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Methods

Compliance in an Agile World

by Bernadette Dario, Bhushan Rele

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.

User Stories: Ready, Set, Go!

by Bob Galen

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?

Principles

Putting the Vision Back into Your Project’s Mission

by Ken Whitaker

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.

Knowledge Sharing on Agile Projects: Absent or Abundant?

by Mike Griffiths

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?

Practices

Is Your Daily Standup Meeting Hurting Teamwork?

by Gil Broza

In its popular, standard form, the Daily Scrum (“the Standup”) hurts teamwork. Follow this PM to understand how and why the meeting causes that--and discover alternatives that work better.

Topic Teasers Vol. 52: Calculating Agile Capacity

by Barbee Davis, MA, PHR, PMP, PMI-ACP

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?
A. 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.
B. 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.
C. 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.
D. 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.
Pick your answer then Test Your Knowledge!

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"One of the symptoms of approaching nervous breakdown is the belief that one's work is terribly important."

- Bertrand Russell