Category Archives: Agile Methodologies

The Agile Response to a P1 Incident

emergencyHow should  a team respond to change?

The simple answer is “they should respond by being agile”.

If there’s one concept about agility that sceptical managers have caught onto it’s this one. When change happens, they expect that a truly agile team will be able to turn on a dime. You can hardly blame them, it sounds like a great idea. It suggests that perhaps managers don’t need to stabilise the working environment. They just need to pass change on. The teams will be able to deal with the impact…if they’re any good.

After all, aren’t they meant to be agile?

Of course, team members will have a rather different interpretation of this. They’ll tell you that agility isn’t about being reactive – it’s about responding to change in a controlled manner. With seemingly limitless demands on the team, and clearly finite resources, prioritisation becomes essential. Agile teams will work from an ordered backlog, and they’ll plan to deliver value by drawing work requests out of that queue. In other words they plan to follow an agile process…and that means things like “Sprint Planning” can still happen.

So let’s ask the question again – how should a team respond to change?

Why Stretched Teams do “Scrumban”

15842087_sA few years ago Corey Ladas wrote an article about an Agile approach he called “Scrumban”. As the name suggests, this is a variant of Scrum with certain Lean-Kanban characteristics. What he proposed was a graduation of Scrum teams to leaner and more pull-based ways of working than Scrum itself allows.

Whereas Scrum will “batch” work up into Sprint Backlogs and potentially releasable increments, a leaner Scrumban approach will seek to minimize the batching of work as far as possible. Each work item will be processed in response to a clear signal for demand, and not because it has been planned into a Sprint backlog. In strictly Lean terms, holding on to such inventory is a form of waste.

What Corey proposed was the gradual facilitation of leaner practices in Scrum. He sought “…to incrementally enhance Scrum with more and more pull-like features until all that remains of the original process is vestigial scaffolding”. For example, he argued that “if your iteration backlog contains 20 work items, then that’s still about 19 more than it needs to be in a pull system”.

The result was an agile approach which makes a Leaner way of working an end in itself. Since then though, Scrum-Kanban hybrids have taken off in ways that were perhaps not entirely foreseeable at the time when Scrumban was floated.

An Introduction to Continuous Integration

jdowdleOne of the great Agile ‘promises’ is the ability to “satisfy the customer through early and continuous delivery of valuable software.”

But what does it really take to achieve this end goal?

In this video, ‘The Continuous Deliverist’ and AtTask Inc Director of Development Jesse Dowdle shares some continuous integration insights, including…

From Chaos to Order with Agile

From chaos to order with AgileWhen scaling agile across large organisations it’s not unusual for different teams to tailor Agile practices to meet their unique project needs and constraints. And in an attempt to manage these variations, some companies try to enforce a prescriptive, one-size-fits-all approach to Agile.

But is this the best way to achieve enterprise agility?

In this video, international Agile consultant, author and speaker Scott Ambler shares some key insights for scaling Agile across organisations, including:

  • Which factors to consider when scaling Agile at the organisational level
  • What to consider when outsourcing agile projects or working with distributed teams
  • Which agile methodology is best suited to your project objectives
  • The key ‘Agile’ trends to look out for over the next few years

Check it out and leave your thoughts, insights, comments and/or questions below

Mitigating Risk and Dealing with Uncertainty on Agile Projects

risk-smallDeciding to ‘go Agile’ is often the first step in a number of (often challenging) subsequent steps. Like the constant (sometimes up-hill battle) to convince management why the organisation should develop in this new way – and that in order to get the full benefits of Agile development an investment in new technology, such as automated testing and continuous integration, might be required; or getting your development team to understand that ‘user stories’ are more than just another format for writing requirements.

And let’s not forget the risk and uncertainty associated with working in an Agile way – how do you mitigate these?

In this short video, internationally acclaimed Agile expert and BDD (Behaviour Driven Development) creator Dan North shares some useful ideas for delivery successful Agile projects, including why organisations should aim to be more efficient instead of productive; how to get senior management buy-in to Agile projects; and the key to getting optimal results using BDD.