In the spirit of closing 2012 in style here are our 6 most popular blog posts written in 2012:
It is the time of year for winding down and reflecting on things before heading off to the beach for some BBQ-ing, drinking of things and general relaxing. So we wanted to thank you for your custom and support for 2012, wish you all the best for 2013 and share some of our reflections (we can share drinks and BBQs too, but that comes later).
This post is the first of a series that will document my experience of the new Samsung Galaxy Note II, together with Scoop TechLab and Telecom NZ. The phone didn’t quite get to me before I left on my overseas holiday, so I’m starting my ‘traveling with and without roaming’ blog without any phone at all.
I also use an additional approach; in the first instance I look to see whether it can be split along its acceptance criteria. Every good user story should have acceptance criteria, and this approach ensures that not only do they exist, but they are also reviewed before we look to split.
We all know or at least we should know that retrospectives are one of the Agile recipe’s 11 secret herbs and spices. It performs a valuable role in the improvement of the team and its practices, as well as throwing up a whole host organisational issues. One step / practice when you are setting the scene in is the check-in.
I can’t say enough about how useful story maps are and how essential they are on any Agile project. Jeff Pattonis the undisputed (certainly in my mind) master of the story map and it’s well worth looking at the materials on his site. Jeff summarises a story map as, “A prioritized user story backlog helps to understand what to do next, but is a difficult tool for understanding what your whole system is intended to do.
This is my second post in my Scrum coaching patterns series.
In my last post I asked for some help with a pattern format that I could follow and at least one person must have read my blog as I now have a shiny new format to follow thanks to Gareth Evans for this.
I really like Jonathan Rasmussen’s project inception deck as a simple, quick and cut-to-the-chase way of kicking off projects. Overall, I pretty much stick to Jonathan’s content and flow, but sometimes, I use a press release exercise instead of a product box. The idea of refining a product vision through writing a press release has originally been used by Amazon.com as a mechanism to determine whether a product or service should be built.
My client, a New Zealand government department, is in the process of introducing Agile-Lean. They are currently in a trial phase to see if it is for them and during the early stages they’d like to run Agile and non-Agile projects in parallel.
Fair enough, but how to choose whether a project should be run Agile or Waterfall?
Earlier this year I was invited to join the Scrum plop, to help write some patterns for the Scrum community, unfortunately the stars were not right and I was not able to attend. It did however help me answer a question that a great friend and fellow Agilist Sandy Mamoli put to me, which was “how do you make your blog posts smaller?”
The driving force behind why people start startups is likely to vary wildly across different industries and types of business. For many it’s the promise of lucrative return – from sales of product or selling their eventual company. For some it’s the burning desire to fill a perceived gap in the market – ‘if I want this, surely 3 million other people will want one too’. Perhaps for others it’s curiosity, or a need to be in charge of their own destiny, or all of the above.
One of my current clients, a large government agency, have recognised that their current monothilitic waterfall approach doesn’t work all that well and are trying to decide whether to change their delivery approach to Agile or “just” Iterative (mini-waterfall style).
Following last week’s interview with a newly-minted Scrum Master this week I have had a conversation with developer Mateusz Udowski. We talked about how SilverStripe’s adoption of Agile and Scrum have affected him and why he thinks SilverStripe is now more intelligent as a whole than it was before.
Six months ago SilverStripe, an open-source Content Management System provider and Wellington web agency approached me to help them improve the way in which they deliver client and open source projects, increase employee happiness and, in general, just do the best possible job. To achieve this, we decided to move away from the existing Agile-like (fixed scope/fixed price) approach and introduce Scrum with its focus on client-driven iterations, early feedback and continuous improvement.
Silverstripe have asked me to interview some of their staff about the transition to Agile. The original posts can be found on Silverstripe’s blog (Sam Minnée, Aleksandra Brewer), below are selected highlights from the interviews.
The first big task of getting started is updating all the various bits of online information that describe who I am and what I do. So far I’ve kept my Facebook and Twitter presence to be fairly personal, so it’s not relevant there. But Linked In is a very important business marketing tool – not just for any relevant contacts to my new business, but also to maintain local and international networks and connections relevant to my recent or future work. Then there are business cards to be printed, blogs to update and an identity to create.
Choked at the first hurdle.
Last week I presented to Flex and Cold Fusion Developers at cfObjective in Melbourne about Agile technical practices. As several other presentations dealt with practices such as TDD and unit testing I chose to focus on two areas I have become very passionate about during...
A few weeks ago I was sitting next to a log fire, sharing a glass of wine with a few like minded individuals chatting about all things Agile, one of the things we discussed was a time when one of the party was a Scrum Master and that they had a team admin who used to collect all the story data and do the typing up for each sprint. My immediate reaction was that of outrage, “how as a servant leader could you, farm off ‘menial’ tasks to someone else, that’s an integral part of the role”.
It got me thinking, am I the odd one out here?
Most of the Agile literature I have read over the years mentions servant leadership, but never really goes in to too much detail. A quick hike to the lazy man’s oracle, (Wikipedia) and as the saying goes “the more you know, the less you know you know”. To help me learn and understand servant leadership a little more, I decided to dissect the Wikipedia commentary and see what emerged for me.
“Robert K. Greenleaf never specifically defined servant leadership but, based on the writings of Greenleaf and others, it can still be defined as a management philosophy which implies a comprehensive view of the quality of people, work and community spirit.”