It can be easy to forget what a Product Owner or Scrum Master actually do. A poster with a role description can come in handy so, based on popular demand, here are the beautifully designed ones we use at Trade Me.
Out there in the wild uncharted world of software development, those who would deny Agile is a good thing are still living in caves and grubbing around beneath waterfalls. But negotiation theory suggests that if you can shape a vision by asking incisive questions you can help even vehement challengers reach agile decisions. So what is an incisive question?
Doing too many things at once can slow an entire organisation down. Every successful organisation will have more great ideas than they have capacity to build, and it is tempting to start too many of them at the same time.
Agile maturity and benchmarking models. I have a problem where they are used for comparison of where a team should be in their agile practices adoption; a one size fits all approach where teams must conform or they aren’t doing ‘agile right’. This approach is a fixed repeatable answer that conveniently ignores the question.
My goal for the next couple of years is to become an awesome public speaker.
And here’s why:
Let them be in control of the way they work …
After having been though a day of letting people self-organise into squads David Mole, Trade Me’s head of projects (and my Agile partner in crime) and I are often being asked how we kicked off the new squads and how we make sure they work in a disciplined but creative way.
It’s common among Agile teams to use some form of voting to make decisions, and that’s especially true for retrospectives where the team as a whole decides what to fix next.
Over the years I have facilitated many retrospectives and had the opportunity to vote for many things, over that time some patterns emerged.
… getting more stuff done
At Trade Me we want to measure the overall health of Tech (that’s our team of 125 designers, developers, testers, BAs, and Squad Masters) to identify trends and to know if we are getting better (or worse!). We know that when we measure something it is a strong way of saying “This matters” which is why we put a lot of effort into deciding which metrics to collect.
Spotify’s Scaling Agile at a Glance
Spotify’s whitepaper on how to structure an organisation with Agile tribes, squads, chapters and guilds has been the most inspiring and interesting idea to come out of the Agile scene in the past three years.
Total Squadification – Large Scale Self-Organisation
I fundamentally believe that organisations get the best results when people can choose what they work on and who they work with. In that spirit Trade Me decided to let people self-organise into small, cross-functional teams called squads.
I recently ran a “get to know your team” session to help a team with lots of new members to better understand each other’s history, motivations, likes and dislikes.
… or Team Closure within a Project Closure
Projects come to an end, which means that a team that has been working closely together, may well be torn apart. This can lead to a sense of loss associated with disbanding some strong team relationships; especially if the team has reached the fourth ‘Performing’ stage of Tuckman’s model of group development.
The Big Estimation Debate
There have always been, and no doubt always will be debate over estimation; the pros and cons, behaviour anti-patterns and the how and why of it all.
Here are the slides for my presentation “Portfolio Kanban – Seeing the Bigger Picture”.
I had a great time at AgileWelly last night – thanks everyone for coming along and for all the lovely feedback!
Why your daily standup should be driven by a daily goal
Let’s face it, the daily standup can be a boring affair. I’m not talking about abominations with 16 people or half-hour long status reporting meetings. I’m talking about the ones that are kind of okay and adhere to the rules but nonetheless are a bit boring and lack focus and enthusiasm.
5 things that happen when you let ‘em loose …
Last Friday we had Fedex day at Trade Me. The aim of a FedEx Day is to complete something deliverable within a 24 hour period, i.e. to go from idea to a shippable product within a day. It was fun, lots of great projects saw the light of day and I enjoyed doing some hands-on work for a change.
What is a premortem?
A premortem is a project postmortem that’s run before a project. During a postmortem people analyse and discuss what went wrong, what went well and what could be improved.
While postmortems are very useful the problem is that by the time we run them the project is usually over and not much can be done about success and failure.
Last week Jan, Mike, Anthony and I were at Agile Australia in Sydney and had an incredibly good time. The conference turned Twitter handles into people, exposed me to TimTam slams, and taught me that Beyond Budgeting is not a boring accounting thing but a riveting management philosophy.
Working Agile in the client-vendor context is not always an experience filled with joy and achievement. It can be daunting, frustrating, expensive and unrewarding – as much as it can be productive, useful, involving and successful.
What does your sprint planning meeting look like?
Are you the “do it as fast as you can” efficiency hounds or the “sit and listen while the tech lead drones on” type, or are you a “real team” who fight for great designs and customer experiences?
Many novice teams find it difficult to strike the balance between too much and too little detail when writing user stories.