As organizations adopt Agile and Scrum, one of the first steps is to create the scrum team. For the most part, we can map the typical waterfall role to the scrum role.Read More
It's the typical Agile transformation story. Management hears about the marvels of Agile. Team attends Agile training. Team starts Agile project. Team sees little to no results and insist Agile doesn’t work and it would be so much faster if they just went back to what they had before. Sound familiar?Read More
To state it plainly, estimating software development projects is no easy feat. A traditional, waterfall approach involves a lengthy requirements gathering effort, resulting in complex documentation and a project plan with estimated hours and dollars. Today, Agile development methodologies have largely become the new normal, with a key benefit of providing the ability to quickly assess how long it will take to complete a project and how much it might cost.
True or False:
New product ideas primarily come from management in my organization.
Recently, Celerity’s Agile experts put together an interactive webinar on Mastering Agile Product Development – an area where many attempt to conquer but few succeed. Their first question to the audience was:
The audience was split 50/50 on their answers. The next question asked if securing funding for a product was difficult. Once again, the audience was split down the middle. The same respondents, however, who agreed that new ideas come from management also said that funding a product was not difficult.
I have learned over the years that tried and true quality assurance (QA) practices work great in a waterfall approach. QA is regimented by nature and lends itself perfectly to the methodical nature of waterfall development, only with a lot of extra fluff. Can we cut out some of that fluff to match the streamlined nature of Agile Scrum development? I believe we can trim down some of the QA practices included in waterfall, keeping the highest quality of standards and even improving on them by being more efficient with our time.Read More
Requirements gathering is a critical, foundational step in all software development. It will either set the project on a course to great success if done well or doom it to failure if done poorly. As Janet Leon pointed out in her blog, The True Cost of a Software Bug, the earlier you catch a bug in the software development life cycle, the less costly the bug will be. So it should be our goal to get the requirements 100% correct in order to eliminate bugs. With the stakes high and the challenges many, here are a few items to consider during requirements gathering that will ensure your project charts a successful course.Read More
Product backlog management is an art form that requires relentless attention. As a Product Owner, it’s your responsibility to run a well-oiled machine and keep the product backlog healthy. This includes accommodating stakeholders, development teams, and most importantly, users. But how do you manage a product backlog in a way that is effective and results-driven?
Here are 7 tips from an Agile Product Owner who’s been around the block:
For most application workflow projects, the Agile development methodologies have proven a superior approach over the traditional waterfall method.
But even with a proven delivery method like Agile, insufficient understanding of business processes can derail your project. This is especially true when the project involves a complex workflow component.Read More
Being an Agile Product Owner is a difficult endeavor. In fact, I would venture to say it may very well be the hardest and most critical product owner role on an Agile project. You have to keep the team happy and engaged, stakeholders are constantly looking for “status” updates, and you need to appease the customer by understanding their needs and delivering high value as quickly as possible.
I’ve witnessed many unpleasant Agile projects, even to the point of a project’s complete failure, because of poor Product Ownership, despit using a proper agile framework. There are a variety of reasons for that, but I’m seeing a trend of Product Owners spending their time in the wrong places.Read More
This post is a preview of our eBook: Leading an Enterprise Agile Transformation. Download the full eBook here.
A recent survey by Scrum Alliance found that more than 70% of Agile practitioners report tension between their teams and the rest of the organization. The reason? They are following different road maps and moving at different speeds. Whether your organization is in the early stages of adopting Agile methodologies or you have multiple teams running sprints, non-Agile influences will eventually cause your success to plateau. The breakthrough opportunity is a true, Agile transformation.Read More
A too-long to-do list is a daily reality for most marketers. The larger issue, however, comes from that long list of tasks lacking prioritization and coordination with others on your team, resulting in time spent on the wrong tasks and missed project deadlines. Agile Marketing offers a compelling solution to this problem and helps marketing teams, both big and small, accomplish projects faster through improved communication, transparency, and innovation.
Adopting its core tenants from Agile software development, Agile Marketing is a work management methodology that can help a team work faster, leaner, and more strategically through short bursts of work and frequent feedback. Agile helps to prioritize and execute projects more quickly and helps to bridge gaps between IT, Marketing, and the Business.
Before you get started, though, you must learn how to SPEAK Agile. As you start researching and planning your team’s adoption to Agile Marketing, here’s a handy reference of the terms you’ll come across and what they mean:Read More
For Agile to deliver on its promise of improved speed, quality, and customer-centric solutions, your Agile organization needs to continuously mature and evolve. So how can you keep up with the fast pace?
Answer these four questions to ensure you’re keeping pace with Agile best practices:
1. Are you using Scrum?
Scrum is the most popular Agile approach for delivering innovative, quality products and services. According to the Annual State of Agile Report, over 80 percent of the organizations utlizing an Agile framework use Scrum or a hybrid of Scrum, Kanban, and Extreme Programming. Scrum’s popularity is not surprising, due to its many benefits, including:
- Promotion of collaboration, continuous improvement, and transparency
- Minimizing the pressures of predetermined timelines and unnecessary work—87 percent of respondents to the Scrum Alliance's 2015 State of Scrum survey say their team's quality of work life has improved by using Scrum
- Enhanced productivity and innovation due to self-organizing and self-managing teams
- Rapid inspection, adaption, and pivoting of projects according to changing customer needs
Companies have a history of creating lengthy documentation that bogs down software development. In this “pre-Agile” era, requirements were established up front, testing didn’t occur until Agile methodologies developed, and the customer wasn’t involved until they were given the end product. Modifications and changes could cause an entire project to go way over budget or even fail. Everyone knew there had to be a better way.
In 2001, seventeen software gurus came together in Snowbird, Utah to eat, ski, and discuss different approaches to building software. These ‘organizational anarchists’ brought their independent initiatives with them, such as Feature Driven Development, Extreme Programming, Crystal, SCRUM, Adaptive Software Development, and pragmatic programming. Their common focus was on lightweight ways to develop software and by the end of the meeting they established the Agile Manifesto.
A principle of the Agile Manifesto states “Our highest priority is to satisfy the customer through early and continuous delivery of valuable software.” We know it works. Its history tells a story and helps us understand the true value and impact of an Agile framework in today’s creative economy.
Ask yourself these 4 questions to determine if you’re living in Agile’s past or holding fast to its core guiding principles:
Scrum’s framework lends itself to high-quality solutions, but many loyalists need clarification on how to address that goal in the daily use of Agile methodologies.
In Part 1 of this blog, I explained two key ways to prioritize quality through Agile Scrum:
1. Use a cross-functional Scrum team to reduce external dependencies.
2. A Development should have a Definition of Done (DoD) so they know when an increment is in fact “done”.
Heard of the Scrum framework? It's exceedingly popular for its unmatched success in solving complex software development problems. Scrum, however, only implies the need for high-quality solutions and doesn’t actually suggest how quality should be addressed. Here’s my take on it:
A Scrum implementation focused on continual quality and technical excellence is more likely to succeed than one that isn’t, and quality is everybody’s responsibility.Read More
In technology, getting an idea from inception to value involves a lot of moving pieces, which introduces risk. The concept behind DevOps enables organizations to break down the barriers to reduce that risk and get to value faster. To execute DevOps, developers can use containers for improved automation and on-demand deployment. So, in effect, containers help teams make DevOps possible.
Consider this simple scenario of a single web application with persistence:Read More
“We can’t solve problems by using the same kind of thinking we used when we created them.” - Albert Einstein
I love this quote because it’s a universal adage that applies to any situation where we find ourselves reviewing lessons learned and reflecting, sometimes in agony, at what could’ve gone better.
In my work, I’ve consistently witnessed clients buy into the theory of the Agile methodology but flounder to commit to Agile fundamentals during execution, usually because unfamiliarity with Agile is overwhelming when faced with the allure, comfort, and predictability of waterfall.
Remember ‘song time’ in Kindergarten, when your friends would all join together in a sing-along? My favorite was, “Old MacDonald,” because the simple melody and repetition could convince even the shyest person to sing.
Old MacDonald had a farm, E-I-E-I-OH
And on that farm there were some ducks, E-I-E-I-OH
The shortened sprint cycle is a significant change that occurs as the direct result of migrating the Software Development Life Cycle (SDLC) to an Agile development methodology. It brings a number of immediate benefits, but also introduces several challenges. One of those challenges is maintaining a consistent level of quality as part of every release without incurring exponential costs in testing.
With proper understanding of testing procedures, you can turn an arduous testing process into one that seamlessly adds to the team’s momentum. But first, let's talk quality.Read More