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Keeping Up with the Agilists – Spring Events Roundup

BigVisible Solutions :: An Agile Company - Tue, 04/25/2017 - 17:00

Conference season is in full swing! We love this time of year because it gives us an opportunity to reconnect with the thousands of SolutionsIQ clients, and our own distributed team of coaches and consultants from coast to coast. This spring we will be in so many more places. If you plan on attending any of the following conferences, stop by and say hi! Agile Amped will be onsite at Change Management 2017 capturing video podcasts with thought leaders from the organizational management industry. Meanwhile our Agile Amped In-Depth audio-only podcasts will be onsite at Keep Austin Agile and Mile High Agile, recording deeper dives with Agile experts and luminaries.


Learn more about each event here!

Event Highlight: Change Management 2017

Change management is a crucial part of any Agile transformation, because it focuses on helping individuals transform and change in concert with the organization’s own transformational changes. The Association of Change Management Professionals (ACMP) arose in direct response for the need of guidance and support for change professionals from a formal organization. It’s been six years since ACMP launched the annual Change Management conference and SolutionsIQ is again excited to participate in Change Management 2017, bringing our expertise and experience in Agility to share with this industry. This year, the three-day conference will focus on providing the tools to help change professionals, including Agilists, help their client organizations succeed. SolutionsIQ’s all-access podcast series Agile Amped will be onsite so you won’t miss any of the action! You can expect more “Inspiring Conversations” with thought leaders in the change management industry.

Podcast Highlight: High-Performing Agile Teams with Yasser Farra

“High-performing Agile teams” seems to be what everyone wants — but do you know what that means and what it takes to get there? Yasser Farra, CEO of Agile Accompli and a speaker at Keep Austin Agile, gives his perspective of high-performing teams and how to help create them. He gives us some helpful tips on team makeup and dynamics, team environment, and more. We also spend some time at the end of the episode talking about the upcoming Keep Austin Agile conference.


And don’t forget to subscribe to Agile Amped to get event updates from Change Management 2017, Keep Austin Agile and Mile High Agile!


The post Keeping Up with the Agilists – Spring Events Roundup appeared first on SolutionsIQ.

Categories: Companies

Simple Visual Scrum Meeting Overview

Growing Agile - Tue, 04/25/2017 - 10:00

We’ve been working with a new client helping them understand how Scrum will work in their environment. They are getting ready to transition their team to start sprints. To help the team keep focus on the right things, the Scrum Master and Product Owner put together two 1 page summaries of the Scrum meetings and Daily Scrum. We loved them so much we asked if we could share them here.


Categories: Companies

The Objective of Time-Boxing

NetObjectives - Sun, 04/23/2017 - 14:22
This blog continues my series on Going Beyond Practices to Achieve Objectives   Timeboxing is used as a project planning technique. The schedule is divided into a number of separate time periods (timeboxes), with each part having its own deliverables, deadline and budget. In Agile, these time boxes are known as “iterations” (XP and generic Agile) or “sprints” (Scrum). The deliverables of each...

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Categories: Companies

Values, Practices and Principles Are Not Enough

NetObjectives - Sun, 04/23/2017 - 14:12
Agile has been around for over 2 decades now. Most every method talks about values, principles and practices. The Agile Manifesto, for example, is comprised of 4 values and 12 principles. XP, Scrum, Kanban, SAFe, LeSS and Nexus have added a considerable number of principles and practices as well. However, there has been little discussion of the laws of software development and insufficient...

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Categories: Companies

Eight Characteristics of Successful Software Projects

Xebia Blog - Sun, 04/23/2017 - 10:21

We do a lot of software projects at Xebia Software Development. We work most of the time at our client’s location, in their teams. Together we improve the quality of their software, their process, and engineering culture. As such, we’ve seen a lot of projects play out. Most of these efforts succeeded but some failed. […]

The post Eight Characteristics of Successful Software Projects appeared first on Xebia Blog.

Categories: Companies

Being an Agile Security Officer: user stories

Xebia Blog - Sat, 04/22/2017 - 15:28

This is the fourth part of my 'Being an Agile Security Officer series'. In this blog post I will go deeper into the details of how user stories are created and what role security stakeholders should play in that. The Epic Within Agile, work is usually defined in user stories. These are minimal and defined […]

The post Being an Agile Security Officer: user stories appeared first on Xebia Blog.

Categories: Companies

The Question Isn’t ”Scrum Vs Kanban?” or Even “Scrum and Kanban?” But Rather “What Works?”

NetObjectives - Fri, 04/21/2017 - 19:11
If you find this topic interesting, check out our webinar Blending Kanban and Scrum Or What to do When Neither Kanban or Scrum Is Optimal Executive Summary We should not be debating whether Scrum or Kanban is better.  Both have practices and principles to offer.  Each has a different mindset towards learning, however.  But instead of just blending them, we should look to a mindset that embraces...

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Categories: Companies

Cheating and building secure iOS games

Xebia Blog - Fri, 04/21/2017 - 08:53

You probably have one of the million games where you earn achievements and unlock specials on your iPad or iPhone. If you develop games, you've probably wondered about people cheating your games? In this blog we're going to show you how to try cheating out yourself and how to build secure iOS games.The actual question […]

The post Cheating and building secure iOS games appeared first on Xebia Blog.

Categories: Companies

Lean Tool Roundup: Kanban is King

Enjoy this excerpt from the Lean Business Report. Download the full report here.
Part of the beauty...

The post Lean Tool Roundup: Kanban is King appeared first on Blog | LeanKit.

Categories: Companies

Remote Working – Recommended Books

Growing Agile - Thu, 04/20/2017 - 15:05

More and more people want to work from home. Here are some books we’d recommend on the topic of working remotely:

Categories: Companies

Agile Testing Manifesto – More Translations

Growing Agile - Wed, 04/19/2017 - 09:00

Our Agile Testing Manifesto has been translated by Victoria Slinyavchuk into both Ukrainian and Russian!

Here are the new images with the translations, feel free to use them and share them.




Categories: Companies

Visual Report Improvements

TargetProcess - Edge of Chaos Blog - Tue, 04/18/2017 - 09:33
Period scale for date axis

Dates are now scaled as continuous axes by default. If you need to use periodic scales for dates, you can switch scale type from the field popup.



Legend filtering has been improved. Now, several categories in the legend can be selected, and changes will be reflected on the chart.




The mechanics of tooltip have been improved. Projection to axis was added for stacked bars and areas to see the total value of the stacked items.


We will really appreciate your feedback on our reports editor. What do you like about it? What could be improved? Let us know what you think at

Categories: Companies

Blog Series: TDD and Process, Part 4

NetObjectives - Mon, 04/17/2017 - 14:16
Part 4: Redundancy In part 3, we examined how the same specification can be bound to the production system in different ways, producing executable tests that have various levels of granularity and speed, by creating different bindings for different purposes.  We started with the “full stack” binding: Next, we created a different binding that avoided accessing the database at all by mocking...

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Categories: Companies

Targetprocess v.3.11.1: add/edit permissions separated, expand all in List views

TargetProcess - Edge of Chaos Blog - Mon, 04/17/2017 - 08:59
'Expand All' in List views

You can now expand and collapse all of the first and second List hierarchy levels. If you hold Ctrl (Cmd) and click '>' then cards from both levels will be expanded. This works for the first two hierarchy levels of a List view and doesn't affect the third level of cards in terms of List setup.

Permissions to create users through the API for non-admins

Previously, only admin users could post Rest API requests to create and delete users. Now, non-admin users with 'add user' / 'delete user' permissions can create/delete users via API calls.

Add and edit permissions separated for user roles

Starting with v.3.11.1, user roles have separate permissions for adding and editing.


Request email notifications settings updated with "Requesters" check-box

You can set up a 'Request' workflow so that requesters get email notifications every time a specific event event occurs.


Visual Encoding improvements

It’s possible to create a predefined set of global Visual Encoding rules that can be applied to all views and all users. To do this, simply select the corresponding checkbox in the Visual Encoding tab and add the global rules that you want applied to every view in the system:


This setting can only be managed by Administrators; other users can see it in read-only mode.

Fixed Bugs
  • Visual studio add-in supports VS2015 now
  • It wasn't possible to delete a test plan if it had test cases that were run already
  • Fixed occasional improper results when searching by ID in a Relations tab
  • Fixed Project-Team assigments for Observer users according to their permissions.
  • Obsolete Tp.v2 option 'Show in lists/enable for filtering' removed from custom fields setup
  • Fixed User Story progress calculation when converting a Task with time records into a User Story
Categories: Companies

Business Analysis Manifesto: the changing role of Business Analysis in an Agile organization

Xebia Blog - Fri, 04/14/2017 - 21:00

  The other day a discussion moved towards the -changing- role of Business Analysts in an Agile environment. I referred to the Business Analysis Manifesto. Created by and for Business Analysts, but never published. I realized I could share it with ‘the world’ and wrap it in blog-paper. So, this Business Analysis Manifesto is not […]

The post Business Analysis Manifesto: the changing role of Business Analysis in an Agile organization appeared first on Xebia Blog.

Categories: Companies

5 Kanban Strategies to Help IT Operations Teams Meet and Exceed Deadlines

What do you do when urgent work constantly interrupts planned project work? Time after time, you put...

The post 5 Kanban Strategies to Help IT Operations Teams Meet and Exceed Deadlines appeared first on Blog | LeanKit.

Categories: Companies

5 Agile Leadership Patterns

BigVisible Solutions :: An Agile Company - Thu, 04/13/2017 - 17:00

A epiphany came to Dan Greening in one of many conversations he had with Jeff Sutherland on the topic of why so many organizations claim to be Agile without actually being Agile. The epiphany was this: an Agile organization needs Agile leadership. It is common today for organizations to claim to have implemented Scrum and failed, then to move on to another framework like Kanban only to have that fail as well. These same organizations may then move on to Lean Startup. The trend lines in Dan’s research indicated peaks and valleys were huge as corporations hired on, and then fired off, mass quantities of coaches. Dan wanted to know why that was the case. After more research, he found corroborating evidence for his suspicions: businesses who retain their agility do so under the auspices of truly Agile leadership.


Brent Barton: Hi I’m Brent Barton and today I have Dan Greening. Hi Dan.

Dan Greening: Hey, man.

BB: You just finished an interesting talk on Agile leadership patterns.

DG: Yeah with Jeff Sutherland.

BB: That went well?

DG: Yeah, it went really well.

BB: I’m passionate about agile leadership, because as we get into bigger and more complex environments, it’s becoming more and more evident that they’re critical to our success.

DG: Right.

BB: Tell us more about your perspective on that.

DG: One of the things that I’ve discovered, and you’ve probably discovered this too, is that we think of Agile, at least initially, as an engineering problem. Okay, it takes a long time for us to do this, the projects sometimes fail, they’re overbudget and over-time. So we started out trying to fix engineering. And we did, largely. We have Scrum, Kanban, XP, all these other great things. But then, first of all, it’s hard to do, so we hire a bunch of coaches to do that and then it costs a lot of money. Then I started seeing large companies hiring massive numbers of coaches, an army of coaches, at millions of dollars per year in cost. They would hire them, they would convert the engineering department. Someone in the finance department would go, “Wow, this is really expensive. Do we have to keep these people around?” Someone says, “We’re Agile already — we don’t need them anymore, we’re converted.” The coaches go away and guess what? Agile would revert. We would get in the situation where the teams wouldn’t have this high level of Agile thinking anymore in the way that Agile would go. And then they would go, “Oh my god, our release times have gone from one month to six months, nine months, twelve months.” So, two years later, after they fired all the coaches, they go, “We better do something.” Someone says, “Well, that was Scum, now we ought to use Kanban.” So, they hire a bunch of Kanban people. Then I saw one recently where they go, “Yeah, that was Scrum and then we did Kanban, and now we should use something different called Lean Startup. That’s the thing!” And I’m going like, “That’s hilarious because Lean Startup is an Agile method but it’s not a replacement for Scrum or Kanban; it’s actually dealing with market-side stuff, product management. And so they can be used really effectively together. And then you see, you look at these peaks and valleys of hired coaches. What’s the issue here? So Jeff Sutherland and I have been hanging out and I’ve been complaining to Jeff for the last five years about this, and he said, “You know, I think one of the things is: who are the leaders?” And he and I started comparing notes, and we’re going, “Oh my god, is the leader Agile themselves? Do they run their company in an Agile way? Do they think about their work in an Agile way?” When we saw that, we saw that agility was retained. And often times they can create agility themselves and maintain it themselves. And then what we would also see is this pattern where a leader might get fired, or leave, or whatever, and then agility would disappear.


BB: What does it mean to be an Agile leader in the context you just described?

DG: That was my first cut. I said, “Ok, I want to tackle that.” Because I’ve been dealing with big companies: I’ve been working with Skype, Citrix and other companies like that. So I said, “What is it about this?” And then I realized, I didn’t really have a good definition for agility. I can go to the Agile manifesto and it’s got some guidance for software developers. If you read it, it’s all about software. I think finance people, marketing people, everybody can be Agile if it suits their economics needs, and it usually does. So, I said, “Before I even tackle leaders and enterprises, I’ve got to figure out what agility is and what it’s defined by.”

So, I looked at all of our Agile practices and what purposes they serve. And what I think of as “chaotic economies.” Production is a chaotic economy, and Scrum works really well for that. Market product management is a chaotic economy, and Lean Startup works really well for that. So, what’s going on there? It’s all about sensing, adapting, and creating new things for an economy and doing it fast enough that you can adapt to the changes that might be occurring. So I came up with five patterns and they’re actually really simple. The first thing is you have to measure some leading indicator about your economy. In scrum, it’s about production. We have to produce something and the big indicators are cost. A leading indicator of cost is velocity. That’s a primary metric. If you just use velocity, though, it gets a little perverse. You start doing high velocity and then you produce crap. So we have to have something else to balance that off to make it not so perverse, so we use defect rate. Then you have both of those and and then we go, “We want our people to be happy, because when they’re happy, they produce more creative output.” We add happiness. So, they’re three metrics that lots of people like to use, Jeff and I especially; velocity, happiness, and defect rate. That pattern, measuring [a] leading indicator, is step number one. If you don’t know what your economy is, why you are doing it and what are some leading indicators that you’re making the right choices — you’re doomed for Agile. You can’t do it.

The second thing is you have to experiment, you have to adaptively experiment to improve. When you do that, you’re looking at your metrics and you’re trying new things. Like our retrospectives. We try new Definitions of Done, Definitions of Ready. We see: does it improve things or not improve things? Today most retrospectives are pretty lame, I have to admit. A lot of people phone it in. Yet that’s the center piece of Scrum really. If you’re really doing a good retrospective, you’ll see this acceleration of velocity. If you’re phoning in your retrospective, you might be better than waterfall, but not by much. So that’s the experimentation side.

The third thing — and these three things give you agility — the third thing is limiting work in process. You can measure stuff and experiment, but if the length time or amount of work to run those experiments is too big, you’re going to be a lot slower than the chaotic economy that you live in. So, if you limit the work in process, you’re going to be fast enough, then you’re doing all the right things. My assertion is, if you’re doing those three things, you are Agile. The problem is, doing those three things is really hard.

BB: That’s true.

DG: Like, you’re measuring stuff and guess what? You’re starting to tell the truth, and people are getting embarrassed, and guess what? They really wish you weren’t doing that. So then you’re experimenting and guess what? Sometimes you fail and sometimes people are uncomfortable about that. And that uncomfortableness is another pressure to stop doing Agile. You’re limiting work in process. And the people are saying around you, “Oh my god, my project is so important. Can’t you do a little on my project?”

BB: Just fit that in. It’s not that big!

DG: Yeah. So there’s pressure everywhere to be not Agile. So those three things are hard, and I’ve realized we do things in Agile to reinforce it a little bit. And one of those things is we embrace collective responsibility. Here’s what I mean by that. When you join a team, you can say, “I’m a developer.” And another person can join the team and say, “I’m a tester.” Then you start doing your thing and the developer gets done. The testing doesn’t get done. You get to the end of the sprint, it doesn’t ship. Someone says, “Here’s a failure. We couldn’t ship it.” You go to the developer and ask, “What went wrong?” The developer blames somebody else. The developer says, “Not my problem, I’m a developer. It’s the tester that did it. The problem, though, is as your project matures, testing becomes more and more of a dominant factor.

BB: Right.

DG: So, we didn’t shift, this developer didn’t shift their responsibility over to deal with that. They just said, “My job is this.” So collective responsibility says I join this team and I agree — I write a contract by joining this team — that I will be personally responsible for the collective output of the team. That puts enormous pressure on individuals to really make up for deficiencies in the team. But the result is higher agility. Now people are adapting with the flow of work that’s coming into the team to deliver value. So, that fourth thing provides enormous stability for Agile teams and we see that in training. XP, it’s all about together as a team, collective code ownership —  as another subpattern of that.

BB: For sure.

DG: And then the last pattern is, you’re often working in a system that is limiting your agility. So here I am on a team and I depend on stuff from other teams, let’s say. And they are slow. And I’m going, “Okay, I’m Agile, I can just ship, ship, ship. But I keep depending on this stuff from this other group that is doing two-month sprints.” It takes them two months to actually give me something releasable. So, that pattern solves systemic problems. So now what’s happening instead of looking at my little team, I start looking around my team and say, “What’s going on in the system around me that is limiting my agility?” And it turns out there’s all these teams I depend on. And so what happens is that encourages people to go out and reach out to those teams and help them. So, famously, Toyota did this, when it was doing just-in-time manufacturing. It’s trying to build these cars, someone makes an order, and then you start doing all the stuff to build the car. Well, they would get all the way down to the tires, and then they would go, “We don’t build tires; we buy those.” So, they went out to the tire manufacturer and said, “Hey, could you make some tires for me? I just got an order.” The tire manufacturer goes, “We do this on a quarterly cycle. We sent you the memo; you didn’t read it. You’re supposed to pre-order however many tires you need for the cars you’re going to build. Well, how many cars are you going to build?” And Toyota goes, “We’re just-in-time — we don’t know!” So they finally got frustrated and said, “Well, I guess we could be a tire manufacturer, but we’re not great at that. Here’s the next best thing: we’ll go out and teach the tire manufacturer how to do just-in-time.” And that’s exactly what they did. And by doing that they actually created kind of an infrastructure of just-in-time in Japan. And we started seeing Honda and other car manufacturers start to adopt this strategy because they could. Their tire manufacturers were Agile and they were sitting there like, sitting on their butts really, but they were like, “Oh, we can do that. We have all these great service providers…”

So, those five things: measuring economic progress, so, leading indicators. Adaptively experimenting for improvement. Limit work in process. And now you are Agile. You won’t be able to keep it unless you do a couple more things: Embracing collective responsibility, creating a culture where individual people feel responsible. And finally, solving systemic problems. And that gets us back to leadership. Right? So, now I’m going, “This is great! I’ve got a definition of agility, I’ve got these patterns, and guess what? They’re totally scalable.” I can go to an individual and I can say, “Hey, Brent I can tell whether you’re Agile by just interviewing you and asking some questions about how you run your life.”

BB: Right.


DG: Or I could go to you as a team or as an executive and say, “Hey, let’s find out if your organization is Agile or not. What are you measuring? What are you experimenting on? What’s your work in process limit?” And this is important. It’s important on so many scales. One is, as an executive, do you have a team of people dealing with strategic work? I call them strategic Scrum teams, where you got a bunch of VPs or directors in a room and you’ve got strategic work and a backlog and you’re plowing through it and solving major problems for companies. Another thing you can do is, you’re hiring someone for a position in a company that is Agile. And I’m going, “You know what? You shouldn’t be hiring someone who answers those five questions in a funny way.” That’s how you tell they’re Agile, not ‘that they wrote on their resume, “I know Agile” or “I know Scrum” or whatever it is. CSM! Or I was a CEO at such a thing… It means nothing. Let’s find out the reality behind the system.

BB: Sounds like these are a consumable set of patterns for leaders to really evaluate and participate in the agility in an organization.

DG: Absolutely.

BB: That’s great. I’d love to probe further about the finance groups and all of these these other things and see how those teams are. We must do this again.

DG: Great to talk to you, Brent.

BB: Thanks, Dan.

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The post 5 Agile Leadership Patterns appeared first on SolutionsIQ.

Categories: Companies

Deprecating the old Help Desk portal

TargetProcess - Edge of Chaos Blog - Tue, 04/11/2017 - 22:21

We released our Help Desk portal back in 2008. It was a great software that allowed external users to submit requests. Years passed, and it became more and more obsolete from both the technical and user perspectives. Rather than wade through technical debt to try and improve it, we released a separate Service Desk application that already has all the functionality of Help Desk, a better UI, and some cool new features such as custom fields and request types.

We probably should have dropped the old Help Desk back in December 2016, when Service Desk was officially out of beta. It's hard to do, since we sort of got attached to it over the years. Nothing lasts forever though, especially in the software business, so it's time to let it go. Apart from the infrastructure costs of hosting both versions of the software, we also have to maintain and update it to keep up with the latest changes in Targetprocess. For example, in our latest release (v.3.11.0) there were some changes to the way user information is stored, and the 'Forgot Password' button stopped working in Help Desk.

We cannot afford to lose focus at this point, so we are freezing the Help Desk and will completely remove it from our On-Demand servers on June 1st, 2017. What does this mean for you? Most likely, nothing new. If you're not using request management, or if you're already using Service Desk, you don't have to do anything. In case you're not sure, here's what Service Desk looks like:


If you are still using Help Desk, that means you will have to switch to Service Desk. All you need to do is activate it at Settings -> Service Desk, and all of your requests and projects will automatically transfer over. On-Premises customers can technically continue using the old Help Desk, though we do not see any good reason for it.

We hope you enjoy the new version of the software. If you have any reason you prefer the old one, please let us know.

Farewell, Help Desk. It's time to move on.

Categories: Companies

The remote backlog grooming / refinement session

Growing Agile - Tue, 04/11/2017 - 16:04

A few weeks ago a company contacted us. They needed help. They were busy with a super important project and wanted to do it the agile way, and were a bit stuck. The business and management people were in City A and the dev team were in City B. They had a bit of previous agile experience in the development team but no-one else really did.

We suggested a remote call with everyone in both cities to understand where they were at. We had no idea what would happen, we were simply there to understand and perhaps guide. This 2 hour session turned out to be our best remote session yet!

As preparation for the call, we sent an email a few days before asking everyone to install Zoom (our remote conference call tool of choice) and asking that everyone dials in by themselves using a headset even if they are in the same location. We also gave them a trello board to connect to.

We started the call with everyone introducing themselves and what they do, so that we had a better idea of who we were talking to. The developers all dialed in. The business in City A dialed in together from a conference room, and a manager dialed in separately.

Immediately we could notice the difference in call quality. The group in City A was hard to hear, you were not always sure who was speaking. We also learned that Zoom adjusts volume, so every time someone far from the speaker spoke Zoom adjusted which meant we could barely hear the next person.

Tip 1 – insist that everyone dials in themselves, rather than using a conference phone in a meeting room. (Though having them experience this was also a valuable lesson.)

We then checked that everyone could access the Trello board and shared the link again. We gave everyone 5 minutes of silence to brainstorm talking points or questions onto the trello board. We needed to mute the group in City A as they had one PC and were chatting to type up and disrupting everyone else. (We needed to do this for every “silent brainstorm” we had, and mostly we forgot to unmute them until it was pointed out – so if you have this problem, don’t forget to unmute!).

After the brainstorm we asked everyone to vote for their top 3 topics. There is a nifty power-up for Trello that allows this called “voting”. Once again the group in City A were disadvantaged as they could only vote once for a topic as they had one PC, we solved this by asking them to type in the chat window what they want to vote on and we just included that in the count.

We then spent the next 90 minutes or so talking about their number 1 topic…. though I think almost every topic was touched on!

This is the fun part – we wanted to make this interactive and visual to keep everyones attention – so we were trying something new. We had attempted this a few days before and the technology had failed spectacularly – so we were prepared with plan B, but never needed it

Categories: Companies

The remote backlog grooming / refinement session

Growing Agile - Tue, 04/11/2017 - 16:04
A few weeks ago a company contacted us. They needed help. They were busy with a super important project and wanted to do it the agile way, and were a bit stuck. The business and management people were in City A and the dev team were in City B. They had a bit of previous agile […]
Categories: Companies