In daily stand ups (daily scrum meetings), there is an often used analogy about chickens and pigs. When it comes to breakfast, chickens (who provide the eggs) are interested, but pigs (who provide themselves) are committed. The analogy goes that the same is true for team members and those outside the team. Therefore, when it comes to the daily stand up, pigs should speak and chickens shouldn't because the pigs are the ones who have the most riding on the success of the team (chickens have other teams).
I'm currently attending an online class on Lean development by Alan Shalloway of Net Objectives. In a previous blog entry, I reviewed an excellent book on Lean by Mary and Tom Poppendieck. After reading the book, I attended Alan's session on Lean at Agile 2008. I view this class as an opportunity to see how others are using Lean to get the most out of Agile.
The term "Agile" came into existence in February 2001 when the "lightweight method leaders" at the time met to agree on common principles. Each of their approaches had key aspects in common. This was an opportunity to elevate the discussion.
Daily stand-ups (or daily scrums) can be a really effective technique to improve communication and collaboration and to quickly eliminate issues.
The team meets daily to answer three questions:
- What did I do yesterday?
- What am I going to do today?
- What is blocking me?
Erik Huddleston and I will be giving two free workshops on Agile Planning this weekend. The workshops are sponsored by Agile Austin.
To sign up, click on one of the following links:
- Saturday, November 08, 2008 from 2:00 PM - 5:00 PM (CT)
- Sunday, November 09, 2008 from 2:00 PM - 5:00 PM (CT)
Part 1: Release Planning
- Anti-goals (i.e., things you're not trying to accomplish)
Agile practices can work in just about any organizational structure. The more you do agile, the more you'll identify areas in which you could optimize your organization to be more effective.
Let's first talk about functional organizations vs. cross functional organizations. In a functional organization, you have one group do product management, another do development, another for QA, etc. This made sense in waterfall because you handed off from one functional area to another.
At Agile 2008, Michael Mah of QSM Associates gave a presentation demonstrating the productivity gains that are possible with an agile approach. In the presentation, he focused on the successes we had at BMC and showed some numbers to illustrate. The video goes around an hour and a half. Starting at around 54 minutes in is an interview with me that goes to the end of the video.
Click here to see it.
In the last blog entry, I talked about the effect of moving to agile on individual contributors. In this entry, I'll talk about the effect on management.
The transition to agile is a disruptive one. It affects many core processes. It also affects the roles that people play. Both of these can be a barrier to its adoption. Bigger companies in particular have a natural resistance to process change. As to role changes, if a change was going to affect your day to day role, wouldn't you be nervous?
Agile tells us we should release frequently. Each release generates feedback which we can use to help guide us in what to do next.
In previous posts, I've talked about the importance of staying releasable. Staying releasable gives us options (i.e., allows us to be agile). The closer we stay to releasable, the shorter the list of things that we have to do to release. The shorter that list, the more time we have to do other things. And the more frequently we can release.