A new research report from Software Advice sheds light on which functionalities of agile project management software have the greatest impact on efficiency, and the extent to which agile methods are used in teams beyond software development.
Establishing a small "brain trust" to develop project estimates might seem like a reasonable way to optimize resources, but it goes against three closely held Agile principles. Worse, it will likely lead to less accurate estimates, while disengaging the team and undermining value.
Agile coach, consultant and author Bas Vodde shares insights and practical tips for scaling Scrum efforts in larger organizations, including key principles of the Large-Scale Scrum (LeSS) framework, which features fewer roles, artifacts and handoffs, among other guidelines. [32:40]
Michael Vizdos has helped people better understand and implement Scrum for almost 25 years, while Peter Green has led Agile transformation efforts at Adobe since 2008. Here, they discuss how they apply the values and techniques of Nonviolent Communication to their work and their lives. [24 min.]
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.
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 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.
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.
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.
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.