Month: July 2011

Big Changes May Need Special Handling

If it won’t fit within a sprint, get creative. One area that causes concern among software developers using Scrum is the short sprint time boxes. Specifically, how can they develop complex algorithms in short bursts? We’ve all heard that stories should be kept small so that each one can be fully implemented and tested in […]

Enterprise Agile Adoption Requires a Phased Approach

Changing a major process in any enterprise is never easy. Software development certainly qualifies as a major process. If you’re thinking about having your enterprise software development teams change the process they follow, it won’t be easy. Let’s assume the current process is more ad-hoc than not. You may call it waterfall, spiral, unified or […]

Don’t Wrap a Straitjacket Around Your Project!

Three constraints dominate discussions about controlling projects — time, cost and scope. I’d like to add people and quality to that list. Many managers try to control all five constraints and end up controlling none. Common wisdom says you have to let at least one constraint float free if you want to tightly control the […]

Don’t Just Ask Questions, Explore Possibilities

Should the Product Owner have all the answers to business and functional questions that arise during a sprint? If she doesn’t, should the business stakeholders have all those answers? If not, what about the end users of the software? Similar questions apply on the technical side. Should the software developers be able to answer any […]

7 Tips for Creating an Agile Work Environment

Okay, full disclosure, what follows is common sense — basic managerial stuff. But, it’s doubly important for any organization that wants to be agile. Applying command-and-control management techniques to agile development slows everyone down and causes more problems that it solves. Don’t just skim over this list. Pick an item from it and get to […]

Scrum for One Can Be Done — Almost

I’ve touched upon some of the difficulties in expanding Scrum to very large projects. I don’t believe that the Scrum of Scrums approach really works. It helps solve the management problem but the system engineering problem is left untouched. Not good. That issue aside, I’ve been thinking about the opposite problem. Can a lone software […]

Scrum’s Sprints Are Not Mini-Waterfalls

Teams that have extensive waterfall development experience often encounter a common problem when they adopt an agile approach like Scrum. The problem results from applying waterfall development to every sprint. The result is a project consisting of a series of mini-waterfalls. For example, let’s say the team selects 4-week sprints. It feels quite natural for […]

The Software You Need May Not Be What You Want

Developing software is a lot like many major decisions in life. For example… Let’s say you own a home and you need to protect some tools and equipment. You may have garden tools, a lawn mower, maybe snow shovels and a snowblower. You need a place to store them. The simplest and lowest cost solution […]