Skip to content

Feed aggregator

Deprecating TestTrack integration

TargetProcess - Edge of Chaos Blog - Wed, 05/17/2017 - 15:37

Did you know we have an integration with TestTrack? Probably not. It's a legacy plugin – a really old one – from Targetprocess 2 that connects to the TestTrack bug tracking tool and periodically synchronizes defects from TestTrack with bugs in Targetprocess. Even the research we did in 2008 indicated that it was the least used plugin of all, but now its usage is even lower since it's only available for On-Premises installations (we removed it from On-Demand accounts about 6 years ago).

We haven't added much functionality to the plugin over the last decade, but we still had to keep it as part of the code base (which we're working on reducing), maintain automatic tests, and so on.

It's very possible that this will not affect anyone reading this post, but it's still a formal part of the software and needs a special announcement. So yes, starting with Targetprocess v.3.11.4, integration with TestTrack will no longer exist. 

This the part where I'm supposed to say something nice, maybe even dramatic about this feature... but I can't really think of anything. Sorry. Anyway, our code will be a little bit lighter and developers will be a little bit happier, so that's good news, even if it's minor.

Categories: Companies

Respawn 0.3.0-preview1 released for netstandard2.0

Jimmy Bogard - Wed, 05/17/2017 - 05:57

Respawn, a small library designed to ease integration testing by intelligently clearing out test data, now supports .NET Core. Specifically, I now target:

  • net45
  • netstandard1.2
  • netstandard2.0

I had waited quite a long time because I needed netstandard2.0 support for some SqlClient pieces. With those pieces in place, I can now support running Respawn on full .NET and .NET Core 1.x and 2.0 applications (and tests).

Respawn works by scanning foreign key relationships in your database and determining the correct order to clear out tables in a test database. In my testing, this method is at least 3x faster than TRUNCATE, dropping/recreating the database, or disabling FKs and indiscriminately deleting data.

Since netstandard2.0 is still in preview1 status, this is a preview release for the netstandard2.0 support. The other two TFNs are production ready. To use Respawn create a checkpoint:

static Checkpoint checkpoint = new Checkpoint  
    TablesToIgnore = new[]
    SchemasToExclude = new []

And configure any tables/schemas you want to skip. Then, just call "Reset" at the beginning of your test (or in a setup method) to reset your local test database:


I support SQL Server (any version this millennium), SQL Server Compact Edition, and PostgreSQL, but the schema provider is pluggable (and since no one really does ANSI schema views the same way, has to be).


Categories: Blogs

Agile Movement's parallels to Lincoln's Gettysburg Address

Agile Complexification Inverter - Wed, 05/17/2017 - 03:46
What parallels are there between Lincoln's Gettysburg Address and the state of the Agile movement's union?

Lincoln was a primary figure at the dedication of Soldiers' National Cemetery, in Gettysburg. He did not wish to upstage the keynote speaker, Edward Everett, and so summarized in 2 minutes the principle of human equality as defined by the Declaration of Independence and the Civil War.  Do you remember, the keynote speech?  Few people do.

Lincoln's Gettysburg Address:
Four score and seven years ago our fathers brought forth on this continent, a new nation, conceived in Liberty, and dedicated to the proposition that all men are created equal. Now we are engaged in a great civil war, testing whether that nation, or any nation so conceived and so dedicated, can long endure. We are met on a great battle-field of that war. We have come to dedicate a portion of that field, as a final resting place for those who here gave their lives that that nation might live. It is altogether fitting and proper that we should do this. But, in a larger sense, we can not dedicate—we can not consecrate—we can not hallow—this ground. The brave men, living and dead, who struggled here, have consecrated it, far above our poor power to add or detract. The world will little note, nor long remember what we say here, but it can never forget what they did here. It is for us the living, rather, to be dedicated here to the unfinished work which they who fought here have thus far so nobly advanced. It is rather for us to be here dedicated to the great task remaining before us—that from these honored dead we take increased devotion to that cause for which they gave the last full measure of devotion—that we here highly resolve that these dead shall not have died in vain—that this nation, under God, shall have a new birth of freedom—and that government of the people, by the people, for the people, shall not perish from the earth. - - U.S. President Abraham Lincoln
I heard an NPR story about a person that give their grandkids twenty dollars to recite the Address.  It sounded like a wonderful way to engage kids in history and the founding reasons of the existence of this nation.  I'm assuming that it would take the children some time to memorize the short speech and in so doing they would have questions, about what the words meant.  How many of your colleagues know what unit of quantity a score represents?  Do you know what happened four-score and seven years before 1863?

The foundational document of this new nation is the Declaration of Independence - signed in the summer of 1776 by a group of wealth white men.  They are now described as our founding fathers, yet some were quite young at the time (Hamilton, 21; Jefferson, 33; Washington, 44).  These free thinking people (and some were women - they just didn't sign the document) were called radicals by their government and traders by their neighbors.

Does any of this sound like a fractal of the Agile Manifesto and the movement that was started back in the 1990s with lightweight frameworks for organizing software product creation.  The desire to increase the good aspects and there by overcome the poor habits (appreciative inquiry or extreme programming - is there a difference?).

Is there a revisionist movement some 15-20 years beyond the 2001 manifesto creation?  Yes, there appears to be a constant yearning for the next wave, the next wagon to hitch your cart onto.

Are there amendments that need to be added to the manifesto much like the Bill of Rights?  Or is that a fringe movement on the periphery?

Modern agile  defining four guiding principles:

  • Make people awesome
  • Make safety a prerequisite
  • Experiment and learn rapidly
  • Deliver value continuously

Alistair Cockburn observer his communication style in beginner and advanced classes, he said: "[I] found that when I was encouraging getting back to the center/heart/spirit of agile, I kept emphasizing these four things, and drew them in a diamond:"

Could the newest technique Mob Programming be anything more than an incremental addition to eXtreme Programming (XP)?  Some 30 years in the making.

I've found a next movement in the Agile Symphony. [Do you see what I just did there? Yeah, changed the metaphor but pivoted upon the term movement. Crafty right?]  I believe the next movement that so many people are looking for are just a jump to the left.  Look to the left of the typical process flow of value through the company, just left of what the current Agile process addresses (software development).  It's the creative process that is just up stream of software development.  The product ideation phase, the place where all those creative people are trying to get a seat at the table and be engaged with the software product design.  The User Interface and User eXperience people are wanting to engage with the whole process. Not just be consulted at the end of the process when the user acceptance test has proven that no one wants to use our product.

Could it be that the UX group is searching for a way to improve the development process?  Are they sensing the need to find a better process?  One that results in similar outcomes but with shorter timelines, a process that allows them to maximize the value in their portion of the stream.  I think this group is in the same place as the lightweight software development group was in the 1990s.  Before a few of them got together to coin the term Agile and write a manifesto to protect their small market share from the large 800 pound gorillas in the software consultancy market space.

Well the gorillas have exerted their power and the industry has consolidated into the safer methods that allow the late adopters to feel good about their failing transformations.  Your OK, and I'm OK; let's just call the whole thing off.  And that folks, is how we arrive back at the trend in business lifecycles becoming shorter, while innovation continues to accelerate.

So maybe this new movement in the symphony will allow me to come into their community.  I feel I have something to offer, I love learning, and building (which I think of as design).  I have a bit of experience with these new methods of designing and building and learning as we discover what the customer truly desire.  I'd like to help the creative people get that seat at the whole development table.

Maybe you could think of this period of software development as the reconstruction.

See Also:

Reshaping our View of Agile Transformation - Jason Little

Categories: Blogs

Have you earned your SAFe® Certification? Digital badging helps you tell the world

Agile Product Owner - Tue, 05/16/2017 - 21:36

We know you’ve worked hard to gain SAFe Certification. Now we want to help you tell the world about it so you can find the best opportunities to apply your training and experience. We also want to give employers the ability to quickly validate your knowledge and skills.

The Scaled Agile Professional Certification Program’s digital badging initiative will help you connect with the leading enterprises and development teams that seek your skills and experience as a SAFe-certified professional. Scaled Agile is teaming with Acclaim, a leader in digital professional recognition, to provide you with a digital version of your SAFe credentials. Activating the badge is easy and there is no cost to you.

Major tech employers, including IBM, Oracle, and Microsoft, rely on digital badging for evidence of what employees have done to earn their credentials and the skills associated with them. But our digital badging program does much more.

Leverage the power of social sharing

The badge can be shared in your-e-mail signature, digital resume, and on social media sites such as LinkedIn, Twitter, and Facebook. That provides a fast and reliable way for prospective employers and team members to verify your SAFe skills. Further, once you’ve accepted your digital credential from Acclaim you can export it to other Open Badge Infrastructure (OBI)-compliant badge sites, such as the Mozilla backpack.

Find the best opportunities to employ your skills

Acclaim also provides a Labor Market Insights feature to help you locate and apply for the best opportunities to employ your SAFe training and experience. Just click your badge on the Acclaim website to begin a search for relevant opportunities by job title, location, employer, job function, and salary. You can drill down for more details about the position and apply for it directly.

Look for your invitation to arrive in the next few weeks

We are rolling digital badging out incrementally starting this month with select certification levels. All remaining badges will be issued by July 2017. Acceptance is completely up to you. You can learn more about the digital badging program on our FAQ page.

Many thanks to Susan Farago, our forward-thinking Certification Program Manager, for leading this new initiative and providing our members with the latest technology in digital professional recognition.

We’ve come a long way together since we released version 1.0 of SAFe in 2011 and began certifying practitioners. This new program demonstrates our continued support for those who have made the commitment to helping deliver the promise of SAFe.

Stay SAFe!

Categories: Blogs

Visual Reports: Formulas Editor Change

TargetProcess - Edge of Chaos Blog - Tue, 05/16/2017 - 15:20
Invalid formulas and old-style report formulas will not be saved

We have disabled the ability to save invalid and previous version graphical report formulas .


You can use special functions if you need to create reports using the formulas from previous version of graphical reports.

  1. RAW_TEXT(<Targetprocess DSL text expression>) for text or boolean formulas. For example:
  2. RAW_NUMBER(<Targetprocess numeric expression>) for numeric formulas. For example:
  3. RAW_DATE(<Targetprocess date expression>) for using text or boolean formulas. For example:
    RAW_DATE(DateTime.Parse("3 September"))
  4. RAW_ARRAY_TEXT(<Targetprocess text array expression>) for using text or boolean formulas. For example:


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

Why Splitting Unfinished Product Backlog Items is a Bad Idea

Scrum Expert - Tue, 05/16/2017 - 10:33
In an ideal Agile world, the Scrum team is always completing all the selected user stories at the end of the sprint. In the real world however, there might be some product backlog items that...

[[ This is a content summary only. Visit my website for full links, other content, and more! ]]
Categories: Communities

The Simple Leader: Deal with it Now

Evolving Excellence - Tue, 05/16/2017 - 10:22

This is an excerpt from The Simple Leader: Personal and Professional Leadership at the Nexus of Lean and Zen

He who waits to do a great deal of good at once will never do anything.
– Samuel Johnson

So how many questions, issues, and decisions are bouncing around in your head? As an elderly family member aged I became increasingly frustrated with how she was making her life complex when it didn’t need to be. Simple decisions, eventually even tasks such as deciding what to watch on TV, became impossible. Her anxiety was skyrocketing and I realized it was a vicious cycle.

The more we put off decisions and tasks, the more we are juggling in our heads. This makes it increasingly difficult to calmly and rationally evaluate an issue and come to a conclusion, which just adds to the chaos.

Stop the cycle. Do you really need more time or more data to evaluate an issue? Sometimes you legitimately do in order to stay focused on a task at hand, but I bet you’d be surprised how often you don’t. Think about what more information you’d really need and whether it would change your mind. What is the worst that could happen if you were wrong?

Take the extra second and make the decision. When an employee asks to talk to you, do it now rather than putting it off. Deal with it once, then it is out of your head, decluttering your mind.

Categories: Blogs

Service Desk updates: Color Themes and Request Type improvements

TargetProcess - Edge of Chaos Blog - Tue, 05/16/2017 - 09:39

It's been awhile since we posted about our progress on Service Desk. We have just released several nice features that we'd like to share with you.

Color themes

You can now change the look of your Service Desk by picking from one of the predefined color options. This is the first step to making the colors fully customizable and allowing you to use your company colors in addition to your logo.


If you'd like to customize something other than color, please share the details with us. This will help us make sure we don't miss anything important, while hopefully not over-complicating everything under the hood.

Disabling votes

Previously, the "Vote" button was available for any request type, which did not always make sense. You don't typically need someone to upvote your browser crashing issue or something like that, right? So you can now define which request types will have the Vote button, and which will have it removed.

You can configure voting at Targetprocess Settings -> Request Types.


Default visibility

We've received a fair amount of feedback along the lines of "why can't I make all requests public" or "the new request type is always private". Since you can already create your own request types, we decided to make it more flexible. When submitting a new request, the "Private" check-box will either be checked or not, depending on what you select at Settings. Users, however, will still be able to change the visibility (depending on the particular request).

You can configure default visibility at Targetprocess Settings -> Request Types.


Fixed bugs

We also fixed a number of bugs and made some internal changes. Among the most noticeable are:

  • State grouping: states before the 'Planned' state are no longer added to the 'In Progress' group.
  • Fixed half a dozen IE-specific bugs (or should we say, we made Service Desk more compliant with the bugs of Internet Explorer?).
  • Fixed the order of custom fields at the Add Request page. It is now updated automatically when you reorder them in Targetprocess.
Please note that the changes above require Targetprocess version 3.11.2. If you are hosting Service Desk locally using IIS, you will also need to update .Net Core to 1.1. See our guide for more info.
Categories: Companies

Why Shu Ha Ri and Scrum Can Make for a Dangerous Combination

NetObjectives - Mon, 05/15/2017 - 21:43
Note: This blog assumes the reader understands the basic roles and practices of Scrum. Scrum suggests that the way to improve a team’s workflow and the organization within which it works is to remove impediments to its core roles (product owner, team, scrummaster) and practices (cross-functional teams, daily standups, and using time-boxing for work, demos and building backlogs). It takes an...

[[ This is a content summary only. Visit my website for full links, other content, and more! ]]
Categories: Companies

3 Rules For When A New JavaScript Feature Is Ready To Be Used

Derick Bailey - new ThoughtStream - Mon, 05/15/2017 - 13:30

JavaScript is rapidly evolving.

Javascript evolving

With the TC39 Working Group setting the course for the language, and the larger community being involved in the process, it’s moving faster than any other language with 20+ years of history behind it.

And it can be overwhelming at times – trying to keep up, trying to use new features and wondering if they are available.

Browsers, Node.js and other JavaScript runtime environments do their best to implement syntax changes early, but that doesn’t mean all features are readily available to all users.

So, how do you know when a new JavaScript feature is ready for production?

Is it safe to use an early stage feature? Or should you wait until that feature is readily available in all browsers, across nearly all of your user base?

Unfortunately, the answer is not always simple.

I do, however, have a few guidelines that I follow when evaluating a change to JavaScript…

3 rules that let you know when you can start using a new JavaScript feature.

To get the guide and learn how to evaluate a new JavaScript feature for yourself, enter your email address in the box, below. I’ll email the guide to you!

The post 3 Rules For When A New JavaScript Feature Is Ready To Be Used appeared first on

Categories: Blogs

The Simple Leader: Self-Inquiry

Evolving Excellence - Sat, 05/13/2017 - 10:02

This is an excerpt from The Simple Leader: Personal and Professional Leadership at the Nexus of Lean and Zen

On a deeper level you are already complete. When you realize that, there is a joyous energy behind what you do.
– Eckhart Tolle

Last year, some colleagues and I were discussing books we’ve found to be interesting, and my business partner suggested Edgar Schein’s Humble Inquiry: The Gentle Art of Asking Instead of Telling. I read the book and loved it.

Schein describes three types of humility and four types of inquiry, focusing on the power of here-and-now humility. This form of humility happens when we presume to be dependent on someone else because that someone has something we need (e.g., knowledge). Consider the following excerpt:

What we ask, how we ask it, where we ask it, and when we ask it all matter. But the essence of Humble Inquiry goes beyond just overt questioning. The kind of inquiry I am talking about derives from an attitude of interest and curiosity. It implies a desire to build a relationship that will lead to more open communication. It also implies that one makes oneself vulnerable and, thereby, arouses positive helping behavior in the other person.

It strikes me that, although Schein was intending to describe a relationship between two or more people, his concepts are also very appropriate for our discussions with ourselves (assuming we have them). Creating a humble, vulnerable relationship with your- self opens you up to being able to inquire, discover, reflect, and perhaps create change. Accepting yourself for who you are gives you peace. We’ll discuss reflection in more detail later on.

Categories: Blogs

Version R6#14.13

IceScrum - Fri, 05/12/2017 - 17:58
R6#14.13 Here is the new and probably the last version of iceScrum R6. Its only purpose is providing iceScrum Standalone R6 users with the ability to migrate their projects to iceScrum v7. If you use iceScrum Cloud, you will have to wait a little longer before the migration is available but don’t worry it’s our…
Categories: Open Source

Time is an Asset - Delay is a Cost

Improving projects with xProcess - Fri, 05/12/2017 - 12:26
Cost of Delay is a vital concept for management teams to understand and use. It enables better decision-making concerning investments and cost-saving, and is the basis of a coherent economic framework for considering the trade-offs management are responsible for, when deciding for example, whether to focus on reducing cost, or on investments that might reduce costs or increase value in the future.

After over a year of blogging and conference presentations on the topic - much of which has focused on the technical rather than practical explanations - I want to draw these to a close here with some straightforward summaries for managers of agile teams. While I think most managers will benefit from looking more deeply at why this advice applies (and its limits based on the assumptions underlying it), I'm also clear that a summary of what to do is the most helpful.

My thinking has evolved over the year, since the preparation and publication of the Kanban guide to Kanban - Essential Kanban Condensed (downloadable here). I started this series of blogs in April 2016 to provide more details on the subject than was possible to include in the condensed guide, and since that time I've had the good fortune to discuss Cost of Delay in some depth with some key thinkers on the subject. For this I'm particularly grateful to Don Reinertsen, David Anderson, Joshua Arnold, Chris Matts and Dave Snowden, who have taken the time at various points this year to teach, cajole, contradict or endorse various things that I was saying. While it is certainly not possible to reconcile all the thoughts and published works of the authors who have used and modified Don Reinertsen's original work on the subject - it is now at least possible to summarise my own (interim) conclusions!

Firstly here is the list and links to each of the previous articles:

Part 1: Understanding Cost of Delay and its Use in Kanban
Part 2: Delay Cost and Urgency Profiles
Part 3: How to Calculate WSJF
Part 4: WSJF - Should you divide by Lead Time or Size?
Part 5: A "Qualitative" Formula for WSJF?
Part 6: Time is an Asset - Delay is a Cost (this article)

In this article I look first at some key terms we have used. I then ask, and hopefully answer, "why is Cost of Delay important?"; "can Cost of Delay be quantified?"; "when could we use WSJF?"; and finally "what next?".


Three useful terms...

Unfortunately there is not unanimity on terminology but these ones are important. The first 2 terms below follow Don Reinertsen's work. The third, a term Joshua Arnold used when correcting the dimensionality of SAFe's use of Cost of Delay, was discussed in the previous blog. (Other terms are introduced in the previous blogs and are available in the glossary of Essential Kanban Condensed.)

Cost of Delay (CoD) - the rate of decay of value per period of delay. Units for example could be dollars per week. Due to the confusion possible with the next term in this list, I frequently use Urgency (U) as a synonym for CoD.

Delay Cost - the total loss of value due to a delay of known duration. For example, "The release was delayed by 7 weeks, which resulted in a Delay Cost of $150,000".

Time Criticality - a relative measure of how quickly all the value of an item would be lost. Units are the reciprocal of time. Usually this is used as an informal and relative term. It is useful though to compare the concepts of Time Criticality (which is independent of value) with CoD/Urgency, which quantifies value lost per time. For example eating the lettuce approaching its use-by date in the fridge may have the same Time Criticality, but very different Urgency, compared to paying the final demand on the mortgage on the house!

Three useful graphs:

Benefit Profiles - these show the benefit accrual rate expected from a defined piece of work, plotted against date, for example net pre-tax profits expected per week. There is not unanimity concerning this term. David Anderson frequently refers to these plots as "adoption curves" since for product releases the benefit accrual rate follows the adoption of the product by customers. Joshua Arnold often calls these graphs "urgency profiles", which unfortunately clashes with the definition below. (Since the graphs do not actually reveal urgency - this can only be determined by comparing one benefit profile with a subsequent one incorporating a delay - I would discourage this usage.)

Delay Cost Profiles - these are plots of delay cost against the delay (or release date, if you prefer). The gradient (first derivative) of these curves shows the CoD or Urgency.

Urgency (or CoD) Profiles - these plots should how the Cost of Delay is expected to vary over time. Of particular importance is: where there is a spike in CoD (as for example occurs if there is an external deadline); or where there is a continuing change in CoD (as for example occurs when there is expected loss of market share as well as loss of earning period due to the delay); or where step changes occur (as happens at the start and end of expected earning periods).

See the first blog in this series for examples of these three types of graph.

Why is Cost of Delay Important?

Traditional business cases for new work use estimates of cost and benefit to derive Return on Investment (yield) and a pay-back schedule (duration). However the rate at which value is lost due to delays is not  taken into account. As a result we live with the consequences: arbitrary cost cutting by activity type (such as travel bans and contractor “holidays”), a failure to invest to reduce lead time, and an inability to trade-off cost for time. It also means the choice of initiatives undertaken, and the order they are implemented when they cannot or should not be carried out in parallel, is poorly informed. These discussions need accountants and software managers to share vocabulary (and goals)… and ultimately to evolve policies that improve outcomes. Cost of Delay needs to become part of the every day discussions of management.
Can Cost of Delay be Quantified?

My short answer to this is "yes, but it cannot be measured" (apologies to Don Hubbard, who I'm sure would correct my definition of measured and say yes it can). The point is that Cost of Delay is the difference between: something that cannot be measured until after the project has finished (life-time benefits for the work); and something that cannot be measured at all since it relates to something that will never occur (life-time benefits of the work if it had been released on a different date). Since we are estimating CoD it is worth having this in mind - not to prevent its use but to realise its limitations.
However, the estimates of CoD do not have to be perfect, they just have to be better than the alternative. That is why it is useful. The alternatives are very often even poorer quantifications or merely vague assertions.
One further word of caution. Don Reinertsen applied CoD to sizeable initiatives such as new product launches and significant projects. Applying the same technique (Weighted Shortest Job First, or WSJF) to small items such as "epics" or even user stories may be a stretch. The uncertainties involved in estimating value and the rate of loss of value, when considering the life-time benefits of these small items, are likely to result in inaccuracies that invalidate the results.
So when could we use WSJF
If you have read the preceding articles to this blog carefully, you will have noted a number of key assumptions that relate to the validity of the WSJF formula (Cost of Delay Divided by Duration, or CD3). Some of these make WSJF inapplicable for some processes. An example might be where, by continual monitoring of expected delivery dates against the delay cost profile, we can readily and dynamically reorder work schedules to preserve maximum value-delivery. Balancing the right types of work and managing risk by monitoring "last responsible moments" is a way of using CoD without using the WSJF formula, which does not account for variable CoD. Other aspects (such as difficulty in predicting value realization) make the technique inapplicable at smaller scales (for example small work items).
Another aspect which affects the applicability of WSJF, is the nature of the domain where we are seeking to order work. Chris Matts has certainly influenced my thinking in this area. Referencing Dave Snowden's Cynefin model, Chris points out that in "complex" domains results are not predictable or plannable. Safe-to-fail experiments lead to better outcomes than pre-planned actions (though not necessarily the "best" outcome, which is unknowable in such domains). So rather than preceding delivery with long periods of analysis and estimation, it is better to deliver smaller items and then choose subsequent items based on customer outcomes. This is an important observation, and coincides of course with many other ways of looking at the problem. Reducing the size of value-bearing work items, and reducing the lead times, so that feedback and response can happen quickly, is the right way to proceed in such domains. To summarise this advice with regards WSJF - don't use it in complex (or unplannable) domains! This just not just applicable to WSJF of course. If you are doing lots of up front planning any way, maybe your domain is not "complex" in this sense - or maybe you should question other practices as well!
So when can we use WSJF? Well not all domains are "unplannable", even domains where continuous feedback and adjustment are required. Not all work items are so small that estimating value and the decay of value is futile or too time-consuming. The most obvious place to look is where Don Reinertsen originally proposed the technique. For sequencing larger plannable items, which due to resource constraints or other reasons, follow each other in sequence. Not only is the WSJF formula useful in such discussions, it provides a means to discuss and manage portfolios of work using financial criteria that our accountants can understand and validate. We need accountants to be involved in this discussion, not least because it the surest way to move management decision making in the direction of greater business agility.
Where next?
WSJF of course is only one aspect of the application of Cost of Delay. The wider use of Cost of Delay in business, including the involvement of accountants in developing sound ways to apply its quantification, will in the end result in better business decisions and improved value delivery. While the minutiae of formulae and assumption validity, and the difficulty of estimating value-delivery and its decay, are certainly roadblocks in improving our understanding and good business practice in this area, the stakes are too high not to persevere towards robust solutions.
If you have persevered through the machinations of this series of blogs, I thank you - and look forward to hearing your feedback and experience reports. The next generation of managers needs clearer explanations of these concepts so they become as well understood as pre-tax profits and balance sheets in driving correct business actions. Accountants and agile managers need to join together to develop the mechanisms and standards that will augment current accounting practice and produce the environment for better business decision making.
Categories: Companies

Design Your Competition's Support Department

Agile Complexification Inverter - Fri, 05/12/2017 - 05:54
You are presented with a common business problem.  One technique that has always helped me to define the problem space is to invert the problem, take it to an extreme to explore the continuum of your domain.  Let's imagine that we want to redesign our software support department at MegaSoft Corporation.  Applying our inversion principle we will leave our MegaSoft support as is, and instead we will design the competitors support group. It's going to stink, people are going to hate to even call them, their people will be arrogant techies with no human compassion - they will actually hire with those skills required.  Let's pause and give this company a name...  TechHard sounds great.

Who's time is most valuable?  At TechHard the support engineers time is very valuable, so we will have process that time how long a support tech. is on the call with a customer so that our process gurus can optimize for the use of this most valuable resource.  A typical call from a director or VP in our internal support operation should be logged by an administrative receptionist (maybe even automated system) and then the support techs time can be queued up with return call tickets.  We will return the VPs call when it is convenient for our tech.  The tech can validate that the VP is authorized to access the system, and will confirm that they are still experiencing the problem by walking through a standard checklist.  Being efficiently minded the tech may skip over some simple question like power plug, on/off, reset/reboot, logout/in again if they feel the user is competent.

Answering the basic question of who's time is most valuable via the design of the competition's process is enlightening.  Which is it?  The support person's time - or the customer's time.

How are support systems designed?  Has anyone ever heard of a company that used Design Thinking or High-Tech Anthropology to create a customer centered support group?

Is this Conway's Law at work - are we truly designing the support function of our products/services - or are we just reacting?

Give me an example of great design for support:  Nest Thermostat and Fire Alarm Installation
Have you installed a Nest product?  Their installation and configuration process is well designed.  I don't know about their support department - but my expectations are set very high, if I have a problem.

History will repeat
In the 1980s universities started teaching about design for manufacturing (robots would make the parts).

Are you designing your business departments for it's function?

Speaking of support tools - your going to want a great issue tracking system.  Why not look to a market leader that has all the features your people can put on a check list?  Let's buy Jira - or should we look at the competition's product?

See Also:

Cable Internet provider Frontier's support group struggles with the corporate infrastructure that can not resolve customer problems.

Categories: Blogs

Can we have a dialogue about Estimation and the behaviors it drives?

Agile Complexification Inverter - Fri, 05/12/2017 - 05:54

Some topic are taboo - not safe to discuss.  I've never appreciated that concept.  Those taboo topics are my favorite topics to discuss.

Taboo Topics (ordered by fear of conversation)
  • Gender - Sexual preferences - non-standard practices
  • Religion as truth, my religion vs your wrong religion
  • Politics - the correct way to govern a group the results in my opportunity
  • Pay for services rendered - why my gender is paid more than yours
  • counting - off by one errors and how to mask them; we're # 1
  • estimates - how wrong your estimate was and why I'm missing my commitment
  • prioritization - ordering methods
  • laziness - the art of not doing work
I've recently been embroiled in a "dialogue" about the twitter topic of #NoEstimates.  I would write a summary of the topic but cannot do better that this one:

Estimates? We Don’t Need No Stinking Estimates! by Scott Rosenberg
"How a hashtag (#NoEstimates) lit the nerdy world of project management aflame — or at least got it mildly worked up."

A nice summary of the dust-up.  Imagine if the tag would have been #LeanEstimates?

There are two sides to this debate - at least two sides.  But I like that the taboo topic was raised and has questioned assumptions.  I think the think that drives a topic toward the taboo is this questioning of assumptions.  The saluter of scared cows (where does that term even come from?).

So what behaviors does the process or estimating drive:

  • a list
  • TBD
  • someone misplaced the list...

"Unable to estimate accurately, the manager can know with certainty neither what resources to commit to an effort nor, in retrospect, how well these resources were used.  The lack of a firm foundation for these two judgements can reduce programming management to a random process in that positive control is next to impossible. This situation often results in the budget overruns and schedule slippages that are all too common." -- J.A FarquharDoes a Scrum process framework and the Agile mindset resolve Farquhar's concerns that the manager may have without accurate estimates - via empirical measurement and relative estimation techniques?

I'm not sure that the Twitter-verse is capable of holding the dialogue.  My experience was not very fruitful nor enlightening.  I've been accused by a manager at work of being "anti-management" I've asked, but got no direct answer, what that term meant, and why he believed or thought this label to be useful.  I've wondered if it was because of this type of conversation.  I also asked these fellows, but didn't resolve my query with the rhetoric of the conversation.
@vishalsomal it's an anti-management movement started by Woody, where SWDev wants to run the show @PeterKretzman @henebb— Glen B. Alleman (@galleman) March 5, 2017... deleted ... a lot of tweets about actions from years ago when when the #NoEstimates twitter conversation was beginning - some relating to a blog post being edited or complete deleted.  Something I find quite acceptable (and do quite frequently myself).
@henebb @PeterKretzman @galleman @duarte_vasco So if he deleted a piece you appear to object to maybe you made a point and he heard your view.— David A. Koontz (@davidakoontz) April 13, 2017
@henebb @PeterKretzman @galleman @duarte_vasco is it admirable to be the accuser but not reach out to talk,
to label one hyper-defensive when they are trying to understand? pondering— David A. Koontz (@davidakoontz) April 13, 2017
@PeterKretzman @davidakoontz @henebb @duarte_vasco David, U do realize W and V and now N blocked any questions about the credibility of #NE.
There is NO conversation about NE just broadcast— Glen B. Alleman (@galleman) April 14, 2017
@galleman @PeterKretzman @henebb @duarte_vasco 3 people do not make the sum total of people discussing this topic.— David A. Koontz (@davidakoontz) April 14, 2017
@davidakoontz @galleman @PeterKretzman @duarte_vasco Of course not. No one is claiming that either. But they are the main champs. Traveling the world, spreading the message.— Henrik Ebbeskog (@henebb) April 14, 2017
@galleman @PeterKretzman @henebb @duarte_vasco So I reject your conclusion; and substitute #NE or #noestimates with #LeanEstimates— David A. Koontz (@davidakoontz) April 14, 2017
The conversation went on from there...  I'm reminded of Adam on MythBusters.

@henebb @galleman @duarte_vasco I don't know if this anti-management you speak of. Tell me more as I don't see connection to NE or as we call it now #LeanEstimation— David A. Koontz (@davidakoontz) April 13, 2017 ... and there is some link to Anti-Management because one is willing to discuss better options or worse options than estimation...
@henebb Here's an anti-management tweet (one of many) from the NE founder. @davidakoontz @galleman @duarte_vasco— Peter Kretzman (@PeterKretzman) April 13, 2017
@PeterKretzman @henebb @galleman @duarte_vasco Is it the answers or the questions you object to as being anti-management?— David A. Koontz (@davidakoontz) April 13, 2017
@PeterKretzman @henebb @galleman @duarte_vasco ... 2/2 because I'm willing to engage in dialogue about #NoEstimates in public? Is anti-management contagious? #LeanEstimates— David A. Koontz (@davidakoontz) April 13, 2017 There appears to be large amounts of animosity amongst the principle people that were having this dialogue - nope that word is not the best word, here... try debate... twitter shouting match...
@henebb @PeterKretzman @galleman @duarte_vasco well that certainly didn't happen, thanks to your vigilance; have you asked him if that was his intent?— David A. Koontz (@davidakoontz) April 13, 2017
@davidakoontz @henebb @galleman @duarte_vasco Point: Woody won't talk with critics.
Second point: you're a little too fixated on this one example of anti-mgmt. As I said, there are many.— Peter Kretzman (@PeterKretzman) April 13, 2017
@PeterKretzman @henebb @galleman @duarte_vasco So you didn't ask Woody about the issue?
Is it just you he will not talk to, because I've chatted with him a lot.— David A. Koontz (@davidakoontz) April 13, 2017
@henebb @PeterKretzman @galleman @duarte_vasco I like that analogy... estimate are addictive - but not that powery - what is your object to the analogy?— David A. Koontz (@davidakoontz) April 13, 2017
@henebb @PeterKretzman @galleman @duarte_vasco brushing teeth is not addictive; it's nothing like heroin addiction I'm told.— David A. Koontz (@davidakoontz) April 13, 2017
@davidakoontz @PeterKretzman @galleman @duarte_vasco ...Yeah, and seeing healthy estimating as "addiction process" reveals that you despise estimates.— Henrik Ebbeskog (@henebb) April 13, 2017
@henebb @PeterKretzman @galleman @duarte_vasco wow - how did you jump to that conclusion?
"despise estimates" not many of the team members I work with would support your conclusion— David A. Koontz (@davidakoontz) April 13, 2017
@henebb @PeterKretzman @galleman @duarte_vasco ah... do we need to review the concept of analogy - I liked the analogy, I find it useful; I think that's different than what your stating— David A. Koontz (@davidakoontz) April 13, 2017
@henebb @PeterKretzman @galleman @duarte_vasco that's not where I would apply the nature of addiction in the analogy. Yet I can see how you could get there.— David A. Koontz (@davidakoontz) April 14, 2017 How might the analogy of estimation is like addiction be a useful analogy?
@galleman @PeterKretzman @henebb @duarte_vasco That's not consistent with my conversation and experiences with @WoodyZuill (your good with logic - am I within the set of anyone?)— David A. Koontz (@davidakoontz) April 13, 2017
@PeterKretzman @henebb @galleman @duarte_vasco I'm just guessing but I bet there was a period when he was willing to converse with you all.
pondering ... my experience extrapolated ...— David A. Koontz (@davidakoontz) April 13, 2017

See Also:

Impact of Schedule Estimation on Software Project Behavior
by Tarek K. Abdel-Hamid, SRI International Stuart E. Madnick, Massachusetts Institute of Technology
A Preliminary Inquiry into the Software Estimation Process by J.A. Farquhar, 1970
Categories: Blogs

Remote Work – What tools do you use?

Growing Agile - Thu, 05/11/2017 - 15:35

Here are our favorite tools that make remote work better… We have used all of these at some point. Sometimes we move on, others have stuck around. What works for you and your team?

Categories: Companies

Check out the lastest Scaled Agile Insider

Agile Product Owner - Thu, 05/11/2017 - 15:31

The latest edition of the Scaled Agile Insider is hot off the press. This almost-monthly email is the best resource for getting all the latest news from the SAFe universe in one place. In this edition you’ll find:

  • 11th Annual State of Agile Report:
    SAFe #1 in Scaling Methods and Approaches
  • New course unveiled: SAFe® 4.0 Release Train Engineer with RTE Certification
  • Video: Dean Leffingwell discusses Scalable DevOps and Continuous Delivery with SAFe
  • The final installment in the story of the 6-day SAFe Quickstart
  • Right-sizing Features for SAFe Program Increments (with complementary poster download from Ivar Jacobson)
  • Upcoming SAFe webinars and presentations from Scaled Agile thought leaders

The Insider provides you with the wider range of information—including things like commercial aspects, case studies, and third party opinions—that will help you do your job and get the most out of SAFe. To that end, you’ll find a broad range of topics and resources, including: links to new downloads, ‘must-read’ articles, books, videos, the lastest case studies, webinar announcements, classes and event news, and more.

If you’ve attended a SAFe class, you are likely already subscribed. If not, go here to subscribe and read the latest editions.

As we work to improve its value to the community, we’d love your thoughts. Are we covering what’s important to you? Should we provide less or more? Turn it into an online publication? All ideas are welcome.

Stay SAFe!

Categories: Blogs

Agile Australia, Sydney, Australia, June 22-23 2017

Scrum Expert - Thu, 05/11/2017 - 09:00
Agile Australia is a two-day conference built specifically for Agile and Scrum practitioners in Australia who are serious about expanding their thinking and ways of working: at an individual and...

[[ This is a content summary only. Visit my website for full links, other content, and more! ]]
Categories: Communities

Knowledge Sharing

SpiraTeam is a agile application lifecycle management (ALM) system designed specifically for methodologies such as scrum, XP and Kanban.