You are working in a Kanban team and after a few months it doesn’t seem to be as easy and effective as it used to be. Here are three tips on how to get that energy back up.
- The Agile transformation at ING was frontpage news in the Netherlands. This made us even more realize how epic this transformation and assignment actually is.
- The Agile-built hydrogen race car from the TU Delft set an official track record on the Nurburgring. We're proud on our guys in Delft!
- Hanging out with Boeings’ Agile champs at their facilities in Seattle exchanging knowledge. Impressive and extremely fruitful!
- Coaching the State of Washington on their ground breaking Agile initiatives together with my friend and fellow consultant from ScrumInc, Joe Justice.
One thing became clear for me after a week like this: Something Agile is cookin’. And it’s BIG!
In this blog I will be explaining why and how Agile will develop in the near future.
This blogpost has been a collaborative effort between Jeroen Willemsen and Jasper Sonnevelt
In this post we will take a look at a real life example of a Scrum team transitioning to Kanban. We will address a few pitfalls and discuss how to circumvent those. With this we provide additional insights to advance your agile way of working.
An approach to incorporate UX into the LEAN principle.
User Experience is often interpreted as a process where the ‘UX guru’ holds the ultimate truth in designing for an experience. The guru likes to keep control of his design and doesn’t want to feel less valuable when adopting advice from non-designers, where his concern is becoming a pixel pusher. Read more
A team I had been coaching held a sprint review to show what they had achieved and to get feedback from stakeholders. Among these were managers, other teams, enterprise architects, and other interested colleagues.
In the past sprint they had built and realized the automation of part of the Continuous Delivery pipeline. This was quite a big achievement for the team. The organization had been struggling for quite some time to get this working, and the team had realized this in a couple of sprints!
Team - "Anyone has questions or wants to know more?"
Stakeholder - "Thanks for the demo. How does the shown solution deal with 'X'?"
The team replied with a straightforward answer to this relatively simple question.
Stakeholder - "I have more questions related to the presented solution and concerns on corporate level, but this is probably not the good time to go into details."
What just happened and how did the team respond?
is achieved not there are no more features to add, but when there are no more features to take away. -- Antoine de Saint Exupéry
Not only was Antoine a brilliant writer, philosopher and pilot (well arguably since he crashed in the Mediterranean) but most of all he had a sharp mind about engineering, and I frequent quote him when I train product owners, product managers or in general product companies, about what makes a good product great. I also tell them their most important word in their vocabulary is "no". But the question then becomes, what is the criteria to say "yes"?
Once upon a time I was asked to help out a software product company. The management briefing went something like this: "We need you to increase productivity, the guys in development seem to be unable to ship anything! and if they do ship something it's only a fraction of what we expected".
And so the story begins. Now there are many ways how we can improve the teams outcome and its output (the first matters more), but it always starts with observing what they do today and trying to figure out why.
It turns out that requests from the business were treated like a good wine, and were allowed to "age", in the oak barrel that was called Jira. Not so much to add flavour in the form of details, requirements, designs, non functional requirements or acceptance criteria, but mainly to see if the priority of this request would remain stable over a period of time.
In the days that followed I participated in the "Change Control Board" and saw what he meant. Management would change priorities on the fly and make swift decisions on requirements that would take weeks to implement. To stay in vinotology terms, wine was poured in and out the barrels at such a rate that it bore more resemblance to a blender than to the art of wine making.
Though management was happy to learn I had unearthed to root cause to their problem, they were less pleased to learn that they themselves were responsible. The Agile world created the Product Owner role for this, and it turned out that this is hat, that can only be worn by a single person.
Once we funnelled all the requests through a single person, both responsible for the success of the product and for the development, we saw a big change. Not only did the business got a reliable sparring partner, but the development team had a single voice when it came to setting the priorities. Once the team starting finishing what they started we started shipping at regular intervals, with features that we all had committed to.
Of course it did not take away the dynamics of the business, but it allowed us to deliver, and become reliable in how and when we responded to change. Perhaps not the most aged wine, but enough to delight our customers and learn what we should put in our barrel for the next round.
Last fall, I was approached by Tom van Norden from the UC Berkeley School of Information. A team of professor Morten T. Hansen, famous from his bestseller with Jim Collins “Great by Choice”, was investigating the magic around Joe Justice’ WikiSpeed. His agile team outperformed companies like Tesla during the XPrize a couple of years ago. Berkeley did research on the Agile and Lean practices being applied by the WikiSpeed team and it’s current status.
My work allows me to meet a lot of different people, who actively pursue Scrum. Some of them question the value of doing a sprint review meeting at the end of every sprint. Stakeholders presumably do not “use” nor “see” their work directly, or the iterated product is not yet releasable.
Looks like this Scrum ritual is not suited for all. If you are a person questioning the value of a demo, then focus on your stakeholders and start to demo the delta instead of just your product. Here is a 3-step plan to make your sprint reviews worth your while.
Yesterday my colleagues and I ran an awesome workshop at the MIT conference in which we built a Rube Goldberg machine using Scrum and Extreme Engineering techniques. As agile coaches one would think that being an Agile team should come naturally to us, but I'd like to share our pitfalls and insights with you since "we learned a lot" about being an agile team and what an incredible powerful model a Rube Goldberg machine is for scaled agile product development.
If you're not the reading type, check out the video.