Agilistic

A blog with lessons learned, experiences and reflections on Scrum and Agile Software Development (.NET, mostly)

Yes, you can generalize Scrum to non-IT work, such as marketing- and content-generation. And it actually yields similar benefits; more work gets done, increased transparency, sharing of knowledge and increased motivation due to clear shared goals. In 2015 I had the opportunity to help two marketing- & content-teams at Kaarten Carrousel get started with Scrum. The teams have now broken through the 20th sprint-marker and moved into a larger, more spacious building, so this is a good opportunity to share how this came to be, what worked and what didn't. About Kaarten Carrousel If you live in the Netherlands, and…

Johannes & Christiaan, on the run from Scrum Zombies (by Maarten Brugman) We got out by the skin of our teeth, I tell you! Crawling through vents, hiding behind Scrum Boards and pelleting them with post-its and whiteboard markers. But we got out in time, and we’re here to warn you. Because they are here, and their number is growing rapidly. Mindless, drooling herds of developers, testers, designers and others moaning ‘chaaaange’ and shambling around the building to all sorts of brainless Scrum-activities. We (Johannes Schartau and Christiaan Verwijs) took it upon ourselves to write down what we have…

For my english readers; an English translation of this post ('How to start a Great Scrum Team?') will follow soon. I apologize for the inconvenience. This post was initialy published on the blog of Kreischer & Partners IT recruiment. "Hoe zorg je dat Scrum Teams een goede start maken?". Het is een vraag die ik vaak van klanten krijg, en waar ik als Agile Coach veel tijd aan besteed. Heel veel tijd. Want het is een misvatting om te verwachten dat het voldoende is om een paar mensen op Scrum Training te sturen, ze bij elkaar te zetten, en…

"Ok, so Agile is a great way to develop software", you say, "but how do I sell it to my customers?". Most pricing models that I've seen don't balance risks fairly between the customer and the supplier. Either the customer or the supplier carries all the risk, which doesn't sufficiently push both parties to take their responsibility. In this post I describe a simple pricing model that I've applied succesfully, and that - I think - balances out risks more fairly. The 'fixed-price, fixed-scope'-model The 'traditional' approach is to agree upon a set of requirements with your customer, estimate the…

This is a re-post of an older post. This version has been revised and extended with more strategies. The downloadable cheatsheet has been updated accordingly. Teams that have mastered Scrum know that the key to success lies in a just-in-time, increasingly refined, breakdown of work on the Product Backlog. They prefer Sprint Backlogs with many small (functional) items instead of just a few large ones. Smaller items improve flow, and reduce the risk of failing the sprint. In this article, I will explain why the break-down of work is important, and why it should be done across functional - instead…

One of the biggest challenges for a Scrum Team is to switch from a technical to a functional perspective on their work. The former focuses on the 'how' of development - which components must be changed, what code is touched - whereas the latter focuses on 'why' and 'who' - what do we want to achieve and for whom are we building this software. The locus of these questions lies in the Product Backlog. Assuming that the Product Owner and the stakeholders represent 'business' and/or 'customers' (which they should), the Backlog should be readable by all. Not only for…

I'm a big fan of cloud-based hosting. As a matter of fact, this website (based on Ghost) used to be hosted on Microsoft Azure. This worked really well for a while, especially when combined with automated builds and deployment from a connected git repository on BitBucket. What I didn't like about Microsoft Azure is that its hard to predict costs. Despite only moderate traffic (300+ visitors a day), the cost of hosting on Azure varied between 12 and 35 dollars a month (with spikes up to 50 dollars). Looking for an excuse to try something else, I recently got my…

Oh darn! You’re in trouble. You’ve been working on this huge project for a while, with one or more Scrum teams, and management wants to have an answer to one or two questions: “When will it be done” and/or “What will it cost us?”. Despite your best efforts to convince management that it doesn’t work this way in Scrum, you’re hard pressed to provide a date and a budget. What will you do? Which answer will appease management and be compatible with an Agile approach? The background of questions like these is usually risk management.…

I can't tell you how often I've seen this model (from various authors) circulating LinkedIn. I'm talking about the version that has the methodologies scribbled into this model as sort of a guideline on what to use. In fact, you may have run into it once or twice yourself. From the face of it this picture seems to make a good point. Agile (Scrum / Kanban / XP) works best in projects where there is a fair amount of uncertainty in either technology or requirements (or both), but a Waterfall-based approach is more suitable for projects where there is little to no…

The Scrum Guide emphasizes that Scrum Teams should be self-organizing and cross-functional. Guides, frameworks and methodologies aside, this is very sensible advice if you want to allow a team to discover the best way to do their job and work around (or through) obstacles. But being a cross-functional team does not mean that everyone should be able to perform any task. Nor does it mean that there can be no specialized skills in a team, like design, development, testing, analysis or UX. These definitions share the assumption that teams are at their best when skills are (mostly) homogenously distributed. This…