01
Sep 2013

A Perspective on the Scaled Agile Framework

A Perspective on the Scaled Agile Framework

I have watched with interest and disappointment over the past month or so as Agile thought leaders have taken to publicly passing judgement on the new kid on the block, the Scaled Agile Framework aka SAFe. In the interests of full disclosure, I am a certified SAFe Program Consultant, I use SAFe with my team and my teams approach to implementing SAFe is featured in the case studies section on scaledagileframework.com. Over two and half years ago, I went on two days of Agile Fundamentals training. The intent of the class was to introducing Agile and to provide us with ...
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26
Aug 2013

My Agile 2013 Experience – Day 6 of 6

My Agile 2013 Experience – Day 6 of 6

Friday The closing keynote for Agile 2013 was "Why Everyone Needs DevOps Now: A Fourteen Year Study Of High Performing IT Organizations " by +Gene Kim, author of The Phoenix Project. (If you haven't read The Phoenix Project you can download a free 170 page excerpt here.)  This is the second time I have heard Gene give this presentation and I must say I was very pleased to discover that on this occasion it had been video taped and posted to the Agile Alliance website.  Just in case you were considering not watching Gene's keynotes, let me give you a small taster of his findings: ...
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23
Aug 2013

My Agile 2013 Experience – Day 5 of 6

My Agile 2013 Experience – Day 5 of 6

Thursday De-Mystifying Kanban: Understanding Its Many Faces +Al Shalloway Al provided a very thorough and complete explanation of the various flavours of Kanban. He covered: Kanban as a signal Kanban as a Team Development Process Kanban’s Roots in Lean  Scrum as a Manifestation of Lean Lean Kanban University (LKU) Kanban aka The Kanban Method Kanban Thinking or Lean-Kanban Getting Started with Kanban Al very kindly chose to record his presentation and make it available on his website. He also posted the slide deck here. Gaining Support for a Sustainable Agile Transformation +Dennis Stevens and +Mike Cottmeyer  Dennis and Mike believe Agile is about team and if ...
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22
Aug 2013

My Agile 2013 Experience – Day 4 of 6

My Agile 2013 Experience – Day 4 of 6

Wednesday When NOT to Have All the Answers: Stop Giving Advice and Start Asking Questions +Judith Mills  and +Christopher Avery  Judith started by telling us about her addiction to giving advice and her realisation: "If I was going to be successful I couldn't be the expert I had to change the culture. Changing the culture isn't about imparting knowledge, its finding a way to tap into teams, have them take responsibility" and she immediately had my attention. Together with Christopher, Judith walked us through the responsibility process and how we respond to problems; moving from blame, to justify, to shame, to obligation. This ...
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21
Aug 2013

My Agile 2013 Experience – Day 3 of 6

My Agile 2013 Experience – Day 3 of 6

Tuesday Agile Metrics: Velocity is NOT the goal +Michael "Doc" Norton  Doc opened by explaining that Velocity is a lagging indicator for a complex system and lagging indicators are good for monitoring trends but are poor predictors of the future. He advocated the use of standard deviation in forecasting velocity, noting: "The Business won't like this but it's the closest you can get to the truth with the data you have". Doc also warned against the use of velocity targets, "When you set a target for velocity you unintentionally introduce all sorts of problems into the system". Next Doc talked to ...
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20
Aug 2013

My Agile 2013 Experience – Day 2 of 6

My Agile 2013 Experience – Day 2 of 6

Monday I missed Monday morning's keynote to attend the Executive Forum. In hindsight, the Executive Forum was not the best use of my time and hence I decided to spend the remainder of my day checking out sessions from the main conference. The Keynote, "Coding for America: How Agile and Lean are disrupting government -- and why they need to", was videoed and can be viewed on line here. The Agile Mindset +Linda Rising  This session was definitely my highlight from Day 1. Building on a theme touched on by +Mary Poppendieck and +Torbjörn Gyllebring at Agile Australia, Linda explored the fixed versus agile (growth) mindset. ...
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19
Aug 2013

My Agile 2013 Experience – Day 1 of 6

My Agile 2013 Experience – Day 1 of 6

Having been back home for a week, I have spent a week being asked "How was Agile 2013? What were your key takeaways?" and answering "I haven't digested it all yet. I need to order my thoughts." In an attempt to avoid further embarrassment, I decided to put pen to paper (or fingers to keyboard) and order my thoughts in the best way I know, by writing them down.  And having gone to all the trouble of writing them down, I figured I may as well share my thoughts with the blogsphere... Sunday Agile 2013 was my first time at ...
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24
Jul 2013

Leading Through Vulnerability

Leading Through Vulnerability

When Jean Tabaka ran her Scaling Collaboration workshop with my team in June, she commented on how open the team was to the experience and asked us how we went about creating an environment where traditionally introverted software engineers, from a diverse range of cultures and backgrounds, were so willing to participate in team activities. From my perspective there were lots of contributing factors eg. the Hakas, Bubble Ups, lean coffee management meetings etc. but it all began with the weekly practise of "walk the walls". "Walk the walls" came about after I got sick of listening to my coach, carry on about what a waste ...
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10
Jul 2013

Inspiring Software Engineers to Embrace Facilitation

Inspiring Software Engineers to Embrace Facilitation

At the beginning of June, I travelled to Boulder, Colorado to attend and speak at RallyON 2013. This was my first time attending RallyON and I wasn't sure what to expect. I diligently downloaded the Spotme app as suggested by the event organisers and spent a good hour or two trawling through the agenda selecting the sessions to attend. I was travelling with a friend who has always been a huge fan of Rally Agile Fellow, Jean Tabaka, so I thought I would add Jean and Laura Burke's breakout session, Scaling Collaboration: Be the Hero Your Agile Teams Need You to Be, to my selections. On the ...
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25
Jun 2013

The “Bubble Up” Approach to Scaling Retrospectives

The “Bubble Up” Approach to Scaling Retrospectives

One of the many initiatives I am really passionate about within our EDW Release Train is the commitment of my extended leadership team to continuous improvement. However, we have had some challenges identifying the right targets to improve! Instinctively it didn't seem like something that would be that hard. Surely if the train teams were experiencing pain in their every day work, they would tell us - or so I thought! I was under the impression we had broken down the communication barriers in our program wide retro a few months into our first attempt at scaling agile. On that occasion, our coach facilitated two ...
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