A big hello from Cake and our Project Management Team. Another week in the agile world and the twenty first edition of “This Week in #Agile”. Our PM team continues to scour the web and read through your blogs and articles. Here are handful of articles that we found to be most interesting this week which we would like to share with you today, along with our brief thoughts on them.
“How to be Agile with Distributed Teams” by Hugo Messer and John Okoro
This is one of the hot topics at the moment. With the growth of video conferencing and instant messaging it is becoming easier and easier to run projects which are based in multiple countries, maybe even multiple continents. Agile’s emphasis is on face to face communication, a stand point I wholeheartedly support, however sometimes reality gets in the way and we must cope with the usual “can you hear us?” or “I think you’re on mute” for 5 minutes before the stand up… Let’s face it we’ve all had it happen! Hugo and John offer some nice ways to try and deal with distributed teams, especially in terms of using continuous improvement!
No one likes being micro-managed, but Mike (as ever) raises some valid points that not only is this something to look to the person doing the micro managing to fix, but some self reflection is also required on the part of the person being managed. Asking the questions in this blog and keeping a log of incidents is definitely a practise I’d recommend people try if they feel that this is happening… but as the final part of the blog mentions, some people are incurable and it is just their nature to micromanage but what Mike said should help you take some control back.
Agile Retrospective from Maruti Tech Labs
Retrospectives are one of the key parts of Scrum and are the place to discuss process and improvements, but there are so many different techniques and styles it is hard to pin down what style fits you as a scrum master… you could always run a retrospective on the retrospective to see what worked for the team.
I do particularly like the Toyota system of ‘Muda’, ‘Mura’ and ‘Muri’ as it allows a way of identifying different types of waste in your project. This is definitely something I will try in my retrospectives.
This is a nice and short piece, but one that is very important to set out at the beginning of a project. At the end of the day the Product Owner is one of the key roles in any project and can be the making or breaking of a project! Often it can become confusing when there are many sponsor’s (or stakeholders as they are also known) involved in a project, but the handy table in the blog is something which it is useful to understand and pass on to decide which stakeholder should act as PO and make sure everyone is aware of their roles on the project at a stakeholder level and what is expected of them.
This is one of the biggest problems I have faced personally in my time as an Agile Project Manager. Agile allows for change and it forms one of the cornerstones of the Agile manifesto. But trying to change sprints mid-sprint can be very dangerous and present a risk. One of the main ways of managing this from the outset is making sure people are aware of their roles from the outset and where the boundaries are. Product Backlog is for the PO , Sprint Backlog is for the development team. The tips here are particularly good to try and do or avoid to make things move more smoothly as requirements grow or change.
As shall continue to be the case with this weekly blog on all things Agile and Project Management, if you write a blog or read an article you would like to be included feel free to contact me either via email - firstname.lastname@example.org - or twitter - @JBrookes91 - and we can try and include it in a future edition!
This week’s image is another by Dave Bales and is related to managing expectations with stakeholders on a project.
See you next week folks!!