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Mark Pearl Agile
Incentivizing Work with Development Teams
Recently I saw someone on twitter asking about incentives and if anyone had past experience with incentivizing work. I promised to respond with some of the experiences I have had in the past so here goes... **Disclaimer** - these are my experiences with incentives, generally in software development - in some other industries this may not be applicable – this is also my thinking at this point in time, with more experience my opinion may change. Incentivize at the level that you want people to group ......

Posted On Friday, November 2, 2012 7:47 AM

It is not quantifiably better
An interesting statement I have heard recently in one of the organizations that I have been working with is that some of the agile processes that we are implementing are not quanitfiably better than the traditional processes they had before. This seemed to be the motivation for not moving the new process to the rest of the organization or expanding it. They would say, “the team seems to be happier than they were before but the improvement is not quanitifiable and until we can quantify it on paper ......

Posted On Wednesday, September 19, 2012 7:11 AM

Principles vs. Process
I recently had an interesting experience with a new team learning Scrum. The team came from a hierarchical background where they were very process oriented. For the first few sprints of scrum the team went through the normal forming stage and then all of a sudden it all began to fall apart. In dissecting what went wrong with the team various feedback was received but overwhelmingly the feeling from my side was that the Process of Scrum had taken priority over the principles of Agile. For example... ......

Posted On Monday, September 17, 2012 5:20 PM

Goal Analysis Card game (a great activity for opening a retrospective)
Retrospectives are a tricky thing, you get a mix of people who have varying personalities and qualities and now they need to look objectively at the previous iteration, focussing on the performance of the team and interact, giving ideas and finding ways to improving the team practices for the next iteration. In the ones I have been involved in, you get an array of people, some like to dominate the conversation while others would rather not say anything. Getting a balanced participation and a focus ......

Posted On Saturday, February 11, 2012 3:42 PM

ESVP Activity for Retrospectives
I have recently been reading “Agile Retrospectives – making good teams great by Esther Derby and Diana Larsen”. The book so far is a fairly easy read, and one I would recommend to anyone wanting to do retrospectives. One of the activities to set the stage for a retrospective mentioned in the book is the ESVP Activity (Explorer, Shopper, Vacationer & Prisoner).The purpose of the activity is to help people focus on the work of the retrospective and to understand people’s attitudes to the retrospective. ......

Posted On Tuesday, January 24, 2012 4:38 PM

Our evolution of story cards
I thought it would be interesting to blog out the evolution of our story cards. Several months ago I began work at a new organization that was implementing a variation of scrum. The used the typical post-it notes for stories. While the post-it notes were serving their purpose, there were a few area’s that we were having issues with: Some of the issues included the following: The post-it notes did not have a great stick quality. This meant that anything older than a few weeks was falling by the wayside ......

Posted On Tuesday, January 17, 2012 1:33 PM

Scrum (2012) – Should I fire my testers and replace them with developers?
If you are familiar with scrum – then I recommend that you give the scrum guide a read. This documents the scrum framework and is maintained by Scrum’s creators, Ken Schwaber and Jeff Sutherland. While reading through the latest revision of it (on page 6) it has a section that specifies the characteristics of the development team. One sentence that stood out was the following “Scrum recognizes no titles for Development Team members other than Developer, regardless of the work being performed by the ......

Posted On Wednesday, January 11, 2012 7:34 AM

The Marshmallow Challenge
Today we did the marshmallow challenge. For those that are not familiar with this challenge, it is a fun way to get teams to experience simple lessons in collaboration, innovation and creativity (that’s what their website says) and I would agree with them. So the exercise works as follows… You are given 20 sticks of spaghetti one yard tape one yard string one marshmallow The purpose Build a structure that is as high as possible with the marshmallow at the top within 18 minutes that does not collapse ......

Posted On Thursday, September 22, 2011 8:13 AM

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