Articles

The Space Shuttle Challenger launch Prevent Disaster by Righting Cultural Dysfunction on Your Team

The space shuttles Challenger and Columbia were two of NASA's biggest disasters. Investigations into these accidents discovered the engineering issues responsible, but management practices and cultural barriers also were found to be contributing factors. Does your organization have a healthy culture that lets you safely voice concerns? It could help you prevent tragedy.

Payson Hall
A pile of documents Slim Down Your Test Plan Documentation

Test plans are essential for communicating intent and requirements for testing efforts, but excessive documentation creates confusion—or just goes unread. Try the 5W2H method. The name comes from the seven questions you ask: why, what, where, when, who, how, and how much. That's all you need to provide valuable feedback and develop a sufficient plan of action.

László Szegedi
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
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
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
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
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
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
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

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