Not all “agile” is agile

Recently someone related to me that “their new scrum master / agile coach insists on two week sprints.” What happened to “people over process“? Too many companies do the scrum ceremonies almost like a cargo cult and are very far from an agile culture.

Confused about agile at your company? Some of the better blogs I have read on related topics may help you. Forward the ones you agree with to people who can help you drive change.

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Template for Automated Release Burn up

Velocity is an excellent planning tool for longer projects and stable teams that are not very small. It allows you to ignore details like vacation and bad estimates. The law of averages smooths out the bumps allowing you to make a reasonable directional estimate of what can be achieved by a given date.

For smaller teams on short projects of four to six sprints the vanilla velocity does not work as well. If a developer goes on a two week vacation both the sprint capacity and release projection can be significantly off. In a recent case we needed a larger team to complete the project but the fifth member was not available until the third sprint. You can manually adjust for these situations but I prefer to automate when it saves time.

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How Good are our estimates? Should we care?

Our team decided against estimating stories or tasks in real time (eg hours) during sprint planning. We assign relative points during backlog grooming and may change that number later or during the sprint planning as more information becomes available. I was wondering: How good are our estimates? How do we measure that? How do we improve? Do we care?

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Retrospectives Are Not Only For Teams

I am the agile PM for a small team that augments an application team. Our team assist towards reliability, scalability of the micro services the application team is building. Ani, the team lead and I know each other for almost a year. We have been on the same team for about four weeks and  work very well together. Suddenly, last week we ran into a couple issues and misunderstandings. This triggered the idea to have our own one-on-one retro.

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GetKanban Game Teaches More Than Kanban Alone

In 2015  Cheryl Hammond introduced me to the GetKanban game. The game is an awesome way for the participants to experience the impact of queues and the decisions you need to make using the Kanban framework. The players simulate 2-3 weeks of development with daily standups where the team decides prioritization and who should work on what. Life is not fair and neither is the game. But we learn through our struggles and this is only a game.

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