The Audit Path – Staying Agile within an SDLC

In an ideal Agile environment you are a small, quick organization full of smart people who are experts in their field.  This is an uncommon ideal. The more common scenario is a large or well established business that sees agile as a way to become more relevant to their customers.  These organizations come pre-packaged with processes and procedures around software development, security, and privacy.  In short they already have an SDLC (software development life cycle).

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The Scrum Master Daily

Like most Scrum Masters my work is self- propelled. Other than ceremonies, minimal documentation and the few backlog admin tasks much of my work is preventative and proactive.  That means discipline.  Discipline, at least for me, is in the form of my Scrum Master Daily, a checklist that walks me through the priorities for my current project and team. Its my daily guidepost on how to navigate what my team needs.  Put simply, its a checklist that fits the needs of the current team for the current project. Continue reading

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User Stories – Making the sacred cow useful for your team

User Stories are an artifact of SCRUM, a common but not ubiquitous methodology built on Agile Principles.  As a Scrum Master and Agile coach, I guide the team on User Story creation and adherence to the Agile Manifesto and Principles.  I’ve found in a few projects that User Stories can sometimes get in the way of the work, violating Principle Ten,

Simplicity, the art of maximizing the work Not done is essential.

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Empowered Developers: Strength to Your User Persona!

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Agile principles put the power of quality and the definition of ‘enough’ in the hands of developers. Yes, the Product Owner and Stakeholders get final say, but the best way to optimize your developers’ strength is to give them the power to make decisions about how to best fulfill a User Story. The Agile principle is clear: “The best architectures, requirements, and designs emerge from self-organizing teams.”

My interpretation of this principle is that empowering a team allows them to create beyond your expectations. One oft-overlooked empowerment tool is the User Persona. Here is an example developed by our User Experience team:

I’VE HEARD OF THIS USER PERSONA… Continue reading

Huboard: A Kanban Board For GitHub

Agile development teams using GitHub repositories usually have work in two places, as issues or defects in their github repositories and as user stories and epics in their agile work management tool. Often a plugin or bridge is used to make the work flow from the business view to the Github repository. Although this satisfies most compliance requirements and allows the development team to work where they are comfortable, it doesn’t provide the UNIFIED information radiator that promotes a common conversation among all members of the team, including the stakeholders. If you are using a physical Kanban board and other physical radiators you may not encounter this problem. For distributed agile teams, however, I’ve found it to be a common one.

REALLY WORK IN GITHUB – HUBOARD

I recently explored an application that displays GitHub issues and defects, as well as pull requests, from your repositories in Kanban work board format. In this post we will refer to aKanban Board, NOT the Kanban methodology. A Kanban Board is just an information radiator that shows where the work is in the development cycle. The Heroku application,Huboard,  has pros and cons for an agile project team, but overall can provide a lightweight, easily adopted solution to managing a sprint backlog for a distributed team.

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