Articles

Man surrounded by sticky notes Streamline Your Agile Requirements by Avoiding Bloated Backlogs

In agile development, a bloated backlog results from teams accumulating huge lists of requirements, usually in the form of user stories. Retaining every possible story for building the product weighs down the backlog while squeezing (or obscuring) the highest-value stories. The best way to help minimize this risk is to optimize the time spent defining and refining the product priorities.

Michelina DiNunno's picture Michelina DiNunno
Model airplane Build One before Building Many: Learning from Agile Feedback

When you're working on a project and are presented with a big story or requirement, resist the urge to treat it as a single piece of work. One of the principles of the Agile Manifesto is to deliver working software frequently. This allows you to learn from what you built and make adjustments. See if you can break down the request and find a small piece of work within the big.

Allan Kelly's picture Allan Kelly
Clock Estimating Cost of Delay in Agile Projects with Time-Value Profiles

The cost of delay for releasing a product can be due to many factors, but that value loss can seem like an abstract concept. Attaching hard numbers to a release timeline in the form of a time-value profile helps the development team and business stakeholders have a conversation about how long they have to build a product and when it would be best to enter a market.

Allan Kelly's picture Allan Kelly
Transparency The Transparency Experiment: Improving Accuracy and Predictability in Scrum

Using the iterative and incremental agile development framework Scrum should help manage product development, but some teams still have difficulty delivering features in a predictable manner. This organization decided to address the mismatch between what was being committed and what was accomplished by doing an experiment in work transparency.

Uncertainty Reduce Uncertainty in Agile Projects with #NoEstimates Thinking

Estimation uncertainty in software projects is often not driven by the difficulty of the problem we are trying to solve, but rather by the health of our codebase, the quality of process, and how much discipline we have in our management practices. If you want to improve your estimates, then agile and #NoEstimates thinking can have the biggest impact on your team’s success.

Ryan Ripley's picture Ryan Ripley
Tape measure Estimation: What It Takes to Deliver Consumable Value in Agile Projects

Releasing in small batches is a good way to achieve quick feedback in your sprints, but these pieces don't have all the features users need. Providing consumable value is turning those small bites into a meal, and it’s worthwhile to estimate what it will take to deliver that—asking, “What consumable value do we expect to achieve, what duration and cost should we plan for, and how likely is it that the plan will succeed?”

Andy Berner's picture Andy Berner
financial graph How to Train Agile Product Owners Using Financial Terms

Prioritizing stories for an upcoming sprint can lead to confusion and miscommunication between the product owner and agile teams. But putting that exercise into financial terms, such as purchase, budget, cost, and investment—a set of words that everyone understands, no matter what their area of expertise is—gets everyone thinking about value.

Kris Hatcher's picture Kris Hatcher
organizational structure Code Factories: Making Agile Work in Large Organizational Teams

Making the transition to agile can be difficult for teams that are used to working in large groups and reporting to a single manager. Kris Hatcher suggests a new way to work: in smaller teams called code factories, which are created to stick with a specific product throughout its lifetime.

Kris Hatcher's picture Kris Hatcher
truck overloaded and tipping Is Your Product Owner an Overloaded Operator?

Overloaded operators exist when an operator or operation has different meanings in different contexts. This usually applies to variables and sets, but it can be true for people, too. These people try to do the work of many different roles—and usually fail. If you have an overloaded people operator, analyze the work and try to divide it up.

Johanna Rothman's picture Johanna Rothman
caution sign Proactively Planning for Risks to Your Agile Project

Being aware of risk is good project management common sense. But to address risk quickly and effectively when you encounter it, the best method is to establish clear, agreed-upon, communicated responses to risk before it even happens. Dave Browett suggests some tactics to mitigate and confront risk you can use with your team.

Dave Browett's picture Dave Browett

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