Monday, September 28, 2015

My 101+ learnings from Agile - Scrum/Kanban

1.       Autonomy
2.       Relationship helps in resolving lot of challenges
3.       Relationship building is a slow process
4.       Skill development is a slow process
5.       Kaizen to allow people to improve work and do work in balance
6.       Limit WIP to create focus
7.       Celebrate completed work
8.       Blameless post mortem to encourage people to solve the underlying cause.
9.       Celebrate learning
10.   Quick & short feedback loops
11.   Explain the why and purpose behind work.
12.   Be consistent
13.   Be persistent
14.   Slack time to improve work
15.   Rotate work
16.   Context is every thing
17.   Is work boring or it has become boring?
18.   Believe in team
19.   Outcome is important not output
20.   Be agile not a book follower
21.   Evolution has not come to halt
22.   Diversity is beautiful
23.   Accept mistakes
24.   Chase perfection but also accept that perfection does not exist
25.   T shape skill set helps
26.   Everyone is different
27.   I am smart does not mean that others are fool
28.   Optimization is important not the maximization or minimization
29.   Agility is attitude not a poster
30.   Sprint runner cannot win marathon
31.   Improvement is a continuous process
32.   Knowledge accumulates
33.   First step of knowledge is information
34.   Combination of emergent & framework based architecture helps
35.   You cannot make everyone happy
36.   Open flow of information results in accumulation of greater information and then knowledge
37.   You cannot share knowledge but information
38.   Group think is recipe of disaster
39.   Predictability increases comfort level
40.   Rich communication is must within team
41.   Celebrate success
42.   Learn lessons from failure
43.   Don’t over promise
44.   Transparency brings light
45.   Cadence brings rhythm in team
46.   Why? Will kill you or grow
47.   Change is only constant
48.   You need to have debt to grow
49.   Pay technical debt on regular basis
50.   Human is the biggest variable
51.   Set the expectations early
52.   Shared values bring team close
53.   Be honest to yourself and to your team
54.   Share your ideas, sooner the better
55.   Time is important and has only one directional flow
56.   Set goals, to be agile
57.   Respond to change not to plan
58.   Even goals change
59.   Collaboration is the most potent tool, team has
60.   Practice makes a man perfect
61.   Prototypes or pilots are great way to prove a point
62.   Processes are to achieve goals and objectives
63.   I am responsible
64.   Your work is the best documentation does not mean no documentation. It means just enough documentation.
65.   A picture worth thousand words
66.   Higher the proximity with customer, better for all
67.   Process should be like navigation -  a guideline
68.   Estimates are only estimates
69.   Test your ideas and practices
70.   Continuous learning is must
71.   Scrum team needs one PO not a committee of POs
72.   Distributed teams are here to stay
73.   Distributed teams need infrastructure support as well as adaptable processes
74.   With distributed teams also need to consider – time zone, culture, vendor/employer, language, skill level and area of expertise.
75.   Conflicts are bound to arise
76.   Use conflicts to cement relationships
77.   Velocity is about team not individual
78.   Story points are not hours
79.   A story - smaller is better
80.   Agile is about commitments not the tools or processes
81.   Team members must respect each other
82.   Good discussion requires lot of background work
83.   No one can work continuously; breaks are must
84.   Agile is not about cost cutting but delivering value early
85.   There is no cookie cutter agile culture
86.   Scrum Master is not just facilitator but coach as well
87.   Escalation does not serve any one
88.   Gaining consensus require patience
89.   There is no substitute for good engineering practices
90.   Product backlog must be ordered for couple of sprints bases on velocity trends
91.   Commitment gain from consensus is real commitment
92.   Shared commitments are must
93.   Team is responsible for story not individuals
94.   Quality Assurance is more important than control
95.   Quality is every one’s business
96.   No one can work 100% for sustained duration, even machines
97.   When introducing new member, pair him with some one
98.   Respect time box
99.   Invite stakeholders to get perspective beyond next sprint/release
100.               During meeting keep distractions to minimum like cell phones and computers
101.               Experimentation is must
102.               Architecture in agile – Think about future but do not over build (defer commitment)
103.               Architecture emerges but it requires preparation and hand holding
104.               Architectural and Design optimization should be deferred until required
105.               Good enough architecture is sufficient
106.               Change is the only constant
107.               Big Bang is ancient, evolution is happening now
108.               The customer  should always be available
109.               We can learn a lot by observation

Wednesday, September 2, 2015

Causes of low participation in retro

Few observations, I have made during my agile journey which affect participation in retro:

  • Fear of retribution
  • Name calling during/after retro
  • Cultural background
  • Command on spoken language of team ( especially important in multi-cultural teams)
  • Understanding of Agile/Scrum
  • Presence of non-scrum team members during retro
  • Few persons are overwhelming to others
  • Sub groups within teams (especially language, ethnic, and vendor/employer based)
  • Personal nature (introvert vs. extrovert

To optimize the participation and outcome of retro, you need to find out the cause of lack of participation.

One solution which has worked for my team in most of cases is food sharing, not necessarily in a restaurant but in office cafeteria, meeting room and even regular pot luck.
Last but not the least, SM and PO need to give time to team. SM is a resident coach to team.

What are your views?