For decades-with the exception of agile-dev followers-the IT community has continued to build and protect its departmental silos. Project management, business analysis, development, testing, DB administration, and operations are just a few of the specializations that are carved out and institutionalized. Agile practices seek to eliminate the walls and empower people to deliver the highest value to the business. DevOps is the latest effort in this direction-bringing developers, testers, and operations together to replace their silos with a continuous collaboration pipeline. Paul Peissner introduces DevOps and explains how it is a key to transitioning from continuous integration (creating the finished software product immediately) to continuous delivery (making the product immediately available to users) and adding tremendous new business value.
Many software people look at creating great user experiences as a black art, something to guess at and hope for the best. It doesn't have to be that way! Jennifer Fraser explores the key ingredients for great user experience (UX) designs and shares the techniques she employs early-and often-during development. Find out how Jennifer fosters communications with users and devs, and works pro-actively to ensure true collaboration among UX designers and the rest of the team. Whether your team employs a formal agile methodology or not, Jennifer asserts that you need an iterative and incremental approach for creating great UX experiences. She shares her toolkit of communication techniques-blue-sky brainstorming sessions, structured conversation, and more-to use with different personality types and describes which types may approach decisions objectively versus empathetically.
In our increasingly agile world, collaboration is the new buzzword. But collaboration is hard to do well. Testers are challenged to work directly, effectively, efficiently, and productively with customers, programmers, business analysts, writers, trainers-and pretty much everyone in the business value chain. There are many points of collaboration including grooming stories with customers, sprint planning with team members, reviewing user interaction with users, whiteboarding with peers, and buddy checking. Rob Sabourin and Dot Graham explain what collaboration is, why it is challenging, and how to make it better. Learn how forgotten but proven techniques can help you work more efficiently, improve your professional relationships, and deliver quality products. Join Dot and Rob to hear how “ancient” techniques apply in today’s world, with stories of how these techniques work now.
To deliver high-value products, your agile team must reach a shared understanding of prioritized stakeholder needs. Collaborative techniques are best for this type of work, but not all agile teams use them or use them efficiently. Some rely too heavily on written user stories or story maps and fail to address complex topics or resolve requirements conflicts among stakeholders. Ellen Gottesdiener outlines how you can systematically collaborate about the product backlog in nimble, timely workshops that give your team an open venue for working together to make complicated decisions. Ellen explores collaborative techniques for backlog discovery and preparation. She teaches you to use the Seven Dimensions technique to make sure you capture all product needs.
We understand the vital importance of collaboration among team members. However, how can we deal with non-collaborators-people who won't work with us? Although we may not be able to change them, we may be able to work with them or around them. Pollyanna Pixton describes how to identify non-collaborators-a leader, team member, team, or even a process. She then examines the system within which the non-collaborators work: their success factors, motivations, measurement and reward systems, fears, hot buttons, and hidden agendas. Pollyanna teaches you how to assess the risks in dealing with non-collaborators. Using a trust and ownership model, she maps the traits of non-collaborators and considers tools and techniques to cope with each trait. Finally, if all else fails, learn the options for working around non-collaborators.
When members of a development project are asked to become a self-directed agile team, some claim that leadership and leaders are obsolete. Or, is a different type of leadership exactly what agile teams need to truly flourish? Pollyanna Pixton describes a new, collaborative leadership style that does not attempt to control or micro-manage. It's one that asks the right questions at the right time to generate new ideas and develop creative products that customers need and want. Pollyanna explains the four areas of collaborative leadership-creating an open environment where the best people can work, learning from stakeholders throughout the enterprise, prioritizing innovative solutions based on business value, and standing back to allow the team to succeed.
There's no standard formula for requirements workshops. Each project, business situation, and group of people will combine to make each workshop unique. Preparing for the requirements workshop requires collaboration. It permits you to tap into the collective wisdom of all of the
project stakeholders. In your workshops, participants are active, engaged, committed and task oriented. A well-run workshop builds trust and mutual understand among all the participants. Workshops are not new, but are proven best practices in software development. They can go a
long way not only in product delivery, but also in building a "jelled" team.
Applications are often designed and developed with little regard for testing. Functional and Load/Configuration testing needs to be a collaborative effort between the development and testing groups for a project to be most successful. Everyone needs to "own" some of the testing responsibility. Learn how to accomplish an ongoing collaboration between application architects, designers, developers, and QA/testing personnel to identify and resolve problems (defects) in an efficient and timely manner.
All projects involve the three P's: people, process, and product. People includes everyone who influences the project. Process is the steps taken to produce and maintain software. Product is the final outcome of the project. To keep these three in harmony, you must observe who is trying to do what to deliver what. Usually, two of the three P's are mandated, and the third one is chosen appropriately. Although this is common sense, it is not common practice. Dwayne Phillips discusses the issues and challenges that affect us all on every project. Learn about the ideas and questions to consider to help you work through these issues.
To build planning and requirements products quickly and efficiently, consider using facilitated workshops. In your workshops, participants should be active, engaged,
committed and task-oriented. A well-run workshops builds trust and mutual understand among all the participants. Workshops are not new, but are proven best practices in
software development. They can go a long way not only in product delivery, but also in building a "jelled" team.