Author: Shiv Sivaguru

CHOW #89- Letting go…

Vishal was very excited to get to work that morning. He was feeling very relaxed after the Dussera break when he had taken a whole week off. But the main reason for his excitement was the new role he was going to take up when he is back in the office. He had the requisite training and also got himself certified as a scrum master, in preparation of taking up this responsibility, considering it a recognition of his contributions as a tech lead in the project over the previous 2 years. The first standup he was coordinating was very...

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Making the SDLC safe – learning from the DuPont model

Recently I had the opportunity to lead an assessment of Business Excellence at one of the Navaratna units. This unit [and also others in the same organization] had started adoption of the DuPont model for safety. As I interacted with different participants in this initiative, was struck by many similarities or principles applicable to successful Agile teams and organizations. First, a little background on the DuPont model: Safety has been a focus for DuPont from the beginning. In the words of E.I. DuPont: Safety is a line management responsibility. If we can’t do it safely, we won’t do it...

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Agile Metrics- an Oxymoron?

One of the most frequently asked questions is ‘what are the right metrics for an Agile project?’ My response usually is something like this: Borrowing from a popular quote from George Box, the famous statistician, ‘All models are wrong. But, some are more useful’, I would say that all metrics are wrong, but some are useful! Like with many other practices that have degenerated to just the externally visible ceremonies – aka cargo cult practices – with the understanding of the meaning lost in transit, metrics have also become in most teams, something that is created for someone else....

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CHOW #77- Help Sundar convey the importance of Agile Metrics

Babu appeared irritated. He was the project manager in a large Systems Integrator, who had successfully grown a new relationship – that started as a 4 person project, to a 50 person team. His approach had been to work closely with his customers, anticipate their needs and propose solutions proactively. Adopting Agile approaches helped him and his team stay close to the customer and achieve a high degree of satisfaction. All this had happened in a span of less than six months – and the customer was now willing to consider a larger share of their planned work for...

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CHOW #65– Collaboration across teams – making SoS effective

  Sunita looked anxious when she met me a couple of months ago. She has been a successful Scrum Master and enjoyed her work. Her team respected her and held her in high regard. She also had a good working relationship with the Product Management team and the functional managers of team members. Team members were very participative in discussions and were not hesitant in sharing their thoughts in any relevant discussion. Based on her performance, she was asked to take on some additional responsibilities of making a strategic program for the company, more Agile. She set up a Scrum of Scrum platform for all teams in the program to get together, for planning, tracking and resolving any dependencies. While the initial meetings were well attended, the attendance and participation started reducing gradually. She sensed it and wanted to do something to make the Scrum of Scrums also as effective as her Scrum team. What guidance do you have for her?   Suggested solution Sunita can address this in 3 steps. 1. get the business representatives [or the POs] to articulate he superordinate goal for the teams, that will identify the business outcome expected 2. share this vision with the SoS having the user or business representative discuss that, to get everyone to understand the expectations and identify how they can create the impact as a team 3. enable...

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