Agile

Episode 408: How to Write Excellent User Stories (Free)

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Betsy and Cornelius
Betsy Stockdale and Cornelius Fichtner

In agile, technically anyone can write user stories. Sounds easy, right?

However, many people really do not have a good understanding of how to write high-quality stories or effectively manage the product backlog. In this interview you will learn about the full life cycle of agile requirements, including how to use visual models at each step of the iterative process.

This interview with Betsy Stockdale (LinkedIn Profile) was recorded at the inspiring Project Management Institute (PMI)® Global Conference 2017 in Chicago, Illinois.

We explain the life cycle of agile requirements and how to use visual models to identify epics and user stories, and how to write testable acceptance criteria using a variety of techniques. Those currently working on their PMI-ACP training will find this interview valuable for their general understanding of Agile approaches.

Episode 407: The Agile Practice Guide (Free)

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Mike G, Jesse F, Cornelius F
Jesse Fewell, Mike Griffiths and Cornelius Fichtner

Work is changing from industrial, routine work to knowledge-oriented work that requires more of an ongoing collaborative endeavor to manage change, complexity, and uncertainty. Learn how project management has evolved to reflect these changes with the publication of the new “Agile Practice Guide,” developed in collaboration with the Agile Alliance.

This interview with Mike Griffiths (LinkedIn Profile) and Jesse Fewell (LinkedIn Profile) was recorded at the splendid Project Management Institute (PMI)® Global Conference 2017 in Chicago, Illinois.

We not only discuss the implications that The Agile Practice guide has on the PMI-ACP exam and your PMI-ACP exam prep, we also examine the core chapters of the new guide and discuss application and adaptation implications. We explore many elements of the guide and learn more about its content and use in a variety of domains.

Episode 382: Top Five Warning Signs that Agile Isn't Working (Free)

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NK Shrivastava
NK Shrivastava and Cornelius Fichtner

This interview about why Agile might be failing in your organization with NK Shrivastava was recorded at the Project Management Institute (PMI)® Global Congress 2016 in San Diego, California. We discuss his presentation and white paper Top Five Warning Signs That Agile is Not Working for You. Here are the abstract and conclusion:

Abstract: There are good possibilities of success when adopting an agile approach in an organization, but five symptoms in particular serve as warning signs that the organization’s agile transformation is not working well.

The five warning signs include: (a) no signs of value delivery for over 3 months, (b) teams resisting customer changes, (c) teams “waterfalling” sprints, (d) customers foregoing involvement in development and testing, and (e) lack of visibility for agile in the organization. Potential solutions for these problems are also described in this paper. Many organizations can solve these problems internally, but sometimes an external resource such as a change agent or an agile coach is needed. By addressing these issues, organizations can increase the chances of a successful agile transformation.

Conclusion: Agile doesn’t work by itself. Organizations that implement agile with minimal team support and expect it to work perfectly “out of the box” will likely be disappointed. Successful agile adoption depends on factors at the organization and team levels. Organizations need the right mindset, a strong commitment, a culture conducive to implement agile, and the ability to secure resources and outside help as needed. Teams need the training, skills, and empowerment to absorb and implement agile principles. With these factors in place, organizations and teams should be able to build the foundation for agile success.

Click to download the white paper

Episode 381: Scaled Agile for The Enterprise (Free)

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Joy Beatty
Joy Beatty and Cornelius Fichtner

We continue our look at the topic of scaled agile that we started in the previous episode, this time by looking at "agiLE" - Agile in the Large Enterprise.

This interview about Scaling Agile with Joy Beatty, PMI-PBA was recorded at the Project Management Institute (PMI)® Global Congress 2016 in San Diego, California. We discuss her presentation and white paper Making "agiLE" Work: Agile in the Large Enterprise. Here are the abstract and final thoughts:

Abstract: Almost all large enterprises are making some transition to agile practices. There are many approaches to scale agile in the large enterprise, and we’ll give an overview of the most common scaled approaches and their limitations. This paper also discusses the most common challenges our customers’ teams are facing when scaling agile and provides suggestions to overcome those challenges.

Final Thoughts: This sounds like a daunting task—to transition to agile approaches in a large organization. However, with solid collaboration and communication, it’s absolutely doable. Teams will constantly be collaborating through elicitation, answering questions, and testing the actual product. Business analysts have a critical role to play in keeping the collaboration running smoothly, including helping to facilitate backlog grooming and elaboration, participating in planning in sprints, working with interfacing teams to identify dependencies, and serving as a product owner proxy on any teams as needed. Likewise, project and program managers can act as advisors about appropriate levels of process, help guide projects toward common goals, and ensure a focus on prioritization based on business needs. Instead of instilling a hierarchical control between PMO and product owner, in agiLE the PMO and product owner work together to achieve the objective. The real goal for agiLE teams is self-organization and creativity, while still contributing as a part of a large organization

Click to download the white paper

Episode 380: Scaled Agile (Free)

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Andy Burns
Andrew Burns and Cornelius Fichtner

Agile began with the promise to make smaller project teams more able to react to ever changing customer requirements. But what if your project is big? I mean really, really big. Can we have scaled agile?

This interview about Scaling Agile with Andrew Burns, PMI-ACP, PMP, was recorded at the Project Management Institute (PMI)® Global Congress 2016 in San Diego, California. We discuss his paper and presentation Dragon Scales: 50 Teams Scrumming -- Implementing Adaptive Project Management Practices at Scale. Here is the abstract:

Product portfolios can easily scale to 50 teams or more in meeting large organizations’ needs. Large portfolios with strong foundations are derived through values-based leadership. The technique links corporate and individual values to scientific principles. Scientific principles inform us that change is constant and therefore adaptation defines good practices. Values-based leadership’s agile practices take root, thrive, and adapt at the pace of business change.

The three-hundred software engineers considered herein innovated within a portfolio of 18,000 colleagues. Their agile, adaptive product development practices continue to evolve from plan-driven provenance. Leveraging agile practices at the portfolio, program, and project level continually unleashes innovation, quality, and throughput of value. Though contextualized in terms of software product development in the 2010s with Scrum, the message of innovation through values-based adoption of scientific principles is timeless and framework unallied. Implementation of practices observant of values and principles endures as a way to deliver the best products regardless of toolset.

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Episode 328: Agile Communications (Premium)

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Bill Dow
Bill Dow, PMP, ITIL, CSM - Author

According to Harold Kerzner, we project managers spend 90% of our time communicating.

And according to the title, Bill Dow’s new book Project Management Communication Tools is 100% about communication tools. And since Agile is the hot topic of the day, a large portion of the book is devoted to Agile Communications and Agile Communication Tools.

So in this interview, Bill and I review:

  • Agile dashboards
  • Agile meetings
  • And even agile estimation

Episode 323: Agile Burnout - How to Avoid Fatigue on Your Agile Team (Premium)

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Kim Wasson
Kim Wasson. Author, Speaker & PM Consultant.

Do you use an Agile project management approach? And have you maybe noticed a certain fatigue -- an Agile burnout, a Scrum burnout in your team?

Well, Agile is indeed an excellent methodology that is responsive to business changes with quick turnaround and highly visible results. But at the same time, the pace of a project using Agile is relentless. It never seems to stop and this is potentially one of the biggest agile project management issues that the team may face. Unlike Waterfall there are very few built-in times for team members to catch their collective breath and celebrate milestones.

This Scrum burnout was the basis of the article Agile Fatigue written by Kim Wasson https://www.linkedin.com/in/kimwasson. It’s a relatively short article that contains some good tips on how to combat this effect. So in our interview just now we are going to talk about the following symptoms:

  • Burnout
  • Meandering
  • Stagnation
  • The daily stand-up turns into a grind
  • A secret move back to waterfall

But more importantly, we discuss what to do about them in order to battle the burnout.

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