Projects at Work

Agile


Do No Sprint Harm

- by Bart Gerardi

Creating a test sprint or varying the length of a sprint might seem like helpful ideas to address common problems on agile projects, but they should be avoided at all costs. These anti-patterns won’t fix the real underlying issues; in fact, they will probably exacerbate them and weaken your team.

Don’t Start Over

- by Dave Prior

Why tear down a liveable house when you could remodel it to suit your specific needs? Specializing in test-driven development, “chief code whisperer” Scott Ford has built a team at Corgibytes to fix and maintain existing applications, which he likens to solving a mystery. Here, he advocates for disciplined documentation and offers suggestions for project managers who want to "peek" into the process. [13:45]

Velocity Is A Plan

- by Bart Gerardi

Velocity is an agile planning tool, not a measure of productivity. Its purpose is to help determine which stories will fit into a sprint, and how many sprints remain until a release is ready or the project is done. Velocity is not about team efficiency or effectiveness, and treating it as a metric to continually improve is another Agile Anti-Pattern.

Agile Anti-Pattern #8: Lucky Dog

- by Bart Gerardi

It can seem like a good idea to add a backup story into a sprint — if works gets blocked or things turn out easier than expected, another story can be pulled into the sprint. However, having more than one story identified, even if not committed, is likely to lead to less work getting done.

An Agile-Waterfall Union

- by Shawn Dickerson

Given their fundamental differences, can Agile and Waterfall methodologies really be combined without causing more headaches than the effort is worth? Yes, but like any successful marriage, it takes some compromise and adjustment. Here are a few guidelines to make it work and reap the best of both worlds.

Write Better User Stories

- by Sondra Ashmore, Kristin Runyan

Writing effective user stories on Agile projects requires collaboration between the product owner and team. The effort involves agreeing on the depth of technical detail in the story, ensuring that epics are appropriately broken down, and adding acceptance criteria. Let’s look at some helpful examples for each step.

Agile Anti-Patterns: #6-7

- by Bart Gerardi

There are many ways that story points are often used incorrectly by well-meaning teams. In the fourth installment of our series, we look at two more agile anti-patterns that seem like good ideas but aren’t: allowing everyone to have a vote, and playing “Go Fish” during planning exercises.

It’s All In the Details

- by Sondra Ashmore, Kristin Runyan

In agile projects, most requirements start out as epics, which are too big to be addressed in a single sprint. Let’s look at some examples of how epics are broken down into manageable stories through team and user collaboration, and how acceptance criteria add important details.

CA, VersionOne Unveil Agile-PPM Solution

- by ProjectsatWork.com

CA Technologies and VersionOne have partnered on a solution that integrates Agile and waterfall project management, providing visibility across all development initiatives and enabling improved business-level decision making.

What's Your Story?

- by Sondra Ashmore, Kristin Runyan

Requirements in Agile environments are handled very differently than in projects following linear processes. In Scrum, requirements are collected and shared through user stories, which have a precise format that invites conversation and collaboration. Here are some examples and guidelines for writing effective user stories.

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EVENTS

haresh t: "Thanks for nicely covering the essentials on Dealng with Disappointment.. Exce…" on Dealing With Disappointment
January 25, 2015

Andreea T: "Excellently written, this article captures the main points for a successful appl…" on Automatic for the Process
January 25, 2015

Rick S: "Hey Bart - just a note to say how much I like your anti-pattern series - great i…" on Do No Sprint Harm
January 22, 2015

jose f: "Human relationships in a project are very complicated right? In my personal poin…" on Adaptive Project Leadership
January 22, 2015

 

TOP CONTRIBUTORS

Bart Gerardi

Sr. Technical Program Manager, Amazon.com
Bart has been an ecommerce program manager for 15 years, and can’t…

Andy Jordan

President, Roffensian Consulting Inc.
Andy Jordan is a well known author and speaker on project management and…

Dave Prior

Agile Consultant, BigVisible Solutions
Dave Prior, PMP, CST, MBA is an Agile Consultant for BigVisible where he…

Cornelius Fichtner

Cornelius Fichtner, PMP is a noted PMP expert. He has helped over 25,000…

Kathleen O'Connor

I’m a freelance journalist and digital content strategist with 15+…

Aaron Smith

Editorial Director, ProjectsAtWork.com
Aaron has been the editor of ProjectsAtWork since 2001, leading its evol…

BLOGS

Meditating Project Managers

Posted by Dave Prior

Steve Winters and Matt Payton are Digital Project Managers who work MetalToad. One of the coolest things they are working on right now is a series of experiments they are planning for 2015. Each mo...
Posted in: The Reluctant Agilist


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