BrainsLink

Linking the left brain and the right brain

Process Misalignment Is a Leading Cause of Agile Failure

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Transitions from traditional software development approaches to agile ones fail occasionally. None of us who try to faithfully practice agile development like to admit it, but it’s true. I’d like to explore one of the key contributors to those failures — process misalignment. Here’s an example of how this happens. Let’s say the business stakeholders […]

Forget About Value. Focus on Morale.

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A lot of attention is given to the term value. We want to know how much value a software development team creates with each deliverable. Unfortunately, value is a difficult thing to measure so it may be better to view the problem differently. What has value? The simple answer is everything — everything is valuable […]

10 Tips for Producing Documents That Are Lean and Agile

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Some software development groups must document everything. This often results from legal, regulatory or compliance demands. Although, it can also be a cultural phenomenon — some managers simply won’t accept anything unless it’s in writing. Do everything you can to minimize the volume of written exchanges. Information overload is not just a cute phrase. It’s […]

Do Agile Development Teams Need Multiple Product Owners?

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Enterprise agile development is different. Developing software using Scrum, Kanban, Lean or XP is just not the same on an enterprise scale. Consider the stressed-out, over-burdened, Product Owner. Is it reasonable to expect one Product Owner to provide all the answers to the software development team’s questions? You can argue that it’s the Product Owner’s […]

Agile Risk Management Won’t Make You Cringe

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Mention “risk management” and many software developers will cringe and sneak away. It’s understandable. I’ve observed some elaborate risk analyses covering everything from missed requirements to flash floods. I cringe just thinking about it! You could go to extremes in preparing an elaborate risk assessment matrix covering probabilities, impacts, mitigation steps, etc. If you’re going […]

Great Agile Development Teams Are Never Satisfied

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Greatness is hard to achieve and even harder to maintain. Few agile software development teams ever achieve greatness and that’s probably a good thing — they wouldn’t be happy anyway. The best agile teams never get complacent; they never stop improving; they never get too comfortable; they are never happy with their performance. The good […]

Software Development Is Business Not Science

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Some software projects stay in “beta” status for what seems like forever — a kind of perpetual beta. It may seem odd but let’s think about this. Most businesses are effectively in perpetual beta, so the software they develop must be too. How can a mature business be in perpetual beta? How can it not! […]

Would You Rather Fail From the Top Down or the Bottom Up?

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Many software teams adopt the top-down approach to software development. Others prefer the bottom-up approach. They’re both high-risk techniques you should avoid. Here’s why. The Top-Down Approach Traditional waterfall teams like this approach. It starts with analysis and works its way down to implementation. The approach begins with high-level market or process analysis (depending upon […]

PMOs Often Create More Problems Than They Solve

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Companies create Project Management Offices (PMO) as a means of improving software project success rates and establishing best practices. Regrettably, many of these PMOs fail to offer anything constructive. They are often burdensome, costly and wasteful. PMOs are a good idea, in principle. They can be enormously beneficial when done right. When done poorly – […]

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