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Agile vs Waterfall…

Waterfall vs AgileAre you familiar with the exploits of Alexander The Great?

He was a Macedonian warrior king who, by the age of thirty, had conquered one of the largest empires in ancient history — stretching from the Ionian sea to the Himalayas’. Undefeated in battle, he’s considered one of the most successful commanders of all time. So much so, that top military academies throughout the world still teach his military tactics today.

One of Alexander’s greatest battles was fought at Gaugamela, against the Persian king Darius III.

And although his army was outnumbered two to one by the Persians, Alexander kicked Darius’s butt all the way from Gaugamela to Arbela (modern-day Iraq).

So how did Alexander win against such great odds?

The answer is simple… Read more


What was he thinking?

What Was He Thinking?

agile doghouseJust as I was opening a bottle of wine, the phone rang.

“Hello” I answered.

“Hey Ade,” a voice responded at the other end, “How’s it going?” It was my friend Geoff.

“Not bad thanks Geoff” I replied, grabbing two wine glasses. “The boys are in bed, and I’m about to enjoy a well deserved glass of wine and film with my wife. What are you up to?”

“Not much…” Geoff responded.

“Really — I thought you and Angela were going on a ‘date night’ tonight?” I asked as I passed a glass of wine to my beautiful wife.

“We were…” Geoff replied. He didn’t sound his usual bubbly self.

“Is everything ok?” I asked, flicking through the movies channel to see when the next showing of “Dallas Buyers Club” was scheduled to start.

“Not really…” Geoff said hesitantly.

He had my full attention now. “What’s wrong?” I asked with concern, putting the cable remote down.

“Well…you know how Angela’s always telling me to be more open and honest with her?” Geoff said.

“Yeah…” I replied uneasily Read more


Is Your Corporate Culture a Good Fit for Agile?

We must be informed and Agile during this time. Know who your customers are, know what they need, and be prepared to delight! ~ Steve Denning

In the book ‘Diffusion of Innovations‘ Everett Rogers provides a perspective of how, why and at what rate new ideas spread in society. According to Rogers, in order for new ideas to become self-sustainable, they must be widely adopted.rogers-bell-curve

Plotted over time, the rate at which new ideas are adopted typically follows a ‘bell curve’ pattern, showing the order in which different groups adopt new ideas. These adopter groups are as follows;

Innovators >> Early Adopters >> Early Majority >> Late Majority >> Laggers

Looking at the widespread use of Agile in software development today — and the rate at which companies from different industries have taken to it over the last few years — I think it’s safe to say that Agile uptake is currently somewhere between the Early and Late Majority stage.

The speed at which new companies are taking to Agile is a good thing – especially when you consider the fact that only a few years ago many organisations still viewed Agile as a ‘fad’ that would come and go as quickly as the British summer! Read more


How Company Cultures Impact Agile Transition

A few years ago I was working with a client on an agile transition project. The company was relatively new to agile, but because they had a genuine desire to cut costs and produce higher quality products, they welcomed the opportunity for change.

The development team were a good bunch too and had a cross-functional set of skills well suited to the desired project outcomes.

Sounds like an ideal environment for a smooth agile transition, right?

Well it would have been – except (in my opinion) for the fact that this company had a bonus culture which rewarded quantity and not quality.

For example, because the development team received bonuses for the number of stories delivered (with no emphasis on quality), the team started cutting corners and creating short term solutions that often didn’t meet the customer’s acceptance criteria.

And if that wasn’t bad enough, in order to increase the number of user stories in the ‘Done’ column, some team members even went as far as moving stories straight from ‘Development’ to ‘Done’ without testing the story first.

The result? Read more


Ten Management Objections to Agile

If you’re struggling (or have ever struggled) to overcome senior management objections or resistance to agile, you might find this useful:

The Case Against Agile: Ten Perennial Management Objections

Objections 2, 3 and 7 are common ones I hear all the time.

How about you?


Proof Agile Doesn’t Work…

canstock12611275-proof-blueWhilst recently attending a networking event, I was asked what I do, to which I replied I’m an Agile & Lean consultant.

Being this was not a software development related event, my response was met by blank faces; until one of the group I was speaking to (who I’ll call ‘John’ for the purpose of this post) commented that “agile is a project management methodology used in software development.”

Feeling this was not the time to be pedantic, I agreed that agiles’ roots can be traced back to software development – adding that agility has since become a strategic approach for cutting costs, getting an earlier return on investment and gaining a competitive advantage, widely used across many industries.

John then asked if we could catch up later to talk ‘agile’ as his organisation was considering adopting it.

“Sure” I said, “Let’s do that.” Read more


The Mysterious Case of the ‘Agile’ Duck

Baby-DuckMy son will be 3 next month.

And he’s currently at the stage of language development where he generalises.

Which makes for some very interesting — sometimes embarrassing — moments.

For example, whilst walking down the street the other day we saw an elderly man. And being the friendly type he is, my son waved to him and said “Hello Grandad” — even though the man was a complete stranger and definitely not one of his granddads.

But my son’s current level of logical thinking led him to generalise that since both his grandad’s are elderly, then all elderly men must be ‘Grandads’ too.

Now here’s the thing…

…although such generalisations made by toddlers developing language skills might be acceptable (even laughable), the same cannot always be said when illogical conclusions are drawn by adults — especially those expected to know better.

Let’s take Agile implementation for example… Read more


The Problem With ScrumMasters…

For a while now something has been bugging me…

Something to do with Scrum…

The “ScrumMaster” role to be exact.

But the problem I have is not with the role itself – having fulfilled it myself, I understand it’s intended value to the scrum process.

My problem is with the title.

And here’s why…

Although the word ‘master’ in ScrumMaster is intended to convey expertise in/authority over the scrum process, the word also has a relative meaning that implies the existence of a subordinate.

And that (in my opinion) is where the danger lies.

Because as you already know, where there is ambiguity, there is also room for misunderstanding. Read more