Agile Abuse – Scenario 1 – The fun of committing less than what you can accomplish
 

Kent – Scrum Master, Chris – Sr. Developer

Kent – Why do you work less than half a day?

Chris – I finish all my sprint work, I don’t need to look at time!

Kent – (During Sprint Planning) – I think we can pick more work. Chris, you being a senior developer, what do you say?

Chris – This is all we have been completing consistently in the past. That’s all we can do in a given time hence we should not add more points.

Challenge – I leave very early because I finish my work and I pick very less because this is all I can do.

Scenario 2  – I didn’t do anything hence pairing was a saver although it was knowledge transition.

Abusing Agile – Part 1
 

Disclaimer – There is no intention to hurt anybody. The idea is to pass the learning and a MESSAGE. I have seen Agile getting abused and many times it is visible to the rest of the world except the one who is responsible for it. Click on each scenario to get more details.

Scenario 1 – I leave very early because I finish my work and I pick very less because this is all I can do

Scenario 2  – I didn’t do anything hence pairing was a saver although it was knowledge transition.

Scenario 3 – A standup cannot be a meeting

Scenario 4 – ‘Sprinting’ means running super-fast

Scenario 5 – It is perfectly alright to play with estimation at any point in time.  

Scenario 6 – Story point is not about time, not even a range

Scenario 7 – We will unearth the acceptance criteria and requirements for a given story as we continue with development. Writing a one-liner description for a story should be fine and we will keep looking at it while working in progress during the sprint.  

 

Scrum Ceremonies – Daily Stand Ups
 

The following Scrum ceremonies are to be understood well.

  1. Planning and grooming
  2. Daily Standups
  3. Demo/Review or Showcase
  4. Retrospectives

Let’s talk about Daily Standups in this article

The standup is nothing but a daily meeting among all scrum members. The agenda of this meeting should be:

1.  What did you accomplish since the last meeting

2. What are you planning to work on until the next meeting

3. What issues are blocking your progress (Impediments)

BEST Practices

  • This is not a status meeting or status to management.
  • The stand-ups should be strictly time-boxed between 10 minutes to max 15 minutes.
  • Hold the meeting “Without chairs” if possible. Everyone must stand and speak up.
  • Plan to do this in the morning. If you have a sprint team outside of your country and a common meeting held only in the evening then plan to meet whoever is available in the morning for 5 minutes for quick sync up with the same agenda. The evening standups are just status or post-mortem which doesn’t serve the purpose of stand-ups.
  • Everybody in the team reports to three agenda items listed above to the rest of the team.
  • Prefer to have this meeting at the same place and time every day. Meeting in the morning is very important as it helps set the context for upcoming work.
  • The quick questions and clarifications can be covered at a time while do remember that the meeting must have to end within 15 minutes. Please understand when I say quick, I am referring to closed-ended quick questions. The rest of everything should go offline or should be addressed with other meetings.
  • The meeting should not be canceled even some of the members are not present. As a team member, it is extremely important for you to attend the meeting if you are not on leave that day.
Agile Top 10 Interview Questions
 

agilechamps.com top 10 interview questions

Following are the TOP 10 agile interview questions. There is another list of critical questions while these are expected in most interviews. Moreover these are very basic, and every interviewee is expected to excel in his/her responses for these questions.

  • What is agile roadmap looks like? Explain agile process start to end? How do you start agile project? What is the difference between product roadmap and Release planning?

Refer Agile Roadmap

  • What is Test Driven Development? How does it differs from traditional method where tests were written before the actual code?
  • What is continuous integration? How do you achieve that?
  • What is scope creep and how do you manage that within sprint?
  • What are the core artifacts of sprint? Elaborate them?
  • What is the role of Scrum Master, Product Owner and Team Member? Or what are the typical roles in Scrum?

Refer Scrum Roles and Responsibilities

  • What is Velocity and Story Points? How do you relate story points to hours? Is it right?

Refer Story Points Vs Time

  • What type of metrics or reports you have in agile? Explain?
  • Explain Sprint Ceremonies? Planning & Grooming, Stand-up, Demo or Showcase and Retrospective.

Refer

Scrum Ceremonies – Daily Stand Ups

Scrum Ceremonies – Planning and Grooming

Scrum Ceremonies – Retrospectives

Scrum Ceremonies – Demo/Review or Showcase

  • Explain Agile in 2 minutes? When should you use Agile? Explain the instances when you prefer to go with Waterfall over Agile

Refer Agile in 2 minutes

I would be writing other important questions in addition to questions focused for Managers, Directors, Agile Coaches, Scrum Masters, Team Members and Product Owners in my upcoming blogs.

 

Agile in 2 minutes
 

 

Agile software development framework refers to the time-boxed, continuous iteration of development, and testing to build software where the solutions evolve throughout with incremental development via collaboration among self-organizing teams. Agile helps organizations to expertise and respond to continuous change resulting in continuous improvement.

As shown in the above diagram, the vision and feasibility are the most important factors to be considered before starting a project.  In this phase,

  • We identify whether we should consider doing a project or not
  • What is going to be ROI (Return of investments) for a project?
  • How do we get funding?
  • Is it worth taking risks? Staffing?
  • what is the value the project brings in?

You use this phase to break the idea into individual functionality items called features or user stories.  If this looks positive, the next step is to create a product roadmap document.

The product backlog is created by leveraging the product roadmap document. The release planning results in a release backlog. The individual sprints are defined to accomplish upcoming release goals. The Agile Roadmap blog defines the entire project in more detail.

The sprint ceremonies are listed as

The sprint roles are (The details are listed in Scrum Roles and Responsibilities blog)

  • Product Owner
  • Team member
  • Scrum Master

The core sprint artifacts are

  • Burndown and Burn-up chart
  • Sprint Backlog
  • Product Backlog
  • Increment
Sad Mad and Glad Retrospective – A powerful team retrospective tool
 


One of the powerful retrospective getting very popular lately is Sad/Mad and Glad. Many organizations don’t even conduct it as they are afraid to talk about employee challenges or too busy to do other things that they don’t have time to focus on employee morale. There are obviously pros and cons but making it work truly helps you to achieve more. In my personal opinion, the number of positives what you have with this retrospective is far higher than challenges hence it’s worth doing it.

Prerequisites :-

  • Your team and your presence
  • Sticky notes (Three colors)
  • Enough Pens
  • Open minded motivated teams

In this retrospective, you ask your team to get into a room.  Every colored sticky note represents Sad/Mad or Glad respectively.  You can take the printout of below and paste that in the room where you are going to conduct this meeting. This would provide clarity on the go!

You can take the printout of below and paste that in the room where you are going to conduct this meeting. This would provide clarity on the go!

You can start your meeting with a positive note. Ask individuals to participate freely and openly. Once the stage is all set, you can ask every individual to write up the areas what they are happy about it (Glad), don’t like it (Sad) or frustrated with it (Mad) on different color sticky notes. I always recommend individual team members to write their names on each sticky note else there are good chances that it would become a political battle. You should always give an option to do go with anonymous though.

I have seen instances where team members just write some crap either because they did not have good appraisal last time or not in line with others due to personal issues. If you find an item which has something written in sad or mad while an individual who wrote it is not willing to even talk about it then you can very much assume either that’s fake or written with the wrong intention hence discard it. There are some people very shy and not willing to open at all. They should go to their manager or who is driving sad mad/glad to discuss the area of concern.  Just to avoid the frustration as manager, anything written as an area of concern and individual is not willing to open up personally or with the team, you can safely scrap it.

Once everyone is done with writing, spend an hour or so reading every item and discuss that with the team. Remember the goal is to share as much as information about the issue and gaining more details around the problem while not fixing the problem there itself. This would be good input to take it forward as employee happiness and moral is very critical to agile success.

Things to remember while doing Sad/Mad & Glad:-

  • You should be reading every item loud or make it visible to every individual unless there is a derogatory remark which is not acceptable.
  • Team to think of the success of team and project rather considering this as revenge material.
  • Everyone must open up. If you don’t have guts to talk about your challenge then don’t even write it. You are just creating a FUSS which is either not true or you don’t know what is this the right forum to talk about it.
  • Refrain from making comments about an individual if you don’t have supporting material. The world is not perfect. The goal is to identify the improve system over making it worse
  • BE MATURE
  • Should not be anonymous.
  • Don’t abuse it. It is conducted to the best interest of an individual and improves as a team. It should never be used as a tool to fulfill your political battle.
  • Not every problem can be fixed eventually. Somebody writes that I don’t feel like working doesn’t mean you would allow him to sleep in the office.
  • Don’t try to fix the problems during this retrospective.
  • Constantly read the issues/concerns raised and strive to fix as much as you can.  Provide updates to the team around the issues you committed you would work on.

The benefits I see with this retrospective are:-

  • Gives lots of motivation to the team when going over “Glad” items.
  • Give an opportunity to an employee to express their challenges.
  • Bring in open culture
  • Reduce attrition as you really know challenges and definitely a lot of which you can work on.
  • It gives 360 views in terms of how the teams are progressing.
  • One of the biggest “Glad” item I would say is that your organization is conducting it.

The challenges I see are:-

  • It may become a political battle if your team is not mature and willing to go for an anonymous survey.
  • Excessive sad mad and glad would unearth issues which are not really problems while making other team members think it’s a major problem.
  • Sometimes very happy team morale goes down as well as when you have an opportunity to think about negatives, you feel like writing it and further “law of attraction” does its job.
  • What I was written must be addressed and fixed “Myth”. You may not like the tile color in the washroom but that cannot be really changed.
PMI-Agile Certified Practitioner
 

Project Management Institute – Agile Certified Practitioner

The Agile Certified Practitioner formally recognizes your knowledge of agile principles and your skill with agile techniques. This is one of the most valued certification when it comes to Agile.

You can get all the information around this certification at

http://www.pmi.org/certifications/types/agile-acp

You must earn 21 PDUs (Professional Development Units) to be able to appear for this exam. You are expected to earn at least 30 PDU every three years in order to main the status of this certification.

PDU – One PDU can be earned with one hour of activity (training). As per the PMI “The professional development units(PDUs) are the measuring unit used to quantify approved learning and professional service activities.”