Create Your Successful Agile Project

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 …

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A Simple Way to Measure Work Satisfaction and See Trends

I explained in Leadership Tip #8 that measuring happiness was a lost cause because happiness is a function of more than just work. I suggested we measure satisfaction. And I didn’t tell you how. (You didn’t mind-meld with me, did you?) Here’s how I’ve measured satisfaction with several teams. I start with the 5-point scale …

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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, …

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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 …

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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 …

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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 …

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Five Tips for Managers of Newly Dispersed Teams

Are you a manager accustomed to Management by Walking Around and Listening (MBWAL)? You can use MBWAL with collocated teams. MBWAL doesn’t work for distributed or dispersed teams. Remember, working remote is Not Business as Usual. (And won’t be for a while.) And, you might still have this question: “If no one’s in the office, …

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Effects of Separating “New” Work vs “Maintenance” Work

Back when I was a manager, my senior management wanted to separate the “new” work from the “maintenance” work. I suggested that every new line after the first line of code was maintenance. The managers poo-poohed me. My concern: How would the “new” developers learn from their mistakes? I lost that discussion and I managed …

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Summary for a Project’s Boundaries: Drivers, Constraints, & Floats

In my experience, too many projects are under too much pressure. The sponsors want all of the features, completed in too-short time, with no defects. And, if possible, the sponsors think the project should cost nothing, the team should not need any training, and the team can work in any way, regardless of the desired …

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Three Secrets to Building Your Influence, Part 1, Competence

Three Secrets to Building Your Influence, Part 1, Competence If you want to change anything in your organization, you need to influence at least one other person to succeed. Mary, a leader in the organization, wanted to help her colleagues consider a variety of agile approaches. The organization had chosen a framework, and the framework …

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