The Facile Agile Manifesto

Agile is a mindset.  It comes with certain behaviour and a certain culture.  As with many things most people and organisations have to go through some serious change before they can actually be successful within an Agile setting. Change is hard, and it takes time.  I strongly believe that it helps when you simply understand what you’re trying to achieve.

‘Agile’ is no buzzword or a complex management theory, it’s natural behaviour for millions of people;  It’s not for managers.  It’s for everyone and it’s easy to understand as long as you acknowledge that ‘being Agile’ has nothing to do with the process you follow or the tools you use.  ‘Being Agile’ is about culture, behaviour and mindset.

This post intends to reword the Agile Manifesto in a way that makes its meaning obvious.  Understanding something,  doesn’t mean you’re immediately capable of doing it, but it’s a very good first step and it will help you on your way.

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Agile Fixed Price – How to …

Market Driven Development  (aka Agile Fixed Price)

I propose a paradigm shift in developing software to deliver business value.

For a team to satisfy a business need,
it is not the amount of work that defines the time needed,
it is the available time that defines the amount of work that can be done.

The deadline is part of the need, and not the result of estimation or planning techniques.
With the deadline being part of the need, the Team and the Product Owner have a shared budget ( = number of Sprints ) to realize the Vision.

Instead of using Poker to give insight in the estimated time of delivery, let’s create a Market Place where Product Owner and Team ‘negotiate’ on the complexity of each story.

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Types of Agile Coaching

Agile Coaching is about guiding a person, team or organization towards more Agility.

Based upon the subject of coaching, there are 4 types of Agile Coaching

  • Personal Coaching
  • Team Coaching
  • System Coaching
  • Culture Coaching

Based upon the main focus a coach applies, 2 more types can be distinguished.

  • Outcome Coaching
  • Journey Coaching

Focus and subject are to be combined into 8 types of coaching.
In a successful Agile implementation all types of coaching add value

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Exercises for understanding Agile

I regularly run workshops to highlight certain aspects of an agile way of working and to help participants achieve a deeper understanding of these topics. I would like to share two of best received workshop sessions with you so that you can run them too. Today I’m describing the “Think Left” workshop.

During the “Think Left” workshop participants will work with the four values of the Agile Manifesto to gain a deeper understanding. In small groups each of the values will be worked on in a peer brainstorming fashion to better understand each of them. As a result of the workshop participants will realize that acting more on the left side or more on the right side of the Agile Manifesto is a choice.

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MoreAgile Principles

MoreAgile organizations support the following principles :

Complexity is a choice; we choose simplicity.

We carry out our vision and strategy
so that our people can make decisions in line with the mission of our organization.

Effectiveness is worth inefficiency.
We optimize the end to end value chain to maximize the result of our work.

We support selforganizing stable teams.
We create an environment that encourages people and teams to take responsibility and show entrepreneurship.

Our primary measurement for success is realized business value.

Our customers are the people that use our products.
Even when they are not the ones paying for our products.

We establish equal relationships on all levels
to empower knowledge sharing, commitment and shared responsibility.

We create opportunities from change, to continuously improve our products.

We prioritize all work in line with our vision and strategy.
Planning is a natural product of priority and sustainable pace.

We work smart, rather than hard, and learn every day.

Scrum : Effective Sprint Zero

What is it about waterfall we want to avoid ?   It’s mostly the transition moments !   A lot of information is simply lost when you transfer it from one person to another.  Another thing we want to avoid is to create a strict order in things because this leads to limiting flexibility.  Still, Sprint Zero, is a commonly used practice, and it implies to happen before anything else right ?

So how to do a Sprint 0 in a smart way ?  Use these principles :

  • A length of more than 1 week for Sprint Zero is way too long
  • Spending half of Sprint Zero on training and teambuilding is only nearly enough
  • To do more than strictly needed to start the first sprint is too much
  • The outcome of Sprint Zero is a jump start for Sprint One.

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MoreAgile, shock or goal ?

Just like the Agile Manifesto was a shock 10 years ago, the MoreAgile Manifesto creates some shock effects now.

Responsibility is scary, Business value is undefined, partnership feels impossible and change is kind of accepted but not loved.

  • Over the next coming years expert professionals will become very rare, so employers will have to make the difference by creating the best possible workplace. Part of this will be that responsibility embraces empowerment and that the freedom that comes with this will be the only thing wanted by this professionals.
  • Business Value is already important today, however difficult to measure. The Lean and SixSigma movements are creating a setting where not measuring value is not done. This expertise will be the a good basis to use as a logical measurement tool for success in software delivery.
  • Endusers are rapidly maturing into strong groups with an opinion that matters. Social media will help them to raise their voice. Service companies and software suppliers will have no other option but to deliver services in partnership to catch up with the high demands from the market.
  • The speed of change will go up for another couple of decades. Sprints of 2 weeks are far to long, waiting to see something in production that is already finished will no longer be accepted. Just responding to change will simply not be enough. We have to love change.

It took us 10 years to create a world where the ideas of the Agile Manifesto are accepted and commonly used. Likewise, MoreAgile is not something we will easily achieve. The ideas are bolt and a lot of things need to change before we can really work MoreAgile.

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MoreAgile Manifesto

We encounter possibilities to focus more on effectiveness by working Agile and learning from that. Based upon our experience we value :

Teamwork & responsibility over Individuals and Interaction
Deliver Value over Working software
Partnership elaboration over Customer collaboration
Embrace change over Respond to Change

While we value the Agile Manifesto, we state that MoreAgile is more Agile.

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Agile and Scrum – A metaphor that works

Scrum and Agile are not synonyms. Scrum describes a process ( a set of activities) but its only Agile when you do this activities in an Agile mindset.
You can easily be Agile without using Scrum, and it’s definitely possible to do Scrum in a way that is not Agile.

Having a good metaphor can help speed up the understanding.

If Scrum is like riding a bike, then Agile would be the sense of balance.
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Agile tester is not responsible for testing!! 4 essential differences

The tester is a member of a Scrum team. This is a different mindset from the traditional views on testers in software development. The agile tester focuses on delivering value instead of on testing. The agile tester is responsible for delivering what the business needs instead of just finding bugs. Most importantly: the agile tester is not responsible for testing!

Recently I published an article on testing in a Scrum team for the Eurostar 2010 newsletters. It’s about the mindset of an Agile tester. This blog post summarizes the core of that article.

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