Retrospectives are a great way for teams to inspect and adapt their methods and teamwork, and they're a great way for teams to build on success and learn from hard times. Retrospectives take a critical look at what happened during an iteration (or part of a project) without being critical of people. But not everyone realizes that, says Esther Derby, so in this column she outlines how to approach retrospectives in the most productive way.
Successfully persuading others to adopt your point of view is a matter of neither magic nor luck. It's a skill and like any skill, improvement takes know—how, opportunity, and practice. In this column, Naomi Karten offers pointers to help you strengthen your persuasion skills.
Trust is invisible, but the symptoms of its absence are not. That is the theme of this column, in which Clarke Ching recounts the difficulty one of his clients went through to rebuild trust with a customer. The customer had long ago lost faith in the quality of the products provided by this client since every piece of software delivered seemed buggy. But both were determined to make the relationship work. That's when Clarke Ching stepped in and took an agile approach to relationship therapy.
Our society is founded on the importance of meetings, and it seems that the higher on the corporate ladder one climbs, the more meetings he must attend. Indeed, one of Michele Sliger's coworkers calculated that the amount of time she spends arranging meetings, getting to meetings, and in meetings equates to almost her entire workweek-thirty-six hours on average. Even though we may lose track of time in meetings, we all are painfully aware of the time we spend waiting for everyone to show up. In this column, Michele Sliger explains some of the tactics she's seen teams use to ensure that meetings start on time.
A phrase heard often in Agile discussions is "Let the product lead." Applied correctly, these four words powerfully focus an Agile team's energy directly on work that provides the highest business value. Deep focus on technology decisions breaks the line-of-sight with business goals, creates opportunities for over-engineering, and requires complex tracing activities, which ultimately slow the process.
Usually, when Jean Tabaka lists practices, techniques, ideas, or recommendations about software development, she sticks with the number ten. It's nice and neat and has a fine history of enumeration cleanliness dating back to the Old Testament. But for agile adoption failures, Jean thinks it is time to invoke some Spinal Tap and go to eleven. Here are her top eleven signs that your agile adoption is headed down a slippery slope to failure.
Given a choice, most people would rather have happy, satisfied customers than angry, complaining customers. But how to create customer satisfaction is sometimes a mystery. In this column, Naomi Karten describes one person's experience that backfired and taught him some lessons.
Clarify the fuzzy front end of project planning by focusing on the overall vision. In this column, Johanna Rothman says clear project vision helps everyone involved in the project move forward better and more smoothly than a detailed project schedule. She also explains how to write succinct project visions in three simple steps.
What are the attributes of a good tester—of a great tester? As every test manager knows, identifying the right people for a test team can be a struggle. In this column, Fiona Charles describes the qualities of mind she looks for in testers, and the interview questions she asks candidates so that she can evaluate how they think.
In this article, Michele Sliger discusses why sharing the vision with the project team is so important and how this knowledge helps the team in its delivery. With examples from Walt Disney and software development, Michele explains how bringing everyone together and getting team members on the same page allows for belief in and commitment to the project, which is a must for a successful outcome.