Just another blog…

Agile

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Regular retrospectives are essential for continuous improvement, but they can get a little tedious if the same format is constantly used. Having variation in location and structure helps to create some interest and hopefully a bit of fun! There are various places to look for ideas, here are a few I use:

For a recent retrospective, and as we’re in the Christmas season, I wanted to have a festive theme to set the mood. I’d come across the Many Faces of Jack Sparrow idea, which I really liked and with a small change came up with – Many Faces of Santa.

This is the board we started with (only a few searches to find the images):

Everyone could see the board as they came into the room which aroused curiosity and a few smiles. The… Continue reading

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Agile software development principles emerged from a desire to improve from “heavyweight” methods of producing software. The current Agile methodologies we have evolved through observations with the intention of improving the development life-cycle. We learn an enormous amount looking at our own processes and finding ways to continuously improve as a team or organization. We also learn from other industries, like the Lean software development principles that were translated from observing lean manufacturing. This is why I was interested to read about the OODA loop and how it applies to agile.

Colonel John Boyd developed the Observation-Orientation-Decision-Action (OODA) decision model while working on air-to-air combat theories. It proved successful in the skies and the same decision-making process can be compared to those made during agile software development.

We act in accordance to how we perceive the world and not how it is.

The view we have of our teams could… Continue reading

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Do you get that air of excitement when trying something different? The anticipation waiting for the outcome builds the tension. Will the result meet expectations or will there be a surprise? Whether it’s a personal or team change there is a sense of intrigue trying to prove a theory or simply a hunch. Then the feeling of joy or puzzlement depending on the outcome. Deciding to try out new things can feel scary, but I believe it’s important for keeping teams engaged.

Sometimes just a break from the normal routine can be a relief, if this is how you feel, imagine how you’re team feels? I tend to get heavily into routines, from when I get up to what exercises I do in the gym, to break from this I feel a bit of a rebel…but I enjoy the change! We can get stuck in our ways at work as… Continue reading

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A lot has already been said about “Doing Agile versus Being Agile” so there’s no need to keep repeating – or is there?

Constantly repeating something to teams doesn’t usually make you very popular! But there can be a need to give regular reminders in areas that are important. How we work and the culture we are aiming to maintain is an important area should never get forgotten. The working environment can be a busy and stressful place, it’s at these times that we can forget how we should do something for the sake of just getting it done! Before we know it we’re back to our old ways as old habits die hard.

I see the whole agile mindset as one that often gets lost over time, this is my experience anyway. Which is why a regular reminder of our focus is vital. There are probably hundreds of images… Continue reading

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Have you ever found an agile methodology to suit everyone? I don’t think there is one! You find people very passionate about a particular methodology who dismiss any notion of trying something different, they become very protective over which practice is used. I like people who are passionate about what they do, however there are times when we need to have an open mind for constructive thinking when looking at improvements within an organisation.

As there is no unified agile methodology it should direct our thinking away from a particular methodology and towards the organisation itself. I’ve experienced new developers join a team and immediately want to bring in practices from their previous workplace. For me this is not the right approach, I’m sure the practice worked well in the previous place but the needs of the current organisation need to be taken into account before attempting to persuade people… Continue reading

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“Yeah, we’re doing agile. Been doing it for some time now.”

Really?

I know it’s not good to doubt straight away but I’ve developed this skepticism when people say they are doing agile. It has come from speaking with different team members and senior management about their impression of ‘agile’. For sometime now agile has become an overloaded term that many don’t fully understand. I get into a situation when someone says those words I feel like they have to prove it! But proving it, even to ourselves, can help us evaluate if we have lost sight of an original goal. It’s so easy to get immersed in the usual routine that we forget to take a moment to stop and look up.

For the most part, I believe senior management or other stakeholders actually this think agile is being done correctly and this is where the problem lies! They… Continue reading

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…and post! First blog for stevesitton.com – check! Now to the list of everything else!

I had thought of starting a blog for sometime, now I’ve finally taken the step from thinking to doing. The first challenge came quickly – coming up with a name for the blog! I originally put the blog on geekymanager.com but since changed it this domain. What better than my name! There’s no hiding from the fact that I am a geek just didn’t want to define a particular theme to the blog.

Learning and self improvement are important part of my work ethic. Absorbing information from people around me in different roles throughout my career has taught me a great deal. Then there is a vast amount of good resources online which I try to digest when I can. There are always new ideas being formed or different ways to do existing processes that… Continue reading