Agile antipattern: Hiding unfortunate truths

headinsand“Unfortunate truths” are things which are true – unfortunately!  I’ve heard the phrase used by defense lawyers and I have to admit it is pretty funny to hear something like “Well, my client would have been found not guilty except for the unfortunate truth that his fingerprints were

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Agile anti-pattern: Going to longer iterations

This is another common theme among teams just starting with agile.  It usually goes something like this:

  1. The team has an unsuccessful iteration.
  2. They determine all the unfinished work is testing.
  3. During the retrospective they resolve to give more help to the testers so they can finish in time.
  4. The next iteration is also

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New to agile? Do the simplest thing that works – THEN STOP!

As an agile trainer and coach I often see new teams struggle with a simple question: “How much to do on a user story?”  A lot of people say the simplest thing that works is what should be implemented.  I agree with that wholeheartedly and even have a blog entry on how

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New to agile? Tips for better daily stand-ups

As an agile coach I have attended a lot of daily stand-up meetings.  I can’t count the number of times I’ve been in a meeting that went something like this:

Scrum Master: OK everyone, it is time for our status report.  Let’s start with Joe.
Joe (delivered in a boring monotone voice): Yesterday I

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New to agile? Remember to eliminate waste

When I teach any agile course I start out with the principles of lean that Mary and Tom Poppendieck have written about in their books.  The very first of these principles is Eliminate Waste.

What does this really mean in practice?  Let’s start with

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New to agile? Remember one thing: Just enough, just in time

If you lived through the past few decades you have undoubtedly heard the time “Just in Time” (JIT) as applied to manufacturing.  This is the lean breakthrough that allows companies to get rid of large amounts of inventory and unfinished goods.  In a nutshell it means that parts show up just in time for manufacturing,

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Holistic vs. Dogmatic Agile Definition – Results Matter!

I originally wrote about this topic in our September email newsletter.  In that article I was trying to explain the difference between two specific types of agile coaches.  Those that believe agile is a very specific set of practices (dogmatic) and those that believe agile is more about following principles leading

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Agile teams and Microsoft Outlook – churn, baby, churn!

Many agile organizations use Microsoft Outlook as their email client of choice.  I have to admit that I do as well (full disclosure – I actually use Microsoft Office 2007 Ultimate Edition which contains pretty much all the MS Office programs).  So what’s the

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