Aug 212012
 

Knowing how people think or feel about a certain subject can be very helpful in building trust, creating a team and to reveal impediments. Of course it can be very difficult to get team members to express their real opinions, especially when a team has just started. I think with patience and the right approach trust can (and will) be built and it will be easier to get real issues out in the open. The following practice can help you start this and make explicit what individual opinions in a team are.

I have used the following retrospective practice for several years now:

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Apr 162012
 

Last friday I gave a Masterclass called ‘Lean Agile Architecting’ to architects. Very interesting masterclass and a couple of things struck me. The issue for architects in an Agile environment is their position and responsibility.

The thing with the change from waterfall to agile is that architects feel their role is being undercut, the team just goes fast and are only paying attention to the Product Owner. The standard answer they seem to get is: ‘then join the team’, but they feel reluctant to do so, and most of the times they can not fully commit (full time). So they pass, and they feel miserable about it, since now this Agile project is going to make mistakes, and can not learn from past experiences and their expertise.

The answer lies in the closer observation of the definition of Agile and Architecture.
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Apr 012012
 

Searching the web for new Agile games I came across: You sunk my Methodology. This game seemed like a strong metaphor to show the power of early feedback, while using Scrum.

In order to use this game in a presentation Bob, Daniel and I made a Javascript (standalone) version of it which uses variable iterations of shooting at the enemy’s ships. Board layouts are random and you get 40 shots in total to destroy the enemy’s fleet. After each iteration you get feedback about hits and misses. If you use iterations of 1, you are playing the regular battleship-game.

Each shot costs 10.000 and when you sink a ship you get the_ships_size * 50.000 (e.g. the submarine of size 3 will reward you with 150.000). If you keep track of the balance after each iteration, you could also try to get across the idea that stopping after a few iterations might give ‘good enough’ rewards.

It can be downloaded from our GitHub repository as a zip or you can take a look at our code. Just double click on the index.html (in the public folder) to start a game.

**Update: Now also direct playable on GitHub.

Aug 242011
 

Development teams new to Scrum are introduced to a number of mandatory aspects that come with the framework. One of these is the Daily Scrum, or often referred to as the Daily Standup (meeting) or Standup in short. The purpose of this meeting is to synchronize the status of the development team and to do this in a short and focused manner. In this post I’d like to discuss an anti-pattern I see observing and being part of Daily Scrum meetings and how to overcome it.
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Nov 182010
 

This week I visited the Scrum Gathering in Amsterdam. I attended a session were the Product Owner was referred to as Single Wringable Neck. We make the Product Owner responsible for the outcome of the project, as a motivator for him to make the right choices. And if he doesn’t we will wring his neck. Like other people, I don’t like that comparison. But I had no hard evidence to back it up other then feeling related reasons like “it’s team work” and what not. But ever since I watched Dan Pink’s TED talk on motivation I think I found the evidence to safely say the single wringable neck is harmful and should not be used as incentive or motivator anymore.

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