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Learn From Others

Big Agile, the Route Less Travelled

by Mike Griffiths

In attempting to make agile methods scalable, it is tempting to add more process to assist larger-scale coordination. However, that is the last thing we should do. Scaling collaboration, not process, is the key to enterprise agility.

Are You Ready to Go Agile? (Part 3 of 3)

by Kevin Aguanno, PMP, MAPM, IPMA-B, Cert.APM, CSM, CSP

This is the final article in a three-part series on the factors to consider when determining whether an organization, team or project is “ready” for agile. This third installment continues the discussion by examining factors that are specific to the project itself and whether it is really suited to an agile approach.

Topic Teasers Vol. 44: Don't Hire Heroes!

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

Question: Finally, we have convinced human resources that our agile team lead and our ScrumMaster need to be involved in hiring new team members. But now that we have the authority, we really don’t know what to look for in a good hire. How do we use this new power to our best advantage in choosing a fresh agile colleague?
A. Be careful what you ask for. Only human resource certified people are qualified to choose new employees for an organization. Revoke your participation rights in this process or you will be blamed when this new hire fails.
B. It’s not only the questions you ask, but what you do with the answers that will empower you to choose the best addition to your team. Create a good list of questions and know how to interpret what you hear.
C. Your product owner is the person on the management team and is more experienced in what makes a good agile team member. Ask him to sit in on candidate interviews and then defer to his superior judgment when making the final choice.
D. The person you hire must fit into the team, so assemble the entire team and have all of them work with you to interview potential candidates. Once they have agreed on a choice, they will be forced to work with the new person successfully since they have been part of the hiring decision.
Pick your answer then Test Your Knowledge!

Can Agile Teams Get Burned Out?

by Bob Galen

Can agile teams--even high-performing ones--burn out? Of course. Far too many teams seem to schedule their sprints sequentially or back to back, without a pause or break. So if you are suffering from burnout, what are some helpful techniques to refresh and recharge your teams?

Are You Ready to Go Agile? (Part 2 of 3)

by Kevin Aguanno, PMP, MAPM, IPMA-B, Cert.APM, CSM, CSP

This second article continues the discussion by looking at the second group of factors related to the readiness (and willingness) of the project team to adopt agile best practices. As with sponsorship factors, we need to consider cultural, structural and management aspects.

Debunking Myths about Product Managers

by Ken Whitaker

Project teams quite often assume that the product manager is a true partner--and when a project is under scrutiny or stress, the product manager can transform into a very tough adversary and oftentimes a combative stakeholder. Put yourself in a product manager’s shoes for a change! Let’s explore a couple of myths about product managers that should hopefully spark a new level of collaboration and success…

Applying Agile to Emergent Projects

by Johanna Rothman

Most of us work on projects where we know the end date or the budget--or both. But there is a category of projects where we might not know either: emergent projects. Emergent projects are change projects such as your agile transition or any other project that you have no control over. Can you apply agile to those projects? Yes. Carefully.

Getting People to Do the Right Thing

by Gil Broza

Every aspect of product development can be done better or worse. That includes being a team player, writing code, communicating requirements, testing functionality...you name it. But how do you ensure that people do the best thing? And, can you even do that? That is, can you somehow force good practice? And what can you expect to happen by doing so?

Use Cases or User Stories: Where Should Agile Teams Start?

by Kevin Aguanno, PMP, MAPM, IPMA-B, Cert.APM, CSM, CSP

Should an agile team begin with requirements documented as use cases or user stories? Proponents from both sides of the debate make good arguments, leading to confusion for many who are just getting started with agile practices.

The Kanban Board: A PM’s New Best Friend?

by Andy Jordan

Across the world, there are traditional project managers with dirty little secrets--they are embracing Kanban concepts. What is it that's leading traditional PMs to embrace an agile tool so readily? Well, to understand that we need to understand what Kanban boards offer project managers--something that works.


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