Month: April 2011

Product Owner By Proxy

Sounds like a legal loophole but it’s a valid agile approach. The business stakeholders won’t assign a Product Owner to your agile development project. Now what? Can you implement Scrum, XP or Kanban without a Product Owner (PO)? This is a common occurrence and there are insidious variations. At times, a PO is assigned but […]

Make Your Project Approach Sustainable

There Are Many Pitfalls to Agile Adoption Do you want to try Scrum, XP, Kanban or any other agile approach and see how it goes? Great, go for it — just be sure to implement it in a sustainable fashion. Too often, teams try a new approach but don’t prepare fully, don’t execute well, and […]

Good Team Communication Takes a Lot of Work

No software development approach is perfect. Consider the use of daily stand-up meetings. These are popular when using Scrum, XP, Kanban, or almost any agile approach.  A quick daily meeting can improve team communication and keep everyone in sync. But… The team members need to communicate throughout the day. There is often a tendency to […]

7 Steps to Active Business Involvement

Getting the business community to actively participate during agile software development can be tough. Hey, they have other things to do and creating software is our job not theirs! Assuming you can get them interested and willing to commit their time, the bigger challenge is keeping them engaged. How do you do that? Encourage feedback […]

PAGES Makes Scrum Even Better!

Here’s how it happens. Colossal Widget Company decides to adopt agile development practices and Scrum in particular. They have been using waterfall for a long time with great success (or so they like to claim). [Face it, no CIO is going to approach his boss, say that too many projects are failing, and change is […]

Agile Teams Need Agile PMOs

An agile PMO? Sounds like an oxymoron, doesn’t it? PMOs are generally viewed as the project police. They often seem to do everything they can to slow everyone down and promote mediocrity. But wait. Appearances can be deceiving. Let’s start with a definition. What is a PMO? I’m referring to a Project Management Office, also […]

A Quick Rundown of Agile Methodologies

How many agile methodologies are there? If you were to include variations on a theme, I think the number would be almost infinite. Let’s stick to basics. Here’s a brief rundown of the approaches that software development teams can use to be agile: Scrum – Probably, the most widely used agile approach — if you […]

Agile Techniques Work in System Maintenance

I know a group of database administrators that pretty regularly messes things up. They perform system upgrades, new software installs, server migrations, etc. and often get them wrong. For example: Work takes much longer than anticipated. Software applications are impacted that they never expected. Things go wrong that they never considered. To make matters worse, […]

Any Group Can Be Agile — Including Yours

Can a sole software developer working on a small project be agile? Can a team of five software developers without any dedicated test support be agile? Can a group of 20 developers, testers and analysts working on a major project be agile? Can an inter-departmental, cross-functional group of 100+ people working toward a common goal […]

Software Testing Is About Risk Assessment

I have an unconventional view of software testing. Let me explain. Most people believe that the primary purpose of software testing is to identify defects. The underlying development methodology is largely irrelevant — waterfall, Scrum, XP, Kanban, etc. They all rely on software testing to verify that the software is well-behaved and to validate that […]

Focus on Core Agile Principles, Not Little Stuff

Here’s a suggestion. One of the best practices for Agile development teams is to conduct regular retrospectives. The goal is continuous improvement by drawing attention to team activities that could be done better. What if you did the opposite? Focus on the core strengths of Agile development instead. Here is an excerpt from the “What […]

Waterfall Projects Are Always In Trouble

Project Management Solutions conducted a survey of senior executives and project managers to determine “Strategies for Project Recovery” (pdf download). What I found most interesting is the section titled “Causes of Troubled Projects”. They came up with these top five causes of troubled projects… “Requirements: Unclear, lack of agreement, lack of priority, contradictory, ambiguous, imprecise. […]

Android Fragmentation Is Real and Damaging

There’s a lot of talk about Android fragmentation. Google decided to restrict access to the Honeycomb (Android 3.0) source code thus adding fuel to the discussion. Is fragmentation really a problem or could it actually benefit Google? What is fragmentation? Software fragmentation occurs when multiple parties take software source code, customize it as they like, […]

Projects Should Start With a Plan Not a Story

Let’s say that you’ve just been assigned a new project. It is just the kind of project you would like to do. It looks like the business folks are on board and ready to provide support and, most importantly, funding. What now? Where do you begin? You could start identifying the people you’ll need to […]