Agilistic

What I've learned while working with Scrum and Agile software development.

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…