing to four stories: As a first time book buyer I would like to read a review so I can see if a book is worth reading. A review has text and isn’t empty A...


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What People Say

“Kelly is an Agile heavy-weight. He came in to assess my multi-million $ Agile development program which wasn’t delivering the right throughput. He interviewed most of the team and made some key recommendations that, when implemented, showed immediate results. I couldn’t ask for more than that except he’s a really nice guy as well.”

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