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What We Talk About 
When We Talk About 
Agile 
Friday talk to engineering @lynda.com 
Marc Danziger
Outline 
Why Agile 
What’s Agile 
How It Works 
How It Fails
Why Agile?
Because This…
…Is Really This
Facts Matter 
In 2012 study (2012 Standish Group CHAOS): 
39% of tech projects succeed 
43% are challenged (late, overbu...
What’s Agile? 
Many variants: 
kanban 
Xtreme Programming 
Scrum 
… 
All share certain basic principles…
1. You Are Not A Puppet 
…why work like one?
2. Small Targets, Close Up 
…are easy to hit.
3. Measurement 
“to deal with reality you must first recognize it as such” 
...Larry Gonzales ‘Deep Survival’
How It Works 
…rather well.
Mechanics 
1. The team prioritizes & manages its own work – 
people, not puppets. 
2. The work is broken into small units ...
Roles (Scrum) 
1. Product Owner. This can be the customer, but it’s 
a role that requires a fair amount of work. 
2. Scrum...
But… 
Q. How do I as a customer know the team will build 
what I want? 
A. Because you or your proxy will participate with...
But… 
Q. How do I as a customer know when and for how 
much the team will deliver? 
A. Because the team is empirically mea...
What the team has to do. 
1. Take responsibility for completing work, not 
tasks. 
2. Only commit to what you know you can...
Flossing and Brushing (Scrum). 
Here are the basic mechanics of Scrum. 
1. Build backlog. Make a list of every feature and...
How Agile fails. 
1. Customer won’t participate. 
2. Product Owner can’t/won’t groom backlog. 
3. Sponsor tries to make th...
How Agile fails. 
5. Act like you’re doing waterfall, but without any of 
the planning. 
SCRUMFALL
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What We Talk About When We Talk About Agile (an introduction)

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A presentation to baseline understanding of agile project management.

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What We Talk About When We Talk About Agile (an introduction)

  1. 1. What We Talk About When We Talk About Agile Friday talk to engineering @lynda.com Marc Danziger
  2. 2. Outline Why Agile What’s Agile How It Works How It Fails
  3. 3. Why Agile?
  4. 4. Because This…
  5. 5. …Is Really This
  6. 6. Facts Matter In 2012 study (2012 Standish Group CHAOS): 39% of tech projects succeed 43% are challenged (late, overbudget, defeatured) 18% fail (cancelled, never used) Not. Good.
  7. 7. What’s Agile? Many variants: kanban Xtreme Programming Scrum … All share certain basic principles…
  8. 8. 1. You Are Not A Puppet …why work like one?
  9. 9. 2. Small Targets, Close Up …are easy to hit.
  10. 10. 3. Measurement “to deal with reality you must first recognize it as such” ...Larry Gonzales ‘Deep Survival’
  11. 11. How It Works …rather well.
  12. 12. Mechanics 1. The team prioritizes & manages its own work – people, not puppets. 2. The work is broken into small units that are completed in a short time. 3. The work is made measurable through consistent estimation and tracking of completion.
  13. 13. Roles (Scrum) 1. Product Owner. This can be the customer, but it’s a role that requires a fair amount of work. 2. Scrum Master. Facilitator, not boss. 3. Developers (may be categorized by tech). 4. QA.
  14. 14. But… Q. How do I as a customer know the team will build what I want? A. Because you or your proxy will participate with the team in explaining your wishes, and you will – very frequently – have a chance to see whether what the team is building meets them.
  15. 15. But… Q. How do I as a customer know when and for how much the team will deliver? A. Because the team is empirically measuring its progress, you have the ability to calculate when features in the backlog will be complete.
  16. 16. What the team has to do. 1. Take responsibility for completing work, not tasks. 2. Only commit to what you know you can do (you’ll be wrong, but not often). 3. Define what gets done in the sprint as done – meaning finished, tested, ready to deploy – by the close of the sprint. No hanging cards (or chads). 4. Understand that you’re playing for the team, and not yourself. Sometimes you’ll have to test, set up environments, or pick up pizza.
  17. 17. Flossing and Brushing (Scrum). Here are the basic mechanics of Scrum. 1. Build backlog. Make a list of every feature and NFR that even possibly needs to get built. 2. Groom backlog. Review everything in the list and make sure it’s a) decomposed enough to be buildable in a sprint; b) understandable; c) prioritized. 3. Planning. Planning involves two activities a) estimating the size of everything in the backlog (at varying degrees of accuracy – things at the top should be better-estimated); and b) accepting stories into the sprint. The PO prioritizes, but the team sizes and chooses. 4. Demo. If it isn’t demoed, it isn’t done (even if it’s deployed). The demo is the finish line for the sprint. 5. Retrospective. With total honesty – what went badly? What went well? Wash, rinse, repeat.
  18. 18. How Agile fails. 1. Customer won’t participate. 2. Product Owner can’t/won’t groom backlog. 3. Sponsor tries to make the team task-based, instead of work-based. 4. Team won’t take ownership. …that’s pretty much it. Except for…
  19. 19. How Agile fails. 5. Act like you’re doing waterfall, but without any of the planning. SCRUMFALL

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