Archive for May, 2009

Developing software using Scrum – What’s missing?

Scrum/Agile Projects introduce several challenges/forces that are easier to deal with when leveraging agile engineering practices.

On a daily basis I see teams struggling with questions around how their engineering practices are compatible, or most of the time incompatible, with the Agile mindset.

These teams face two options – Either improve their engineering practices so they can continue their Agile journey, or continue to struggle with Agile, feel it is like running with a ball chain, and with time, regress to their old ways – use longer sprints, later testing, etc.

Another way to look at it, is that Agile engineering practices can provide a form factor improvement in the ROI on your Agile adoption project. This is achieved by enabling quicker and quicker delivery, sustainable development pace, higher quality earlier, which all drives flow, removes waste, and allows the team to work as effectively as possible together on the most important things.

The problem manifests when teams start Scrumming. The Scrum framework prescribes fast iterations and PSP increments. As Scrum DOESN’T prescribe the development practices/methodology, teams continue with what they currently have. Results vary…

 

In this series of posts we’ll examine the various aspects of agile project development, focusing on Scrum, and their interaction with the software engineering practice.

 

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agileblog 05/24/2009

  • tags: kanban, agileblog

    • Goals for using Kanban
    • Goal 1. Improved performance through process improvements introduced with minimal resistance
    • Goal 2. Deliver with High Quality
    • policies around what is acceptable before a work item can be pulled to the next step in the process
    • focus on quality by limiting work-in-progress
    • Goal 3. Deliver a predictable cycle time by controlling the quantity of work-in-progress
    • WIP is directly related to cycle time
    • correlation between cycle time and a non-linear growth in defect rates
    • keep WIP small
    • limit it to a fixed quantity
    • Goal 4. Give team members a better life through improved work/life balance
    • providing reliability
    • Providing a good work life balance will make your company a more attractive employer in your local market
    • Goal 5. Provide slack by balancing demand against throughput
    • when you balance the input demand against the throughput, you create idle time everywhere in your value chain with the exception of the bottleneck resource
    • Slack can be used to improve responsiveness to urgent requests and to provide bandwidth to enable process improvement. Without slack team members cannot take time to reflect upon how they do their work and how it might be done better. Without slack they cannot take time to learn new techniques, to improve their tooling or their skills and capabilities. Without slack there is no liquidity in the system to respond to urgent requests or late changes. Without slack there is no tactical agility in the business.
    • Goal 6. Provide a simple prioritization mechanism that delays commitment and keeps options open
    • one fundamental problem. In order to respond to change in the market and evolving events, it is necessary to reprioritize
    • asking business owners to prioritize things is challenging
    • They may move slowly. They may refuse to cooperate. They may become uncomfortable and dysfunctional. They may simply react by thrashing and constantly changing their minds, randomizing project plans and wasting a lot of team time reacting to the change
    • What is needed is a prioritization scheme that delays commitments as late as possible and provides a simple question that is easy to answer
    • Kanban provides this by asking the business owners to refill empty slots in the queue while providing them a reliable cycle time and due date performance metric.
    • Goal 7. Provide a transparent scheme for seeing improvement opportunities enabling change to a more collaborative culture that encourages continuous improvement
    • Goal 8. A process that will enable predictable results, business agility, good governance and the development of what the Software Engineering Institute calls a “high maturity” organization
    • Business leaders want to be able to make promises to their colleagues around the executive committee table, to their board of directors, to their shareholders, to their customers and to the market in general, and they want to be able to keep those promises
    • Success at the senior executive level depends a lot on trust and trust requires reliability
    • So business leaders want their business to be agile. They want to respond to change quickly and take advantages of opportunities
    • good governance. They want to show that investors’ funds were spent wisely. They want costs under control and they want their investment portfolio risk spread optimally
    • more transparency into their technology development organizations.
    • know the true status of projects and they’d like to be able to help when it is appropriate.
    • more objectively managed organization that reports facts with data, metrics and indicators not anecdotes and subjective assessment

Posted from Diigo. The rest of my favorite links are here.

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David Anderson shares Goals for using Kanban

  • tags: kanban, agileblog

    • Goals for using Kanban
    • Goal 1. Improved performance through process improvements introduced with minimal resistance
    • Goal 2. Deliver with High Quality
    • policies around what is acceptable before a work item can be pulled to the next step in the process
    • focus on quality by limiting work-in-progress
    • Goal 3. Deliver a predictable cycle time by controlling the quantity of work-in-progress
    • WIP is directly related to cycle time
    • correlation between cycle time and a non-linear growth in defect rates
    • keep WIP small
    • limit it to a fixed quantity
    • Goal 4. Give team members a better life through improved work/life balance
    • providing reliability
    • Providing a good work life balance will make your company a more attractive employer in your local market
    • Goal 5. Provide slack by balancing demand against throughput
    • when you balance the input demand against the throughput, you create idle time everywhere in your value chain with the exception of the bottleneck resource
    • Slack can be used to improve responsiveness to urgent requests and to provide bandwidth to enable process improvement. Without slack team members cannot take time to reflect upon how they do their work and how it might be done better. Without slack they cannot take time to learn new techniques, to improve their tooling or their skills and capabilities. Without slack there is no liquidity in the system to respond to urgent requests or late changes. Without slack there is no tactical agility in the business.
    • Goal 6. Provide a simple prioritization mechanism that delays commitment and keeps options open
    • one fundamental problem. In order to respond to change in the market and evolving events, it is necessary to reprioritize
    • asking business owners to prioritize things is challenging
    • They may move slowly. They may refuse to cooperate. They may become uncomfortable and dysfunctional. They may simply react by thrashing and constantly changing their minds, randomizing project plans and wasting a lot of team time reacting to the change
    • What is needed is a prioritization scheme that delays commitments as late as possible and provides a simple question that is easy to answer
    • Kanban provides this by asking the business owners to refill empty slots in the queue while providing them a reliable cycle time and due date performance metric.
    • Goal 7. Provide a transparent scheme for seeing improvement opportunities enabling change to a more collaborative culture that encourages continuous improvement
    • Goal 8. A process that will enable predictable results, business agility, good governance and the development of what the Software Engineering Institute calls a “high maturity” organization
    • Business leaders want to be able to make promises to their colleagues around the executive committee table, to their board of directors, to their shareholders, to their customers and to the market in general, and they want to be able to keep those promises
    • Success at the senior executive level depends a lot on trust and trust requires reliability
    • So business leaders want their business to be agile. They want to respond to change quickly and take advantages of opportunities
    • good governance. They want to show that investors’ funds were spent wisely. They want costs under control and they want their investment portfolio risk spread optimally
    • more transparency into their technology development organizations.
    • know the true status of projects and they’d like to be able to help when it is appropriate.
    • more objectively managed organization that reports facts with data, metrics and indicators not anecdotes and subjective assessment

Posted from Diigo. The rest of my favorite links are here.

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Agilesparks Agile VP R&D forum

Welcome to a new blog for Agilesparks, our Agile/Scrum solutions company.
On last Thu, we had the opportunity to present Agile/Scrum to a group of R&D leaders from various companies/organizations in Israel.

Danko provided his signature exciting intro to Agile, followed up by a customer success story, an intro to Engineering practices delivered by yours truly, a discussion of Agile Metrics and Measurements, and a Q&A panel.

Based on initial feedback we got it seems like we got people quite interested in what Agile/Scrum can provide…

If you would like to hear about Agile/Scrum we have similar opportunities coming up. Check http://www.agilesparks.com for more details.

At the meantime, checkout my presentation:

and some pictures from the event:

see you!

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