Most new Agile teams transition from hours based estimates to relative estimation using story points, but do we even need estimates at all?
Many people who are new to Agile are confused about the place of UI and UX design on Agile teams. Previously many teams have tried keeping the work separate from the team or having the work done one sprint ahead. Recently, there has been more talk about welcoming UI and UX into Agile teams and Lean UX has been at the forefront.
Rashina Hoda achieved her doctorate researching self-organizing Agile teams. She recently spoke to InfoQ about the work she's been doing and the results of her research. She discusses some of the factors that enable self-organization, looks at some of the risks and pitfalls that self-organizing teams face and provides some advice on how to create a culture that nurtures self-organization.
GitHub have launched a desktop client for Mac OS X called simply GitHub for Mac.
Glen Alleman describes the business management process they use and describes his discomfort with the idea of team accountability instead of having one person be accountable. He questions the effectiveness of having a team accountable and what that means when there is no single point that is responsible for success or failure.
JetBrains recently announced the release of TeamCity 6.5. The new release comes with a new look and has improved integration with Git and Mercurial along with several improvements especially for .NET developers. Moreover the free Professional Edition now allows unlimited users.
Microsoft has unveiled at TechEd North America 2011 some of the new features coming in Visual Studio: more Agile tools for project planning and collecting stakeholder feedback, a connector for providing operations feedback to developers, plus architecture diagrams and unit testing for VC++.
SAP has recently introduced StreamWork as a cloud-based solution for collaborative decision-making. According to the German ERP company its product brings together the people, information, and proven business approaches to drive fast, meaningful results.
The privately owned US company Coverity claims that its newly released and browser-based software tool Coverity Integrity Control supports development organizations to set standard policies for code quality and security, and then manage, monitor and report on these policies as code is tested.
The latest version of Application Lifecycle Management (ALM) collaboration tool Tasktop supports task federation, cross-repository Agile planning, and new connectors to other ALM tools like HP Agile Accelerator and SmartBear CodeCollaborator. Tasktop team last week released version 2.0 of the software which also has integration with Hudson CI tool.
Facebook is probably the hottest company today, driving a very high level of interest and scrutiny. Despite a high level of secrecy, Yee Lee, a product manager at Skype, has assembled a large collection of notes detailing how code ships at Facebook.
Retrospectives and feedback loops are at the heart of any successful Agile/Scrum implementation. They’re the tool we use to help teams improve. Yet in two day introduction to Agile classes they often get glossed over. Lacking time trainers (including this one) often race through the topic outlining only one simple type of retrospectives.
Angela Harms recently blogged about the Agile Retrospective Prime Directive. She discusses how the language of the prime directive around "everyone doing their best" could be seen as patronizing and insulting to team members. Other commentators who have discussed the intent of the Prime Directive include Esther Derby and George Dinwiddie. How useful is the Retrospective Prime Directive?
The Scrum Master job requires skills in diplomacy-- and effective communication. Team members must also communicate effectively. Tools for accomplishing these "soft-skill" tasks are now freely available. A detailed book about one of these useful tools entitled SOFTWARE FOR YOUR HEAD, is over 400 pages in total, and is now available-- free to the world in PDF format.
Agile has always stressed the need for an appropriate physical space to support the team and team practices. Ryan Martens recently wrote about the intersection of design, design thinking, and the agile environment - suggesting that open space and wall-to-wall whiteboards are just the beginning of what is needed to create an ideal agile team-space.