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Showing posts from November, 2010

Agile Story Estimation via Dog Grooming Exercise

Practice story estimation techniques with this exercise in dog grooming.  Then apply the principles of RELATIVE SIZING to your own backlog. Related Post: Affinity Estimating: A How-To by Sterling Barton. Dogfood David why I feel like an expert in the concept of eating one's own dogfood. Slideshare: Affinity Estimation - Size 60 Stories in about 20 Minutes . For each dog below, estimate the work effort (story size) required to groom the dog.  Assuming that you have the tools and experience to groom dogs.  Discuss with your teammates what grooming means ( in my book grooming includes washing, drying, combing, nail clipping, and hair trimming in some cases - etc. ). Start with the ever-popular: Golden Retriever (22-24 in, 50-90 lbs). The short-haired Dachshund (15-28 lbs). The Standard Poodle (15-18in, 40-80 lbs). Bernese Mountain Dog (25-28 in., 65-120 lbs). German Shepherd (23-26 in, 50-90 lbs). Yorkshire terrier (5 in, <10 lbs).

Buy vs. Build Decisions & User Stories

Where does the typical engineering Buy vs. Build decision making process happen within Agile software development?  How does Agile's User Stories help us with this decision making process? Case Study In the late 1990s I worked with a talented group of people creating a product to deliver high speed Internet service via satellite download links.  The version 1.0 product was done and functioning well, venture capital was secure for version 2.0.  There was a window of opportunity to release a 2.0 product into the market place and we were racing to that market place with a competitor. Although we were not using any formal Agile process (the term had yet to be coined in Snowbird, UT), we were like many start-up companies using such a lightweight process that it had no name.  It is best to describe the development process as "just make good decision - and do it fast." One of the features for the 2.0 version was greatly enhanced product licensing.  The new licensing

Interesting Motivation links

For some crazy (but interesting) reason the most popular blog post on my site is about Motivation and the Hertzberg Two-Factor Theory . So in keeping with the concept that if that is what people are coming to see - then maybe that is a topic of concern - here are some interesting links and info on Motivation. One of the best TED Videos on the topic: Dan Pink on the surprising science of motivation If then rewards do not work! Example: If you perform at a high level - you will get this reward. Social science knows that this does not work in cognitive skilled areas. Did you know this? See RSA's rendering of Dan Pink's speech. From the author of "Flow". "Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi has contributed pioneering work to our understanding of happiness, creativity, human fulfillment and the notion of "flow" -- a state of heightened focus and immersion in activities such as art, play and work." Mihaly Czikszentmihalyi asks, "What makes a life wo

Where does your Creativity emerge?

A great boss knows that you do not schedule meetings during your work groups most creative portions of their day.  If you are a morning person - schedule meetings in the afternoon.  Bored, Lonely? - call a meeting. I have great ideas for blog post in the morning, by the evening they have dissipated into just mediocre and the motivation to write them has gone. What is required for those creative moments to produce fruit? "People often credit their ideas to individual "Eureka!" moments. But Steven Johnson shows how history tells a different story. His fascinating tour takes us from the "liquid networks" of London's coffee houses to Charles Darwin's long, slow hunch to today's high-velocity web." TED Talk:  Where good ideas come from - Steven Johnson Johnson relates the myth of Eureka moments vs the Slow Hunch - or the innovation process.  Why is the open forum (a network of people) where ideas are exchanged so important to the innova

Do you know how to stack the deck?

You want to make an Agile transformation in your work group.  What one action could facilitate that Agile transformation? I have a friend who's 5 year old son was learning to play card games. After learning a few games, she noticed that he had learned to stack the deck. No one had taught him, he discovered he could influence the outcome of the games if he ordered the cards in a "better" way. Shuffling is so old school. Would it be cheating if you stacked the deck? The most successful Agile transformations I've been a part of were rigged games.  The sponsors allowed the teams to hire new staff (programers, testers, team leads, coaches).  The staff they hired were not typical - they were Agilist. All you need to transition a team to Agile is three developers.  A team is 7 +/-2.  If just 3 of those people are going to do the Agile thing given any problem - then the team is stacked. Image a retrospective.  The team is trying to decide on a problem: Last spri

Agile tools for your iPhone/iPad

There is an App for that, but are they any good for helping with your Agile software team? Here are a few iOS apps I have on my iPhone.  I'm not sure they are going to replace the sticky notes and a whiteboard. Clock Pro - it has a multi-city world clock for visualizing timezone differences.  Great for those dis-located teams. Agilely Timer - a clock timer for scrum meetings and round table discussions. User Stories - a backlog management tool for user stories with estimates & priority. Game Storming - a set of exercises (game if you wish) that create synergy in groups and discover knowledge. Scrum Cards - estimation cards and cheat sheets for process. LeanKit - a Kanban tool, integrates with the web tool LeanKit Kanban . Whiteboard Capture Pro - whiteboard photo capture post processing. Processed Image           Original Image Whiteboard Share - another photo processing tool - this one integrates with Evernote. Microsoft's Phot