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R: tm – Unique words/terms per document

Mark Needham - Mon, 04/11/2016 - 07:40

I’ve been doing a bit of text mining over the weekend using the R tm package and I wanted to only count a term once per document which isn’t how it works out the box.

For example let’s say we’re writing a bit of code to calculate the frequency of terms across some documents. We might write the following code:

text = c("I am Mark I am Mark", "Neo4j is cool Neo4j is cool")
corpus = VCorpus(VectorSource(text))
tdm = as.matrix(TermDocumentMatrix(corpus, control = list(wordLengths = c(1, Inf))))
> tdm
Terms   1 2
  am    2 0
  cool  0 2
  i     2 0
  is    0 2
  mark  2 0
  neo4j 0 2
> rowSums(tdm)
   am  cool     i    is  mark neo4j 
    2     2     2     2     2     2

We’ve created a small corpus over a vector which contains two bits of text. On the last line we output a TermDocumentMatrix which shows how frequently each term shows up across the corpus. I had to tweak the default word length of 3 to make sure we could see ‘am’ and ‘cool’.

But we’ve actually got some duplicate terms in each of our documents so we want to get rid of those and only count unique terms per document.

We can achieve that by mapping over the corpus using the tm_map function and then applying a function which returns unique terms. I wrote the following function:

uniqueWords = function(d) {
  return(paste(unique(strsplit(d, " ")[[1]]), collapse = ' '))

We can then apply the function like so:

corpus = tm_map(corpus, content_transformer(uniqueWords))
tdm = as.matrix(TermDocumentMatrix(corpus, control = list(wordLengths = c(1, Inf))))
> tdm
Terms   1 2
  am    1 0
  cool  0 1
  i     1 0
  is    0 1
  mark  1 0
  neo4j 0 1
> rowSums(tdm)
   am  cool     i    is  mark neo4j 
    1     1     1     1     1     1

And now each term is only counted once. Success!

Categories: Blogs

Agile Change or Adoption – the Steps to Go from “Why” to “How”

Notes from a Tool User - Mark Levison - Mon, 04/11/2016 - 03:37

Be Always Changing

(Continued from Agile Change or Adoption Always Starts with Why)

If you’re going to become an Agile Organization, and you understand that it has to be a collaborative discussion and effort rather than an executive decree, here are the key ingredients to move forward with that decision effectively:

  • Sense Your Current Culture
    Be mindful of the current state of both the business and culture before starting, so it can structure the change to fit in organically.
  • Create a Vision for Change
    Create a vision for change collaboratively with people from all levels of the organization, not just the executives. Invite collaboration rather than proclamation. Visualize both the change (e.g. Product Box) and the work involved in the change (e.g. a Kanban board)
  • Go from Vision to Strategy
    See the Leaders changing before the Doers. Work in small steps, in the same vein as Scrum User Stories, making many small changes with each being an incremental improvement on the ones preceding it.
  • Execute Small Changes
    Experiment. Probe and adapt, using each change as an examination of the existing system and, when you get information back, update the plan.
  • Recheck the Strategy and the Vision
    Be always changing – the pace of change continues to increase in the world, so we need to grow a culture where frequent small changes are the norm. Apply these steps as two concurrent feedback loops, rather than a linear list. One short-term (weeks), and the other mid-term (executed every 4-6 months).

In the next post in this series we’ll explore the above ingredients, and apply case studies for context and real world practical application.


Image attribution: Agile Pain Relief Consulting

Categories: Blogs

Should You Scale Agile? First, What Do You Mean by That?

NetObjectives - Sun, 04/10/2016 - 14:07
This blog was inspired by the live Q&A session for our first webinar in the Net Objectives Community Webinar Series on The Essence of Agile at Scale (btw, these are a great way to talk to industry thought leaders).   I was asked the question: “what should I look for to see if we should scale Agile?” I often get asked by people if they should scale Agile.  I ask them what they mean by this as...

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Categories: Companies

Coherence Busting explained

Thought Nursery - Jeffrey Fredrick - Fri, 04/08/2016 - 19:59

In Action Science workshops I teach a technique I call Coherence Busting. To understand why it is useful I ask the audience to imagine themselves making a proposal: “While you are talking you notice the main stakeholder — the person in the audience you most hope to persuade — glance at their watch. What do you do?”

I ask this question to allow the audience to experience the decision-making heuristics that Daniel Kahneman describes in this book Thinking, Fast & Slow. Kahneman models our consciousness as being two systems, our fast, automatic, unconscious System 1 and our slow, deliberate, effortful System 2. Part of what makes System 1 fast are the shortcuts it uses. Two of these shortcuts consistently arise with the watch example. The first is that we  assume that a coherent story must be correct. The second is that we limit the facts to what we can immediately recall, a process Kahneman calls What You See Is All There Is (WYSIATI).

These two shortcuts are displayed in the watch scenario.

We unconsciously construct a coherent story for what the glance means — for instance “she has somewhere else to go”. This story is based on first thoughts of what the glance might mean (WYSIATI). The coherence in our story give us the sense that our story is true. We then design our actions in response to a story we made up. This is the key lesson of the watch example: We feel as though we are responding to the reality of the situation, because WYSIATI and coherence cause us to mistake our single plausible story for the truth.

This is why we need Coherence Busting.

With the watch example, I ask the audience to describe what they think the glance means. After I have harvested the normal stories from the audience (“they’re bored”, “their attention has drifted”, “they are running short of time”) I ask them to consider other possible meanings of the glance, all of the possible reasons, even wildly implausible ones (“they have their plan for world domination written on their hand”). Now the audience generates dozens of possible reasons: it is a nervous habit, they were admiring their new watch, there could have been an alert on a smartwatch, maybe an itch on their wrist, and lots more. What makes this Coherence Busting is not just that there are lots of options but that the options are mutually incompatible. Once we can imagine conflicting explanations we are not longer trapped by the original coherent story. These options were always there, but it requires invoking System 2, our conscious and effortful thought process, to bring them to the surface. That’s not something we do when we feel we already have a good explanation. So what would trigger us to use Coherence Busting?

I’ve found Coherence Busting a useful tool to reach for when I recognize that I’m frustrated. A common pattern for me is to get frustrated when I can’t come up with a justifiable explanation for the other person’s actions, when I don’t like the explanation that System 1 has suggested for me. When I recognize that pattern I try and think of at least three incompatible motivations for why they might be behaving the way they are. The technique of Coherence Busting is a way of reminding myself that there are infinitely more possibilities than I have considered. It allows me to let go of the story I’ve made up about the other person. It reminds me that if I want to understand what the other person is thinking, I’m going to have to get out of my head and into theirs — probably starting with asking them a genuine question about what they are thinking.

Much of my work with Action Science is learning the skill of asking good questions. Coherence Busting reminds me to use those skills.

(Thanks to Douglas Squirrel for helping develop Coherence Busting. See more of our work together at and the London Action Science Meetup.)

Categories: Blogs

Orlando Scrum Global Gathering 2016

Notes from a Tool User - Mark Levison - Fri, 04/08/2016 - 19:34

Global Scrum Gathering Orlando 2016

We’re proud to announce that Mark will be a presenting speaker at the Global Scrum Gathering® in Orlando this month. Mark is busy updating the Beyond Scrum: Building High-Performing Organizations game for the conference, based on feedback from past conference attendees and peers. (Thank you all!)

His workshop will be from 3:30pm to 5:00pm on Tuesday, April 19, 2016.

High Performing Organizations Game Board - sample image

Beyond Scrum: Building High-Performing Organizations – a game for Managers, ScrumMasters and Product Owners
Room: Java Sea
Track: Agile Galaxy [Introduction/Intermediate]
Session Type: Workshop
Summary: The game will explore options for an Organization to understand itself, the current state of the work, and then bring about lasting change.
Learning Objectives: Players will learn much about Portfolio Kanban and Portfolio Management. They will also get an introduction to Systems Thinking, and Organizational Improvement. As a result, they will have an introduction as to what it will take to grow their Organization’s performance.

First image courtesy of Scrum Alliance Global Scrum Gathering®
Game board image by Agile Pain Relief

Categories: Blogs

Practice: Not In Spite Of, But Because Of

Derick Bailey - new ThoughtStream - Fri, 04/08/2016 - 14:17

Practice: we all know it “makes perfect” (makes habit). So, why do we expect do be able to do something perfect, the first time, sometimes?

This week, I’m joined by the crew of my mastermind group, The Entreprogrammers, to talk about practice, getting over the hurdles of learning, and realizing that you can very easily become good (if not great) at nearly anything!

Categories: Blogs

Friday Functions: NPM Path

This week’s Friday function is probably the most simplistic in my zsh library. Every time I worked with node.js I always got a little annoyed with having to reference the command line apps referenced under ./node_modules/bin. Sure I could do an npm install -g but I don’t like mucking with my global environment on a per project basis. Python has virtualenvs which separate these concerns pretty well but to my knowledge node.js has no equivalent.

So my zshrc has contained this function for quite some time.

Now I just run npm path from the root of a node.js project to quickly add its bin directory to my path. I’m sure there are probably more elegant solutions these days… please let me know in the comments below! 🙂

Categories: Blogs

Improved Project Visibility: A Top 3 Benefit of Agile

Agile Management Blog - VersionOne - Thu, 04/07/2016 - 14:30

improved-project-visibility-a-top-3-benefit-of-agile-800x328-2Visibility, the ability to see what is in front of you, is critically important for companies in order to remain profitable and relevant in their industry. Imagine how difficult it would be for you to drive a car without being able to see the road.  Adding in weather impediment elements can hamper your ability to reach your destination on-time even further. Even the sunniest days can blind your vision causing you to be distracted from where you are going.

Just like with driving a car, it’s a leader’s ability to chart the course with a clear vision for what the customer needs, along with what the teams can deliver, that is key to business success. So it comes as no surprise that 87% of the 10th annual State of Agile survey respondents said that the “ability to manage changing priorities” remains as the top improvement result of implementing agile practices. The ability to change helps foster the #2 item on that list, “increased team productivity” at 85%, and both of those are a result of “improved project visibility” at 84%.* In fact, managing change, increased productivity, and improved project visibility have been at the top of this list for the past five years.

Benefits of Agile

While change and productivity are so very important, visibility is the key that paves the road to agile success. Without visibility, how hard would it be to change course quickly? Without visibility how do you track and measure productivity improvements? And just like in driving, visibility is a two-way street. Teams need to know where they are going as much as the leaders of your organization need to know what the current map looks like, how fast the cars are driving, and how close we are to various destinations.

Whether you are a senior leader, or a member of an agile team, here a few key areas to help your company reap the benefits through better visibility practices:

Team Visibility

  • Know the important team indicators that drive the company’s success (e.g., velocity, throughput, productivity)
  • Align your work items correctly to help influence the success factors and be open to discussing this in your daily and weekly planning sessions
  • Be transparent with leadership and encourage them to be more involved in reviews
  • Share impediments and bad news as quickly and efficiently as possible
  • Practice extreme visibility with all your indicators, make them visible and known far and wide

Leadership Visibility

  • Become a trust agent for your teams and remember to always be building trust
  • Share company news and the key indicators that drive the company, have the teams help create these key numbers in partnership (e.g. share ownership on scorecards and dashboards)
  • Know how the teams operate and understand the value of their processes and ceremonies (act and think more like a team member)
  • Celebrate every win and encourage good behavior (vs discouraging bad behavior)
  • Ruthlessly remove impediments for the team to help them be successful

Improving the visibility in your organization can produce amazing results. Agile companies strive to provide customer value early and often. The State of Agile Report once again highlights how agile companies are seeing productivity improvements that boost company profits and increase the number happy customers.

Do you have the visibility your organization needs to succeed?

State of Agile is a trademark of VersionOne Inc.


The post Improved Project Visibility: A Top 3 Benefit of Agile appeared first on The Agile Management Blog.

Categories: Companies

cPrime Introduces Scrum Hardware Certification

Scrum Expert - Thu, 04/07/2016 - 09:32
cPrime is addressing the surge of interest in Agile Hardware product development by adding a training and certification class in how to apply the popular Scrum process to develop electronic and electromechanical hardware. cPrime’s new Agile hardware certification’s focus on practicalities distinguish it from the more abstract level of most certification classes. That practicality, and the hard-won knowledge provided by cPrime’s original research and client experiences, set this training apart from the rest. cPrime’s CEO, Zubin Irani, agrees. “We’re not guessing,” he said. “We have enough hardware clients under our belt now that we know what we’re doing. Our hardware clients want the flexibility, visibility, and reliability that Agile project-management techniques provide. We see Agile Hardware as truly the next big thing in the Agile world, and we intend to lead in that space.” cPrime is focusing on helping clients who produce laboratory equipment, telecommunications equipment, and other electronic or electromechanical devices. cPrime’s extensive background in Agile project management for software development is a plus, as most such devices both contain software and interact with other software products.
Categories: Communities

Encryption is not Binary

Tyner Blain - Scott Sehlhorst - Thu, 04/07/2016 - 05:38

Kano model - more is better - depicting 'good enough' as a concept

If you ask someone if they require encryption on their device, first of all, you will likely get one of two answers – yes or no – useful for segmenting your market or developing persona.  If you’re lucky, you’ll get a better answer – “you’re asking the wrong question!

Be Outside-In, Not Inside-Out

Inside-out thinking is taking your current view of your product (or product-to-be), and mapping it to the problems you discover in the market.  By contrast, outside-in is to understand problems your prospective customers face, and build viable solutions to those problems.

People don’t require encryption, they require protection of information.  You could achieve that protection through encryption, or by embedding your device in epoxy, or keeping it in your pocket at all times.

As an example, in 2008 the iPhone 3G’s user storage was not encrypted.  Data Protection was provided by unlocking the user interface to the phone with a PIN code.  The expectation was that you had to use the interface to access the stored data, so by protecting the user interface, the data is protected.  Without encryption.

Inside-out thinking is being an order taker, providing what is requested, not what is needed.

Outside-in thinking is recognizing that people want to protect their data from others.

Outside-in thinking might even re-frame the problem as one aspect of a need for privacy.  It just depends on what context in which you are defining the scope of the problem you wish to solve.

Applying Kano to Data Protection

Kano analysis is one of the key components of what I teach in DIT’s product management program every spring, and will also feature in one of the sessions of Product Owner Survival Camp in May 2016.

At first glance, what seems obvious in 2016 is that data protection – from the point of view of the user – can be classified in one of three ways

  1. must have data protection on my device
  2. must not have data protection on my device
  3. I am indifferent about data protection being available on my device

While the Kano model supports the notion of requiring that a feature not be present I have not found it useful yet in a product management context.  Partly, I suspect, because with an outside-in perspective, you aren’t looking at the presence or absence of features, you are only looking at capabilities – and I haven’t found a product where the concept of “I would have bought it, except someone could use it to do this other thing I don’t like, so I will not buy it.”

It is possible, in some markets, that the ability to protect data would be a delighter.  In those markets, the capability would be disruptive.

Data Protection, however, is not a boolean capability.  There are degrees of protection.  This implies that there is a notion of good enough protection of data. What might that look like?

Good Enough Data Protection

Building on a rapid refresher of first principles of applying Kano modeling as a product manager, we start with a realistic view of the more is better characterization of problems.

More is better Kano model - including diminishing returns[larger version]

The notion of good enough is added to the model.  There is some level of security that a user perceives about their data (using slightly more outside-in language), as a function of how well it is protected (outside-in), utilizing whatever technology (inside-out) the product happens to use.

Below this threshold, a user will be unsatisfied, and above the threshold, the user will be satisfied.  When we’re defining an MVP, we need to make sure we satisfice the user.

We want to aim for viable, not just minimal with our product.


A common source of product failure is delivering incomplete solutions to problems.

Adding some illustrative data points to the model, we get the following:

data security diminishing returns kano model[larger version]

The degree to which you need to solve a particular problem is defined by your users.  It may not simply be a Boolean decision (“is data protection a capability?”), it may be a scale of increasing capability (“how much data protection is provided?”).

In the security space in particular, there is the added complexity of deciding if you need to provide legitimate security, or the perception of security, or both.  Then you have to decide what that means in the context of your market, customers, competition, and product.


While the debate surrounding the current encryption & phone-unlocking controversy can be interesting, the lesson for product managers is that there is value in understanding how your users frame the problems you hope to help them solve.

Approaching your product from the outside-in – from the perspective of understanding what your users value, is critical.

Framing, or characterizing, the problem the same way your users does will help you determine when good enough is actually good enough.

Categories: Blogs

Stop planning; fix the leak!

Sonar - Wed, 04/06/2016 - 14:32

So there you are: you’ve finally decided to install the SonarQube platform and run a couple of analyses on your projects, but it unveiled so many issues that your team doesn’t know where to start. Don’t be tempted to start fixing issues here and there! It could be an endless effort, and you would quickly be depressed by the amount of work that remains. Instead, the first thing you should do is make sure your development team fixes the leak. Apply this principle from the very beginning, and it will ensure that your code is progressively cleaned up as you update and refactor over time. This new paradigm is so efficient at managing code quality that it just makes the traditional “remediation plan” approach obsolete. Actually, so obsolete that related features will disappear in SonarQube 5.5: action plans and the ability to link an issue to a third party task management system.

“Why the heck are you dropping useful features? Again!?…”

Well, we’ve tried to dogfood and really use those features at SonarSource ever since we introduced them – but never managed to. Maybe the most obvious reason we never used them is that far before conceptualizing the “Leak” paradigm, we were already fixing the leak thanks to appropriate Quality Gates set on every one of our projects. And while doing so, nobody was feeling the need to rely on action plans or JIRA to manage his/her issues.

There are actually other reasons why those features never got used. First, action plans live only in the SonarQube server, so they don’t appear in your favorite task management system. Because of that, chances are that you will eventually miss the related dead-lines. This is why you might be tempted to “link issues” to your task management system. But this “Link to” feature isn’t any better. Let’s say you’re using JIRA in your company. When you link an issue to JIRA, the SonarQube integration automatically creates a ticket for that issue. So if you want to keep track of 100 issues, you’ll end up with 100 JIRA tickets that aren’t really actionable (you just have a link back to SonarQube to identify every single issue) polluting your backlog. What’s even worse is that when an issue gets fixed in the code, it will be closed during the next SonarQube analysis, but the corresponding ticket in JIRA will remain open! Anyway, issues in the SonarQube server and tickets in JIRA just don’t have the same granularity.

“Still, there are cases when I really want to create a remediation plan. How can I do that?”

As discussed previously, you should really avoid defining a remediation plan, and take the opportunity instead to spend the energy on “fixing the leak” instead. Still, occasionally, you might be forced to do so. The main case we can think of is when you absolutely want to fix critical bugs or vulnerabilities found on legacy code that might really affect your business if they pop up in production. In that scenario, indeed you might want to create a dedicated remediation plan so that your development team gets rid of this operational risk.

The good thing is that SonarQube already has everything you need to clearly identify all those issues and plan a task to make sure they got fixed – whatever task management system you’re using:

  1. In the SonarQube UI:
    1. Start tagging issues you want to fix with a dedicated and specific tag, like “must-fix-for-v5.2″
    2. Create a public “issue filter” that displays only issues tagged with ”must-fix-for-v5.2″
  2. In your task management system:
    1. Create a ticket in which you reference the URL of the issue filter
    2. Set a due date or a version
  3. You’re done! You have a remediation plan that you can manage like any other task and your team won’t forget to address those issues.

“I don’t need anything more then?”

Well, no. Defining remediation plans this way gives the best of both worlds: identifying issues to fix in the SonarQube UI, and planning the correspond effort in your own beloved task management system.

And once again, remember that if your team fixes the leak, chances are you will not need to create a remediation plan any longer. So yes, even if I’m the one who initially developed Action Plans and the “Link to” features a long time ago, I think it’s really time to say bye bye…

Categories: Open Source

Agile Games, Cambridge, USA April 28-30 2016

Scrum Expert - Wed, 04/06/2016 - 13:00
The Agile Games Conference is three-day annual event organized by Agile New England that focuses teaching, demonstrating, and improving Agile and organizational effectiveness using game theory. In the agenda of Agile Games conference you can find keynotes and workshops like “Faster, Cheaper, Better: Designing Agile Training That Delivers Results”, “Awesome Teams: Games for Continuous (Extreme?) Teaming”, “This is Your Brain. This is Your Brain on Agile Games”, “Using the Tension Between Agile & Management”, ” Agile Technical Practices in LEGO”, “Improve Your Agile or Scrum Stand-up – PLUS Building a REAL Team”, “Scrum or Not? A Team Game to Assess Knowledge & Readiness”, ” Agile: The Gathering An Interactive Card Game to Promote Agile Culture”. Web site: Location for the Agile Games conference: The Microsoft New England Research & Development (NERD) Center, One Memorial Drive, Cambridge, MA 02142, USA
Categories: Communities

ZenHub Released Epics Agile Tool

Scrum Expert - Tue, 04/05/2016 - 21:01
ZenHub, a project management tool integrated natively in GitHub, has released ZenHub Epics – an upgrade to task management in GitHub. ZenHub Epics allows software teams to plan and execute product backlogs – bringing a level of focus to the development process not previously achievable for GitHub’s millions of users. This release is a competitive move by the company, which is just over one year old. Coupled with a steady stream of product improvements, ZenHub is luring software-driven teams away from “traditional” project management tools. Legacy project management tools have faced criticism by their end users – software developers – for steep learning curves, bloated feature sets, or prohibitive permissions structures. ZenHub provides a different approach to the project management process – putting control in the hands of developers, not a gated administrator; placing the code on centre stage; and providing just enough process to help teams move as fast as possible. ZenHub keeps teams focused within largest technical collaboration platform in the world: GitHub. As the only solution natively integrated in GitHub’s interface, customers save the equivalent of forty workdays per year with the tool, which offers features like visual task boards, burndown charts to track velocity, and a personal task manager. ZenHub Enterprise, the company’s on-premise solution for GitHub Enterprise users, will also support epics.
Categories: Communities

Agile Amped Greatest Hits for Mile High Agile 2016

BigVisible Solutions :: An Agile Company - Tue, 04/05/2016 - 19:30

We’re still coming down from our high at Mile High Agile 2016 in Denver, Colorado! What an event it was! As a technology partner, SolutionsIQ was able (and proudly so) to bring our video podcast series Agile Amped (and its charismatic mascot Tiny Tim) out to play. To get the crowd excited, we even hosted a selfie contest where everybody who took a photo with our dino and tweeted at SolutionsIQ got a free T-shirt! Here are just a few of our faves — you guys rock!

Tiny Tim Selfie Contest 

At the end of the day, however, it’s our video interviews and the people we got to connect with through Agile Amped that made this conference a huge success. A huge highlight for us? Sitting down with Jurgen Appelo of Management 3.0 fame to talk about his forthcoming book “Managing for Happiness” as well as his general ideas about what makes people and business successful. (Spoiler alert: it’s happiness.)


We are excited to have captured such great content so we can share it with our subscribers and readers (like you!). To give you an example of the Agile awesomeness we have to share, click the links below:

Rylee Keys and Women Who Code

Steve Martin is Leading Managers out of the Land of the Lost

Matt Barcomb sez: “I Like Big Budgets and I Cannot Lie!”

Next up: Agile Alliance Technical Conference in Raleigh, North Carolina, starting tomorrow! 


Want more? Subscribe now!

Agile Amped – all the greatest Agile content is within your reach. Subscribe now to receive instant email alerts when new podcasts are posted. Dino says do it – so do it.

The post Agile Amped Greatest Hits for Mile High Agile 2016 appeared first on SolutionsIQ.

Categories: Companies

User Story Mapping for Games - An Example

Agile Game Development - Tue, 04/05/2016 - 18:25
This article explains the basics of User Story Mapping and provides a simple example.

Years ago, I attended a lecture from Jeff Patton on User Story Mapping.  I was intrigued by his example, but struggled with how to apply it to video games.  Then, last year, he published his book on the topic.  The book is a great resource on different approaches and examples for mapping.  About this time I had a chance to mapping with a mobile game team.  Our variation on mapping worked well.

What is User Story Mapping?

User story mapping is a technique for creating a two-dimensional map of user stories usually
arranged by priority or a narrative of user activity on the horizontal axis.  The vertical axis often groups stories by sprints or releases (time).

Building the Example Map

It's useful to create a map for each release.  In a typical release, we'll usually start with a "Big Hairy Audacious Goal" or BHAG.  For our example, let's use a BHAG for a hypothetical car racing game:

"You are a fugitive driver, being chased, avoiding traffic and using your driving skills to escape Chicago!"

This is a good goal and a sizable chunk of work.  One of the first steps in release planning is to break the BHAG down into some smaller epic stories (stories still too big to fit into a sprint).

For our example, we have the following epics:
  • As a fugitive I want to drive a car fast to evade the police.
  • As a fugitive I want to avoid obstacles so I can keep ahead of the police.
  • As a fugitive I want to use the busy streets of  Chicago to lose the police.
With a bit of prioritization and refinement based on team structures, we can recreate the BHAG as a narrative made up of the epic stories:

This isn't the only possible arrangement of the narrative, but for this example, I arrange it this way to highlight the priority of the epics.  Obviously, driving the car is the most important.  It wouldn't be much fun if you can't evade the police.  Avoiding obstacles would be nice, but less important than the city and police.
Also note that the narrative isn't a set of user stories following the user story template.  The reason is that we want the narrative to be clearly readable as a whole tightly-coupled story.  The template can get it the way of doing that.
The next step is to forecast some sprints by:
  1. Splitting the narrative "epics"
  2. Sizing them by whatever method you use
  3. Prioritizing the split stories
  4. Placing them into their appropriate sprint (row) under the narrative epics (column).
In the example, the map might then look like this:
The colors represent the sprints (rows) for forecasted sprint goals.  The purple post-it in the lower right is large because it's still an epic.  We'll split that up after the spike (experimental work) on the ambient traffic in the previous sprint gives us a bit more knowledge about the work involved.
Why User Story Maps?
There are some advantages of user story mapping:
  • It visually organizes the work for a release.  I love the big picture view.  This can be used on games with a hundred people to give everyone a clear view of the shared goal and progress.
  • The narrative communicates "why" we are working on the stories.  I've noticed that teams using a map will respond to emergence better because they understand the big picture.
  • It's two-dimensional.  The one-dimensional view of a traditional product backlog is limiting.  Having multiple dimensions is better at handling prioritization.
  • It's very customizable.  For example, if you want to map a dependency, you can tack a piece of string or ribbon between two stories.
  • It responds to change very well.  We can shift stories, priorities and how work might be shared very quickly.
Other Useful Bits I've Learned
  • Build your maps with as many people as you can.  If you have 100 people on your team, have teams map out their columns individually.  This helps build a shared vision.
  • Physical boards trump tools!  I feel I'm a broken record on this, but maps don't take much space,  radiate information and can be instantly customizable and modified (sorry distributed teams).
  • Don't use post-its.  Although I use them in the art above, these maps live for months.  Index cards and cork boards, etc. work better.
Have fun mapping!
Categories: Blogs

Teal Organization – Future of Work

Agilitrix - Michael Sahota - Tue, 04/05/2016 - 17:18

Here is a visual that captures the essential elements of Teal Organizations as described in Frederic Laloux’s book “Reinventing Organizations”. This describes the Future of Work. Except that it has been here for decades. We never noticed how to have radically successful organizations. Enjoy. Evolutionary Purpose The foundation element is that the organization has clear […]

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Categories: Blogs

The Results Are In! Read the 10th Annual State of Agile Report

Agile Management Blog - VersionOne - Tue, 04/05/2016 - 14:30

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VersionOne is excited to release the 10th annual State of Agile Report – one of the key ways that the company proactively gives back to the software development community.  For more than 10 years, this annual survey has collected unbiased feedback to give software professionals insight into agile trends, best practices, and lessons learned to help them succeed with their agile transformations. In fact this year there were a total of 3,880 completed responses, of which only 28% were VersionOne customers, further adding to the range and diversity of respondents. While many of the trends remained constant, we were surprised by some of the results.

Here’s a sneak peek:

  • Larger enterprises are embracing agile – 24% of respondents work for organizations with 20,000+ employees.
  • Agile is scaling – Scrum still dominates, but the Scaled Agile Framework® (SAFe®) made a big jump this year.
  • Agile talent and experience is growing – 63% said they were ‘very’ to ‘extremely’ knowledgeable about agile.
  • Agile is going global – 26% of the respondents work in Europe, and more than 18% work in Asia, South America, Oceania, and Africa.
  • You’re succeeding with agile – 95% reported that their organizations practice agile, and only 1% had experienced agile failure.

Read the report and get access to the archives of the previous nine State of Agile reports.

VersionOne is a registered trademark and State of Agile is a trademark of VersionOne Inc.
Scaled Agile Framework and SAFe are registered trademarks of Scaled Agile, Inc.

The post The Results Are In! Read the 10th Annual State of Agile Report appeared first on The Agile Management Blog.

Categories: Companies

Software Delivery Track for Agile on the Beach Conference

Scrum Expert - Tue, 04/05/2016 - 10:34
The Agile on the Beach conference has confirmed its Software Delivery line up which will run on the both days. The conference will have 40+ speakers including a keynote by Dr Linda Rising, internationally known for her work in patterns, retrospectives, influence strategies, agile development, and the change process. The Software Delivery track will be headlined by a keynote from Rebecca Parsons CTO at Thoughtworks * Jo Cranford: Build In Quality * Byran Wills-Heath: How we implemented TDD in Embedded C/C++ * Jon Jagger: The design and implementation of cyber-dojo * Elizabeth Pope: 10% time the pros and cons? * Wouter Lagerweij: Testing in a Continuous Delivery World * Paul Boocock: Continuously delivering software to big brands * Lyndsay Prewer: Smoothing the continuous delivery path – a tale of two architectures * David Brownhill & Craig Scott-Angell: Penetration Testing in the Release Pipeline * Jim Barritt: Finding the merkle tree in the block chain forest * Sarah Glanville & Paul Lemon: Sky – Moving on up Session details below for Software Delivery with full details at Speakers and sessions for our themes of Agile Teams and Practices, Agile Business and Product Design and Management will be confirmed over the next few weeks with a full schedule announced by May. Super Early Birds can secure tickets at £295 (£100 off full price) if booked before 31st May. For help with travel and accommodation please visit our website
Categories: Communities

Yes in agile means that you will deliver

Ben Linders - Tue, 04/05/2016 - 06:58
NO and YES are two simple words, yet practice shows that professionals often have difficulties in using them. Actually it's very easy, certainly when you want to work in an agile way. Dare to say NO when you are unsure if you can do what's requested. When you say YES it means that you will deliver the product, on time with the right quality. Continue reading →
Categories: Blogs

Knowledge Sharing

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