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The Top Five Agile Methodology PPTs

All About Agile - Tue, 02/04/2014 - 06:00

Are you looking for the best Agile Methodology PPTs? Check out our the LeadingAgile list of the best Agile Methodology PPTs! We have scoured the web to pull together a list of the greatest Agile Methodology PPTs we could find. We hope you find these helpfully whether you are just starting your Agile journey or are […]

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Sprint v Iteration

All About Agile - Mon, 02/03/2014 - 07:12

Chris Oldwood asked me about the difference (as I see it) between the Scrum concept of Sprint and Iteration in XP. Although the terms “Sprint” and “Iteration” are often bandied around as synonyms in Agile world with the basic meaning of a time boxed planning cycle used by a software development team, these terms started out with quite different meanings.

Battle Plans for the Self Disorganized

All About Agile - Fri, 01/31/2014 - 16:57

As agilists, we all hear a lot about self-organizing teams.  I'm pretty sure I have already aired several, probably conflicting, opinions about self-organizing teams, like "someone else should assign people to the teams and decide what they should do, and THEN they should self-organize," but today I would like to talk about something even more fundamental:  the self-organizing self.  Are you

Question: How do I implement Scrum?

All About Agile - Fri, 01/31/2014 - 08:18

Question from Denise: My organization has decided to go from Waterfall to Agile SCRUM. I have experience with SCRUM, but very little experience implementing it. I was wondering if anybody has this experience? If so, what were some of the … Continue reading →

The Three Things You Need to Scale Agile Successfully

All About Agile - Thu, 01/30/2014 - 07:00

So: you’re thinking about taking on this “scaled Agile” thing.

Maybe you're feeling pressured to deliver new features your customers have been demanding, but you don't know which ones to prioritize. You're feeling the heat from your competitors, but your teams are already maxed out with other work.

Maybe you have development teams already using Agile practices, but you’ve realized that’s not enough: your business initiatives still fall short, and the competition is gaining ground.

I’m guessing you’ve read some articles, seen some analyst reports, and heard the buzzwords touting the virtues of enterprise agility, scaled Agile, Agile programs, and Scaled Agile Framework (SAFe); but perhaps you’re unsure what these really mean and how they relate to each other.  

Don’t freak out! If your teams are doing well with Agile it means you’re already on your way to delivering more value to your customers AND your business. What you need is a plan that helps you do the right work faster and continuously.

We call this Strategy Meets Execution. As Forrester explains in its report from January 7, 2014, “Connecting The Dots: Building An Integrated Strategy And Execution Plan”:

“Connecting above-the-line strategic portfolio planning with below-the-line execution practices in a way that stresses pragmatism over process is essential to adding visibility without adding levels of bureaucracy.”

This connection is the sweet spot where you build mid-range plans and realize exponential business value from coordinated work across multiple Agile development teams.  

Scaling Agile across teams and connecting your strategy with your Agile execution isn’t easy. It requires a fundamental cultural shift in how you plan and execute work, and commitment from top-to-bottom within your organization. It can’t be accomplished overnight -- it takes time and investment to transform a business, with plenty of “inspecting and adapting” along the way.

But we’ve seen customers successfully tackle this challenge over and over again, and from our experience helping some of the largest enterprises in the world transform their practices and culture, we’ve identified three key things you need in order to get it done.

  1. Team-level proficiency with Agile development practices across the development organization -- or for starters, across teams dedicated to a pilot program or product. Though you may have many or all of your teams running Agile, you may find that they use inconsistent approaches and processes, or that you have different teams using different tools. Without consistency in both process and tools, it will be impossible to coordinate the work of teams of teams -- much less align that work to the business initiatives that fund large-scale programs or product development.  
  2. Commitments from executives, the business, and the PMO to change the way strategic work is defined, planned, and managed. The impact of top-down support cannot be understated, as successful transformation -- including release trains of Agile execution teams -- relies on an organization-wide dedication to doing things differently. Change is hard for most humans, but it’s a lot easier if there’s top-to-bottom support.
  3. A methodology and tooling that links Agile execution to strategic plans; scales to support multiple, coordinated teams and programs; and provides the visibility business stakeholders need to to quickly meet new opportunities, address risks, and respond to competitive pressures.

As you consider your process (such as Scaled Agile Framework) and your tooling options, you should ask the following questions: Does the methodology accommodate all the roles in the organization who need to participate in portfolio planning and Agile execution? Does the Agile tool or platform support rollups that connect the work of teams to programs or teams of teams, and connect user stories to features and initiatives? Will you have access to metrics that let you benchmark your development teams' work and get insights that increase performance and predictability? Can your executives and business stakeholders look at dashboards and reports and know whether they're on track to deliver on a major business initiative?  

Getting these three things in place will give you the foundation for a successful transformation. It will align your business goals with the actual development work being done. It will help you figure out what's the most important work, give you visibility into the progress that work, and help your business adapt to fast-moving market opportunities and needs. It will also transform the culture of your organization into one that values innovation, servant leadership, customer empathy, and adaptability in a fast-moving, competitive market.

Over the coming months we’ll delve into these three key criteria for connecting strategy with execution, and why the investment you make in transforming how you plan and execute software development will be well worth it. Until then, here are a few ways you can learn more:

We look forward to your questions!

Steve Wolfe

Failure Modes of Team Based Scrum

All About Agile - Wed, 01/29/2014 - 11:24

My take is that when you stop thinking about Scrum in terms of roles, ceremonies, and artifacts… it opens up the conversation to look at what’s really going on with your struggling Scrum implementation. No longer are we lamenting the absence of a product owner… we can discuss why the organization finds it so hard […]

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Agile Reading for Executives

All About Agile - Wed, 01/29/2014 - 09:42

A recent email I sent, slightly edited. Dear Mike and Mark: You asked for something to give the executives and managers. I might send them “The New New Product Development Game” article (see below).  With a short explanation. And then … Continue reading →

Is your PO role working for the business?

All About Agile - Tue, 01/28/2014 - 10:38

I've never met a Scrum team that was highly performant (one commonly stated end goal) that did not have a highly engaged and participatory Product Owner.  I've also not met one person that can do all that that role requires for Scrum tea...

Fundamentals of Agile Transformation

All About Agile - Wed, 01/22/2014 - 09:00

Okay…I think this is the 5th post (or so) we have in our series on the Fundamentals of Agile Transformation. You might ask yourself… wait, Mike hasn’t said anything about the Fundamentals of Agile Transformation… and, you know what, you’d be right. What I’m trying to do here is lay the foundation for a different […]

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Small Stories Reduce Variability in Velocity, Improve Predictability

All About Agile - Wed, 01/22/2014 - 08:15

If you estimate the size of your stories in relative story points, realize that the more large stories you have in your backlog, the less reliable will be your velocity (trend) for planning future work. The velocity trend values will be less accurate when there are bigger stories in your backlog, than when the stories […]

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The Rules of Scrum: Your ScrumMaster has no duties outside of the ScrumMaster duties

All About Agile - Tue, 01/21/2014 - 10:00

The ScrumMaster duties make up a full-time job on a Scrum Team. The ScrumMaster should not be a manager, a developer or have any other partial duties outside the role of ScrumMaster. This focus allows a ScrumMaster to complete their … Continue reading →

Planning Poker Tools

All About Agile - Mon, 01/20/2014 - 11:02

Mike Cohn has the phrase ‘planning poker’ registered.  So, this is acknowledgement of that. And, like Kleenex, that’s what we call the thing itself.  It no longer has a generic name. And, as some readers know, I like Priority Poker … Continue reading →

The Rules of Scrum: Your ScrumMaster works with only one Scrum Team

All About Agile - Mon, 01/20/2014 - 10:00

The Scrum Team needs a great deal of help from their ScrumMaster. This help includes: removal of obstacles, advancement and reminders of the Scrum principles and practices, ongoing facilitation of effective Scrum meetings, accompaniment of the Team Members to develop … Continue reading →

Long-Range Planning with User Stories

All About Agile - Sat, 01/18/2014 - 21:17

I frequently hear or read people suggesting using User Stories for relatively long-range planning. Sometimes they mean something as short as a release in a few months. Sometimes they’re talking about multiple releases over a year or two. In all of these cases, they’re talking about breaking down the work to be done into small […]

The Scrum Team Assessment – Official Launch

All About Agile - Tue, 01/14/2014 - 15:11

Hi Everyone,  I don’t do announcements on here too often, but I wanted to let everyone know about the official launch of our new product: the Scrum Team Assessment – an online tool for your team to get a report … Continue reading →

A Product Owner’s Syllabus

All About Agile - Tue, 01/14/2014 - 13:42

In one of my previous articles (Project Managers: Nurturing vs. Hiring?) I’ve written on why we prefer to nurture product owners (we call them feature owners) internally, instead of hiring newcomers. Quite some time has passed since we decided to try this approach, and it has yielded good results mostly. It’s safer and more reasonable [...]

10 Tips for Better Story Estimation

All About Agile - Tue, 01/14/2014 - 07:52

The foundation of predictable delivery is to make a commitment to an iteration of work using story estimation. In order to make a commitment, delivery teams need to estimate how much work there is and determine whether that work will fit within the iteration timeframe. So, how do you make sure you’re doing a good […]

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Getting Feedback with the Perfection Game

All About Agile - Tue, 01/14/2014 - 06:50

The Perfection Game can be used to get feedback on a product or service that has been provided. It is also a retrospective exercise usable to discover strengths and define effective improvement actions. The perfection game gives power to the teams and helps them to self organize and become more agile. Continue reading →

What Problems Are Executives Trying To Solve With Agile?

All About Agile - Mon, 01/06/2014 - 07:09

Like I mentioned in my last post, the problem we think most execs are trying to solve with agile (are we building the right product), isn’t the problem they are actually trying to solve with agile. Walking into a room of senior vice presidents talking about empowering teams, enabling them to inspect and adapt, and figuring […]

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