Blog posts by Esther Derby and Mike Cohn focus on two different aspects of the staffing of Agile teams
A recent thread on the pmi-agile Yahoo! group discusses some frustrations of the Agile recommendations that seem on the verge of naivete.
Day two of the 2010 Scrum Gathering, packed full of a whirlwind of topics, talkers, activities, useful nuggets, and again (of course) healthy debates. Highlights including Harrison Owens, the creator of Open Space (as we know it), Jeff Patton's User Story Mapping, Jurgen Appello on self-organization and much, much more.
In response to a question about the Inherit Shortcomings of Scrum/Agile - Uncle Bob Martin penned (in the spirit of Martin Luther), 7 theses: No Technical Practices, 30 Day Sprints are too long, Scrum Master sometimes turns into Project Manager, Scrum carries an anti-management undercurrent, and others.
We often hear stories about daily standups that have become nothing more than long daily status meetings where team members tune out. What techniques do people have for avoiding this and other standup pitfalls?
Traditional management models don't tell leaders how to support their Agile teams without undermining their emerging self-organisation. Allusions to musical performance and "conducting the orchestra" abound - but not all are in agreement. Is the "conductor" model a good practice or an anti-pattern? In his TED talk, conductor Itay Talman shows that it may depend on what we think a conductor does.
There has been plenty of debate on what skills a developer needs, or what practices an organization must adopt for agile to be successful. But while undeniably important, is this really what's at the heart of agile success? Mark Schumann suggests that agile's "one essential ingredient" is not ground-level agile technique, but rather is the agile mindset within management ranks.
Self organization is defined as a phenomenon in which the internal organization of the system increases in complexity without being guided or managed by an outside source. However, successful self organization needs the right level of support from not only the team members but also the management and the organizational environment.
High-performance teams constitute a mere 2% of the workforce, but Agile processes appear to stimulate the formation of these types of teams. This article discusses Steve Denning's perspective on how such teams can be nurtured in the workplace; it also looks at a recent talk by Ominlab Media's Stefan Gillard on how to select and employ for the formation of high-performance teams.
An executives job is not over once they've justified agile to their teams and paid for training. To make a transition successful, its required this executive provide sustained support. Esther Derby takes a moment to describe what she believes to be the 3 most important aspects of this ongoing support.
Sebastian Hermida has put together a free online tool to help teams get a better understanding of how well they're doing adopting agility. The site, abetterteam.org, is based on the "Assess Your Agility" quiz Jim Shore and Shane Warden include in their book, The Art Of Agile Development.
A major goal of sprint planning is to make a commitment to what is intended to be delivered by the end of the sprint. However, many teams either over-commit or over-deliver. Both situations are considered as smells and lead to lack of predictability along with other related pitfalls. The team is required to walk a fine line between the two.
Recently there has been an active discussion in the Scrum Development Yahoo Group about handling an "under-performing" team member. In the 130+ response thread, "Rotten apple in Scrum team", talk ranged from advice for the primary question, to talk of team morale and who manages it, to the classic debate of measuring individuals, to distinguishing whether a team is really a "team", and more.
Kevin Schlabach discusses using a "Snake On The Wall", a lightweight approach targeted at helping your team get a better handle on the things that are slowing the development process.
At Agile 2008, Don McGreal and Michael McCullough ran a session that showed how to use games and exercises to help improve our understanding of Agile principles and practices. After the conference they created the Tasty Cupcakes as a repository for all Agile games.