This principle is much like the one previous about sustainable development. Agile doesn’t ask us to shortcut quality and increase technical debt in an effort to deliver software faster. It is precisely because we do not shortcut quality and incur technical debt that we are able to move faster.
I have worked with many teams to introduce Behavior Driven Development (BDD) because, among a great number of other advantages, BDD allows developers an easier way to access the practice of Test Driven Development (TDD). And, in my experience, TDD is the only way I have seen out of the practice of “Big Up Front Design”.
Agile processes promote sustainable development. The sponsors, developers, and users should be able to maintain a constant pace indefinitely.
When I think on this principle I cannot help but think about the potential “dark side” of agile and how it can be misunderstood and implemented incorrectly.
Of course you would not expect every sprint to have a perfect burndown. You would not expect to complete every story in every sprint (my goal has always been 90% or greater stories complete), but if you are finding yourself with many “overhanging” stories each sprint there are a number of things that you can do to diagnose and fix the issue. In this particular post, I am going to discuss problems with time and hours.
There are three things that can go wrong with hours:
- The number of hours the individual estimates for capacity is too low.
- The number of tasks identified is incorrect (not enough tasks identified).
- The number of hours associated with each task is too low.
Continue reading Not Burning Down? Diagnosing and Fixing the Some of the Problems →
Whenever I work with a new Agile team I have some stock “speeches” that I tend to give. One of my favorites “speeches” covers my expectations are for a newly formed Agile team, namely increased transparency and predictability. Notice that I did not say increased velocity. That may or may not come with time, but the first two hurdles are getting to a point where one can understand what is going on at any time – transparency – and what can be expected to be delivered over time – predictability.
One of the biggest hurdles to getting any software development completed is endless interruptions. Transparency provides a safe haven where anyone associated with a project can see where the team is at anytime so that constant status and interruptions can be calmed.
Continue reading What to Expect from a New Agile Team →
I doubt there are many people in this world who have the passion or spend more time researching about Agile than I do. Over the years I have seen many sacred Agile/Scrum cows questioned. Usually when one has the guts to do so there are scores of Agilistas ready to denounce anything that goes against their indoctrinated Agile/Scrum education. It seems that many fail to understand that in order to prove the value of something, it must always be questioned. Hell, the whole damn thing started because a few folks decided they would question orthodoxy and find better ways to do things.
And now I think I have found the very last sacred cow remaining. Over the past few weeks, whenever I have some spare moments, I have googled, binged and read blog after blog. My search – is there anyone else out there who really doesn’t care for Agile/Scrum whiteboards. I can say from experience that it appears unanimous. Every person talking about Agile or doing Agile absolutely, positively, without question loves Agile whiteboards to track iterations. All that is except me. Yet I cannot hold my tongue any longer. I know I will go to Scrum hell, but I have always had a strong distaste for Agile boards.
Continue reading Why I Don't Like Whiteboards, the Last Sacred Cow and Why I Will Burn in Scrum Hell →
I have my very own Scrum team right at home. There are seven of us in the family. I love each and every one of my family members equally, but that does not mean that each one of my family members is the same nor would I treat each one exactly the same. Of my three boys, each has their own wants, needs and desires that I need to help fulfill on a regular basis. One needs extra help for their homework, one needs extra time to help them with their driving lessons and my youngest just needs me to spend as much time as possible with him even if we don’t do much of anything (though we always seem to have something). In other words, in order to have a highly functioning family (team) I have to treat each family member (team member) a little differently. I don’t hand the car keys over to my five year old nor do I hold hands when I walk down the street with my twenty year old.
I have two second families right now, the two scrum teams that I have the pleasure of being acting scrum master for. Like my own family at home, both of these teams is comprised of individuals with different levels of Agile maturity. One team is close to highly functioning while the other is just now taking the first tentative steps into Agile. One team can handle nearly all their sprint planning while the other needs a great deal of time. One has tasks assigned to the team (and chooses tasks based on availability during the sprint) while the other goes through the effort of making sure that tasks are chosen during planning to ensure that they don’t over-commit.
Continue reading Using Individual Burndowns →