Development organizations are often attracted to agile development practices with the promise of increased test automation to help their teams deliver higher quality faster. It’s not just any tests though: We look to automate the kinds of tests that provide rapid feedback to tell us if we have built the product right. But which tests do we automate, and when?
There’s a lot of talk about strategic or enterprise scale agile, but what do organizations have to do to prepare for such a change? The right approach will depend on the needs of the organization and its willingness to absorb change.
In the first article in this series, we looked at some of the links between agile and change methodologies. In this article, we will investigate a different question: Are you and your organization ready for change?
How fast is your organization capable of changing to continue to remain relevant and successful in the marketplace? The world is changing at an accelerating pace. Companies are rising to global scale faster, while large, successful companies are disappearing faster--leading to the need for agile change.
The organizational world within which project managers operate is going through rapid and unprecedented change, driven by forces of globalization and digital technology. So, the choice is yours: change now, become PM 2.0 and survive. Don’t change, and await extinction...
The alternative to embracing change doesn’t have to be completely rejecting it. Are there ways we can introduce more flexibility to waterfall projects without losing control of change? Can traditional project execution approaches learn anything from the agile approach to change?
Project management in construction follows traditional planning methods to communicate project schedules. The objective of this article is to show how agile tools like burnup and burndown charts help communicate project timeline and progress.
Agile methods recommend co-location and face-to-face communications, but studies of office workers show high levels of dissatisfaction with open-plan environments. So, how do we make agile work and minimize the issues surrounding open-plan environments?
Is agile working for your team? Do standups feel like micromanagement? Are people missing commitments because they are spread across projects? If people are going through the motions of agile and aren't happy about it, use these five key questions to help.
Kanban has become popular in the software development world--but is used very selectively. Developers are missing real opportunities to better serve customers in both software operations projects and in new development projects. Here we cover the core principles of Kanban that can be applied to any project where improved quality and throughput are desired.
You’re a hardworking, successful business analyst (BA), and have just been told your organization is “going agile.” Perhaps you’ve heard a few details about the types of roles involved in an agile development environment, but nothing that really depicts how a BA fits into this new atmosphere. So what does this shift in your organization mean for you?
by Kevin Aguanno, PMP, MAPM, IPMA-B, Cert.APM, CSM, CSP
The number of agile certifications available in the market keeps growing, and one must consider the unique needs of the inquiring company or individual to know what would be best for them. What factors should you consider? Do you even know the options available?
Managing quality during a software development project can be difficult and time consuming when you have been misinformed about true quality indicators and practices. Actively managing quality on an agile project can be both simpler and harder than traditional approaches. Here are some basic practices to save time and unnecessary rework--and improve stakeholder satisfaction before and after delivery.
Project managers need to communicate effectively with all types of project stakeholders. For agile projects, this sometimes involves adapting traditional PM constructs into the closest agile alternatives. Agile pendentives are adaptive patterns that facilitate these traditional-to-agile discussions.
Agile approaches often have greater engagement levels between stakeholders. While those conversations generally focus on the deliverables and how they meet the customer’s needs, can they also drive sustainability best practices?
Agile does not enforce rigid processes, but organizations typically choose a guiding framework and a set of practices that serve as the starting point of an agile transformation. Executives typically want to know where teams are in terms of adopting these new ways of working. This article provides three techniques--individual, team and group--that can be used to assess the agile adoption level, monitor progress and drive improvements.
Have you ever entered a sprint taking on a user story that you later regretted? What can be done to prevent this frustration? Is there a technique that will prevent this from happening, or are these teams doomed to keep repeating their mistakes?
How many of us start a project thinking that we understood the reason behind doing the project in the first place? There’s about half of us who never aligned the project’s mission with the overall department or company vision, resulting in poorly made decisions--and possibly a breakdown in team morale. Providing a project focus that supports a larger purpose is particularly important for fast-paced, adjusting agile projects.
Some people see agile projects as knowledge transfer deserts where information is hoarded by key individuals and no useful documentation produced. Others believe agile projects are all about knowledge transfer. So why the disagreement? How can smart, experienced people have such different views about the same topic?
Question: After a recent conversion by my team regarding agile, we find that there is a mismatch between the number of hours we should have for working on stories and the amount of time we really have. So we are constantly over-committing to our Product Owner and not delivering. Where are we going wrong?
Traditional teams may have a 15-20% contingency cushion in time and cost on their project estimates. Routinely subtract a similar agile contingency from the number of backlog items you accept to make sure you finish all planned work within a single iteration.
Agile is expected to be flexible, and velocity can vary. Just complete what you can and adjust your velocity for the next sprint if you don’t finish all of the stories you committed to complete this time.
Be sure you are acknowledging hours that team members will spend in Scrum ceremonies, personal time commitments and non-team directed organizational work before calculating the capacity for this iteration.
Ask the ScrumMaster to speak to anyone on the team who did not finish his or her work during the previous iteration. This person is making the team look bad and should be disciplined if it happens again.
A retrospective is a special meeting during which the team gathers after completing an increment of work to inspect and adapt their methods and teamwork. Retrospectives enable whole-team learning, act as catalysts for change and generate action. This article presents some of the reasons why the retrospective’s efficacy can fade over time and then discusses some interesting techniques to keep them lively.
In agile, we often think of having an experimental mindset where we try something, measure the results, retrospect and replan. We need to do that for our projects. And, as agile leaders, we need to do even more. We need to have the agile mindset.
How do we define quality as a project manager? Is it managing a project really well, or managing a successful project? How about managing a successful project really well? That sounds pretty good. However, it poses the next question: What is a successful project? Let’s look at some examples of project success, failure and ambiguity.
I'd rather be a failure at something I love, than a success at something I hate.