Agile

More often than not, Scrum seems like a Bad idea. At least, judging from the reasons that are often presented to me when I am asked to help a company get started with Scrum: "We want the team to take more ownership of what they're developing". "We want teams to behave more professionally". "We want to use Scrum to improve upfront estimates and stay within budget". "We want the team to work more efficiently and become more productive". "We don't have room for a project manager, so Scrum is our best option". There is nothing wrong with these goals. I'm…

Software (& product) development is never a simple endeavor. Save perhaps for projects that run a couple of days and involve only a handful of people. The vast majority of projects can easily be considered complex. By 'complex' I mean: too many variables and potential (emergent) interactions to reliably predict the (near) future. Yet, we seem to suffer from a powerful cognitive bias that makes us discount complexity with statements like 'it can't be that hard', 'we've done this before' and 'we already know pretty well what to make'. I often run into people that feel that their 'project isn't…

Automating manual work, such as deploying your application or running tests, can be a daunting task. Most teams agree that automation is important. But not knowing where to start with this 'huge and important thing', they keep pushing it into the future. In this post I offer a practical approach to get started with automation tomorrow. Automation is one of the cornerstones of Agile software development. The idea is that manual work is tedious, error-prone and therefore something you're likely to do as infrequently as possible. This includes tasks such as testing your application and releasing a new version of…

We (Christiaan Verwijs & Barry Overeem) wrote this post collaboratively to share our insights and lessons learned by applying Lean Change Management in practice. A couple of weeks ago Barry Overeem, Hans van der Burgh and I facilitated a workshop for an organization in the Dutch energy market. The workshop focused on two themes: Moving from “doing agile” towards “being agile” Improving the alignment and collaboration between business and IT We proposed to facilitate a one-day workshop to jointly explore the challenge and extract a handful of concrete experiments for the upcoming weeks. As the foundation for this workshop we…

As a Scrum Master, I love trying out new and different Retrospectives. It prevent the monotony of always doing the same thing (like a regular ‘plus/delta’). And it offers a team a new and different perspective to evaluate the process and learn from it. The ‘Team Radar’ is one of my favorites. It strikes a nice balance between reflection as a team and as an individual. It’s also one of the best methods to make transparent where a team agrees and where it doesn’t, automatically prioritizing what needs attention. Setting up Create a large Team Radar on…