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Would Santa Claus Make a Good Product Owner?

The elves working on Project Santa—you know, the big delivery that happens every December 24—have decided to go agile. But Santa, the product owner, is busy and not always available to answer questions or provide guidance. What kind of suggestions and improvements should they address in their retrospective?

Dave Browett's picture Dave Browett
Who Is the Real Product Owner?

Communication is always vital on an agile project to ensure everyone is on the same page, but it's perhaps most important in a relationship between a vendor and a customer. Here, Marcus Blankenship relates a personal story about a project where communication failed, and gives some good tips for how to avoid it happening to you.

Marcus Blankenship's picture Marcus Blankenship
Use Lean Thinking to Accelerate DevOps Performance for Agile Teams

Leaders in agile organizations should consider adding lean techniques to their DevOps practices. Lean thinking can accelerate DevOps delivery by providing a set of processes and principles to help create more beneficial products, save money, boost productivity, reduce waste, and map to value.

Gail Ferreira's picture Gail Ferreira
When Prioritizing Stories, Don’t Forget the Stakeholders

Instead of choosing what to develop based solely on a cold, hard dollar amount, you might try approaching the person who originally requested a story—or who will be most affected by it—and asking, “What benefit will this bring you?” Armed with a list of stakeholders and interests, you can find out the real difference a story will make.

Allan Kelly's picture Allan Kelly
Pair Writing: The Benefits of Working with a Partner

For many, pair programming delivers benefits such as increased focus, improved team relationships, and better code. Tom Breur and Michael Mahlberg found that pair writing can work, too, and the advantages bear a lot of resemblance to those of pair programming—more concentration, productive feedback, and better writing.

Tom Breur's picture Tom Breur Michael Mahlberg
Book Review: The Agile Mind-Set: Making Agile Processes Work

Gil Broza's book The Agile Mind-Set: Making Agile Processes Work speaks to the challenges faced by people who focus on "doing agile" rather than "being agile." Rote execution of methods can only get you so far, and Broza gives insights into how you move beyond practicing agile by habit into living it.

Steve Berczuk's picture Steve Berczuk
What Rugby Can Teach You about Trust in Agile Teams

Unconditional support, trust, respect, generosity, and courage are the behavioral values required for agile—and also for rugby. On the surface, the software development methodology and the rough team sport may seem to have little in common. But Luis Novella writes that rugby can actually teach you a lot about agile.

Luis Novella's picture Luis Novella
Assessing the Business Value of Agile User Stories

Allan Kelly says that ideally, companies should put a dollar amount on each planned business decision. But pinning down financial value can be hard, and besides, there are many other factors to consider, such as sustainability and customer service. He looks at various ways to assess the business value of user stories.

Allan Kelly's picture Allan Kelly
Stop Re-estimating Your Stories for Every Iteration

Many agile practitioners recommend re-estimating stories at the beginning of each iteration to increase accuracy. Adrian Wible, however, argues that re-estimating stories within an iteration planning meeting actually distorts results and decreases predictability. See if you need to rethink your planning procedures.

Adrian Wible's picture Adrian Wible
Rethinking Workflow for Virtual Teams

When you switch from working in an office with all your coworkers right beside you to working remotely and collaborating with people in other countries or even time zones, you have to change more about how you work than just the way you communicate. Magnus Ljadas details how his virtual team modified their tools, infrastructure, and processes.

Magnus Ljadas's picture Magnus Ljadas

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