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Agile Retrospectives

"If you tell the truth, you don't have to remember anything.” - Mark Twain

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Maximizing Scrum

Wednesday, April 02, 2014 - Gunther Verheyen

When organizations consider or start adopting Scrum, a frequently raised concern is how ‘to scale Scrum’. It is worthwhile investigating this desire, and start exploring the scalability of Scrum.

It seems that many organizations have grown into very complicated and extremely interdependent internal structures over the years of their existence. The implementation of Scrum is expected to fit the existing structures.

Within the existing structures ‘scaling’ is synonymous to increasing volume and quantity, to larger numbers. Hence, the expectation that the implementation of Scrum must be expanded with additional processes, roles, phases, etc.

In order to start thinking about scaling Scrum, there is much value in understanding and employing Scrum fully first. What would you be scaling otherwise, right?

There IS value in maximizing Scrum first.

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‘Evidence-Based Management’ for Software Organizations

Monday, March 03, 2014 - Gunther Verheyen

‘Evidence-Based Management’ for software organizations promotes evidence-based decision-making in the managerial domain to create a more sustainable business through improved services in turbulent markets and businesses.

Scrum.org, which has Scrum as its DNA and empiricism as guiding principle, provides guidance for ‘Evidence-Based Management’ for software organizations.

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Resurrecting the Much-Maligned Scrum of Scrums

Wednesday, January 29, 2014 - Charles Bradley

I have encountered many in the Agile community who love Scrum but seem to hate on the practice of Scrum of Scrums. Others describe their Scrum of Scrums as an overarching meeting of Scrum Masters, or as a meeting for a Product Owner team.

In my experience, however, a Scrum of Scrums is a great way to scale the principle of the Daily Scrum, with the purpose of re-planning development work. If done properly, it's a great practice that implements Scrum’s core principle of bottom-up knowledge creation.

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Measuring Success, Measuring Value

Wednesday, January 08, 2014 - Gunther Verheyen

The aim to deliver valuable software is a great, core principle of the agile movement. The difficulty however is that ‘value’ in itself is hardly quantifiable. Yet, I do believe it is imperative to think in terms of value in software development and therefore overcome some fluffiness attached to ‘value’. If we don’t find actionable ways to deal with ‘value’ it might remain meaningless; another buzz word, another way of getting people to think it’s time to move on to the next hype. It is not only difficult to quantify value, it is not even necessary, maybe even undesirable. It is better to measure whether we are delivering value (effectively).

What we thought defined success

For many years we were tricked into believing that software development can be considered a success if we meet 3 criteria: deliver (1) all promised requirements (2) within the planned time (3) for the allocated budget. It is reflected in the famous iron triangle of software development.

That in turn tricked us into believing that, in order to be successful, we had to exhaustively analyze, detail and describe all requirements upfront, and get formal approval and sign off over them before the actual programming can be done. The underlying motivation is to secure the first element of what we were told defines success, the ‘requirements’. [Continue reading...]

Agile Value

Wednesday, December 11, 2013 - Ken Schwaber

Every year, organizations spend 4-10% of their revenues on their IT organizations. Value is expected in return for these expenditures.

Here, value is defined as the financial benefit that an organization receives for expenditures. When measured, value can encompass an entire organization, or be constrained, such as to a single division or product line. Regardless, it must encompass those areas affected by the expenditure. 

Value will be a point in time measurement comprised of:

  • revenues per employee – gross revenues per employee
  • employee satisfaction – how satisfied are the employees? After investing in employees, they become a substantial asset and competitive advantage.
  • customer satisfaction – are the customers more or less satisfied than in the past? Finding a new customer is much more costly than satisfying current customers.    

An organization can change value through:

  • products and services that it sells and delivers.
  • systems, both manual and automated, through which it delivers the products and services. 

 We focus on the latter.

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