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Scaling Agile with the Theory of Constraints

Scrum Expert - Wed, 02/08/2017 - 16:13
Lear how to use the Theory of Constraints to scale Agile and Scrum development teams. The Theory of Constraints is a methodology for identifying the most important limiting factor (i.e. constraint) that stands in the way of achieving a goal and then systematically improving that constraint until it is no longer the limiting factor. While implementing Scrum and shortening Time To Market in large financial institution we were slowed down because of obstacles in planning and analysis. I came with the idea to use Theory of Constraints which helped us to calculate real TTM and gave us hints how to release faster and cheaper. Now they’re ready to change direction anytime and do releases more often. This presentation is suitable for people in organizations trying to lower workload of releases. Video producer:
Categories: Agile

Switching From Scrum to Kanban

Scrum Expert - Mon, 02/06/2017 - 18:11
Scrum and Kaban are two Agile approaches that could be used in software development, depending also on the context of the software development tools. In his blog post “Ditching Scrum for Kanban — The best decision we’ve made as a team”, Grant Ammons shares some thought on why he successfully changed it process from a Scrum to a Kanban perspective. The software development team managed by Grant Ammons first decided to start using Scrum to implement more discipline in its process. Scrum brought some benefits to the team as they start writing light specs and more cooperating with a product manager. The team liked the stand-ups and grooming sessions that kept everyone aligned on the work. The retrospectives also helped adapting the process to the team needs and improving it. However, there were soon also some issues with Scrum. The main one was that it was very hard to plan two weeks of work accurately . The team was mainly overestimating the amount of work it could achieve, which lead to carrying over tasks from the previous sprint to the current one. This was hurting the morale. This is why the team switched to Kaban and removed the sprint goals. This improved the morale and didn’t hurt the team capacity to deliver. Grant Ammons wrote as a main point “It turns out that cramming to make sprint deadlines was not the major motivating factor to get work done.” The conclusion of the blog post is that “Kanban works well for our team [...]
Categories: Agile

Agile Projects Summit, Warsaw, Poland, March 28 2017

Scrum Expert - Mon, 02/06/2017 - 14:15
Agile Projects Summit is a one-day conference organized by the APMG International and the Agile Business Consortium in Warsaw, Poland. It aims to explore the benefits and challenges of adopting Agile practices for project management, change and development initiatives. In the agenda of Agile Projects Summit you can find topics like “Business Agility – The E.ON Experience”, “Agile approach for EPL system implementation in the Office of Electronic Communications”, “Agile Projects and Programmes”. It will also feature keynote presentations and roundtable discussions that will discuss the benefits of Agile Project Management, Agile vs traditional project management, Agile and organizational culture, Scaling Agile, Popular Agile techniques including MoSCoW prioritization and Kanban. Web site: Location for the Agile Projects Summit conference: Novotel Warszawa Centrum ul Marszalkowska 94/98 Warsaw, 00-510, Poland
Categories: Agile

ACE! Conference on Lean and Agile Software Development, Krakow, Poland, May 11-12 2017

Scrum Expert - Thu, 02/02/2017 - 09:00
The ACE! Conference on Lean and Agile Software Development is a two-day conference that brings together in Krakow (Poland) some of the best-known Agile, Scrum and lean practitioners in Europe and abroad. It is the guaranty of a great networking experience for agile software development practitioners that will come away with new ideas and enthusiasm. In the agenda of the ACE! Conference on Lean and Agile Software Development you can find topics like “Antipatterns for Diversity”, “The systemic Scrum Master”, “UX is team work”, “From Lean Startup to an Innovation Organization”, “How to facilitate a product backlog refinement session”, “Corporate environment, agile design and user experience”, “Execute a non-reactionary UX strategy”, “Selfish Accessibility”, “Remote User Testing”, “Designing to Learn: Creating Effective MVPs”, “Growing Your Discovery Mindset”, “Agile Architecture from the Trenches”, “Managing Stars”, “Your code smells too! Time to deodorize”, “Problem-solving techniques for groups”, “Being Agile to become Customer centric”. Web site: Location for the ACE! Conference on Lean and Agile Software Development: Efekt Express Hotel, ul. Opolska 14 31-323 KrakĂłw
Categories: Agile

Becoming a Product Samurai

Scrum Expert - Wed, 02/01/2017 - 14:32
With Agile practices becoming more and more common, the call for Product Leadership has never been louder. Product owners are drowning in feature alignment and internal stakeholder discussions, slowed by technical and organizational complexity, crippled by a risk-averse company culture and focused on internal risks rather than market outcome. Long ago the Samurai learned that Agility in itself is not enough. Leadership comes from an unwavering vision, clear values and relentless exercise of martial practices (kata). What can we learn from them? What kata’s apply to Product Leadership? How can me make sure that we wield the sword of Agility in such a way that we don’t just make products right, but make the right products? This lightweight talk will offer practical solutions and insights on how to become a better Product Owner, Product Manager or anyone responsible for setting out a Product Strategy. Based on my personal experience as Product Manager, Director, Coach, Teacher (and martial artist). For it is our responsibility to save the world of crappy products and lead our teams like the Samurai. Video producer:
Categories: Agile

Reasons Why Scrum Can Fail

Scrum Expert - Mon, 01/30/2017 - 16:38
If Scrum and Agile approaches are supposed to increase the chances of success for software development projects, not all the projects that want to use Scrum are successful. In this article, John Yorke shares his opinion on why Agile projects might fail because of the confusion between the roles (ScrumMaster, Product Owner, Developer) of a Scrum Team and the required Agile mindsets. Author : John Yorke, Agile Coach, WWT Asynchrony Labs, I should start out by saying that I am a big fan of Scrum. I think those that devised the framework possessed an agile mindset but also were mindful of human nature. They created a framework that had built-in checks and balances and solutions to many of the most common problems. They also had an understanding of system level thinking – I’ll come back to that later. The core of the system though are the key roles: Scrum Master, Product Owner and Development Team. This triad is what makes Scrum so successful (when it works) and in my opinion it is the absence of this triad that is the root cause of the majority of the unsuccessful adoptions. It’s All About the Mindset However, I don’t think it is the role that defines this triad but the perceived mindset behind the role.  For example, having a team that possesses a strong member with an Agile mindset, along with the knowledge and skills to support it and the opportunity to focus on it all help achieve a proper mindset. Furthermore, [...]
Categories: Agile

Ron Jeffries to Keynote at Agile Alliance Technical Conference 2017

Scrum Expert - Wed, 01/25/2017 - 18:29
The Agile Alliance has announced the program for the Agile Alliance Technical Conference that will be held April 19 – 21 in Boston, Massachusetts. This event will focus on new advances, new challenges and new directions in Agile Software Development as applied to today’s technical work. The Agile Alliance Technical Conference will feature keynotes by Ron Jeffries, (, Chet Hendrickson, (HendricksonXP) and Dr. Anita Sengupta (NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory). The three-day conference is built around three themes: Core Technical Practices, Team Technical Practices, and Technical Practices at the Organizational Level. It will explore topics such as new and updated core development practices; integration of user experience (UX) principles; advances in testing practices and automation; the evolution of tools and techniques that bridge development, deployment and operations; and the growing importance of Big Data across the entire spectrum of activities. Learn more about this conference on
Categories: Agile

Back to the Heart of Agile

Scrum Expert - Wed, 01/25/2017 - 14:30
“Agile has become overly decorated. Let’s scrape away those decorations for a minute, and get back to the center of Agile.” The Heart of Agile is a fresh look at Agile that strips away a lot of the cruft that has built up over recent years. Collaborate, Deliver, Reflect, Improve. Alistair Cockburn goes over the addition of kokoro onto the shu-ha-ri sequence, and its implications for agile. Following the heart of agile talk, Alistair Cockburn answers questions from the audience using the unusual form of answering with stories. They are more fun to listen to, and often more illuminating. Video producer:
Categories: Agile

Modifying the Definition of Done

Scrum Expert - Mon, 01/23/2017 - 17:17
Having a good Definition of Done (DoD) might be one of the most important technical asset of a Scrum team. This makes the difference between delivering at the end of the sprint fully completed business features or half-baked software. In his blog post “Changing the Definition of Done”, Ken Rubin discusses the situation where a Scrum team might want to change an existing Definition of Done. Ken Rubin starts with the case of a Scrum team that wanted to remove one check from its Definition of Done, because of technical problems that would have prevented them to deliver any results at the end of the sprint. There might always be some issues that could prevent a Scrum team to respect all the items listed in its Definition of Done. Thus the team could be catch the bad habit of taking shortcuts every time it meet a difficulty and Ken Rubin is against weakening the DoD during the sprint. If the issue isn’t considered a major one, you can always do a sprint review, but you have to fully inform the stakeholder of the items are not fully “done”. There is however no problems to make the DoD stronger if the team can do it without jeopardizing the delivery of software. In all cases, Ken Rubin recommends to change to the Definition of Done between the Scrum sprints. His conclusion is that “The definition of done is an important list of criterion that a Scrum team uses to determine if the [...]
Categories: Agile

Mile High Agile, Denver, USA, May 22-23 2017

Scrum Expert - Thu, 01/19/2017 - 13:00
Mile High Agile is a one-day conference is produced by volunteers from Agile Denver that provides an opportunity to share knowledge and experiences in Agile software development for agile novices, intermediates and experts, technical professionals, team leaders, managers, executives, and organizational change leaders. In the agenda of the Mile High Agile conference, you can find topics like “Creating Program Alignment: The Product Wall Release Planning Workshop”, “The DNA of an Innovative Product Owner”, “Kanban at Scale – This Siemens Healthcare Case Study”, “Tales From the Trenches: Transforming Teams to Kanban and Scrumban”, “STATIK: Systems Thinking Approach to Introducing Kanban”, “You Can’t Manage What You Can’t See”. Web site: Location for the Mile High Agile Denver conference: Hyatt Regency Denver at Colorado Convention Center, 650 15th Street, Denver, Colorado 80202 USA
Categories: Agile

ConnectALL 2.6.1 for VersionOne Released

Scrum Expert - Wed, 01/18/2017 - 18:13
Go2Group has released ConnectALL 2.6.1 for VersionOne. The VersionOne adapter in ConnectALL lets you efficiently manage all levels of enterprise agile project management. You can integrate VersionOne projects with other agile tools to enhance collaboration and optimize your agile project management. Each team can work on the application of its choice and all data between agile tools flows bi-directionally. ConnectALL integrates the most popular Application Lifecycle Management tools using a “configuration, not coding” approach. ConnectALL allows integrating VersionOne with ServiceNow, JIRA and HPE ALM. For agile development teams using JIRA and VersionOne, ConnectALL transforms JIRA issues into workitems (defects or stories) in VersionOne. Using this integration, an organization can manage and triage issues reported by customers and promote them to VersionOne for prioritization, estimation, planning, and implementation. When the work is completed in VersionOne, the integration updates JIRA to reflect the resolved status. The testing team identifies a defect in HPE ALM. The defect is replicated to a VersionOne project as a new defect by ConnectALL. As the development team starts to debug, all the updates are synced back to the defect in HPE ALM. Upon completion of development, the defect is resolved.
Categories: Agile

A Step By Step Guide to Agile By Stealth

Scrum Expert - Wed, 01/18/2017 - 15:46
Resistance to change is part of the human condition and overcoming this resistance is part of adopting Agile & Scrum and changing the way delivery teams work together. A large part of the prevailing certified methods are about tackling this problem in a variety of ways. How successful these methods are depends on many things and not least the starting conditions and senior leadership support. Without this kind of safety net creativity is called for and Tony Heap talks here about his experiences with a less head on approach to influencing things. One thing Tony noticed about agile is that it’s difficult to really understand it unless you’ve actually done it. This makes it tricky to *sell* agile – especially to people who are used to a plan-driven (waterfall) approach. In other words pretty much everyone who hasn’t already gone agile. From experience, agile delivery is just too different from waterfall for some folk to jump in head first. It is, however, possible to take people on a journey from waterfall towards agile delivery that doesn’t involve too much of a leap of faith. This presentation describes a step-by-step strategy that can be used with some success. Video producer:
Categories: Agile

The ScrumMaster Job Description

Scrum Expert - Tue, 01/17/2017 - 16:40
The ScrumMaster role might be the more difficult to define among the three role involved in Scrum. Starting from a “bad” ScrumMaster job description, Sam Laing discusses errors to avoid when you create such a role specification. As a bonus, she adds at the end a good ScrumMaster job description. Author : Sam Laing, Growing Agile, This morning I received a ScrumMaster job description. About 5 years ago these were really bad, essentially Project Manager jobs with a different name. They have gotten better and I am even noticing words like collaboration and facilitation. The one I read this morning caught my attention as the opening paragraph was great and then it got weird. Anyway. I decided it was worth debunking each Key Responsibility and highlighting whose responsibility that is in Scrum and why. (NOTE: there are some good job descriptions – I’ve included one at the bottom of this post) Key responsibilities – Run daily, weekly and monthly agile rituals efficiently and strictly I agree the ScrumMaster (SM) should ensure these are happening, however it is not their responsibility to run them. If they are not happening the SM should figure out why and help solve the underlying impediment. – Tracks work progress to identify blockages and developer divergence from allocated tasks The team tracks their own progress during the sprint and also allocates tasks themselves. The Product Owner (PO) tracks work progress against the release or product. The SM should note blockages and divergence and help the team [...]
Categories: Agile

SoCraTes Day Switzerland, Ftan, Switzerland, March 9-12 2017

Scrum Expert - Mon, 01/16/2017 - 16:37
SoCraTes Day Switzerland is the Swiss stage of the International Software Craftsmanship Gathering, a series of events for open-minded software developers who want to improve their craft and the software industry as a whole. This conferences aims at providing an ideal setting for speaking to and coding with other talented and engaged Agile software developers The SoCraTes Day Switzerland conference follows the open space format for conferences. Open space is a simple methodology for self-organizing conference tracks. It relies on participation by people who have a passion for the topics to be discussed. There is no preplanned list of topics, only time slots and a space in the main meeting room where interested participants propose topics and pick time slots. Web site: Location for the Agile Open Spain conference: Ftan, Switzerland
Categories: Agile

CMMI Institute Publishes A Guide to Scrum and CMMI

Scrum Expert - Wed, 01/11/2017 - 17:02
Organizations that attempt to scale agile need significant structural changes and support. CMMI helps organizations reap the benefits of agile and scale its adoption across teams, divisions, and the global enterprise. CMMI Institute has released “A Guide to Scrum and CMMI: Improving Agile Performance with CMMI” to help users adopt and implement CMMI to improve performance in agile organizations. In 2015, CMMI Institute estimated that over 70% of CMMI appraised organizations reported using agile. Agile organizations struggling with issues of performance are increasingly turning to the CMMI for proven results. The CMMI Institute developed “A Guide to Scrum and CMMI: Improving Agile Performance with CMMI” as a roadmap to successfully adopt and implement CMMI and agile together. The CMMI provides a framework or map of “what” a high-performance organization must do. Agile provides particular approaches that prescribe “how” to do it. As methods and techniques are adapted and evolve, the CMMI provides the foundation on which organizations can iterate or tailor their techniques in a way that is appropriate to the dynamics of their business environment. The discipline, organizational learning, and consistency provided by the adoption of CMMI supports organizations in making their agile implementation even stronger and more effective. A Guide to Scrum and CMMI: Improving Agile Performance with CMMI is now available for download and use. For more information on CMMI and agile and to download the Guide, visit
Categories: Agile

Free Retrospective Tools for Distributed Scrum Teams

Scrum Expert - Wed, 01/11/2017 - 14:00
Even if Agile approaches favor collocated teams, distributed Scrum teams are more common that what we might think. Many Agile software development teams are based on a virtual organization. This article presents some free online tools that can be used to facilitate retrospectives for distributed Scrum teams. You will find in this article only tools that are supposed to be used for free in the long term. We do not list tools that offer only a free trial based on duration or the number of retrospectives. We will also only mention the tools that have features specifically dedicated to Scrum retrospectives. There are many other tools that Scrum teams might use, from video conferencing platforms to online whiteboard software. Mentioning all these tools will result more in a book than an article. If you want to add a tool that fits these requirements to this article, just let us now using the contact form. Updates July 19 2016: added Fun Retro January 10 2017: added goReflect, ScatterSpoke, Scrum Toolkit IdeaBoardz IdeaBoardz is a free online team collaboration tool. It allows teams to collectively gather inputs, reflect and retrospect. It is especially useful for distributed teams. For Scrum retrospectives, you can create two types of boards: standard or starfish. More board options are available (pros & cons, to-dos) that could be also useful. You can edit the titles of the sections of your board. The interface seems very intuitive, but sometimes I ended up in some situations where I didn’t know [...]
Categories: Agile

Atlassian Spends $425 million for Trello

Scrum Expert - Mon, 01/09/2017 - 15:39
Atlassian has just announced it has entered into a definitive agreement to acquire Trello, the online project management service that gained more than 19 million registered users in just five years. The acquisition is valued at approximately $425 million, which is comprised of approximately $360 million in cash and the remainder in Atlassian restricted shares, restricted share units and options to acquire Atlassian shares. Through virtual ‘sticky notes’ and digital whiteboards for organization and prioritization of work, Trello’s easy-to-use software has proven especially popular with business teams, also due to its free version. Trello is poised to be a key product in the Atlassian portfolio, providing a new way for teams to organize and prioritize the often complex range of information and idea sharing that feeds into great teamwork. In addition to launching a new version of its existing Trello integration for HipChat, Atlassian will be launching Trello integrations for its other collaboration products, including JIRA Software, Confluence and Bitbucket. The integrations will be available in the Atlassian Marketplace.
Categories: Agile

Measuring Agile Team Performance at Spotify

Scrum Expert - Wed, 01/04/2017 - 18:27
How do we actually know if our Agile teams are doing well? Is gut instinct enough? Furthermore, in a rapidly growing organization such as Spotify, how can we ensure some sort of consistency in our baseline level of Agile knowledge across the technology, product, and design organization? This talk discusses techniques we have developed and use at Spotify to benchmark health and performance for our Agile teams and some tactics we use to bring them closer to—and beyond!—being the best teams they can be. The presentation explains frameworks that can be used to give us tangible evidence about how we’re doing as teams, as Agile Coaches, and as managers of people and product. Furthermore, this talk tells you about the organization-level methods uses at Spotify to share knowledge and maintain alignment of our Agile practices as it scales in order to bring music to people all around the world. Video producer:
Categories: Agile