Scrum

Effort Estimation and Story Points Demystified

I recently worked with some teams in India that were obsessed with effort estimation.  It turned out their real problem wasn't estimation, it was keeping the product in a properly tested, shippable state all the time -- the basic requirement of Scrum.  If the product is always shippable, and the user stories are always small, and the Product Owner is always prioritizing, we can always ship a product with the important stuff in it.  If we get some estimates wrong, it just means we'll omit the less important features.

Video - Introduction to Scrum

A colleague of mine, Michael James, just posted his Introduction to Scrum video on YouTube I think is the right length and depth for an overview - it's not so short as to be trite (or worse, incorrect), but it's not an exhaustive examination of Scrum either. This video is good prep for people who are planning to enter a CSM class and don't want to go in cold.

Scrum Coaching for Agile Success

The Scrum Alliance has published a new whitepaper called “Coaching is Key for Scrum Success” which outlines some of the problems organizations face when implementing Scrum, how Scrum coaching can help, and what to look for in a Scrum coach. Most organizations run into issues when first implementing Scrum. Rather than let these problems continue to plague the Agile implementation and jeopardize the risk of success, many organizations find that working with a Scrum coach early in the process helps to avoid “Scrum-But” and reverting to old ways of doing things.

How is Agile Changing the Way We Work?

By now, it’s practically accepted that software development and project management, generally, are being re-imagined by agile management techniques. But in a recent article on Projects@Work, called “Agile Drivers,” CST Angela Druckman explains why that is. As she explains, there are six factors that are driving agility in organizations—and they’re changing the way we conceive of doing business. To summarize, the six factors she identifies are:

Share Your Story

One of the best ways to illustrate how agile and Scrum can transform the way an organization manages its development is through case studies. Rather than simply saying that agile methods will streamline processes, reduce cycle time, and improve product quality, a case study illustrates how agile and Scrum can achieve those things. Moreover, theyÂ’re inspirational. When you can see that someone at another organization has experienced the same challenges and worked through them to successfully implement agile, it gives you the confidence to embark on that journey yourself.

Lean IT

Lately, “Lean”—which derives from the lean manufacturing practices popularized by Honda and Toyota in the 1980s—has been a popular topic in software development circles. Not only does much of agile development have its roots in Lean’s streamlined, waste-averse practices, but Forester just held its Business Technology Forum which focused on the new concept of “Lean IT.”

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Thoughts on Agile Transformations

In a recent post at InfoQ, Mike Bria reports on two recent articles by Johanna Rothman which discuss best practices for agile implementation. The right way to go about an agile transformation is a controversial subject, in which some agile practitioners advocate an “all-in” approach to adoption and other recommend a “toe-dipping” strategy. According to Rothman, both approaches are valid, but what matters is the context in which these approaches are applied.