Author: Shiv Sivaguru

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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Some inferences from the State of DevOps 2017 report

It is always good to learn from others, particularly if the sources are from across industries – as they trigger ideas to apply in our own work areas. While this is one such learning from the IT industry, The latest State of DevOps report for 2017 offers thoughts that can be applied at team level or organization levels as well. Over the years this report has been getting better in terms of the depth and also the analysis. Some highlights from the report this year are significant from an organizational maturity and transformation perspective. The report talks of five common characteristics...

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5 Dimensions of Healthy Backlog

One of the areas that I have seen Agile teams having difficulty is in maintaining a healthy backlog. The impact of not having a good backlog impacts many  activities for teams. Starting with ambiguity in terms of release planning – or planning ahead and moving to identifying dependencies – particularly technical risks or ensuring that the delivered solutions meet the users’ expectations could all cause surprises and delays. By focusing on a good, healthy backlog, teams can focus on ensuring a smooth and fast flow to value of the backlog items while steadily improving their own effectiveness. I would...

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