Category Archives: Scrum

Video of QASIG Presentation Focused on Managing Quality Debt

I had a great time speaking at the QASIG group meeting last night and met some great folks along with reconnecting with others I haven’t seen in some time. Here is the video of the presentation.

 

Video streaming by Ustream

And the slides

Impediment Monkey Overview Video Posted

If you haven’t already checked out our FREE online service, ImpedimentMonkey.com, then check out this overview video describing what it can do for you, your team, and those that you collaborate with to increase the habitability of your team’s delivery environment and deploy continuous improvement on a daily basis.

Recognizing Software Debt Talk at Beyond Agile Meeting

A couple days ago I spoke at the Beyond Agile group meeting on the topic of “Recognizing Software Debt”. Early in the presentation we ran an exercise to get a feel for the effects of software debt that was original created by my friend, Masa Maeda. Here is a link to the exercise:

http://www.agilistapm.com/understand-technical-debt-by-playing-a-game/

The exercise went great even though I was using the audience as guinea pigs to run the exercise for my first time. Below is the slide deck that I used as a backdrop for the presentation.

Measuring the value of Agile: Forrester wants to hear from you

We recently spoke with Diego Lo Giudice at Forrester Research to share our views on how organizations are measuring the value of Agile. Diego is leading a research effort to uncover how both software vendors and enterprise IT groups are approaching this challenge.

While  “Working software is the primary measure of progress” is one of the twelve principles of Agile, working software is not the only measure that software development organizations are using to show progress and to measure the value of Agile to the business. Our own discussions with clients indicate that many try to use velocity and quality (defects) to show that their Agile teams are improving their ability to deliver. A few focus on cycle time or progress to plan. The ‘holy grail’ is to be able to directly connect a software deliverable to measurable business value – improved revenue or decreased business costs.

What metrics does your organization use to measure its Agile efforts?  Learn more about Forrester’s research project, or go directly to the survey to share your views (and receive a free copy of the resulting report).

SeaSPIN Talk: Dollars and Dates Are Killing Agile

Last night I spoke at SeaSPIN on the topic “Dollars and Dates Are Killing Agile”. The focus of this talk is how we can speak more like business with the benefit of building organizations that are more supportive of adaptive planning, continuous improvement and team empowerment. If we do not speak the language of the business and continue to create friction without enabling strategic planning needs that businesses have then we are bound to see Agile methods have a short lifespan in most organizations. Below is the topic description and slides:

Agile teams speak in points and iterations, but project and business managers think in terms of dates and dollars.  This conceptual and language barrier makes strategic business planning, funding, and project status reporting a significant challenge for Agile teams.  Because of these barriers, many successful Agile/Scrum initiatives are discontinued or never expanded.

Delving into Technical Debt – Cutter Article

The following is an except from the article authored by Israel Gat and myself named “Delving into Technical Debt”:

Many of the findings and the recommendations we make in Cutter technical debt engagements are broadly applicable in concept, if not in detail. There is commonality in the nature of the hot spots we typically find, the mal-practices we identify as the root causes and the ways we go about reducing the “heat.” Granted, your technical debt reduction strategy might dictate investing in automated unit testing prior to reducing complexity, while your competitor might be able to address complexity without additional investment in unit testing. However, the considerations you and your competitor will go through in devising your technical debt reduction strategies are fairly similar.

It is this similarity that we try to capture in this Executive Update. Some of specifics we recount here might not be applicable to your environment. However, we trust the overall characterization we provide will give you, your colleagues and your superiors a fairly good “3D” picture of how the technical debt initiative will look like in the context of your own business imperatives and predicaments.

As a Senior Cutter Consultant, it has been a pleasure working with Cutter to release this Executive Update from which the excerpt cited above is taken. For a free donwnload, click here and use the promotion code DELVING. Let us know what you think about the article in the comments section of this post.

Puget Sound PMI Talk: Integrating Quality into Project Portfolio Management

Last week I did a talk in Lynnwood, WA with the Puget Sound PMI chapter on “Integrating Quality into Project Portfolio Management”. I feel that the slides were the best yet in providing specific indicators and understanding around the troubles with scaling Agile methods and in strategic decision-making at scale. Although stage, phase, or “gated” approaches don’t provide a better answer than Agile methods, they provide an illusion of knowledge and control that Agile methods do not initially bring to the table. This talk goes into patterns for scaling Agile across an organization, the issues inherent in scaling, and ways to identify, specifically from a quality trend perspective, if there is troublesome waters ahead on specific project endeavors. The focus is on those quality indicators being found amongst all the noise in scaled projects to figure out if the project should be re-committed to, transformed, or killed (reference from Johanna Rothman in her book “Manage Your Project Portfolio”) so that value can be optimized.

So, without further ado, here are the slides…

Interview with Spot On Business: Agility for the Long Haul

On November 1st at 2:00pm ET (11:00am PT) for about 45- to 60-minutes, Gil Broza will have me on as an interview guest on his series “Spot On Business” talking about “Agility for the Long Haul”. You may sign up at http://3pvantage.com/csterling/saveMySeat.php?ver=SC to be part of the conversation. Here is a brief description of the interview topic:

If you’ve already started using Agile methods, surely you’ve seen just how much change and adaptation are involved — already at the single team level!
If you’ve already applied Agile methods across a program, or several unrelated teams, you’d have noticed that their performance is constrained by downstream and upstream functions. Your teams are likely saying, “We need marketing and sales and the business units and operations to also act like us in order to really make an impact.”
And if you’ve been using Agile for more than a couple of years, is performance still great, or is it eroding? Are the Agile mechanisms slowly giving way to “business as usual”?
Please come and join us for the interview.

The Impediment Monkey Announcement – Bash Your Impediments!

We here at Agile Advantage are excited about a new product offering that we announced today called Impediment Monkey!

This product goes along with our first product, AgileEVM, to help companies take advantage of Agile software delivery methods at scale for increased business value and reduced risk on project investments.

Impediment Monkey will make removing roadblocks to daily progress fun and effective. Impediment Monkey takes in, notifies, helps in resolving and makes bashing impediments exciting and objective. Additionally, Impediment Monkey will let you assign, follow up, chart trends and even provides services to support your impediment bashing efforts.

Go to the Impediment Monkey web site and sign up to keep informed and potentially become an early beta tester of the product. We are looking for your insightful feedback to make a product that is fun, effective, and provides expertise to the software development industry. Join us in making it happen.

Treating Software as an Asset

William Caputo wrote a passionate blog entry on why “Software is not an asset” here:

http://www.williamcaputo.com/archives/000310.html

Although I entirely agree with ideas discussed about refactoring and removal of code, I do not think that the blog entry substantiates his claim that software is not an asset. An asset is:

Anything tangible or intangible that is capable of being owned or controlled to produce value and that is held to have positive economic value is considered an asset

Much of the software out there has a positive economic value either in productivity, revenue generation, cost reduction, or other types of economic value. I see removal of code and refactoring code into a more desirable design in order to support changing business needs as essential to countering depreciation of software assets. This was the foundation of Managing Software Debt: Building for Inevitable Change.

When we describe software only as a liability then we also provide reasoning to business that those who work on the software are part of a cost center. This is usually not the best way to operate any software development organization. The focus should be on optimizing the value that existing and newly created software assets support. Rather than only a liability, we can think of assets as what they are defined to be:

Assets are equal to “equity” plus “liabilities.”

The equity can still be there but if the liability is becoming so large that it outweighs the utility of the equity then we have a problem. We should counteract this decay in value by Managing Software Debt effectively as we produce new communications between the software and hardware assets we deploy.