Hiring developers: any idiot can ship product PDF Print E-mail
Written by Ed Willis   
Wednesday, 14 March 2012 00:00

Thank you!When I was a little baby developer, colleagues used to worry about getting a ton of product releases on their resumes and, similarly, looked for people with lots of product†releases†under their belts when hiring. †People spoke in respectful tones of developers with large collections of "Ship-It" awards. †You still hear this kind of talk - for example, people will say things like "at the end of the day, delivering product is all that matters".

But none of it means much, if anything in hiring.

Last Updated on Thursday, 15 March 2012 14:45
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Burning down risk - risk management in Scrum PDF Print E-mail
Written by Ed Willis   
Thursday, 08 March 2012 00:00

How can we improve our management of risk in Scrum? †How can we do so without slowing the pace of our Scrum project with excess overhead?

Risk assessment - you're doing it wrong!

A friend once said to me that Scrum projects donít really manage risk but rather wait until risks become issues before dealing with them. †In a sense, I agree with him Ė the iterative nature of Scrum development collapses the waveform of risk probability, thus either removing risks entirely or turning them into issues. †In that sense, Scrum already addresses risk to a degree. †All these Scrum practices all work to reduce risk on the project:

  • incremental and iterative development
  • demos
  • retrospectives

Mike Cohn in User Stories Applied offers this advice in user story prioritization:

But, even when going after the juicy bits first, we still need to consider risk when prioritizing stories. †Many developers have a tendency to want to do the riskiest stories first. †Sometimes this is appropriate but the decision must still be made by the customer.

One important thing to realize is that Scrumís ability to bring risky features forward in time, and develop them to a shippable state well in advance of overall project completion, offers risk mitigation possibilities that represent a sea change over those provided by waterfall lifecycles.

So this article is not aiming to perfectly manage risk but rather to improve on what Scrum already provides, while simultaneously ensuring any new practices can fit into the process in a natural manner that does not significantly increase overhead.

Last Updated on Thursday, 15 March 2012 14:46
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Sprint backlog template available PDF Print E-mail
Written by Ed Willis   
Thursday, 01 March 2012 00:00

I'm making this sprint backlog template available free of charge and without restrictions on use. †All I ask is that you leave the "credits" section in place.

This template has the following features:

  • Dynamically sizes the burn-down charts based on the number of planned sprints.
  • Accounts for holidays (which are customizable).
  • Team member planned absences are accounted for.
  • Supports ideal time estimation (but does not require it).
  • Burn down charts show completed and remaining work against the planned capacity, which allows expansion or reduction of the plan to be differentiated from team performance.
  • One document can track as many sprints as needed.
  • Written in MS Excel 2010 but does not use any VBA.

The template itself is†here. †Hope it proves useful to you.

Last Updated on Thursday, 15 March 2012 14:47
 
Product backlog (with risk management) template available PDF Print E-mail
Written by Ed Willis   
Thursday, 01 March 2012 00:00

I'm making this product backlog template available free of charge and without restrictions on use. †All I ask is that you leave the "credits" section in place.

This template has the following features:

  • Dynamically sizes the burn-down chart based on the number of planned sprints.
  • The burn-down chart shows at a glance:
    • Planned burn-down for risk and features
    • Actual remaining risk and features
    • Delivered features and risk resolved in each sprint
  • Supports custom story points values.
  • Supports custom risk probability values.
  • Allows risk to managed in a natural extension to the way features are handled in the Product Backlog.
  • Allows both risks and features to be burned down on the same chart.
  • Written in MS Excel 2010 but does not use any VBA.

The risk management approach the backlog supports is presented here. †The template itself is here. †Hope it proves useful to you.

Last Updated on Thursday, 15 March 2012 14:47
 
Agile under ISO: Review and approval on agile projects PDF Print E-mail
Written by Ed Willis   
Monday, 27 February 2012 21:10

ISO9001Below I sketch out some approaches to handling document review and approval in an agile context. †The truth of the matter is that most of the discussion is relevant to any project that operates under ISO9001 or implements technical review and approval any other reason Ė itís just that the problems alluded to below stand out in in particularly sharp relief on agile projects.

Reflecting on this a moment, I am surprised at the amount of background I have in this area. †I have participated in the development of an ISO9001 Quality Management System (QMS). †Iíve managed aspects of a QMS. †Iíve audited projects, have had my projects audited many times and have helped resolve a few issues uncovered during ISO audits.

But Iím also a big Scrum proponent as the bulk of the entries on this site will demonstrate.

At this stage in my career, Iím no ISO apologist. †If I started a company tomorrow, I canít imagine what would convince me to adopt ISO9001 Ė Iíve just seen far too much dysfunctional behavior done to satisfy ISO or ISO auditors to want to tilt at that particular windmill myself. †That said, ISO forms a foundation for many, many companies out there and any attempt to adopt agile methods in those organizations will challenge the teams to find ways to reconcile agility and ISO-ity.

In particular, document review and approval is one area that will inevitably come up.

Last Updated on Monday, 02 April 2012 16:46
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