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Agile mk-journal-issue-003


Published on

February’s meeting was based on
the theme “Getting the Business
Involved” and followed a different
format to usual, (closely aligned to
Open Space) where the attendees
were invited to write the topics of
conversation they’d like to have
during the meeting.
A number of topics were identified
with the group then we prioritised
the topics of conversations
through a simple voting process.
The topics that came to the top of
the list were:
1. What are they getting involved
in with Scrum? Value For Money?
Successful Delivery?
2. What happens when stakeholders
don’t get involved?
3. What do we (software teams) do
when we know more about the
business than the business?

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Agile mk-journal-issue-003

  1. 1. Agile:MK December 2012 Journal February 2013 ISSUE 03 A special interest group for professionals from the Milton Keynes area who are interested in learning, sharing and encouragingthe use of agile methodologies such as Scrum, Extreme Programming & Lean Thinking. Agile: “Writing Good Requirements” Open Space Session Monday 26th March 2013 6pm – 8pm Sponsored by
  2. 2. Agile:MK Journal February 2013 Agile:MK User Group Welcome to the February edition of the Agile:MK Journal. The Agile User Group in Milton Keynes meets once a month to share and learn about agile methods through real-world experiences. Each month we’ll Steve Garnett publish a brief overview of the discussions Founder Agile:MK and insights of the group in this journal. To register your interest, If you’d like to join the group so you can please join the attend, the sessions, and be involved in the LinkedIn Group at discussions face to face, to learn or share agile-mk-liug your experiences, please join us on LinkedIn. Agile: “Writing Good Requirements” Open space discussion workshop Monday 26th March 2013 Jurys Inn Hotel, Midsummer Boulevard, Milton Keynes, MK9 2HP Agile:MK Journal, design & produced by endjin
  3. 3. December 2012Getting The you have implemented is the ‘actual’ Scrum is an insignificant At the other end of the spectrum, an equally suitable approach mightBusiness Involved question when considered next not be to mention agile at all, and to the question “Is your software rather, fix the problems the businessFebruary’s meeting was based on development team delivering is experiencing using agile methodsthe theme “Getting the Business everything your business needs and patterns but not necessarilyInvolved” and followed a different to succeed?” explicitly talking about Agile –format to usual, (closely aligned to rather talk about solving problems.Open Space) where the attendees I.e. Its more important to measurewere invited to write the topics of business delivery and success, Regardless, of the approach orconversation they’d like to have than to measure how well you are tactics in use, we identified someduring the meeting. implementing your methodology. key points when looking to change the way things are being done:A number of topics were identifiedwith the group then we prioritised Topic 1: What are • The importance of involvingthe topics of conversations the business getting the customer and gettingthrough a simple voting process. iterative feedback is immenseThe topics that came to the top of involved in with Scrum?the list were: • Adopting more disciplined engineering practices is1. What are they getting involved essential if adopting Scrum in with Scrum? Value For Money? Successful Delivery? • It is all about people, so think about the individual2. What happens when stakeholders stakeholders, the organisational don’t get involved? culture and thecompany’s attitude to change – when has3. What do we (software teams) do the company been successful when we know more about the in adopting change in the past, business than the business? what made it successful? What can you learn from this?Before we started discussing theseprioritised topics, the food arrived • Learn to think about the concernsand an informal discussion kicked- and language of others and Change… If the business you workoff about the nature of Scrum use the things that they are in is adopting Agile or Scrum, then concerned about to effect it is embarking on a continuous change. Are the board concernedScrum improvement initiative with frequent with speed to market? Quality?Scrum is a simple method, there feedback loops and measurement. Transparency? Risk? Understandis not much to it. Scrum is not the these drivers, and then implementgoal of teams adopting the Scrum For the CIO or key sponsor there changes that improve the state ofmethod, business agility is the goal. is a level of risk in terms of both these drivers.Adopting Scrum is a journey and business risk and political positionshould therefore not be seen as due to the need for budget All companies are unique, alla quick fix, it is about continuous expenditure and the normal impact companies have unique people,change and its likely the easy stuff of change – uncertainty & fear. and so understanding their context,will change quickly and the harder There are a number of tactics for their needs, their drivers and theirstuff will take much longer. effecting agile change which we propensity for change will help discussed at length. At one end you to shape a successful changeThere is a risk that some people will of the spectrum is to go for the project that helps the companyget ‘hung-up’ on the labels when full-on formal and strategic to improve at a sustainable pace.the thing to remember is that if communication of Agile adoption.things are being built well, and I.e. The programme is likely to bedelivered on-time for the needs formed as in individual project inof the business, then the software its own right and called an Agileteam is doing its job effectively. Change Programme.Worrying about whether the Scrum
  4. 4. Agile:MK JournalTopic 2: What Happens it turned out this was not far away topic around what happens when from the truth. The discussion you don’t involve stakeholderswhen Stakeholders was based around a Utilities and cross-checked to see howdon’t get Involved? company. The company has a many of the negative outcomes ‘New Customer’ on-boarding were relevant for this real-world process that involves at least 20 example…• Rework different information flows.• Deliver the All the items with a tick against Wrong Thing* Because these information flows them have been experienced by• Get Sacked were automated, a vast amount of this project because it did not• Legal Action knowledge of how this business fully get the business involved, process worked was held within and this was a stark reminder• Brand Devaluation the IT department and the business of the importance of business or Damage assumed that IT understood the collaboration on software projects.• Increased Cost* process completely.• Increased Risk User Group Backlog• Time Over-run* When it came to upgrading the process, the IT Architect was• Demoralised Team positioned to define the• Loss of requirements on behalf of the Stakeholder Value business. The result was that some of the business needsThe conversation started by creating were missed and this has leda list of the possible impact of not to a very long stabilisation periodgetting stakeholders involved in of c10 months.the software development process. What was more interesting for thisWhat was quite revealing for scenario was that sprint reviewsmost people in the room was were taking place and as we delvedthe severity of the list, highlighting At the end of the session we deeper into the conversation, thejust how important it is to ensure discussed the format of using open question came back to getting thestakeholders are engaged space for discussions and agreed it’s business involved i.e. were thein the process. a good format to ensure everyone correct people involved, did they gets something from the session. have the right level of interest.The group went on to highlight 3 We then voted on the topics forparticular areas (red asterisk) which future sessions, and as you’ll see,are very common problems. These ü Rework next month’s theme will be Writing Good Requirements.problems are overcome by usingkey elements of Scrum i.e. fixing ü Deliver the Wrong Thing* Next Meetingcost or time but keeping scopevariable, creating short feedback ü Sacked Get Tuesday 26th March 6pm-8pmcycles, building cooperation, varyingfeatures based on feedback and Legal Action Jurys Inn Hotel, Midsummerultimately getting the stakeholders ü Brand Devaluation Boulevard, central Milton Keynes.actively engaged and involved. or Damage ThemeTopic 3: What do we ü Increased Cost* “Writing Good Requirements”.(software teams) do ü Increased Riskwhen we know more ü Over-run* Timeabout the business ü Demoralised Team Loss ofthan the business? Stakeholder ValueScrew-up! Was my first thought We then did an exercise where wein answering this question, and as took the output from the previous
  5. 5. Agile: MK Bookshop December 2012 The Great Game of Business by Jack Stack An old boss of mine introduced this book to me. He is a serial entrepreneur and millionaire within the Direct Response TV industry. When I worked for him as a CIO I had a direct correlation of bottom line figures to IT performance, I understood the line items I affected and could see the direct results of my actions and decisions and those of my team. This book tells a great story of a manufacturing company in dire straits that ‘opened it books’ to the workforce and got everyone to understand the impact of their actions and decisions on the success of the company and ultimately on the future of their own employment. Adopting the Open book management approach would strengthen many companies in the UK Organizational Patterns of Lean Start-up Machine that Changed the World Agile Software Development by Eric Ries by Womack Jones & Roos by Coplien & Harrison Extreme Programming Explained Lean Software Development Specification by Example by Kent Beck with Cynthia Andres by Mary Poppendieck & Tom Poppendieck by Gojko Adzic
  6. 6. ripplerock offers a set of services and tools that enable our customersto dramatically improve their software development capabilityRippleRock formed in 2009 with the mission to assist customers drive dramatic improvements in their software developmentcapability. We apply our expertise across the full lifecycle; facilitating organisational transformation to enable Agile practices,all the way down to improving engineering practices within the teams.The team at RippleRock have a strong track record in the Agile space, some of this through experience gained while at thecentre of Conchango’s Agile Practice and Scrum for Team System tools group. As a specialist in this area we are able to offeraccess to the most experienced Agile coaches, trainers and consultants with the particular mix of skills required to work withpeople, process, organisations and tools.Ripple Rock Ltd is registered in England and Wales No. 0708916Ripple Rock LLC is registered in the United States of America. No. 27-1180168