Is Agile En Vogue?

I just came across a really interesting read on the Dr. Dobb’s site. In Ivar Jacobson and Bertrand Meyer’s article “Methods Need Theory,” the two consider the natural impulse for the creator of something to tout it as the latest and greatest. Drawing parallels to the fashion industry’s flash-in-the-pan fads, Jacobson and Meyer suggest that software, like fashion, is not immune to the crazes its most influential tastemakers promote.

ScrumWorks Pro 4: The Future of Program Management

Most agile methodologies were created to be used with small teams who are all located in the room. So what happens in agile environments where there are many teams, some of which are un-collocated, working on complex development projects? The answer is to employ an agile tool. However, agile tools have historically focused on communication and collaboration—that is, they have been most effective at simply uniting team members who are geographically distributed, ensuring that everyone is apprised of task progress and other critical updates.

Lessons Learned from Non-Software Teams

Because agile project management places a special emphasis on the team dynamic (as opposed to the contributions of individuals), I’m always interested to pick up great ideas from hyper-performing teams that work in other fields. This interest started when I had the good fortune to see a presentation by Certified Scrum Trainer Michael James that attempted to uncover the patterns of those teams that seem to achieve the impossible. His examples came from across the board—psychology, avionics, improvisational theater, and jazz.

Tips for New ScrumMasters

Even those individuals who have years of experience developing in a Scrum environment might be intimidated by the prospect of serving as a teams's ScrumMaster. The breadth of what a ScrumMaster is asked to do for a team is very expansive—it can range from reminding a team to more closely follow the tenets of Scrum to more hands-on resolution, like replacing a fried CPU. Given how divergent the challenges a ScrumMaster face, it's helpful to have a guide from an experienced ScrumMaster to make sure the basics are being covered.

What Stands in the Way of an Agile Transformation?

Craig Larman and Bas Vodde have published a list of the top ten impediments organizations face when attempting to adopt agile management methods, based on a survey of agile experts at very large companies. Now, I know most of us don't like to be reminded about what we're doing wrong, but, frankly, that's exactly why I'd recommend taking a look at this. You might recognize some of these anti-patterns. In fact, some may be much too close to the bone.

Organizational Resistance

Over at, Paul Krill reports on an IBM-hosted agile workshop that took place recently in San Mateo, Calif. , where various thought leaders discussed the benefits and challenges of agile transformations. Although most of the information would be familiar to most agile users (or even readers of this blog), itÂ’s still a solid introduction to the concepts at stake in agile development.

Need Help Convincing Your Manager to Try Scrum? Let This Scrum Refcard Do the Talking

When youÂ’re working on a development team thatÂ’s managed traditionally, knowing how best to convince management to begin using agile methods can be incredibly difficult. When I found myself in that position, I repeatedly approached my project manager to make a case for Scrum. I told him it would help our team produce functional software sooner, at a lower cost, and with less anxiety for the both of us. But he didnÂ’t really hear what I was saying until he heard it from someone else.