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Penitence For The 7 Agile Sins

Penitence
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Half a year ago I wrote a blog post about 7 Agile Sins. As I’m sure, that I’m not the only one who is guilty for one or more of these sins, I collected a list of possible ways to show penitence and to do it better next time :) So here is my list of the sins and their appropriate penitence.

Stop learning

The first way for showing penitence is to help to create a learning environment in your company. One possibility to do this is to introduce so called brown bags. This is at least one corner stone to foster learning and bring new ideas in your working environment.

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5 Steps to Introduce an Agile Tool

Toolbox
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There are tons of agile tools out there. Just have a look at this looooooong list on Mike Cohn’s site. But what is the best way to introduce such a tool in your team or company? I collected the following steps for you.

1. Start with no tool at all

A fool with a tool is still a fool. Before you introduce a highly sophisticated agile tool, you need to know how Scrum, XP, Kanban or any other method are working in your own context. If you use a tool right from the start, you won’t follow the process that best fits your situation, but the process the tool dictates. Every agile tool has it’s own understanding, how to implement Scrum or Kanban.

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ACE! Conference 2011 – A retrospection

ACE!Last week I attended the ACE! Conference in Krakow. The adjectives that come to my mind about this conference are awesome, fabulous and outstanding. It was also one of the best organized conferences ever. Kudos to Paul Klipp and his team.

The conference format

As every good agile team, Paul and his team collected  feedback from last year’s conference and made the 2011 edition even better. They decided to go for a one-track conference with open space sessions in the afternoon. And this was a great decision. Mike Sutton did a great job facilitating the open space and was able to energize the crowd to come up with nice topics. The open space enabled the speakers to run sessions based on their talks to discuss. Additionally the talks, except of the keynotes, were only 30 minutes long. Each presentation block consisted of 3 talks with no break in between. This gave the entire conference a great flow.

My favorite talks

Despite all of the talks were great, I still have some favorites. I really liked Pawel Lipinski’s talk about “Agile Metaphors” especially the one about the Montessori Kindergarten. Andrea Provaglio did a great job talking about “Overcoming Self-organization blocks”. He asked me to come on stage for a short role play, and I’m still trying to alter the color of my eyes from blue to brown ;). I also heard that he facilitated a great open space session. I also really liked Barry O’Reilly’s talk about “It’s all about the context”. He spoke me right from the heart It’s not Scrum, XP or Kanban that let you succeed, but the underlying principles. And last but not least the keynote by Jurgen Appelo. He added quotes of the other speakers into his slides and did a great job closing the conference. I highly recommend to take a look at the videos of the talks as soon as they are available.

My talk

I had a lot of fun slaying melons (Thanks to Marcin Floryan for the picture!). According to the tweets during my talk the audience did to. I talked about watermelon reporting and what you can do about it. You can read about the essence of my presentation here >> “Watermelon Reporting”. I really enjoyed to speak at the conference, and I’m looking forward to 2012.

Other resources

A lot of other people also blogged about this event. Here are the links:

* Marcin Floryan – ACE! – The right size conference
* Nick Oostvogels – ACE conference revisited
* Pawel Wrzeszcz – Agile Central Europe 2011 Impressions
* Pawel Brodzinski – ACE Conference 2011 – Summary

And here are also some nice pictures:

* Marcin Floryan – Agile CE Kraków

Watermelon Reporting

This is what Wikipedia writes about the watermelon:

The Watermelon (Citrullus lanatus (Thunb.), family Cucurbitaceae) can be both the fruit and the plant of a vine-like (scrambler and trailer) plant originally from southern Africa, and is one of the most common types of melon. […] The watermelon fruit, loosely considered a type of melon (although not in the genus Cucumis), has a smooth exterior rind (green, yellow and sometimes white) and a juicy, sweet interior flesh (usually pink, but sometimes orange, yellow, red and sometimes green if not ripe).

Watermelon (Citrullus lanatus (Thunb.), family Cucurbitaceae) can be both the fruit and the plant of a vine-like (scrambler and trailer) plant originally from southern Africa, and is one of the most common types of melon. This flowering plant produces a special type of fruit known by botanists as a pepo, a berry which has a thick rind (exocarp) and fleshy center (mesocarp and endocarp); pepos are derived from an inferior ovary, and are characteristic of the Cucurbitaceae. The watermelon fruit, loosely considered a type of melon (although not in the genus Cucumis), has a smooth exterior rind (green, yellow and sometimes white) and a juicy, sweet interior flesh (usually pink, but sometimes orange, yellow, red and sometimes green if not ripe).

For my metaphor, I’ll use the one with red flesh but orange and yellow would work too. I think most of us experienced the phenomenon when the project status is red but is getting greener and greener when climbing the management ladder. The project’s core is red but for the management it has a nice green paring, so it looks like a watermelon. This is why I call this phenomenon Watermelon Reporting. But why are we creating such reports and how can we avoid it?

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