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Bringing Agile to the Next Level

The Best is Yet to Come written on desert roadI finished my last post with the statement Agile will be applied on a much wider scale in the near future. Within governmental organizations, industry, startups, on a personal level, you name it.  But how?  In my next posts I will deep dive in this exciting story lying in front of us in five steps:

Blogpost/Step I: Creating Awareness & Distributing Agile Knowledge
Change is a chance, not a threat.  Understanding and applying the Agile Mindset and toolsets will help everyone riding the wave of change with more pleasure and success.  This is the main reason why I’ve joined initiatives like Nederland Kantelt, EduScrum, Wikispeed and Delft University’s D.R.E.A.M. Hall.

Blogpost/Step II: Fit Agile for Purpose
The Agile Manifesto was originally written for software.  Lots of variants of the manifesto emerged the last couple of years serving different sectors and products. This is a good thing if the core values of the agile manifesto are respected.

However, agile is not applicable for everything.  For example, Boeing will never apply Scrum directly for producing critical systems.  They’re applying Scrum for less critical parts and R&D processes. For determining the right approach they use the Cynefin framework.  In this post I will explain this framework making it a lot easier where you could apply Agile and where you should be careful.

Blogpost/Step III: Creating a Credible Purpose or “Why”
You can implement a new framework or organization, hire the brightest minds and have loads of capital, in the end it all boils down to real passion and believe. Every purpose should be spot on in hitting the center of the Golden Circle.  But how to create this fontainebleau in spring?

Blogpost/Step IV: Breaking the Status Quo and Igniting Entrepreneurship
Many corporate organizations are busy or have implemented existing frameworks like SAFe or successful Agile models from companies like Netflix and Spotify.  But the culture change which goes with it, is the most important step. How to spark a startup mentality in your organization?  How to create real autonomy?

Compass with needle pointing the word organic. Green and grey tones over beige background, Conceptual illustration for healthy eating and organic farming.Blogpost/Step V: Creating Organic Organizations
Many Agile implementations do not transform organizations in being intrinsically Agile.  To enable this, organizations should evolve organically, like Holacracy.   They will become stronger and stronger by setbacks and uncertain circumstances.  Organic organizations will be more resilient and anti-fragile.  In fact, it’s exactly how nature works.  But how can you work towards this ideal situation?

Agile, but still really not Agile? What Pipeline Automation can do for you. Part 2.

Organizations adopting Agile and teams delivering on a feature-by-feature basis producing business value at the end of every sprint. Quite possibly this is also the case in your organization. But do these features actually reach your customer at the same pace and generate business value straight away? And while we are at it: are you able to actually use feedback from your customer and apply it for use in the very next sprint?

Possibly your answer is “No”, which I see very often. Many companies have adopted the Agile way of working in their lines of business, but for some reason ‘old problems’ just do not seem to go away…

Hence the question:

“Do you fully capitalize on the benefits provided by working in an Agile manner?”

Straight forward Software Delivery Pipeline Automation might help you with that.

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New proof that efficiency follows effectiveness called; “elephant trails”

Some time ago I saw an interview on a talk show that intrigued me. It kept me thinking and even to this date the topic discussed still puzzles me. In modern day organizations and markets more and more emphasis is placed on efficient behavior which should lead to better results and better ROI. Effective behavior is also sometimes mentioned, but way less often and it’s is not elaborated upon as much as efficiency. Maybe it’s because both nouns have two f’s and a lot of e’s, so people tend to forget about effectiveness?

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Flow to READY, Iterate to DONE

In a previous blog post I introduced the definition of READY, and I wanted to do another “context” blog post before starting on this one: on the difference between flowing (“kanban”) and iterating. However, I had much more to say on the subject than I expected, so the thing kept expanding… I’ll gather my thoughts and publish that one later. So for the purpose of this blog post just bear with me: I find that a Product Owner’s job is best done in a flow style. And since my dear ex-colleague Lars Vonk told me he was waiting for this post, I’ll just explain the how here. Lars, here you go… 🙂

Update: the third of the series is also done. See here.

Not all backlog items are equal. A backlog item starts out as a rough sketch – usually just the As a.. I want… So That… stanza – and needs to be fleshed out to the extent that it can be picked up by the team in a Sprint. Just like a team has a basic workflow getting stuff to Done, the same applies for the Product Owner role. Scrum does not have any specific support for a Product Owner: somehow the Product Backlog just “happens”. In this post I’ll try to fill that gap with respect to the process that a Product Owner can follow.

I’ll explain a partitioning of the backlog that maps onto a flow, the nature of those partitions and how you proceed through them to get enough stuff Ready for the team to pick up in the next Sprint.

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Feature Flow – Increasing velocity using Kanban

A few months ago I was joined a software development team that had some problems getting their process right. The team was doing Scrum by the book, apart from regular production releases they were doing it all: sprints, planning, retrospectives, Scrum board etc. This team didn’t need too much explanation of Scrum so I could dive into development straight away, or so I thought. They struggled with getting the sprints right, their velocity was decreasing and spirits were low. Luckily we managed to change our process by changing some basic Scrum practices and replacing some of them with Lean practices, inspired by the new Kanban articles and presentations. Productivity is now higher than ever and we can now focus on what really matters: product quality and customer satisfaction.
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