Archive for September, 2011

#agileday2011 Reflections on Job Candidates and Dr. Linda Rising

September 29, 2011

I was revising a job description as I need more Project Managers at my company.  I stopped for a second on what seems like a standard, throw-away phrase in these sorts of things:

…attention to detail, a collaborative spirit, and a readiness to learn…

What do these really mean?  If you are looking to hire someone, how do they really exhibit these qualities?


#agileday2011 Andrew Kazarinoff on Agile Metrics: beyond the burndown

September 27, 2011

As usual, these are my raw notes

Paper to read: Jeff Sutherland and Scott Downey “Scrum metrics for Hyper-Productive Teams” July 2010

Qualytic Consulting is Andrew’s company; works as a coach

Metrics and anti-patterns:
– Root causes
– Coaching goals
– Behavior change

Anti-patterns > root causes > coaching
Visibility. Inspection. Adaptation.

Talked about an example of being with a group that had all stakeholders present.

Looking at turndown charts. When there are exceptions – what does it say?

To improve estimates, make sure whole team is part of estimating process.

“Found Work” affects estimation accuracy.

Commitment ratio – affects road map reliability and pace. Teams become over-cautious. Reminds me of when Jeff Patton did the ball exercise. Our teams were hyper-cautious.

Also, important that the work is done-done. Not “done.” Technical debt is a nasty creditor. Causes a clean-up Sprint.

Make sure stories are closed in sprint.

Effort focus:
– team at beginning estimates capacity
– can live with this providing does not change
– team members not continuously pulled off for problem fixes

Minimize context switching, enable capacity commitments to be met, make capacity commitments realistic.

What does management relate to? Does not relate to burn-down charts.

They relate to how much usable work have we done? Completed usable features or running tested features.

#agileday2011 just do what works / @agile umpire

September 27, 2011

Quick notes on talk by George McMonigle and Matthew Groner which I enjoyed. Ironically had *just* said with Anupam Kundu Of Thoughtworks about how at times presenters have gotten too far from the actual work. These guys were talking, no blemishes hidden, about what had worked for em, what they could do berthed.

Had a great slide:

In order to….
We used to…
But now we…

For example:
In order to measure performance we used to focus on burndowns but now we focus on story points.

Agile effectiveness over orthodoxy.

#agileday2011 David Hussman raw notes / #agile

September 27, 2011


Compares Ward Cunningham to Frank Zappa ( “Shut up and Play Your Guitar” )

Logging 10,000 hours. Improvising again and again. Exploring. Being Fearless.

Ward’s approach is if you have things you want to manifest:

Idea – to make it manifest, need:
– process
– community
– tools

Breaking stuff is not the problem; leaving it broken is the problem.

XP: put velocity into XP to give slack to think. Now we are not doing that. We are just trying to go faster. Deming.

Integration (software) is a learning inhibitor. “The people who went to Snowbird and signed manifest were the people who showed up” – Martin Fowler

In the old days he just called “agile” “working together” – people are too divorced from seeing people use or experience their end product.

Next shift is measuring Outputs to outcomes.

Burn-up: discovery vs delivery
– Shifted to burn-up chart because it shows how much have we discovered against how much delivered. When discovery is not anonymous you can learn from it.

Chartering: big picture creator
– where you are going and how you get there

Acceptance tests: value clarifier
Continuous integration: stop waiting

Dogma emergence.
Crusaders have taken the place of evangelists – and Scrum-but tests – originally was what practices were missing; became a label, an insult.

Example of rolling out two practices only – that was a successful approach.

Moral of pig/chicken story is you die if you are committed ?! Shutting people up doesn’t work with grown-ups. Reminds of Orwell’s Animal Farm and Politics and the English Language.

Comparative learning – from this to that.

Fibbonacci series: don’t get hung up on the tools – it’s not about the shift, it’s about people trying to learn to estimate.

Dude’s Law: value = why/how

Story template was about someone doing something of value – people try to force things into the story template they should not.

Get rid of stuff that doesn’t help you learn. Wishes we would call “test-driven design”

If someone says “you should…” answer “why?” Moving from product owner to product ownership.

Talks about a pacemaker project and how stories become about value. No product owner, one throat to choke. Is stunned how addicted to people’s addiction to it. Read Kent Beck’s paper on “all one team.”

Why of product owner is to get a single voice. Prod owners – need to know where we’re going so don’t end up with legacy software for tomorrow.

See his pragmatic programmers video series.

Talked about story mapping. Who= personnas; what and how.

Take what user is trying to accomplish and drive through. Used Best Buy team example.

If you choose to use words people don’t understand, that is your fault, not your listener’s lack of education.

Example from Jeff Patton. Ripped a dollar up into quarters. Which is most valuable.

Example of visual waterfall. It is when you stop meeting and talking to each other, stop collaborating.

From measuring points to pivoting learning. Lean guys were trying to get cycle time to customer down. Agilists were trying to reduce iteration time. In 1999 XP was about fixing programming. Move away from over-designing. Now it is about Customer Development.

Practices to Outcomes – to “people helped”

Ray Kurzweil

Have to move away from moving forward as an Agile team like a shark, heads down. Doesn’t matter what what we did in the past, stuff we made, if context changes and output does not make sense.

Agile spent a lot of time in delivery space, but assumes magic product owner grooming backlog. Sprint reviews can just be feel-good. Now has a discovery cadence.

Boston Scientific doing 6 week discovery piece. Once you can deliver what do you need to learn.