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Agile Blog

From the Blog

This is where we share our pearls of wisdom.
  • It’s Time to Deprecate Story Points

    It has been known for quite some time in the agile community that estimation is waste.  And yet, I still see many, many teams spend huge amounts of time in story pointing sessions.  I’ve experienced people passionately debate whether a user story is 3 points or 5 points.  If that isn’t a waste of time, […]
  • Create Agile Leaders First

    Agile has been around for quite some time now. The big dogs, Scrum and Extreme Programming, have been around since the late 90’s, just a little over 20 years! Wow how time flies. I’ve been teaching classes on Agile for quite some time now…just a little over 10 years. Early on, it was really just […]
  • Non-Agile Scrum

    You may have adopted Scrum, and you may be following its rules quite exceptionally. Daily Scrums(stand-ups) take no longer than 15 minutes. At the end of Sprint Planning, you may have a solid plan for the upcoming Sprint including tasks, test cases…the whole 9 yards. You have a demo at the end of the Sprint […]
  • Press: Agile Implementation

    Agile implementation trends have changed, as we inspect and adapt. I was recently interviewed for an article in the Midlands Business Journal’s technology section as a contributor to their technology trends overview.  Here are some snippets from that conversation: MBJ: What do you think our business-owner readers should most know in the 2016 version of this […]
  • Scrum Does Not Have a “Sprint Zero”

    Sprint Zero:  Sprint Zero is the time used to plan and set-up the foundation needed before a team can execute their first successful iteration. Sprint Zero deliverables may include: identify stakeholders, build the team, training, create high-level architecture diagrams, and set-up environments. It’s become quite common for Scrum teams to begin by planning Sprint Zero. I’m […]
  • Plan Your Agile Training

    When it comes to Agile training, there are a limitless number of options.  It can be a bit overwhelming to decide who should be trained, what type of training they will need, and when to begin. I’m going to list a few training options here in this blog post, but I want to start by […]
  • Too Many Meetings: Recognize the Signs

    We have received a lot of feedback on our post: Scrum Events – The too many meetings problem. Many people are reaching out to us and provided feedback on the frustration stemming from meetings.   Meetings in the United States are a big problem.  Nearly 37 billion dollars is wasted annually on unnecessary meetings, and […]
  • Custom Software: The Lean Approach

    Recently One80 was asked to provide an estimate to a small startup company.  They were looking to build custom software to enhance their existing platform.  The company had a nice set of high-level features that they wished to build, had spent some time interviewing potential users, and even had commitments from several to beta test. With all […]
  • When Building Process, Ask Why

    Process is not a term belonging uniquely to business. Process fills our lives. There are things we all do on a regular basis which are wrapped in processes we may not even realize have been established. (I bet you washed the same parts of yourself in the shower this morning in the same order you washed […]
  • Custom Software: Products vs Projects

    Custom Software: Products vs Projects: Making a shift in technology projects and teams that focus on products rather that projects can be a seismic shift. Stop thinking in terms of technology projects and begin the shift towards product thinking. Many companies kick off individual projects with specific goals, timelines, budgets and resources.  These teams are tasked with […]
  • People Are Not Resources

    I spend a lot of time working with Executives and Senior Managers.  Generally, in my very first meetings I ask about the company’s Products vs Project focus.  We then quickly transition to review team structure and stability.  During this process, we dive into current leadership structure, how work is organized and assigned, which roles are present on each team, […]
  • The Pros and Cons of Custom Software Development Outsourcing

    In our previous blog post, Custom Software Development Outsourcing vs Partnering, we review the reasons why you should consider partnering with a development firm over outsourcing the work.  This blog post will focus on more the traditional outsourcing model and review some of the pros and cons with an outsourced technology strategy. Traditional outsourcing is […]
  • Going Agile Can Be Scary: Chapter Two

    Risk is Scary… More than a decade after my own transition to Agile and after having the privilege of watching other teams make their transitions to Agile as well – I have realized how scary it can be to take that first step into Agile development. Why? Because Agile transitions typically occur in a moment of […]
  • Going Agile Can Be Scary: Chapter One

    First… I vividly remember the first time I was introduced to Agile. I was working for Intuit at the time, building a new piece of finance software. The project was on schedule, but only because we were all working 12 hour days, and working 7 days per week. The people I worked with – all […]
  • Agile Servant Leadership Assessment

    Every agile book that you pick up discusses the topic of leadership on an agile team. One of the cornerstones of any successful agile implementation is the concept of servant leadership.  Servant leadership was coined by Robert K. Greenleaf in “The Servant as Leader”, an essay that he first published in 1970.  The business dictionary defines Servant […]
  • Custom Development: Outsourcing Partnerships

    There is no disputing that custom development outsourcing can be cheaper.  You can hire development firms outside the US (offshoring) that charge half the normal local rates.  If you are thinking about custom development outsourcing, you’re doing your business a great disservice if you don’t consider partnering.  The most common reason for custom development outsourcing is the […]
  • Release Planning – Reducing Silos, Creating Understanding

    Release Planning is becoming a controversial topic in the Agile community. Purest are saying that if you are doing true Scrum you should release working software often – as soon as an MVP is ready.  The Team should be releasing frequently in order to learn from their customers and users.  I agree 100% with this […]
  • Your Process Does Not Make You Agile

    This is a cheeseburger: This is also a cheeseburger: There are many things you can change about a cheeseburger without causing it to no longer be a cheeseburger:  You can change the bun, add some veggies, use whatever kind of cheese you like – and it is still a cheeseburger. But if at some point […]
  • One80 Services Announces Custom Development Solutions

    One80 Services is launching a new core offering: One80 Custom Development Solutions. This new offering includes the development and maintenance of: Custom Applications Software Development System Modernization Mobile Software Solutions Website Design Project Recovery Automating Manual Processes There is a trend for organization to outsource development of technology solutions.  Many of our clients are asking […]
  • Using Agile to Untangle

    You may already have a good idea what Agile Training and Agile Coaching entail.  But the term Agile Transition or Agile Transformation may seem vague or daunting.  Allow me to explain what One80 Services does during an Agile transition: The short answer:   We improve development processes which reduce waste, provide visibility, and increase time […]
  • Agile for Defense

            We had a great time facilitating the Agile for Defense meetup this week!             If you’d like One80 to speak at one of your events, click here to send us a quick message!                 Share This!
  • Trust

    I’ve been thinking a lot lately about what makes Agile work, and what types of things make Agile fail. I like to strip things down to their smallest, most basic point. When I do this with Agile, I keep coming back to trust. Many times Agile fails because leadership fails to trust the team. Or because […]
  • Event: Writing good User Stories (ConAgra Sept 2015)

    On September 2nd, ConAgra and One80 hosted another workshop in our Agile Basics series. Nearly 50 people came together to learn about Writing User Stories.  It was a very productive and informative session in which we all learned from each other. It’s exciting to see that so many people in the Omaha area are looking […]
  • Beware of Snake Oil: The Agile Tool Salesperson

    There are some great Agile tools on the market to manage backlogs, track metrics, create visibility, and measure capacity & velocity.  These tools range anywhere from free to several thousands of dollars.  We have nothing against these tools, as a matter of fact One80 even partners with several of these tool vendors. That said, we […]
  • Do you really need a Product Owner?

    I recently was visiting with a potential client about the need for a Product Owner.  They asked: “How much time will the person assigned as Product Owner need to dedicate to this project?” This is a very common question that we get from clients. The answer I give is always the same:  “How important is this […]
  • Writing Good User Stories (Hint: It’s Not About Writing)

    My first experience with Agile occurred due to my quest to write better User Stories.  As a new software development manager, I realized that the team’s biggest problem was estimating.  I found the book Agile Estimating and Planning and it changed everything.  It set us down the path of creating User Stories instead of using the CRD […]
  • Event: How to Write Agile User Stories

    Tonight at the Kauffman Academic Center and Raikes School on UNL downtown campus in Lincoln, we presented to the Lincoln Agile Community. Andre Simones, Managing Partner of One80 Services, gave a great presentation.  I’ll just post a few of his slides here for you, so you can get the general idea. (To pause this slide […]
  • Event: Managing Your Workflow

    Today’s Omaha Startups June event included pizza, networking, and a great presentation given by One80’s own Andre Simones. We discussed: Types of workflows Symptoms of not managing your workflow Solving common workflow issues Workflow tips Visualizing your workflow Prioritizing your workflow Minimizing your work in progress Measurements and metrics Workflow management tools If you’d like […]
  • Event: Using Science to Design an Agile Team

    Today we went to the Scott Conference Center at UNO Peter Kiewit Campus to talk with the PMI Heartland NE/IA Chapter about the science (Emergenetics) involved in creating and running a successful Agile team. We all know that Agile is all about self-organized and empowered teams delivering value to the customer. How do you know […]
  • Agile Failures: Just in Case

    A huge form of waste (leading to Agile failures) many people don’t talk about are those features we build “just in case” we might need them some day. I think that those involved with building a product often forget that everything we build costs something. Nothing is free. Who’s paying for it? The customer. Everything […]
  • Scrum Masters-Learning the Mastery of Scrum

    Learning to be a good Scrum Master is hard, but how does a new Scrum Master learn the the mastery of Scrum? I had it easy. When I learned, I had an awesome team. They were open, engaged, and always wanting to improve. The Product Owner was awesome-again, open and engaged. The thing they all […]
  • Shake Up Your Daily Standup

    The Scrum Guide says the following about the Daily Standup: The Daily Standup or Daily Scrum is a 15-minute time-boxed event for the Development Team to synchronize activities and create a plan for the next 24 hours. The Daily Scrum is held at the same time and place each day to reduce complexity. During the […]
  • Agile isn’t something you do, it’s something you become

    I would not dub myself the queen of anything.  But if I were to dub myself the queen of something, I would be the queen of abstract logic.  That’s a thing, right?   I love speaking in metaphors and analogies.  (And it’s totally not annoying at all.  Usually.) It comes in handy when I’m asked questions […]
  • Agile won’t work on [fill in the blank]

    I have four kids ranging in age from 21 to 10. For some reason, people without children really like to give my wife and me advice on how to raise kids. Usually they will provide analogies using their favorite pet. Or they will tell me about their second cousin twice removed who “just had a […]
  • Scrum Does Not Tell You How to Build Stuff

    There have been some respected leaders in the industry that evidently just don’t get what Scrum is meant to provide and, more importantly, what it’s not. Scrum does not tell you that you have to use TDD, BDD, Continuous Integration, Continuous Deployment, OOP, etc. Scrum also does not tell you that you have to use […]
  • Your Scrum Team Might Be Too Big

    According to the ways of Scrum, the optimal Scrum team size is between five and nine people. Interestingly, I’ve seen this as a point of concern (sometimes contention) when I’ve coached people on Scrum. Please note that this is not a rule that must be followed at all costs. God gave us a brain, so […]
  • Paired Programming Does Have an Impact

    Nothing strikes fear into management more than the suggestion of Paired Programming.  They start envisioning multiple people sitting around one computer.  One person is working while the other is eating popcorn and reading magazines.  To be honest, I was once a ‘Pair Programmer denier’. During a retrospective, a team brought up the idea of Pairing.  They even […]
  • Scrum Events – The too many meetings problem

    Nearly every team that I have introduced Scrum into a new company someone has complained at some point about the duration of meetings in Scrum. I get comments like: “Scrum has far too many meetings” “What? A four hour planning meeting for a two week sprint!” “We have so many meetings here, and now you […]
  • The Agile Snowplow Trap

    I am one of those Scrum Masters who likes to talk in the abstract and with analogy. I find that it helps my teams to understand the concepts that I am attempting to coach. If I start throwing around a lot of Project Management terms, you know, ‘Risk’ ‘Contingency Planning’, ’Failure’, ‘Release Planning’, the team […]
  • Work S.M.A.R.T.E.R. not Harder

    We have all heard the phrase ‘Do more with less’. It is a common phrase is used to justify Agile. Executives equate that by transforming IT project management to Agile they will be able to do just that. While it is true that Agile can help an organization ‘Do more with less’, it can not […]
  • A Plan to Discuss is Not a Plan

    Many companies have been trying to reduce the overhead of meetings, to no avail. Here is one idea that may help. Never set up or attend a meeting where the subject line reads: “Discuss [topic]” …with no agenda. Here’s some examples of meeting invites I’ve had over the years: Discuss technology direction Discuss production outage […]
  • Why I Would Never Go “Enterprise Scrum”

    I’ve had some recent debates regarding whether we should start an “enterprise Scrum” initiative, i.e. WE WILL BE A SCRUM SHOP.  I would have completely supported this several years ago.  Now, I am completely against it. In an organization of any significant size or age, there typically have been methodologies that have been introduced, pushed, […]
  • Experiencing the Agile Transition

    There’s a benefit to working on a team as it transforms to Agile as opposed to jumping ship and moving from a company without Agile to one that practices Agile. Don’t get me wrong – moving to a new company and experiencing Agile is a cool thing. But seeing a team of people you’re familiar […]
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