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Tuesday, 09 February 2016
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When is it Not Agile - Part One

When is it “not Agile” – and Why Do We Care?

Agile Pills copy

I was working with a Fujitsu/client project team recently as they were refining their approach to developing a replacement application. My role was to help everybody appreciate what was available in Macroscope that might be useful to them, especially regarding some of the bigger challenges in this particular project.

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When is it Not Agile - Part Two

Just what is “Agile”

There have of course been many great successes from taking a “big A” approach. The “sweet spot” scenarios involve the need for innovation and rapid creativity, where at the start there is an incomplete vision of the end product. (There have been failures too, but we won’t talk about those here.)

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When is it Not Agile - Part Three

A Bit More Background

To illustrate, let me tell a bit more about the circumstances of the project mentioned above.

  • This was to be a replacement system. All the existing functionality had to be preserved in the first release. There was to be innovation to enable easier extensibility, but this was mostly “under the covers”. (Later releases would add new functionality.)
  • There were to be some changes to the user interface, but these were being developed by a completely separate team, using traditional techniques of mock-ups, focus groups etc. The development team was to implement this predetermined user interface with perhaps only minor adjustments.
  • There were many non-negotiable and well documented business rules to be implemented. High product quality was essential.
  • The client wanted to see reduced costs of maintenance and enhancement going forward.
  • The client required a very firm estimate for this pre-specified functionality.

So this still left lots of room for agility. We would be prototyping iteratively all the time and we would have co-located subject matter experts to help us validate and refine important details. And we would be developing with small incremental sub-releases, with continuous integration – we would be applying all of the principles and techniques of Agile that would work within their project realities. And we would ignore those aspects of Agile that would lead to failure.

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Thursday, 17 December 2015
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Macroscope and Scrum - Part One

Scrum Smaller

We are still learning. Every now and then, somebody publishes a new set of theories or a new set of techniques which attract us. Sometimes these new things become wildly popular. But the problem is that some people take a “silver bullet” attitude – and believe the latest thing to be a prescription for all our challenges and dismiss everything else we’ve ever learned.

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Macroscope and Scrum - Part Two

Highlights of Scrum for Me - Techniques

User Stories

To me, one of the most powerful contributions of Agile and Scrum to our profession is the focus on the User Story (along with the Use Case). The simple statement, “As a ___ I want to ___ so that ___” gives us an intuitive yet fairly precise view of the business capability that is needed and its justification. It’s easy and it’s natural.

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Macroscope and Scrum - Part Three

Limitations of Scrum

The Scrum Guide makes it very clear that Scrum is a process framework to manage product development, but it is not a process or technique for building products. The comments below elaborate on some outside-of-Scrum aspects that can be necessary for a successful system delivery and implementation, with some references to where these are addressed in Macroscope.

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Macroscope and Scrum - Part Four

Reality Checks

Not Everybody Fits the Scrum Profile

The vision of the Scrum Developer is of a flexible, highly collaborative person who is keenly interested in seeing all aspects of the product. He/she is multi-disciplinary and interested in expanding their knowledge of new disciplines.

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Tuesday, 31 March 2015
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Can we stop using the word Artifact?

Artifact

I fully appreciate that language is always evolving, and as we make up new words and definitions they become added to the dictionary.

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Sunday, 22 March 2015
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Can we Banish the word Waterfall?

Waterfall

Background

When systems people talk about “waterfall” approaches, they mean something like the picture above.

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Wednesday, 11 March 2015
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That's not a Business Case, Part 1

“That’s not a Business Case!”

Value

The Need

I was recently asked to help with a business case for a course. It was a “soft skills” course that would contribute to team building, collaboration, creativity and productivity. The client knew instinctively that the course was important to the development and performance of her people, but she had to convince her boss that they should spend the money now instead of next year.

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