Thursday, September 20, 2012

Agile Atlas - an Informative website

There are several ways information can be made available to the readers. Cluttered menus are highly unpopular, and mind maps are most popular.  

While there is wealth of info on Agile/Scrum on the internet,  AgileAtlas has made a good attempt to show the info in a easily navigable way.   Here is the screen shot of the website


One could click on an of these topics to get a detailed overview of the same.  Best part is the Forum, top guns of Agile (like Ron Jeffries, Mike Cohn, MJ) are the key contributors here.  If anyone has any doubt about Agile/Scrum, this is the place to get it answered.

Thursday, September 13, 2012

Using SAFe in large Agile projects

As the software debacles experienced by both the Royal Bank of Scotland (RBS) and Knight Capital Group show, large-scale projects can become large-scale problems. Using a Scaled Agile Framework (SAFe) is one way to help steer these big projects in the right direction.

Recently I came across the idea of a Scaled Agile Framework (SAFe), created by Dean Leffingwell, which is another attempt to help steer large-scale agile projects in the right direction. Synchronization of multiple touch points and early integration testing form the two key ingredients in large-scale projects, and SAFe suggest ways to solve many issues that may arise during these stages.

Read this complete article published on StickyMinds.

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Scrum + Continuous Delivery

Continous DeliveryPete Gfader  has written this good article about Scrum and Continuous delivery. 

Continuous Delivery is the aim of keeping the system “Production Ready” during development and
to release the product to the customer on demand.

What would change if you add “Deployed to Production” to your Definition of “Done”?

There needs to be a high level of trust between the Product Owner and the Development team in
order to let the Development Team deploy every Product Backlog Item. After the deployment to
Production, the Product Owner and the Development Team might decide to immediately release the
latest change.

Read more about this article here

Note: Above image is courtesy of

Thursday, September 06, 2012

Team decision making techniques – Fist to Five and others

Meetings are something which many people dislike for several reasons.  One of the common causes is the boredom, and low engagement levels.  An Agile coach or a facilitator should monitor the engagement levels of the participants, and drive the meetings in appropriate direction.  

Steps to engage audience during meeting
#1 : 
Circulate  the detailed agenda and objective of the meeting before hand. The agenda should indicate the owner, and the time allocated for the topic.  The objective should be as clear as possible and less generic.

For example:

: To finalize the  user interface for the login screen

* Present the wireframe for the login screen (5 minutes: John)
* Make a  list of changes needed for the wireframe (10 minutes: Carla)
* Collate the list of changes into groups (5 minutes: Carla)
* Finalize the list and action items (10 minutes: John)

#2: Many a times it is not possible to exactly stick to the duration allocated for a topic. Some one or the other will come up with a valid topic/question to discuss.This is when,one could make use of the “Thumbs up/down/sideways” decision.

As soon as the timer goes off after the allocated duration, ask the participants if this discussion should be continued on this topic by showing their thumbs.

“Thumbs up” implies  agreement.  “Thumbs down” implies, disagreement   and  “Sideways” says “don’t know/not decided”


Based on the number of thumbs up/down, one could sense people’s decision and make the final call. 

Fist to Five decision technique
This technique is an extension of the above “thumbs up/down” technique, and could be used to understand the pulse in a more granular fashion.

Sample scenarios
1. The team needs to vote and identify a retrospective item that needs immediate attention at program level
2. Check the confidence level of the team on a specific decision
3. Gauge the impact of an issue on the delivery timelines
4. Identify if the funding is sufficient to run the project

The facilitator could ask the audience to show their support either with fist and with fingers.


Fist could represent  --> No support or no vote
One finger  --> One vote (full support)
Two fingers –> two votes (partial support)
Similarly,  Three, four or Five could be represented either with increase of support or decrease based on the circumstances.

In some contexts, five fingers could be used to say “Stop” or no support. 

Try these techniques during your next meeting, and see how quickly one could gather consensus.