Everyone is agile nowadays. I think that even my cat knows this word. Our sales team is agile, our development teams are agile. We do daily stand-ups, why would you say we are not agile?
I am really
very a bit tired because of all this hype.
Let me tell how it usually looks like when you are agile*. I mean “agile”. I know, I am mixing the issues of agile frameworks with the bad implementation issues. Please don’t blame me for that, as this is like real life – all possible mistakes are made and they are uniquely mixed.
*All characters appearing in this work are fictitious. Any resemblance to real persons, living or dead, is purely coincidental.
Continue reading Say “agile” one more time
Are you happy on Monday morning? What about Friday evening? We all know how office workers are waiting for the Friday evenings… Because work is hard. Because there is no more joy. Really? How people who are not feeling good about their work can produce something great?
If you ask any of your colleague when they felt joy at work they probably tell you about some challenge they faced and successfully solved or brainstorming, where their team produced a great idea. Also they can point out the time when they worked with a great passionate team of developers. Even if they were creating “one more social network”.
Continue reading The fun is dead, long live the fun!
Show me your burndown chart and I will tell you how the things are going. To be honest I am amazed how simple the things became for the project managers (does not depend whose hat PM is wearing now – scrum master, product owner) now – you need only a few metrics to be able to plan and forecast with the same success rate as it was previously. The burndown (I personally prefer burnup) chart is a very simple thing – easy to explain, easy to maintain. But it is a powerful instrument in the hands of the scrum master and the team.
Continue reading PMs guide to tricky questions: What burndown can tell you?
We are all used to just implement the well-known “best practices”, not even thinking much about the reasons they were created. Especially in Agile. We like all those rituals, as they make us fill as we are going the right direction. Just follow the rituals and you’ll be ok.PMs/Scrum Masters usually hate all these clever questions from the sarcastic developers, as the only thing they can answer is – “It’s obvious, stupid!”.
You can’t even explain, why 🙂 I want to write several posts about the most frequent questions managers can’t answer, so you are prepared and next time your team mentions it – you brains can shine in full managerial glory. Also I will use levels of the answers complexity, so you can always adjust them to your current audience.
Continue reading Do Not Lose Your Face or PMs Guide to Tricky Questions: Why Use Fibonacci?
We all think that we are unique. Even when we make mistakes – they are unique. But it seems we are so predictable, that people already studied and classified all our epic fails – past and future ones. So it is very useful sometimes to read about the issues others suffered and compare yourself to the persons described – you definitely find something common. Project managers are not exceptions – you may think you are a smart project manager, but still you can follow some of the well known anti-patterns. I tried to collect the most common ones – which I built myself or observed in action. I found they fancy names on the internet and now I am prepared to use them in my speech, so I would look as smart as the developers talking about their architectural patterns.
Managers often ask me – “What should I do to increase our team velocity?” And the answer I give is very simple – “Just double the story points for each user story”. After that they usually smile and think I am joking. But I am serious, as usual.
Managers not only expect team to increase it’s velocity in this sprint, they expect team to continuously improve velocity. “Give me 10 story points increase each sprint!”. I also heard managers complaining that team has the same velocity for the last 7-10 sprints. We have this great metric – team velocity – for planning and budgeting. Going from sprint to sprint we collect the statistics and understand what amount of work team can do during the next sprints. But management is often too optimistic about this metric – they start measuring everything on base of velocity, even the team productivity.
Continue reading Increase My Velocity, Baby!
You think my life in agile world is ideal? No. There are several things that I really hate about agile. So let’s start our “two minutes hate”.
Continue reading Things I hate about Agile
Almost 2 years ago I wrote about my experience with Lego Scrum simulation. Since that time I practised it about 10 times with different teams – inside and outside of my company. When you start playing it for the 2-3rd time you get a bit tired of building the city, so we changed the theme and the backlog every time) I also discovered, that this game helps teams not only to understand the Scrum better, but to uncover some conflicts existing in the teams. When I stopped trying to combine the roles of trainer and product owner and invited my gorgeous colleague Dmitry Velikoivanenko (thank you, thank you a lot for all you have done!) to join I was able to get more from the sessions, as I had time to observe the team’s behaviour.
Continue reading Variations of Lego Scrum simulation and lessons learned
Thousands of companies are changing to agile, thousands are already agile (they tell you so very confidently). Some of them implemented Scrum. But I still come across of a lot of Project Managers in such companies. Ok, even better – I have a title of “Senior PM” myself (I hope no one from my teams/colleagues will not see my business cards, as they don’t know I am a PM ^_^). When company implements scrum they have to make a hard decision – what to do with these PMs we have? And usually they have a lot of PMs. I have seen companies where there is 1 PM per each 2 developers. Usually they become Scrum Masters or Product Owners, as it seems the most natural way. Just change the title and that is all – you are the Scrum Master now. Sometimes PMs are left as they were – they still “manage” the projects.
Continue reading WTF Project Manager is doing in Scrum team?
Several months ago I was leaving one of the best teams I worked with. I wanted to leave them something, that will help them coping with any issues they would have. That is when the idea of “Ideal Project Manager 1.0” came to my mind. Developers usually complain that PMs are doing nothing during the working hours, they are only telling everyone how they should work. I am close to this idea too, so I created this ultimately cost-efficient version of project manager which can 100% replace your PM. This PM works 24h/day, 7 days/week and can 100% replace the ordinary PM. Functionality includes all the good PM features – it provides you a piece of advice or direct command every time you have issue or task to solve.
So, I want to share with you this unique product, so it can help your teams too. Say hello “Project manager 1.0”!