Articles published in July 2013

Managing Technical Debt

Managing Technical Debt

During the course of a project, the development team cuts corners due to a variety of reasons, such as lack of skill, pressure of meeting deadlines, or sheer laziness. Over time, these result in the accumulation of a large backlog of technical inefficiencies that need to be serviced in the future. . . .

Agile, Self-Organization, and Personal Responsibility

Agile, Self-Organization, and Personal Responsibility

"How do I behave when I'm in a situation of shared responsibility but I'm not in charge of the person I'm working with and they're not in charge of me?" Christopher Avery opened his keynote presentation at the Agile Indy 2013 conference with this inquiry. This scenario arises quite frequently in an Agile environment, as we encourage self-organization among teams. We ask people to work differently, to self-organize and share responsibility, but what guidance do we give them on how to do this?

A Key Attribute to Scrum Project Planning: Determining Scrum Team Velocity

A Key Attribute to Scrum Project Planning: Determining Scrum Team Velocity

Throughout my journey within Scrum and Agile practices, I have faced a key scenario again and again: Every project's business side needs to know from the development team how much time the given product backlog will take to deliver, and the development teams always struggle to provide accurate estimates. . . .

Soft Skills for ScrumMasters

Soft Skills for ScrumMasters

Playing the ScrumMaster role by the book is not enough. Successful ScrumMasters have developed many skills throughout their experience, often soft ones. We present hereunder a handful of such soft skills that we have identified as important during our own experiences as ScrumMasters and Scrum team members.

Take a Seat, Please

Take a Seat, Please

OK, the decision has been made that you are moving to Agile/Scrum from a more traditional method, most likely Waterfall. Agile has three clearly defined roles: product owner, ScrumMaster, and team. In this new framework, then, who gets to do what?

Part-Time Team Development

Part-Time Team Development

We initiated a project with a team of five developers working on a part-time basis. This team faced a big challenge: Some of them were occasionally not able to work on certain days due to other commitments. It was not possible to ask them to put their regular jobs aside, so. . . .

Micro PDCA: TDD & Sprint Review

Micro PDCA: TDD & Sprint Review

In the first article of this series, Micro PDCA: Improve Your Improvement, I introduced the Micro PDCA concept and talked about how we use it in our sprint plannings at my company. In this article, I'll show a way to. . . .

How Definition of Done Can Influence Your Net Promoter Score

How Definition of Done Can Influence Your Net Promoter Score

I was on a plane operated by a major U.S. airline, flying from New York to Charlotte, North Carolina, supposedly taking off at 8:25 a.m. Everybody was seated and I thought that we are ready to go. . . .

Can Companies Be Servant Leaders?

Can Companies Be Servant Leaders?

When we refer to servant leadership in Scrum, it is at the team level. A ScrumMaster is the servant leader for the Scrum team. This is all great for the Scrum team, but what about everyone else -- the ScrumMaster included? Who is that person's servant leader? Can companies step in and help fill this role?

Five Stages of Agile Realization

Five Stages of Agile Realization

Can you remember when you first found out about Agile? How did you feel? What emotions did you go through?

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