Agile 2012 submissions

Last week I submitted a couple of sessions to the Agile 2012 conference. The sessions focus on two particular areas that are very close to my heart and where I see a great deal of opportunity for us to improve as a community.
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Scaling agile teams – by features or by component?

Agile methods are of clear benefit while our projects are small enough to be delivered by a single small team responsible for the full life-cycle and incorporating all of the various necessary specialisms. As the project size increases we will eventually reach a state where we face a challenge since the team size becomes increasingly difficult to manage and we seek to provide internal structure through sub-teams. At this point we will typically need to establish the axis along which the team is split.
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Agile Business Analysis – slides

This is the presentation that was delivered to both Agile 2010 and the Agile Business Conference in London.

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MMFs – enabling incremental delivery

I just checked back to see how much I’d written about MMFs (minimum marketable features). This is a technique I use and talk about a lot so I thought I’d written more that I have.

I’ll provide here a few of the ways I use MMFs and why I feel that they are so helpful when devising incremental delivery strategies. more »

User stories discussed

Last week I had the pleasure of running a user story workshop for a group of very experienced folk with a broad range of backgrounds and skill sets. We convened the workshop to discuss the challenges that present themselves when we apply user stories for the first time on a real project.

The conversation was broad ranging but, since a number of people have told me that attending the workshop was valuable, I’ll try to capture some of the key issues.

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Agile Business Analysis at Agile2010

On Thursday Gary Jones and I will be talking about Agile Business Analysis techniques in E-3 at 13:30.

This post brings together some of the resources he will be referring to and other related references. If you have a favourite resource for other BA techniques please feel free to comment below.

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Driving out uncertainty

Agile practice irrespective of flavour (Scrum Kanban XP …)can often be reduced to:

  • Work in small batches
  • Deliver often
  • Build the most valuable chunk first

And it’s the “value” bit that can get us in trouble.

How do we determine which is the most valuable bit? Particularly early on in a project we need to be careful about how we prioritise. Do we just get a bunch of business folk to fight for their favourite features or do we have some hard won lessons to apply from many years of technology project management?
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Agile retrospectives – Cause and effect

Thanks to Rachel Davies for sharing her approach to constructing a diagram of effects.

Rachel proposes that the diagram of effects can trigger a team to discuss how a variety of issues relate and goes on to highlight advice from Bas Vodde and Craig Larman in their first book “Scaling Lean and Agile Development”, the First Law of Diagramming is “The primary value in diagrams is in the discussion while diagramming—we model to have a conversation.”

I have been using a slightly different approach in retrospectives recently. With a similar intent to Rachel I hope to trigger conversations that result in a team sharing there concerns and issues and coming to a shared view as to how these relate and where would be a good point for intervention.

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Iterating and incrementing

Agile approaches like Scrum are often described as iterative but we seem to forget where iteration really benefits us and how to plan for iteration when compared to incrementing.

Iteration is a strategy for discovering a requirement by building software and soliciting feedback. By travelling through this cycle a few times you home in on the true customer need. Where there is a high degree of complexity of uncertainty this feedback driven approach is likely to be more cost effective that attempting to completely analyse the requirement.

By contrast an incremental approach involves building a part of a solution completely followed by the next part.
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Using Tom Gilb’s impact estimation for Agile Enablement

I described here some of the ideas that Tob Gilb shared with me and one of my consulting clients. Following this session we decided to apply his impact estimation model to drive the project. In this post I will show how this manifested, provide some examples and describe how we have used the technique and what we have learnt.
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Where am I?

March 2015
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