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Showing posts from January, 2010

What’s the value of Agile out of the box?

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I often meet peers who ask what Agile practices Pathfinder utilizes. From the outside we pretty much use all of XP’s practices. However, if you take a deeper look we do some things a little differently (especially how to use and calculate velocity). For Agile purists, one might question if we are really doing Agile. They would claim changing practices is slippery slope. For example, a team will start altering Agile practices to create a “home grown” version only to find they are using only some practices and not seeing the benefits they hoped for. I feel questioning if we are really doing Agile based on exactly what practices one uses shows how familiar and mature one is with Agile principals. A better question would be to ask why we changed them. Agile is not meant to be a methodology, but a set of principals. In my opinion, using things like Velocity to estimate whether a team will finish a project within a certain time frame is a hack at best. This always was hard to exp…

Review: Leading Lean Software Development

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In Leading Lean Software Development, Mary and Tom Poppendieck present a handbook for how to run a software development group, top to bottom. I intended for this to be a simple review of concepts known to me for years, but the book offered much more. The book’s jacket describes it better than I can: They “show software leaders and team members exactly how to drive high-value change throughout a software organization—and make it stick.” If you are completely new to agile and lean you the book might move a little fast for you. If this is the case, I suggest you spend some quick time getting agile and lean 101 elsewhere first.

If you walk away with one concept after reading this book it should be to believe that success comes from people. The best companies focus on developing problem solving skills and local decision making. These companies favor adaptability over efficiency. These companies make money to survive rather than simply surviving to make money.

The book starts out by d…