Sunday, December 20, 2009

Lyssa Adkins at January Mtg

Author and "lover of all things collaborative" will be speaking at the January APLN meeting, hosted by Kelley Blue Book. More details to come.

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Moving From Scrum to XP - May 6th

Denise Phillips will be speaking on XP practices and Scrum at the OC APLN, Wednesday May 6th. Many people have asked about XP and Scrum, and this is a great opportunity for an informal discussion of the differences and synergy between XP and Scrum, as well as hearing about specific implementation and experience with various XP practices.

Denise has years of experience in agile, both as a team member and coach. She has recently spoken on agile panel discusisons at local events. 

The meeting starts at 6 PM at Neudesic's Irvine office, 12th Floor conference room, across the street from The Spectrum.

Friday, March 6, 2009

OC APLN Mtg April 1st - ScrumMaster Anti-Patterns

Join us on April 1st at the Orange County Agile Project Leadership Network for a presentation on ScrumMaster Anti-Patterns.

ScrumMaster Anti-Patterns - Where Does It Go Wrong?

With the ever-growing popularity of Scrum, ScrumMaster has become a de facto role on many agile projects. Yet quite a few ScrumMasters struggle with the role, and a lot of organizations aren't gaining the benefits a ScrumMaster is intended to provide.

For example, do you recognize these anti-patterns? Do you know why they can cause pain?

* My ScrumMaster has never been on a Scrum team (but he took a class).
* My ScrumMaster can't really explain to me why we're using Scrum.
* My ScrumMaster is my manager.
* My ScrumMaster runs our daily status meeting.
* My ScrumMaster is busy writing code.
* My ScrumMaster never goes to lunch with us.

Through more than 4 years as a Certified Scrum Trainer and over 9 years on agile teams, I've spent a lot of time with ScrumMasters and what the role is supposed to be. But I've also seen too many dysfunctional ScrumMasters and how that affects product delivery and costs the business.

In this lively and thought-provoking talk, we'll explore the ScrumMaster role, why teams end up with dysfunctional ScrumMasters and how that hurts agile projects. We'll explore common ScrumMaster anti-patterns, why they occur and how to avoid them. We'll challenge the ScrumMaster role, compare it to other models, and address if agile teams really need a ScrumMaster.

Your Speaker:

Paul Hodgetts has been involved in lean and agile development as a coach, mentor and team member since 1998. He is the founder and CEO of Agile Logic, a local Southern California agile consultancy, and has helped companies like Microsoft, SAP, Cisco, PricewaterhouseCoopers and Kelley Blue Book achieve success with challenging, real-world agile projects

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Slides from March Presentation

...on building off-shore teams can be found here

Great presentation from Edward Uy & Nikos Ioannou from Kelley Blue Book on how Kelley started their off-shore scrum teams in China and India. Kelley now has approximately 18 teams and 200 scrum users. One principle that permeates what they do is The Five Dysfunctions of a Team, including using facilitated exercises from the Field Guide (separate book).

Good questions regarding apply the principles of the book were asked, such as how do you separate issues that need to be addressed from the actual person and what if there's only one person on the team that ever calls for accountability.

On the off-shore topic, KBB found the biggest improvement when the Scrum Master split user stories along technology tiers, giving someone in India the back-end part of the story, and a developer in Irvine the front-end. This increased communication and commitment to getting the story completed.

Also, KBB believes in having off-shore and on-shore team members visit the other team several times a year, and especially on kick-off of the off-shore effort having the U.S. team go to the other country for 3-4 weeks.

As far as tools, KBB is using VersionOne as their project planning and management tool designed specifically for Agile software development, and SharePoint for collaboration. KBB selected VersionOne over Rally in a selection process, and didn't include ScrumWorks or ThoughtWorks' Mingle because they didn't feel at the time, in 2007, that they were in high enough adoption. One useful discovery was using SharePoint's discussion threads for cross-team capture of agile requirements documentation.

Slides from Agile Architecture Presentation

The slide deck from David Bleeker's February presentation at the Orange County APLN can be found here. Not only did I learn a lot about how to apply iterative, agile approaches to architecture and design, but I especially liked his insight on the role of the software architect and lead developer.

David's recommendation to weave good architectural design while iteratively building an application is to assign an architect to the team. You do this by making the architect the team lead. From a developer perspective, there's no reason that arcthitect shouldn't be knowledgable to do this, but the architect may not want to do this if he is more concerned with position. Otherwise, it would be great for the developers and architect.

Friday, February 20, 2009

Wed 3/4 Mtg - Agile Offshore & Five Dysfunctions

Wed 3/4 - "Growing and Sustaining an Offshore Scrum Engagement"
Join us in March for a chance to hear one of the sessions from the Agile2008 Conference in Toronto last year. Kelley Blue Book's Edward Uy, Director PMO & Nikos Ioannou, Director, Industry Products, will be presenting a straightforward, sensible approach to implementing Scrum combined with a well-known team building model to help KBB successfully creat offshoring teams in China and India. Nikos and Edward will illustrate how and why they applied The Five Dysfunctions of a Team model by Patrick Lencioni to provide a foundation for growing and sustaining offshore teams several time zones away. They will cover examples of how employing this model has improved KBB's offshore engagements and overcome a number of challenges to improve the delivery of the Scrum teams.

Points include:
  • Making Review and Retrospective meetings more effective
  • Maximizing learnings during cross-team site visits
  • Determining the “best types of projects” to offshore in the early stages of offshore development
  • Overcoming productivity plateaus after several successful sprints
This presentation will also describe the important role Executive Management plays in driving the Scrum adoption for KBB and setting up these offshore offices. The presenters will review the communication channels they found most useful and the how these have changed over time.

As before, there will be a pre-meeting get together at the food court at The Spectrum from 5 - 6 PM, and afterward we'll walk to the meeting. See link to map at right.

Thursday, February 12, 2009

Agile/XP SoCal Mtg - 2/18

From Paul Hodgetts of Agile/XP SoCal, an announcement for another local agile user group.



A reminder that the next Agile/XP SoCal monthly meeting is *next* Wednesday, 2/18 at 6:00 PM.

Please be sure to RSVP to agilesocal@gmail.com so we can have your visitor badge ready and enough food for everyone.

-----

This month we continue our series focusing on core agile by exploring the framework and practices that make agile processes work.

Agile Project Execution
-----------------------

This talk will provide you with a practical guide to Agile software development projects. We'll focus on the Agile software development lifecycle, the necessary practices, and tips to create highly productive Agile teams. Along with a deeper investigation into key process areas, we'll also address frequently encountered concerns and issues such as the different roles on Agile projects and how they relate to traditional project roles. There will also be a comparison
of Agile and Waterfall projects and how the Agile process focuses on meeting specific product and project objectives.

Your Speaker
------------

George Schlitz is a Principal Agile Coach and co-founder of BigVisible Solutions. He has been using and championing Agile practices on projects since 2000, with extensive experience consulting in large organizations (10,000+ employees) particularly within financial services and manufacturing industries (with recent clients including Capital Group, Fidelity Investments, Barclay's Global Investors and Textron) and he most enjoys work in challenging organizational cultures. George is a Certified Scrum Coach and Practitioner (CSC/CSP) and a certified Project Management Professional (PMP).

When: Wednesday, February 18th
Networking and food, 6:00 PM.
Presentation and Q&A 6:30-8:30 PM.

IMPORTANT! In order to have a visitor badge ready for you, you MUST RSVP to agilesocal@gmail.com

Where: The Capital Group Companies
Yosemite Building
6455 Irvine Center Drive
Irvine, CA 92618
Exit the 5 or 405 at Sand Canyon.
From the 5, go south to Irvine Center and turn right.
From the 405, go north to Irvine Center and turn left.
Take the first right into the main parking lot at Capital Group.
Park there (no permit needed), go to the main entrance, look for the
signs.

Thanks to Capital Group for providing the meeting facilities.
Thanks to BigVisible and Agile Logic for providing the food.

Friday, January 23, 2009

Next APLN Mtgs - Feb & March

The next APLN Orange County meetings are planned for Wednesday, February 4th and Thursday, March 5th from 6:00 -7:30 PM at Neudesic's Irvine office (map two posts below). The agenda for the meetings are below.

Wed 2/4 - "Agile Architecture - Closing the Loop"
What is the role of architecture within an agile project? How do you keep architecture engaged early and throughout in a fast-paced development effort? How do you make agile architecture work in a larger corporation? There has been a lot of conversation around agile and architecture, and February's presentation by David Bleeker will be a great springboard into deeper discussion. As an Enterprise Architect and Integration Manager at Ingram Micro, David provides leadership in SOA architecture and operations, metrics driven optimization and process development.

Wed 3/4 - "Growing and Sustaining an Offshore Scrum Engagement"
Join us in March for a chance to hear one of the sessions from the Agile2008 Conference in Toronto last year. Kelley Blue Book's Edward Uy, Director PMO & Nikos Ioannou, Director, Industry Products, will be presenting a straightforward, sensible approach to implementing Scrum combined with a well-known team building model to help KBB successfully creat offshoring teams in China and India. Nikos and Edward will illustrate how and why they applied The Five Dysfunctions of a Team model by Patrick Lencioni to provide a foundation for growing and sustaining offshore teams several time zones away. They will cover examples of how employing this model has improved KBB's offshore engagements and overcome a number of challenges to improve the delivery of the Scrum teams.

Points include:
  • Making Review and Retrospective meetings more effective
  • Maximizing learnings during cross-team site visits
  • Determining the “best types of projects” to offshore in the early stages of offshore development
  • Overcoming productivity plateaus after several successful sprints

This presentation will also describe the important role Executive Management plays in driving the Scrum adoption for KBB and setting up these offshore offices. The presenters will review the communication channels they found most useful and the how these have changed over time.


As before, there will be a pre-meeting get together at the food court at The Spectrum from 5 - 6 PM, and afterward we'll walk to the meeting.

Slides and Notes from Jan Mtg

The slidedeck from January's APLN meeting, "What They Didn't Teach Me in ScrumMaster Training" presented by Phil Scott can be downloaded here. We had 14 attendees, including people from Agile/XP SoCal, Thoughtworks, Neudesic and several other companies. There was great discussion, questions, knowledge and experience shared. Some notes and summary of the presentation and discussion are below.

Some of the items shared by Phil included talking with the customers about what they think they want may not actually be what they truly want. If the customer comes from a background of fixed-price or traditional waterfall projects, there may be problems down the line. It may be better not to promise them "A, B and C" but rather "3 months effort toward your highest priorities." Much of the problem the customer might have with this is a level of comfort and trust. Getting them to agree to or "fixed budget, not fixed bid" can be somewhat of a Jedi mind trick, per Phil, but keep in mind that they still see and believe in the "illusion of predictability."

The stakeholders and executives don't understand nor should be expected to on Day 1. The ScrumMaster should coach and educate them, but that takes time. In the beginning, Phil recommended "taking the customer's temperature" often and hand-holding as often as needed. If they are steeped in classic waterfall and Gantt charts, it might be helpful to create project management plan documentation (how and why the project will be run and what the checkpoints are) to help educate and address their concerns and felt needs. Remember that, although people trump process, politics trumps people.

The importance of a strong Product Owner came up several times, and many agreed that many issues come out of any gap with this role filled well. If possible, recommended your ideal candidate for the role. Regardless of who the Product Owner is, be clear in what you need from them. Explicitly tell them, "Here's what I expect from you," and remind them of the aspects and importance of their role whenever it appears they are drifting in engagement or leadership. It was recommended to schedule regular meetings to walk through the backlog (separate from Sprint Planning) in order to establish a rhythm. By reviewing or scrubbing the product backlog together, you not only help the project overall, but also coach by modeling what it means to maintain and have ownership of the backlog.

Don't leave epics untouched because epics are risk in the plan. Decompose them into user stories early on. Also, address "dark matter" (general unknowns or vagueness) within the first few sprints. Prioritize by risk and architectural significance, as well as business value, so as to retire risk as soon as possible.

Please be sure to check back later for updates on the next APLN meetings and join the APLN OC group on LinkedIn.


Monday, January 5, 2009

Next APLN Mtg - "What They Didn't Teach Me in ScrumMaster Training"..."

The next APLN Orange County meeting is the evening of Wednesday, 1/7/2009 from 6:00 -7:30 PM.

The agenda for this meeting is "What They Didn’t Teach Me in ScrumMaster Training" presented by Phil Scott, Certified ScrumMaster and PMP. Phil will present on some of challenges faced on Neudesic Agile projects that fall outside the Scrum domain. Phil is the Director of Microsoft Developer Communities for Neudesic and has coached many project managers in his role as head of Neudesic's PMO. Phil most recently spoke on a panel at the USC Code Camp event last fall.

The meeting will be at Neudesic's Irvine office (map below):

8105 Irvine Center Dr.
Irvine, CA
3rd Floor Conference Room


View Larger Map

The Agile Project Leadership Network is one of the local agile user groups in Orange County focussed on connecting, developing, and supporting project leaders, evangelizing the movement towards fast, flexible, customer value-driven approaches to leading projects of many types, and working with the software community and the people and companies outside of software and IT to help them become better project leaders. The APLN works with the Agile Alliance and supports use of various agile methodologies and practices such as Scrum, XP (Extreme Programming), and TDD (Test Driven Development).