Today is the third and final day of the Agile Boot Camp being hosted by ASPE SDLC Training. I’m excited to spend three days focusing on how to leverage the Agile methodology for software project delivery. I’ve read a number of books and articles and blogs over the years, but this is the first formal Agile training I’ve been able to enjoy. In order to appreciate this article, I suggest you read my thoughts and experiences from the first and second days.
First, the excellent Davisbase, LLC instructor finally revealed his contact information. I confirmed with him it was ok to share so here goes:
I can’t stress enough that Rod’s real world experience in corporate IT project rescue and his on premise company Agile consulting experience were extremely valuable to making this course very pragmatic. Rod would physically step from the center of the room (Agile practice, process and theory) to his immediate left (real world) frequently to segue from theory to practical real world experience based guidance. This made the course triple in value for me. Lastly, at the end of the day today on the course feedback sheet, the best I could come up with on “needs improvement” was having white-boards for team exercises.
The third day is where everything really came together. Thus, without much lead in, here are my bullet point notes from the day:
- When asking why, consider 5 level of “why’s” to get to the bottom of the real need
- For developers that are stuck or struggling to break down a blob of work into tasks, lead them through their internal thought process of developing the blob with “what are you doing to do first? What are your going to do next? Next? Next? …”
- For product folks having trouble articulating what they really are asking for, try “if you could wave a magic wand, what would you want?” to break the potential log jam of real world constraints and competing priorities to get them to spill.
- Make all changes in small increments in order to “tweak” the output in order to achieve cadence.
- Always, rule of thumb = “simplicity”
- Considering the above two bullets, start with 2 week duration iterations in order to get feedback sooner and see results of incremental changes sooner.
- Agile plus continuous integration maybe the next hot thing in efficient and effective software development.
- To start to build team commitment, PM or Agile Coach or Scrum Master lock eyes with team members to get personal commitment on initial story execution until team auto-commits by default.
- No brainer, but how many organizations are realistic on capacity? 6 hours a day max on average of real employee productivity.
- Everyone, everyone, everyone involved in an iteration participates in iteration planning.
I captured some helpful tips on how to establish a new team’s initial velocity:
- Plan to do the hardest stuff first
- Tolerance for mistakes from management, nay saying peers and others are higher initially and less so as time marches on.
- Time box one hour for estimating to encourage quick decisions and less conversational off topic drift.
All in all, it was a lot of material crammed into three days. Rod did a great job keeping the class moving and keeping attendees awake and engaged. Plus, as I said before, his real world experiences merged with the Agile principles and process really made the course outstanding.
Now, my challenge is bring all this knowledge into practical execution with multiple agile and non-agile development teams plus non-agile infrastructure and all the classic corporate IT structures.