How to See a Distributed Team’s Frequency of Real-Time Communication

When Mark Kilby and I wrote From Chaos to Successful Distributed Agile Teams, we discussed the fact that we no longer needed physical face-to-face interactions. Instead, we needed high-fidelity virtual interactions. (High-fidelity virtual interactions didn’t exist when the guys got together at Snowbird to write the Agile Manifesto for Software Development.) The Allen Curve explains …

How To Understand Your Team Type: Collocated, Satellite, Cluster, Nebula

I’ve been hearing people talk about “hybrid” remote teams. So far, every person I’ve talked to means something different. When Mark Kilby and I wrote From Chaos to Successful Distributed Agile Teams, we differentiated between these types of teams: Collocated, as all the people are within 8-16 m of each other. (See the Allen Curve …

Use “Typical,” Not “Average” Durations to Manage Risk

Many managers and teams talk about “average” durations for work. On average, how long does it take a team to finish a certain kind of work? However, average doesn’t quite explain why our work takes different durations. Instead of average, consider the word, “typical.” I’ve written about cycle time before. (It’s the time from when …

What Lifecycle or Agile Approach Fits Your Context? Part 7, Lifecycle Summary

What risks does your project have? Do you need feedback loops so you can: Cancel the project at any time (to manage schedule and cost risks. Assess technical risks so you can rework the architecture or design to manage feature set risks. Manage what you release to customers so you can manage defect, feature set, …

What Lifecycle or Agile Approach Fits Your Context? Part 5, Origins of Agile Approaches

The original signatories of the Manifesto for Agile Software Development wanted to solve these specific problems: How can we: Bring more adaptability to software development? Stop “plan the work and work the plan” thinking? Release something of value earlier? Especially since teams now had these levers, from the iterative and incremental approaches: Prototype something for …

What Lifecycle or Agile Approach Fits Your Context? Part 6, Create Your Agile Approach

I discussed the origins of the agile approaches in Part 5. In this post, I’ll discuss how you can create an agile approach that fits your context. Why should you create your own agile approach? Because your context is unique to you, your team, project, product, and culture. You deserve an agile approach that helps …

What Lifecycle or Agile Approach Fits Your Context? Part 4, Iterative and Incremental but Not Agile Lifecycles

Which levers does your team need to manage risk in your project? Do you need to cancel the project if you can’t finish a phase? You might not have the time. You might not have the ability to do this project. That’s the point of Serial lifecycles in Part 1. Maybe you need feedback from …

What Lifecycle or Agile Approach Fits Your Context? Part 3, Incremental Lifecycles

So far, we’ve discussed the lever of canceling a project at any time with the serial lifecycles in Part 1. That’s assuming you replan and/or cancel. We added another lever of looking for more feedback with iterating over the requirements in the iterative lifecycles in Part 2. Teams have another lever. They can release increments …

What Lifecycle or Agile Approach Fits Your Context? Part 2, Iterative Lifecycles

Back in Part 1, I wrote about how stage-gate approaches were as agile as we could use at the time. We had one delivery, so our agility was about canceling the project if we couldn’t finish it. However, some smart people also realized that we had another lever, aside from estimation, to replan the project. …

What Lifecycle or Agile Approach Fits Your Context? Part 1, Serial Lifecycles

Are you trying to make an agile framework or approach work? Maybe you have technical or schedule risk. Maybe you’ve received a mandate to “go agile.” Maybe you’d like to experiment with better ways of working. Or, maybe you’re trying to fit an agile framework into your current processes—and you’ve got a mess. You’re not …