Distributed agile teams around world

The 4 Keys to Effectively Working with Agile Teams

My first piece of advice is this: DON’T DO IT!!!
Probably the worst possible setup for a team is spreading them around the country, world, or the universe and expecting them to behave and deliver like a close, cohesive team.
My second bit of advice for those of you that blame it on management and say you don’t have any say in the matter, is: wrong. You have lots of say in sustaining distributed teams or creating another strategy!

Agile Architecture

8 Rules of Agile Architecture

Wow, the title sounds quite bombastic, doesn’t it? And I sound quite full of myself, don’t I? Well…perhaps I am.

Nevertheless, I want to go on record with some simple and pragmatic advice for agile organizations and teams when they’re trying to sort out how architecture fits in agile contexts.

In no particular order, here are my guidelines:

Three Key Agile-Centric Metrics

My friend and colleague, Shaun Bradshaw, and I were coaching recently at a client. We started to have a conversation about velocity, not directly driven by the clients’ context, but in general.

Shaun was focused on velocity as a relevant metric within agile teams to drive conversations between teams and upper management, and I was struggling to get there.

Part of his focus was to create visibility around the difference between average velocity and current sprint velocity. Furthermore, the teams and management would be able to see:

two people figures carved out of wood with the word coaching spelt out on scrabble tiles

Pair-Coaching

I’ve been doing more pairing lately. Much more. But, more specifically pair-coaching.

I’ve been pairing in my conference workshops and talks, quite a bit, with Mary Thorn on the agile quality and testing side of things. I’m also pairing with Josh Anderson on our Meta-cast and I’ve done a few presentations with him. Very enjoyable.

I’ve also been pairing more in my writing. For years, I’ve been a lone wolf writer. Nobody but myself saw my writing before it entered the light of day. Now, I’m learning the value of having reviewers and editors. Second opinions matter. A second set of eyes matter. Having a partner in your endeavors can be quite a bit of fun.

Programming code abstract screen of software developer.

Bugs, Bugs, and More Bugs!

In my agile coaching and training journey, I spend a lot of time discussing a wide variety of topics. But certain themes form a Top 10 topics list everyone seems interested in.

One of those items is how to handle bugs. I get questions like:

Do you estimate bugs (planning poker – points)?
Are bugs equivalent to stories?
When do you file a bug while sprinting?
Do you count bugs as part of your velocity?
Can you deliver a story in a sprint with bugs still open?

Two people brainstorming and writing on white board

The Agile Project Manager – Fail NOW as a Strategy

I was at a conference not long ago speaking on and sharing various agile topics. After one of my presentations, a young man stopped me to ask a few questions. We struck up a nice conversation that eventually discussing sprint dynamics within Scrum teams. I mentioned that I usually coach teams toward declaring their sprints a success…or (pause for meaningful effect) …a failure.

I do this as part of the teams’ Sprint Review, with the Product Owner being the final determinant based on whether the team achieved their Sprint Goal(s). He was visibly upset with my view. He said they (he worked at a well-known Atlanta company) had never failed a sprint. Never! They could not, nor would not, use that WORD in their culture.