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Showing posts from December, 2012

3 Agile Risk Management Tips from Shamu

Experienced agilists make it sound so easy, don't they?  They tell you over beers about the big, honking project they did last time.  They showed up, did some "workshopping," set up a little CI environment, and then, two weeks later, they began churning out working software.  And not just any working software:  high quality, low complexity, and perfect fit to business needs.  And why not?  The Product Owner was in the room to design and approve it!  Agile is fun!  Woo hoo!

This may not sound like the projects you do at all, where you experience confusion, resistance, fear, sweat, and tears, and you teeter daily on the edge of failure, public humiliation, alcoholism, and unwilling participation in corporate "resource efficiency" efforts.   How can you be an agilist when you don't share this ability to triumph over the grim corporate realities and do the impossible every day (twice on Sunday?)
Here's a quick answer from Shamu, the quirkily named Orca(s) …

A Corporate Agile 10-point Checklist

I'm pretty sure my few remaining friends in the "small, collocated team agile" community are going to desert me after this, but I actually have a checklist of 10 things to think about if you're a product owner at a big company thinking of trying out some agile today.  Some of these might even apply to you if you're in a smaller place.  So at the risk of inciting an anti-checklist riot (I'm sorry, Pez!), I am putting this out there in case it is helpful to someone else.

Here's what you should think about:

1.Your staffing pattern.  A full agile project requires that you have the full team engaged for the whole duration of the project at the right ratios.  So as you provision the project, check to see whether you can arrange this staffing pattern.  If not, you will encounter risks because of missing people.  Concretely it means that:
a.You need your user experience people (if applicable) and your analysts at the beginning of the project, as always, b…

Beware the Dark Triad: Your Worst Change Management Nightmare

What do you think is your biggest blocker, in terms of introducing agile software development to an organization which hasn't used it before?  Ignorance?  Lack of the proper tools?  Cube farms?  These perils are grave indeed, but they are nothing compared to something for which I have just learned the name:  the "Dark Triad." 
The Dark Triad consists of three personality constructs: Machiavellianism, narcissism, and psychopathy.  As that source of all knowledge, wikipedia says,
The narcissistic personality (in the clinical sense) is characterized by a grandiose self-view, a sense of entitlement, lack of empathy, and egotism.The Machiavellian personality is characterized by manipulation and exploitation of others, with a cynical disregard for morality and a focus on self-interest and deception.The psychopathic personality, is characterized by impulsive thrill-seeking, and in its "primary" form by selfishness, callousness, lack of personal affect, superfici…