Why agile projects need to fund BML properly

One of the key concepts from Eric Ries’ seminal book, the Lean Startup, is “Build Measure Learn”, or BML. This means that rather than deliver projects in a sequence, organisations should build something small, measure behaviour and learn from those measurements, then loop back and build again (i.e. extend or change the product). While many […]

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Is agile really all about being able to change?

The myths about agile and change We all know the stories: “if you do agile, you can change!”. Isn’t that great? Those poor fools doing Waterfall can’t change. They bolt themselves to this big plan, and stick to it even when it goes to hell. But on an agile project, we can do whatever you […]

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How to manage scope creep in Agile / Scrum

OK we’ve all heard of the scope creep bogeyman. He haunts the dreams of young impressionable software developers around the world. He prowls the streets at night, looking for weary project managers to pounce on. We’ve all heard the horror stories of big brave projects, brimming with exciting scope items and starry-eyed business analysts, that got […]

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This is why your agile retrospectives don’t work

retrospective

Every team doing scrum will  (should really) be doing a retrospective each sprint. This means that the team gets together and discusses what went well, what went not so well, and what could be improved. The idea is that these regular retrospectives become an engine of “Kaizen” or Continuous Improvement for the team. How do […]

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Top 5 things NOT to do in your agile daily standup

How (not) to run an Agile standup I know how to run an agile daily standup, right? Most people probably think standups are straightforward, and that any idiot can run them. This is not at all the case. A lot of people are doing it wrong – don’t be one of them! This article will […]

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Cycle time and lead time

What are cycle time and lead time? Cycle time and Lead time are important concepts from Kanban and Lean Manufacturing. People often use them as metrics in Agile Software Development, however. And they can provide important insights into how your teams are operating. Cycle and Lead Time are measurements that describe how work is flowing into […]

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Agile and risk management

The Misconception that Agile doesn’t recognise risks There is a strange misconception going around that people working in Agile software development don’t consider risks, or don’t manage risk, or don’t take risk seriously. This is in fact quite false. This article will attempt to clear up the relationship between agile and risk management. The Waterfall […]

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Why aren’t story points a unit of time?

Continuing on the theme of estimation, a common question that comes up is “so are story points a unit of time?”, usually followed a few seconds later by “Why not?”. People seem to want the abstract “story points” to become hours, days, or similar. The consensus in the Agile community, which I agree with (though […]

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What is story point estimation anyway?

If you’ve read the last post I wrote and are scratching your head as to what all this ‘points’ and ‘velocity’ stuff is, this article is a quick primer on what is story point estimation. I’ll explain what it is, how it is usually done, and why we are supposed to do it. I’ll also […]

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Why not use velocity to compare teams?

So if you read my last post, you might be wondering, why not use velocity to compare teams? There are a number of problems with using velocity that way. Each team does their estimations in their own way Each team estimates the relative points for a set of stories against other stories they have already […]

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