Category: Technique

Collaborative Team Behaviors Have to Be Nurtured

Great software development teams don’t just materialize as if beamed in by a Star Trek transporter. They can’t be formed by managers who hand-pick the “best and the brightest” to work on a critical project either. Great teams form when people are challenged and have to think for themselves. Here’s a simple example. Let’s say […]

Risk Creates Speed Bumps on the Road to Done

4 Risk Categories Are All You Need Worry About Have you ever been involved in the software project from hell? Many of us have. The project begins with plenty of enthusiasm and optimism. Goals are defined. Staffing is assigned. Delivery dates and budgets are handed out. Everyone’s excited. But somewhere along the road to done […]

Sometimes You Have to Break the Sprint Rules

Here’s an all-too-common scenario in agile software development projects. You’ve defined fixed-length sprints. They are 4, 6 or 8 weeks long. The team is well into a sprint when the product owner shows up and says something like “We have to add another story to this sprint. The business will reject the software unless we […]

Are No Estimates the Solution to Bad Estimates?

#NoEstimates. Is it the latest agile software development trend or meaningless hype? Your guess is as good as mine. It’s an interesting question that deserves closer examination. The general premise is that software estimates are unreliable. They are usually overly optimistic and are often grossly inaccurate. So is it better to avoid all the work […]

Velocity Is a Useful Metric But Not a Crystal Ball

I’ve criticized metrics in this blog before and I’m doing it again. I’m really a fan of metrics when they’re applied properly and interpreted correctly. Unfortunately, metrics are often misapplied and misinterpreted resulting in poor decision-making. That said, let’s take a closer look at a popular Scrum metric — velocity. Here is the definition found […]

Estimates Don’t Matter But Story Sizes Do

I’ve read quite a few blog posts lately regarding software estimates. Should we estimate epics, stories and tasks or not? Are estimates useful to software development teams or are they a waste of time? Do estimates add value to the development process or are they inaccurate and misleading? As is often the case, the answers […]

10 Reasons Why Your Team’s Software Is Crapware

Crappy software. It’s everywhere. There is far more poorly-designed software than well-designed software. So much more, in fact, that we are literally drowning in crapware. It gives all of us in the software business a bad reputation. I hate it. You’ll find lots of information on how to build better software (just click here). However, […]

The Curse of Recurrence and Habit

Some habits are good. Others are productivity killers. Here’s one example. Someone schedules a meeting. That’s bad enough, right? And the person decides to make it a recurring meeting — every week for as far into the future as anyone can imagine. Then it gets worse. Week after week, zombies (sorry, I meant people) arrive […]

Fail, Learn, Assess and Try Again

I don’t know about you but I hate to fail. I’m not kidding. I REALLY hate failure. And that is one of the scariest aspects of agile software development. To succeed, you have to be willing to tolerate failure. In fact, if you’re not experiencing any failures, you’re not pushing yourself or your team hard […]

10 Rules for Lean and Agile Thinking

Many companies have adopted or are considering adopting an agile software development approach using the principles of Scrum, Kanban, XP or Lean. Regrettably, their goal is often to reduce time-to-market but agile methods are not designed to reduce development time. These methods are focused on quality and aligning development teams with customers. If time-to-market is […]

10 Tips for Producing Documents That Are Lean and Agile

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 […]