Overcoming Some Pitfalls of                     Transitioning to Agile                                                Joha...
Quick Look at All Lifecycles  Copyright	  2007	  Johanna	  Rothman,	  from	  Manage	  it!	  Your	  Guide	  to	  Modern,	  ...
Why Bother?You weren’t being successful enough  You gave the customers what they asked for, but not  what they wanted  Rea...
External Pitfalls1. Interruptions2. When will the project be done???3. Overtime4. Geographically distributed project5. We ...
Schedule Games       5         © 2011 Johanna Rothman
Eliminate MultitaskingManagers must manage the project portfolioDecide in advance what to do about previously released pro...
Predicting an End Date with No Data Your management wants to know “When will the project be done? Quick, we need to tell V...
We Must Have OvertimeWhat happened to sustainable pace?Strategies:   Shorten the timebox   Ask what success means for this...
A Hamstrung Geographically            Distributed ProjectDistributed project without:   Cross-functional teams in each loc...
I Won’t Rank the RequirementsWhat’s wrong with High/Medium/Low?Strategies  Rank just enough for one iteration     Help the...
Technical Debt Is Your ProblemProduct owner has trouble recognizing that technical debt or defectsneed to be addressed wit...
We Have More Than One Product          OwnerYou need product managers and they all want a say in what a teamdoes in one it...
Team-Created Pitfalls1. Someone wants to expand the timebox2. Not integrating testing (or documentation or whatever)  insi...
“Let’s Expand the Timebox”Problems with timebox expansion   “Crossing the Desert” syndrome   No feedback about why they wa...
“Done” is Not Team-Based“It works on my machine” or “The code compiles” or “The development is done” or“I’m done”Testing, ...
Fear of CommitmentThe team doesn’t commit to the contents of an iterationStrategies:   Make sure features (user stories) a...
We Gotta Have It;              We’re Toast Without ItA well-meaning person (sometimes a technical team member, sometimes a...
Our Standup Meetings Are               Sit-Down-and-ForeverYour standup meetings have problems:    Don’t occur at the same...
Stories Complete Late in the               IterationThe team commits to too muchImplements by architectureStories are too ...
Other Common Pitfalls1. No one facilitates a retrospective to learn and adapt2. The PM acts as Product Owner, Scrum Master...
We Don’t Need RetrospectivesSome people know about lessons learned meetings which can turn into ablamefest. Why would you ...
You Have Too Many HatsI know some “Scrum Masters” who are also supposed to be linemanagers, Product Owners, and run a supp...
Look for ObstaclesObstacles such as “overhead” are pitfallsListen for pitfalls:  We can’t do this because…  If we could ju...
There’s More...on http://www.jrothman.comIf you’d like me to stay in touch with you, please sign uponline or fill out a yel...
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Overcoming Some Pitfalls of Transitioning to Agile

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I spoke to the Boston ASP.net User Group in April 2011 and this was the talk with the notes I added

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Overcoming Some Pitfalls of Transitioning to Agile

  1. 1. Overcoming Some Pitfalls of Transitioning to Agile Johanna RothmanNew: Manage Your Project Portfolio: Increase Your Capacity and Finish More Projects @johannarothman www.jrothman.com +1-781-641-4046
  2. 2. Quick Look at All Lifecycles Copyright  2007  Johanna  Rothman,  from  Manage  it!  Your  Guide  to  Modern,  Pragma3c  Project  management 2 © 2011 Johanna Rothman
  3. 3. Why Bother?You weren’t being successful enough You gave the customers what they asked for, but not what they wanted Reacting to requirements changes was difficult You wanted more predictability from your projects 3 © 2011 Johanna Rothman
  4. 4. External Pitfalls1. Interruptions2. When will the project be done???3. Overtime4. Geographically distributed project5. We need everything6. Your product owner refuses to acknowledge technical debt or defects7. We have more than one product owner 4 © 2011 Johanna Rothman
  5. 5. Schedule Games 5 © 2011 Johanna Rothman
  6. 6. Eliminate MultitaskingManagers must manage the project portfolioDecide in advance what to do about previously released products and their supportStrategies: Everyone on one team commits to just one project in an iteration. Do you need multiple teams for multiple projects? Sometimes you ask people to commit to a support team for one iteration Shorten the iterations Add cards to the backlog that say “support” as part of your estimates and what you can commit to in an iteration Manage the project portfolio 6 © 2011 Johanna Rothman
  7. 7. Predicting an End Date with No Data Your management wants to know “When will the project be done? Quick, we need to tell V-I-C” Strategies Explain that you will work in timeboxes, finishing work until they don’t want to spend more money Wideband Delphi for gross estimation for the backlog Date for a date 7 © 2011 Johanna Rothman
  8. 8. We Must Have OvertimeWhat happened to sustainable pace?Strategies: Shorten the timebox Ask what success means for this project Define project release criteria Make sure you have a cross-functional team working towards release-able product Make sure you have enough of the right people Know what “done” means Consider short timeboxes with overtime followed by a timebox with no overtime Measure velocity 8 © 2011 Johanna Rothman
  9. 9. A Hamstrung Geographically Distributed ProjectDistributed project without: Cross-functional teams in each location who can work independently Ranked requirements Synchronized timeboxes (everyone’s timebox ends/starts at the same time) Insufficient trust among project teamsStrategies: Only accept cross-functional teams who can get to done in each location Have a single product owner who ranks the product backlog and each team’s backlog Synchronize the timeboxes Get people together to build relationships and trust 9 © 2011 Johanna Rothman
  10. 10. I Won’t Rank the RequirementsWhat’s wrong with High/Medium/Low?Strategies Rank just enough for one iteration Help the product owner rank the backlog before the next iteration Get a new product owner Don’t work on the project until the requirements are ranked The project team ranks the requirements 10 © 2011 Johanna Rothman
  11. 11. Technical Debt Is Your ProblemProduct owner has trouble recognizing that technical debt or defectsneed to be addressed with featuresStrategies Explain the cost of each feature without addressing technical debt and with addressing technical debt Create three backlogs for transparency: features, technical debt, defects. Rank each then choose from each for each sprint Don’t create more technical debt (Broken Window pattern) 11 © 2011 Johanna Rothman
  12. 12. We Have More Than One Product OwnerYou need product managers and they all want a say in what a teamdoes in one iterationStrategies Product owner meets with product managers in advance of the iteration to negotiate ranking the product backlog They choose one person to deal with the technical team Always look for the most business value 12 © 2011 Johanna Rothman
  13. 13. Team-Created Pitfalls1. Someone wants to expand the timebox2. Not integrating testing (or documentation or whatever) inside the timebox3. The project team doesn’t finish what they committed to4. Changing requirements inside a timebox5. Your standup meetings are sitdown-and-forever meetings6. The team finishes stories very late in the iteration 13 © 2011 Johanna Rothman
  14. 14. “Let’s Expand the Timebox”Problems with timebox expansion “Crossing the Desert” syndrome No feedback about why they want to expand the timebox You can’t measure velocityStrategies: Never extend a timebox while you are in it. If the team’s estimates are a problem, reduce the timebox for the next iteration. Loop until the team’s estimates are close. Never allow other people to insert more items into the sprint’s backlog Look for “overhead”, things that prevent people from working at full capacity 14 © 2011 Johanna Rothman
  15. 15. “Done” is Not Team-Based“It works on my machine” or “The code compiles” or “The development is done” or“I’m done”Testing, documentation, whatever else is left out in the coldRemember, the goal is release-able productStrategies: Work with the team to define: What does “done” mean? Make sure they understand the product is supposed to be release-able Integrate the testers and writers into the team Don’t count anything that’s not done-done-done as part of the velocity 15 © 2011 Johanna Rothman
  16. 16. Fear of CommitmentThe team doesn’t commit to the contents of an iterationStrategies: Make sure features (user stories) are on the backlog, not tasks Reduce the size of each user story so it’s easier to estimate Never allow any single person to commit to anything on behalf of the team Ask the 3 questions at each standup (I use “what have you completed” as the first question) Reduce the size of the timebox Know what done means for each feature Consider moving to TDD Never allow a specialist to work alone on anything he or she knows 16 © 2011 Johanna Rothman
  17. 17. We Gotta Have It; We’re Toast Without ItA well-meaning person (sometimes a technical team member, sometimes aProduct Owner) has a great idea that he wants in this iteration.Yourcustomer will be devastated without this item in this iteration’s backlog.Strategies: Say No and reorder the entire product backlog if necessary Consider stopping the iteration and restarting it Shorten the iteration so people have more flexibility with the product backlog 17 © 2011 Johanna Rothman
  18. 18. Our Standup Meetings Are Sit-Down-and-ForeverYour standup meetings have problems: Don’t occur at the same time every day People sit down and the meeting takes longer than 15 minutes No one makes a velocity chart at the meeting People don’t complete items often People use the meeting to solve problemsStrategies Ask people to answer only these three questions. No other questions or answers in the meeting What did I complete since the last standup? What am I planning to do today? What obstacles do you have? At a retrospective, discuss your problems. Then define the problems so you can address them. 18 © 2011 Johanna Rothman
  19. 19. Stories Complete Late in the IterationThe team commits to too muchImplements by architectureStories are too largeStrategies Implement by feature Make stories smaller Rethink estimation 19 © 2011 Johanna Rothman
  20. 20. Other Common Pitfalls1. No one facilitates a retrospective to learn and adapt2. The PM acts as Product Owner, Scrum Master, and line manager 20 © 2011 Johanna Rothman
  21. 21. We Don’t Need RetrospectivesSome people know about lessons learned meetings which can turn into ablamefest. Why would you or the team want a retrospective?Strategies: Get a copy of Derby and Larsen’s Agile Retrospectives book and plan to facilitate a two-hour end-of-iteration retrospective Explain that agile is about “inspect and adapt” and that’s what the team needs to do for the project so you can all make forward progress Rotate retrospective facilitation among team members 21 © 2011 Johanna Rothman
  22. 22. You Have Too Many HatsI know some “Scrum Masters” who are also supposed to be linemanagers, Product Owners, and run a support team in their sparetime.Strategies: Explain what each role is supposed to do Choose one role. Remember, tactical work always wins Take a look at: Functional Managers Acting as Scrum Masters: Not a Good Idea 22 © 2011 Johanna Rothman
  23. 23. Look for ObstaclesObstacles such as “overhead” are pitfallsListen for pitfalls: We can’t do this because… If we could just…Once you’ve found them, address them! Remember: inspect and adapt 23 © 2011 Johanna Rothman
  24. 24. There’s More...on http://www.jrothman.comIf you’d like me to stay in touch with you, please sign uponline or fill out a yellow form or give me a business cardManage It!:Your Guide to Modern, Pragmatic ProjectManagementManage Your Project Portfolio: Increase Your Capacity andFinish More Projects 24 © 2011 Johanna Rothman

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