glass house

The walls are glass, but you can’t come in

Sometimes teams have good times, sometimes they have bad times. Sometimes things go well, sometimes they don’t. No matter how bad things get, it is important that they be transparent, always. The walls around the team are made of glass: information flows freely in and out. But we need to make sure that while they […]

Continue reading

It’s not about the tools and processes…

I’ve been reading Quora lately, and despairing. Nearly every question about Agile there is in this format: “What tool is the best for doing {X} in Agile?”. This is disappointing. What happened to the Agile Manifesto? That bit where it says “People and interactions over processes and tools”? People seem to have forgotten the lesson – […]

Continue reading

Agile Metrics: the Ultimate Guide

Metrics is one of the most discussed and misunderstood topics in the whole field of Agile Software Development. I have written some material on Agile metrics before, but this is the definitive guide. It will cover every possible metrics you would possibly want to use, and tell you what they mean, when you should use […]

Continue reading

Software development is a design activity

Software development is not a manufacturing activity Despite what a lot of people believe, software development is not a manufacturing activity. That is, it is not a process that takes some inputs (money and ideas, people, time, source code, compilers) and then manufactures some outputs (software; APIs, DLLs, database schemas). We have spent too long pretending it […]

Continue reading

Agile is not just about software

We all know the stories about agile failures. About things like Flaccid Scrum, Cargo Cult Agile, and all the others. We all hear the tales of micromanaging PMP-certificate wielding “scrum-masters”, absentee-landlord product owners, and sadistic pitiless stakeholders. What’s gone wrong? A few things. But mainly, organisations are signing up to Agile for the wrong reasons, and […]

Continue reading

Retros are not continuous improvement

Retrospectives are one of the hallowed traditions of Agile software development. They are mentioned specifically as one of the twelve principles in the Agile Manifesto. They are one of only four regular activities prescribed in the Scrum guide. Extreme Programming says you must “fix XP when it breaks” (and talks a bit about retrospectives in that […]

Continue reading

Technical debt – or technical bankruptcy?

It’s time we admit we have a problem with technical debt. Everyone knows what it is, everyone is talking about, but not enough is being done about it. Time and again I have seen teams and systems end up swamped in technical debt. Swimming and eventually drowning in the stuff. Until entire projects have to […]

Continue reading

The Lean wisdom at the heart of Agile

I had a discussion a little while ago with someone about what Agile is fundamentally about. The true, inner core of it. I gave some rambling and clumsy explanation. He gave a much better one: “Embracing change, and efficient collaboration”. This seemed fine at the time, but something started bugging me about it. It seemed […]

Continue reading

Disrupt yourself before someone does it to you

It sounds trite to say disruption is happening everywhere. But it is. Much, much faster than many people realise. Want proof? Here is one of my favourite statistics I’ve read lately. The time it took for the telephone to reach 100 million users – 75 years. The time it took the World Wide Web to […]

Continue reading

Alternatives to Planning Poker

Planning poker is a common way of doing story point estimation. It has some advantages but some problems too. What is planning poker again? Planning poker is often used in teams doing Scrum (though it is not mentioned anywhere in the Scrum guide, despite popular belief). It was popularised by Mike Cohn in his book […]

Continue reading
1 2 3 8