Retrospectives work for most teams, yet some teams are convinced that retrospectives will never work for them. When Esther Derby came across several of these teams for which retrospectives had failed, she questioned why and discovered eight common reasons for those failures. In this column, she details these eight reasons and offers solutions for each one.
Modern day reporters tend to write their articles using what is known as the "inverted pyramid" style. They start with the most important information in the first sentence, followed by the next most important, and so on. This format not only gives the reader the biggest bang for his buck as he reads it also gives both the reporters and their editors huge flexibility in their uncertain and fast-changing environments. Clarke Ching shows how modern software development techniques use the same idea to give customers the best bang for their buck—in equally uncertain environments.
Many managers claim to have an open-door policy. They want to be available to their employees. But do they really have an open-door policy, or is it a handy name for a commendable intention? Naomi Karten describes the flaws in open-door policies and offers suggestions for making them work.
Negotiation skills are useful in life and essential for professional success. This week, Payson Hall provides a short tutorial on project negotiations that includes a technique to help you look for solutions. The use of motivation and the "Iron Triangle" is a good starting point.
One characteristic of agile development is continuous involvement from testers throughout the process. Testers have a hard and busy job. Jeff has finally starting to understand why testing in agile development is fundamentally different.
Traditional program management offices (PMOs) are responsible for providing checks and balances to the development and IT organizations regarding budget and schedule. Oversight and management that comes from the PMO drives certain behaviors in the project managers and, therefore, in the project staff. Similarly, the Agile PMO provides certain checks and balance, but principally focuses on the holistic well-being of the project.
There are no best practices for creating a productive, global development organization, just a few good ideas to think about and tailor around your particular objectives. Consider three universal issues every organization must grapple with to make a global agile team successful: data considerations, communications needs, and a company's agile readiness. How you handle each of these issues will vary widely, and there is no one-size-fits-all solution for every organization.
Esther Derby has noticed something lately, namely that when people write about collaboration, they discuss facilitated meetings. Well-run meetings that encourage participation and building consensus are certainly valuable, but there's more to collaboration than just well-run meetings. Esther explains that true collaboration assumes shared responsibility and shared ownership and boosts creativity and learning.
Michele Sliger uses a simple exercise to exemplify the changes self-organized teams cause in any company, especially with the project manager. In this column, Michele explains how to conduct this exercise and how to review and use the results to improve work relationships and communication. Above all, this exercise should help your whole organization understand how everyone's knowledge of a project's initiatives and goals affects the project's success.
Decision making should be approached just like a software project: You have to map out what you want and how you're going to get it. Payson Hall tells the story of a team that set out to find the perfect product—without an official plan. Learn how to avoid the mistakes they made.