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.
In the agile world, there is a concept of “smells,” or symptoms that things aren’t going well. Introduced by Kent Beck and expanded on by practitioners, smells now describe problems involving adoption, coaching, design, code, and teams. When we see these symptoms, we can identify opportunities to improve.
Noah Gamer explains that mission and risk diagnostics provide an excellent approach to risk management for any company. Using these elements together, an organization can create a better business continuity strategy. While risk is not always bad, identifying and mitigating risks can help your organization achieve success.
Counting is easy. However, what makes measurement really valuable-and really hard to get right-is knowing what to count and what to do with the results. If your organization is mostly tracking resource usage, costs, and schedule data, it is making a big mistake. What about the users? The customers? The overall business strategy? Sharing the lessons he has learned from fighting-and surviving-many software measurement battles, Ed Weller offers a step-by-step approach for implementing a practical and valuable metrics program. After understanding what measures are most important to the business strategy and all stakeholders, the next step is to decide what data supports those measures and how to capture it. With data in hand, you can create simple and informative ways to make the resulting metrics visible and easy to digest. The biggest challenges-avoidance, disbelief, and rationalization-come next.
Edward Weller, Integrated Productivity Solutions, LLC
Continuous integration (CI) has become a buzzword, with most engineering organizations claiming they've adopted the practice. However, the sad truth is that unreliable tests, long feedback loops, and poor configuration management block their efforts and minimize CI's potential benefits. Jesse Dowdle shares how AtTask radically redesigned its engineering pipeline and, through massive CI scaling, drove three days of testing to just minutes. Learn the pros and cons of different CI systems and how to integrate them with the cloud. Watch a live demo of AtTask's internal test and CI systems, which they’ve designed to make "Every commit a potential release candidate"-meaning that every commit is an iteration. Arm yourself with the talking points to sell massive CI to executives.
To deliver high-value products, your agile team must reach a shared understanding of prioritized stakeholder needs. Collaborative techniques are best for this type of work, but not all agile teams use them or use them efficiently. Some rely too heavily on written user stories or story maps and fail to address complex topics or resolve requirements conflicts among stakeholders. Ellen Gottesdiener outlines how you can systematically collaborate about the product backlog in nimble, timely workshops that give your team an open venue for working together to make complicated decisions. Ellen explores collaborative techniques for backlog discovery and preparation. She teaches you to use the Seven Dimensions technique to make sure you capture all product needs.
Have you ever delivered an application with functionality that was not what the stakeholders really wanted-or needed? Have you ever discovered that you were listening to the wrong people? Has your team ever developed a really beautiful application that no one uses? A truly successful project delivers what is most important to the business, the sponsor, and the key stakeholders. Carol Askew shares ten requirement-related tips she uses at her large healthcare organization. For example, to keep her projects on track, Carol developed specific requirements checkpoints to review throughout the software development lifecycle. She describes what to look for in project initiation documents, requirements elicitation sessions, user stories, scope issues, and project schedules. Take back ideas that you can use right away to help achieve success in your own projects.