How Digital Agile Management Tools Make You Blind (And How A Physical Kanban Board Can Help You See Again)

We've been using PivotalTracker for years to manage our agile software development process. It works like a charm for us. Whenever an idea comes up, we enter it into Tracker as an Epic (no matter how rough and abstract it might be). When the time comes to start implementing it, we usually break it down … Continue reading How Digital Agile Management Tools Make You Blind (And How A Physical Kanban Board Can Help You See Again)

How Scrum Induced Sub-Optimization Kills Productivity (And How To Fix It With Kanban)

Quite often, IT managers see Scrum as the solution to increase the speed of software development. Indeed, you can speed up your software development processes dramatically by successfully using Scrum for organizing your engineering department. But, people often forget that they can only create value for their customers if they optimize the whole organization towards … Continue reading How Scrum Induced Sub-Optimization Kills Productivity (And How To Fix It With Kanban)

The Irresistable Pull To Self Organization

Every organization has to deal with a mix of ongoing and project oriented work. But, even if you structure your teams into departments to optimize ongoing work, they keep trying to self organize into project focused teams. Matrix Management vs Project Organization There are the regular tasks and chores, and there are the bigger undertakings … Continue reading The Irresistable Pull To Self Organization

Waterfall, SCRUM and Lean Software Development simulation as teaching platform

Currently, I'm preparing for teaching my next course on Agile Methodology. Again and again, I wonder what is the single most important thing my students should be able to take with them after four full days. One of my core messages is definitely that agile is more about principles than about practices. If you absorb … Continue reading Waterfall, SCRUM and Lean Software Development simulation as teaching platform

Pair Programming: Staying within “the zone”

Today I spent the whole day debugging an elusive concurrency problem in ruby on rails running on JRuby. We start some threads during the web request and, usually sooner than later, all our database connections are blocked. Getting deep into the details of multithreading, connection pooling and the like is nothing I enjoy doing. Especially … Continue reading Pair Programming: Staying within “the zone”

Velocity – what will we be able to deliver this week?

The final building block of our introduction to agile is velocity. In addition to employing user stories to break down big features into manageable junks, maintaining a backlog for ruthless prioritizing, and story point estimates, velocity will help you find out what you can deliver in a week. Looking at "Yesterday's Weather" to Learn About … Continue reading Velocity – what will we be able to deliver this week?

Estimation of User Stories With Story Points as Abstract Size Measure

After discussing which issues we tried to solve by introducing agile practices to manage a remote development team, using User Stories to be able to compare requirements and building a Backlog for ruthless prioritizing I want to share our learnings about agile estimation of User Stories. As you might have experienced, estimating the time required … Continue reading Estimation of User Stories With Story Points as Abstract Size Measure

A Backlog for Ruthless Prioritizing

So far, I've talked about how I went for Introducing agile practices to manage a remote development team as well as User Stories - Making Sure Your Customers Get The First-class Seats. While User Stories are a good start, enforcing ruthless prioritization of these stories can really streamline your development processes. Priorities get mixed up … Continue reading A Backlog for Ruthless Prioritizing