The death spiral supersedes the death march in that the death march is a singular event, whereas the death spiral is systemic. It is the result of organizational dysfunction where teams march toward deadline after deadline without reflecting on or questioning if there is a better way to deliver software. There is! Take these positive steps.
Agile is growing up and is now officially a teenager. It has moved from being a somewhat rumbustious child with some overzealous followers and a skeptical management crowd to something that is generally accepted by the mainstream IT community and particular management. Has the agile community lost something? Are the founding members and early practitioners evolving the practice? Is this good? Well, the answers are yes, yes, and maybe.
The framework for agile development empowers the diverse environments of modern business. While some project teams can be collocated, many projects are undertaken by teams who are distributed geographically or organizationally. This article focuses on five challenges faced by these distributed agile development teams and provides some solutions.
"Don't bring me problems; bring me solutions." Sound familiar? Sounds like a management cop out to Johanna Rothman. A primary purpose of managers is to help their teams perform to the best of their abilities, and that includes stepping up and making tough decisions to help solve problems.
Team members involved in hopeless projects become dejected, stressed, and overworked. Are there any silver linings to working on a doomed project? This article argues that there are. When you and your teammates are stretched to your limits, you can learn a lot about each other, your managers, and what it takes to make a successful product.
If you’ve ever worked on a development project, you know you can never be that sure that everything will be completed on deadline. By prioritizing actively, you can change success from something binary—either we make it or we don’t—into something more gradual. By doing this, you increase the chance of succeeding in delivering something. If you prioritize really well, that something may even turn out to be far more valuable than anything you penned down in your initial plan.
Just because you have a fancy job title doesn't mean you can manage your team members by bossing them around. Servant leadership is an important skill for managers, as the best managers are those who serve the people who work for them.
How do you estimate work you've never done before? One proven method is to spike it: Timebox a little work, do some research—just enough to know how long it will take to finish the rest of the work—and then you can estimate the rest of the work. You don’t waste time, you can explore different avenues of how best to complete the task, and your team learns together.
Busy managers get used to making decisions on the fly. But, some decisions require more thought and consideration than others. Johanna offers some tips for knowing when you need to slow down, take a seat, and give a problem your undivided attention.
Using metrics such as cumulative flow to monitor throughput and quantitative thinking may not seem very humanistic, but by depersonalizing the work being done, we can focus our energies on solving actual problems instead of conducting a daily witch-hunt and shaming people into high performance.