Jira Tips – Searching, Creating Issues, Reporting, Swimlanes

In order to take our team’s workflow and reporting to the next level, I have made many changes to our JIRA project. Most of the changes were not difficult. Finding out what can be done in Jira, and how, was harder. This blog describes some of the tools, tricks, and limitations I discovered with the help of Google, my friends, and colleagues.

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How to Select Agile Metrics and Some Examples

One of the main tenets of agile and lean is a short feedback loop. Sprint reviews, retrospectives, and other communication give us important qualitative feedback. For trending and comparison against goals, metrics can be very valuable. But metrics can be dangerous as well. The wrong metrics can give false data or even have a negative impact. It is important to select the right metrics and to use them correctly.

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30 Retrospective Ideas

A colleague asked me some time ago for retrospective ideas. Life got in the way and I never got back to her. Today, when I was looking for an idea for our team’s next retrospective, I finally got around to share my list of retrospective ideas. I have not tried all of them. Some ideas seem amazing and I would love to try them with the right team and in the right circumstances.  Others seem a bit Pete and repeat. I have added a * to my favorites. Let me know what you like or has worked well for you.

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Do you think what I believe you think of me?

Sometimes the best way for the team to improve is by improving the individual members, “Do you think what I believe you think of me?” is a simple retrospective for teams up to 6 members. The team members rate each other’s most important contributions to the team and what behaviors or skills impact the team negatively. Recently I facilitated the Do you think what I believe you think of me? retrospective with a high performing team that has been together over three months. Every member of the team learned ways to improve. And to my surprise, the team enjoyed it.

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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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