Local Optima

Not to get super preachy on you all, but sometimes I think we’re full bore on the wrong mission.” — ‘Agile Shop’ by Dave Laribee As people, we embrace change we can ourselves effect. Our conversations about value turn to story writing. Our conversations about competitiveness turn to scale. But we risk engaging the surface of things and not the things themselves. Means to what end? As brother bee preaches, I stand before you penitent of the sin of local … Read More

Benefits of Agile Adoption – from a manager

yellow rope with knot

To help some peers advocate for agile adoption, I prepared an experience report to demonstrate how my old team benefited from XP and Scrum practices. This is an extension and refinement of an earlier post on the benefits of XP. Team Cohesion Before and during our agile adoption, I informally administered the Gallup Q12 employee engagement survey. It is composed of twelve simple questions. Agreement correlates to retention, customer loyalty, safety records, productivity, and profitability. From the beginning to the … Read More

Our History of Agile Adoption

Birth of a System Courtesy NASA/JPL-Caltech.

My development team began adopting Extreme Programming (XP) in January 2004. Before this, we were hit and miss. Success relied on individuals. We had few shared practices. Our goal in going “Agile” was to consistently perform across projects. “Agile” declares a set of common values and supportive practices. It fosters collaboration with customers and shared ownership within project teams. In time, the team became proficient in core XP practices: Planning User stories Iterative development Tracked velocity Daily stand-up meetings Regular … Read More

Winning Hearts and Minds to Agile

My colleague, Wendy, posted a quote from our former CEO describing the benefit she gained from collaborating in an Agile environment. The way to win over an entrepreneur is to out-perform expectations set from painful, past experience. Before Scrum/XP …six months later, they deliver what the assignment was. And you look at it and say, “Oh no, that’s not what I wanted.” With Scrum/XP …you work on a two-week cycle… You agree on what the priorities are in the meeting. … Read More

Marcus Buckingham Thinks Your Boss Has an Attitude Problem

I’m a fan of The Gallup Organization‘s research and management writing. Marcus Buckingham has a 2001 Fast Company interview on his site. “There’s a juicy irony here,” says the 35-year-old Cambridge-educated Brit. “You won’t find a CEO who doesn’t talk about a ‘powerful culture’ as a source of competitive advantage. At the same time, you’d be hard-pressed to find a CEO who has much of a clue about the strength of that culture. The corporate world is appallingly bad at … Read More