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Methods

Going Agile with Bimodal IT

by Priya Patra

How can we bring about agility in an enterprise system that has existed for years? In this article, we look at an interesting concept introduced by Gartner in late 2014: bimodal IT, a solution for some enterprises to move from the slow lane to the fast lane.

Principles

Is Agile a Cargo Cult or a Reality for Your Team?

by Johanna Rothman

A cargo cult occurs when people adopt rituals expecting some good behavior to occur. They really don’t know why they are doing these rituals and don’t understand the reasons behind them, yet they keep doing the rituals expecting great results. In this article, the author gives two contrasting examples: Project A talks the walk, Project B walks the talk.

Practices

Topic Teasers Vol. 62: Refractive Retrospectives

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

Question: While I know that the retrospective step in the agile process is said to be important, I must admit that my team dreads these meetings. Is there a way to focus our time so that instead of silence when we are asked “what we could do better,” we are actually able to have some meaningful discussion? I know what we do each iteration is far from perfect.
A. If your team responds with silence when the ScrumMaster or team lead opens the retrospective meeting for discussion, it is because you have actually done an excellent job during the preceding iteration and there is nothing to be discussed or changed for the next one.
B. Perhaps having a list of questions that you follow in each retrospective meeting will give the team a focused way to evaluate what happened in the last week or weeks. Knowing the questions ahead of time may also influence the data people tuck away while it is happening, in anticipation of the next sharing session.
C. The difficulty with being honest about team failure during an iteration can be due to the presence of leadership or customers. Only the team itself should be allowed to attend the meeting. Then they are free to talk openly about the success and challenges of the project work, as well as the impediments presented by management.
D. A team responding to a retrospective opportunity with no comments means that the meetings are taking too much time away from the work of the project. Limiting this group discussion to no more than 10 minutes will free participants to quickly present their problems and walk away while the ScrumMaster or team lead solves them.
Pick your answer then Test Your Knowledge!

Agile Innovation

by Mike Griffiths

There are great opportunities for growth and deviation outside the standard agile models for stable teams who want to evolve further. This article tells the story of one team that did just that--and what other people can learn from it.

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"Thus the metric system did not really catch on in the States, unless you count the increasing popularity of the nine-millimeter bullet."

- Dave Barry