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Showing posts from 2014

Back to the future

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Hola amigos! It's been a long month and finally we are about to complete the last day of these 31 days agile blog experience! Since today is the last day of the year I'll get a

Example Manifesto

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Hola! Time for an early evening coffee! I've just had an amazing lunch and I need my espresso!
Few weeks ago I attended a Kanban Training which allowed to acquire an interesting insight of the change management method. As a personal experiment, I'm just trying to remember everything I learned from those days... Many concepts came up within the two days. But to be honest, I've just visualised kanban from a picture in a example-game we played. That's what I really recall.
We are like babies. We are still babies. We understand things better from examples. Real-life ones if possible - since Agile is a way of life, right? Try to provide lots of theories, lots of references or many "speeches". If you take 10 minutes of your time to explain something that can be done using an example in less... You are wasting your time. You won't get anybody's attention. It doesn't matter how precise is your explanation if you don't "get" the people. You&…

You and I

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Hola once again! Wow! It's nearly the end of the month! Reaching the 29th entry of the month! Posting stuff 29 consecutive days! Let's make room for a cortado!

Few days ago, I posted something about how useful attending conferences can be. Check that out here. Today I'd like to illustrate one example of a learning experience. A mechanism that I brought back to my team in Athens. "Resolving conflicts".



As a non-native English speaker, I took the liberty of requesting a bit of consideration from the audience in case they couldn't understand me well so that I could try to rephrase it, repeat it or just speak up. That's how I created my safe environment. I was protected. We could start off at that moment.

This was just a simple example on how to accept other needs in order to contribute to someone else's safe environment creation. Why is that important to me? It is easy to discern that any attack to my speaking English could have killed my confidence. Sim…

Get to know your team

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Hola amigos! Sunday in Malaga! What about a coffee after a yummy lunch! Time for espresso!

We have been discussing here about introducing changes, inserting a new culture, improving our process, etc.

Historically there is a need in knowing a team for leading reasons. This is what I call "hierarchical information." So you can lead your team better because you understand their needs, their skills and the areas they need to improve. You lead their needs.
See this article: http://smallbusiness.chron.com/team-leading-35635.html

Traditionally, this is line-management oriented method. So you could also be able to be honest and sincere when reporting your guys performance year reviews.

Is this a match in Agile teams? What we really need is our team knowing the own team. And we need to reinforce mechanisms so everybody can understand everybody's circumstances, hobbies, likes, dislikes, provide an atmosphere full of trust or anything that can make the team to better coexist. This …

Teen wolf! (Team wolf) (tin world)

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Hola! Coffee and collaboration! Yum yum!
Collaborate. Innovate. It has been a great year cooperating and learning from many people from many different areas and companies.

We don't need no education

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Hola! A long fun weekend is coming! So I am preparing myself with a big cup of coffee!

Education is important. I assume that we agree in this and I don't have to bring valid reasons on why this is important. So, sticking to the point, there are several methods:

- Self-teaching. Reading, writing, webinars, researching, attending meetups for instance... the world is not enough!

- "Microwave-teaching". While working is another way if you are under a company that has a nice "try" and "fail" culture in the atmosphere. "We can make the invest of trying something that nobody knows what it is, but we can assume the loss in learning and trying, no matter if it doesn't help us". The action of stimulating your creativity is indeed a success by definition although it is just you alone in the dark.

- Training (external or internal). No discussion on how useful they are. Just a comment. You may have spent your last 8-10 years on a topic that you are q…

Agile in wine shops

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Hola amigos! Have you ever tried Bonka coffee before? It's just great! I am having my second of the day! Yup! Energy!

From the day 0 (zero) I had the idea of using this blog to illustrate that "Agile is way of life" and can be applied to our day-to-day. This also means that when it comes to move companies into the Agile direction that is not exclusive of IT companies.

If you have come across my previous posts, there is one in particular "Sa-tis-fac-tion" which I brought it as one of the basics when introducing an Agile coaching into organisations. If you read it meticulously, there is not a single reference to Unit Tests,  Java, or any technical stuff.

So today, we did a similar first "encounter" and we faced few minor improvements that we could implement into a wine shop in Marbella. "Agilizing" it  as in a Kaizen way :-)

These are our few ones: 1. Adding metrics to be able to better evaluate improvements and actions and get a real idea of …

Play

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Hola!

Singing in the rain...

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Hola my friends! Almost the end of the day here in Málaga and it looks like it is going to rain soon. That would be certainly a shame. There is always coffee to mitigate such issues - if it happens.

It's Wednesday. You are in a remote meeting via Hangout. A team member is asking you randomly about numbers to add in the lottery poll for that day. The team is laughing.

It's Friday. You are in a stand-up and all your team members are wearing a funny hat. One of them has a horse-head. Then you decide to wear a Black Bucket that is on the floor and reminds the team Bender/Darth Vader. The team is laughing.

It's Tuesday. Tomorrow there is a release that goes to production. This is a very important meeting just to decide whether we go live or not. Customers, release managers (team members), managers are involved in the meeting called as "Go/No Go". Someone asks if this will be a go. Someone replies singing:

The team is laughing.

Think about this. Would you like to have …

Back to school

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Hola amigos! Today I've seen the best mug ever for my espresso coffee! Keep the calm and ramble on! I love Led Zeppelin!
Kinda strange day. I am back to one of the companies where my professional career adventures started almost 10 years ago! I was almost a rookie when I joined them and now look at me... I am still a rookie in many senses! 



This company is based in Málaga so I offered myself to provide with Volunteer Services to help them to implement better Scrum practices given my experience in this area. This is also a way to earn SEUs that allows you to apply for the Certified Scrum Professional (see Category D). So is it really non-compensated work? Well I did not get a pence but It does not look like I am Mother Teresa either.

Anyway. What have we covered today? We went directly to the core, to the root. How a developer works on his day-to-day? What is the process of bringing a change request, new project developments into a customer?

In the outside world, people believe th…

'Agilizing' Sprint Reviews

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Hola amigos! Sunday! Tip:I prefer to think that this is the first day of the week rather than the last one! However while you are on leave, you will feel that there are no Mondays :-) Awesome!
Anyway. Today I was thinking about the "Sprint Reviews". By the way, not sure if I have already linked you to Mountain Goat Software website before in here. This is Mike Cohn's company - one of the co-writers/co-signers of the Agile Manifesto. Absolutely recommendable for quick checks on Scrum/Agile topics. Surely 
Sprint Review. This is the "demo" where we demonstrate how good we did within the sprint. Right?  I assume everybody knows about it so I'll stick to the main point.   Why do we do sprint reviews? This is the first question we need to ask ourselves. So, doing a bit of brainstorming: - To encourage the team to feel part of the sprint delivery via presenting their product. So to speak, increasing the team spirit. - To demonstrate the product owner/stakeholders…

No direction home

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Hola amigos! Starting the day with a hot cup of coffee! I've just got up and I feel like a rolling stone!

I am certainly preparing a long post about those "managers that want to become Agile". Absolutely ridiculous. I will be quite brief today though, just want to (as in a Mike Vizdos way) "focus on deliver"

So. I met a guy, Matt Harasymczuk, few weeks ago in a meetup from ACE that presented "the next project management methodology to revolutionize our development". It was absolutely great! He approached the idea of the importance of thinking, understanding that we are people and the idea of cultural change.  Absolutely. I cannot agree more. Slides here.

Overall, for today I just would like to re-quote (this is like a re-tweet, right?) a sentence that was the main core of the presentation and leave that on you guys to think about it:

"Agile is not a destination, Agile is a direction".  Tony Grout, IBM

How does it feel? :)

Stand-up for your rights!

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Hola there! How is the weekend going coffee-lovers? Weather in Málaga is so good! And I went to see Malaga FC playing Spanish Cup and we won  the game! (we destroyed Deportivo) I cannot complain!



Focusing. The daily stand-up, daily scrum or just stand-up is considered to be the most important meeting of the Scrum world. But why? And why not?

Many not very-scrum teams usually think that this meeting is just useless and reduce the concentration as to be thought as a break or an interruption which breaks the rhythm. Obviously I quite disagree with it. What would you expect I was going to say? :)

It is just a short daily meeting where we have to know what we did the day before, what are we doing tomorrow and what are our blockers. The method to extract this information is via focusing on the individuals. The individuals themselves will be acting as a part of the cake - that is the team - and in orders will speak 1-by-1 about their own progress. A good stand-up rhythm should help us to unde…

Lean Twin Peaks

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Hola there! I am about to take a flight that departs to Málaga and just realized that i haven't posted a single coffee picture! Big mistake!

Thinking further, I ended up with Twin Peaks!  
Most of you 70s and 80s born people remember it. A story about Laura Palmer's brutal homicide surrounded by mysteries and strange stories based on freak people from Twin Peaks, extraterrestrial stuff, dwarfs and spirits. "A town where noone is innocent". Wow! What a summary!
Well, along with The Wire, this is my favorite series have ever seen in TV. Not my intention to spoil it if you haven't had a chance to see it. It's a must-see.
The story's main character is and FBI agent - Cooper - who can delay whatever important business just for a cup of coffee. True love. That's how I came my mind into it. 
Then thinking further. How the hell David Lynch (co-creator) came up with this story? Who knows. This is when I start linking it to agile stuff. If you see the TV series,…

Thinking..

Fail
Think Improve Fail Think Improve Fail Think Improve Fail ..

McDonald's as a guideline

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Hola amigos! Do you know that even in McDonald's you can order coffee? It's true. Surely not the best one but I have to confess that I have ordered once. I remember in Prague where the coffee in general is just "not the best in the world". Of course it didn't improve but I had to try with it since I had no better choices.

I am bringing the (or one of) biggest fast-food restaurant for a reason. Few people that I know believe that we should not call it "restaurant" but this is not why I am talking about it. Think yourself on what actions do we execute when we just want to eat food (as in other places).

1. Nobody gets us a seat.
2. You have to stand-up to order the food.
3. You wait for the food to be cooked and you pay immediately before being served. There is a difference now from the pubs. You don't provide a table number. You just wait to get the food. We don't provide with tips.
4. The food "shows up" and you find a place to eat it.

Whiteboards (love them!)

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Hola my friends! Bit late for a coffee I think. Maybe a no caffeine one?

It's Monday and I'm in love as The cure used to say. Yesterday we talked about the distributed teams and how to find the gaps. Today I want to talk about one of those exclusive co-located tools. The whiteboards.
As a former boss said: "everybody loves drawings, graphs". Whiteboards is the essence of the agile manifesto. Who wants a fully-documented State diagram in Uml when we do have simple whiteboards? 
Posts ago we focused on the importance of the focus. What's important? How can our mindset acknowledge that easily? I don't think we can find any other powerful tool in Agile implementations to make visible what do we need to do. Just walk around, go for a coffee and come back. You will come across the whiteboard all day long. I don't need to remember what are our goals! They're just there! I will have a look at the whiteboard to check again on further implementation steps!
Surel…

Distributed Teams: Wi-Fi Orchestra

Hola! Very good morning folks! I am having my second coffee of this lovely and cold day in London!

I like watching BBC News on Sundays while I am checking out how my beloved football club performed the day before in "La Liga". Malaga FC won yesterday. These are real good news to start off the day. It is also sad that I have no other option to follow my team up remotely. Sign of the times, I guess.

Well, suddenly the BBC presenter introduced us 'Wi-Fi Orchestra'. This is basically a live music experiment with 11 people performing at the same time music on 9 different subway stations in NYC (tube if you live in London) thanks to the free Wi-Fi (and Skype). All of them conducted by a director called Ljova.

Maybe this is a campaign organised by Skype to sell us the advantages of using Skype as a tool to collaborate remotely. In any case, this is a real demonstration of a good cooperation, an excellent level of communication and a big understanding on where are the benefi…

The answer is blowing in the question

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Hola! Cold afternoon here in London. Anything better than a double espresso? I don't think so!

Me: Which topic should I talk about today?

You: How do you want me to know?
Me: Aren't you interested in following this up with something interesting?
You: Which topic do you consider you should write about to make this post more interesting?
Me: What do you think about educational games to explain Scrum via playing?
You: Why would not like it? Can you explain a funny one?
Me: What about a Scrum Master Role game?

As you can see this is a real-post-live example of one of my favorite-educational games from tastycupcakes.org See: http://tastycupcakes.org/2012/11/questions-only/ for further information

The quickest and simplest way is to get someone that dictates the answer, the ways to walk. This makes our life easier. It makes us very comfortable. "Everything is under control." But... don't we think we should be able to be in a position to resolve all the problems ourselves? Tha…

Sa-tis-fac-tion!

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Hola Hola! Maybe not the right time for a coffee. No. There's always a good time for it.

Agile coaching is tough. Very tough. Essentially we (people) are... tough. You need to have a strategy (your epic) and a full set of tactics (user stories) that align to a common goal.
Within my career. When providing Agile coaching, this is structured in few phases: 1. Understanding of the current situation and who the people are and behave. This is a continuos work since people are not predictable and you cannot even draft an immutable plan. However, we need to start from a point, let's say our sprint 0. We will be learning as we go. Last week for instance. Our starting point was the understanding of our evolution as a team and an individual brief profile description.  "We know how we are (Now!) and what brought us here"
2. Additionally, provide with sufficient materials, documentation to read as a guideline to self-"learn" and estimulate the idea of thinking on your …

Agile beers (cervezas ágiles)

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Every now and then, few Spanish people from my company arrange a pub and few beers to talk about anything we feel in regards "Agile". Self-organised. No rules. We just talk about anything that worry us or not.
Today we brought the micromanagement as one of the biggest issue on agile teams :)

Kanbanised

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Hola! Let's enjoy together a cup of a coffee. I feel like I'm in a "espresso" mood. That usually means "good vibrations".

I've just finished one of my best training experiences. Ok, maybe I tend to exaggerate. But I am able to say that I'm feeling great. Isn't that awesome? Expressing emotions that bring you personal rewards. "Hey man, this is fantastic!". Perhaps this is due to the fact I am in a continuos brainstorming mode. How can I bring Kanban into my organisation? Now!
I had a very limited - and real - idea of Kanban before these two days. "It must be like scrum but continuously prioritising. No sprint plannings, just put stuff into a queue and kanban will ensure somehow it will go to production when is done". "Kanban is a bit chaotic while Scrum is partially predictable and less disruptive".
Well, and after two days, I am able to consider those as valid comments yet. This is still partially true. However, fr…

Kanban through Kanban!

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Hola! Please have your coffee first!
If you were going to present kanban to an audience, what would be the best way to do it?


Using a kanban board :)
Lots of stuff happening these days around kanban...

A Kanban "Web Hunter"

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Hola amigos! Tomorrow I am attending a Certified Lean Kanban Foundation Training! I am very excited about it! I have the feeling that I have been "doing Kanban" for many years but I have not really been inducted on the foundations!

So, from tomorrow, Tom Reynolds will guide us through. To make it more exciting we have been told to do some pre-homework. I have to choose in between few words from a list of Kanban concepts (I suppose) and share them tomorrow (underlined the picked-up ones)
Kaizen Kaikaku Little’s Law Value stream Retrospective Cycle Times
Kanban classes of service Make process policies explicit

Due to my recent trip to Japan I had no other option to "google"  for Kaizen and Kaikaku. Kaizen seems to be related to "change for the better" whereas Kaikaku is something like "radical change". Slow changes against bigger ones. Mostly I think they describe "the speed of a change".

It sounds interesting the concept of little's law
Anyway…

Thoughts for food

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Hola! Please please do not forget your shot of coffee! Let's go!

I've just realized of a curious example in Agile from my experience going out for dinner in Athens. As in Spain for Tapas, here in Greece it's quite common to order small dishes so everybody can share and try a bit of them. Mezes (wikipedia). It obviously requires a bit of "coordination" as I am going to present you in the next few lines.

Your sprint planning meeting is basically the agreement where we read the menu and we confirm the order to the waiter. Our sprint will take around 2 hours, we have evaluated the food in value (price), and size (e.g. sardines meze is a bit small). Your definition of done consists of completing the mezes dishes as a team (quality is guaranteed by the way). One meze finished, one story delivered. Food is presented incrementally on the table. If we are sure we can take more, we don't mind asking again the waiter. "Excuse me, sir, I think we can take more food …

Be the change

Hola! It has been a long week and we have had promising stories, improvements and changes to our community. How to make the change a solid part of our culture?

I remember when I first attended an Agile Conference. Mark Dalgarno - organiser - said: "Time to take a breath. Look at what we have seen, learned this week. It's also time to contribute with at least one thing to the community". My mine blew up with so much good stuff and so excellent trainers. The list of ideas was uncountable! But the day after the conference, was Mark going to monitor if  I was "changing"? Of course, not.
We cannot leave the responsibility (entirely) to our trainers, books, coaches, the weather or anything else. This is not matrix. There are no pills to make you a judoka or a Java Ninja. There's a small portion of the change (improvements) that has to be on us. Accepting the need for it and triggering as a follow up action.
As Mark said. Try this week just one action
"I will…

'Happy' Sprint Planning Release Meeting

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Hola! Back to duties.. :)

Today I would like to speak about the Sprint Planning Meeting. According to the Scrum definition, this is the one where the team takes a real commitment on what to deliver, how to tackle it within a sprint, etc, etc. Everybody knows about it.

I would like to focus in the second part. The time where the team itself takes all the possible factors into consideration and where all of us are "planning". First of all, what are we planning? The sprint? Tasks breakdown? Just on the user stories?  What about the release? Aren't we delivering value at the end of the sprint?

Sometimes teams tend to think on new-user-stories-sprint fashion and take into a second priority order the real meaning of delivering features. Provide value to the customer. Increase the value of our product and make it real. The release.

I have a theory which is basically that perhaps due to the naming of the meeting possibly makes our mindset to forget on what happened in the previ…

'Happy' Meetings

Hola! Please take a seat and have a coffee!

On Agile environments, I have noticed how member of the teams quite often raise up their voices saying: "We have so many meetings, I cannot do development, this is boring". Let's say a Scrum implementation. We have several ceremonies: Sprint Planning, Poker Sessions, Stand-ups, Retrospective and Sprint Review. At least. Then we can have one-off, ad-hoc meetings such as 1-to-1s, trainings, general discussion meetings.

On a 2 week-cycle we can count the number of hours a sprint on meetings. Let's say 2-3 hours grooming/sizing, 4 hours on the sprint planning, 1-2 hours retrospective, 10 minutes x 10 days on Stand-ups. This is perhaps a 10% of the sprint. But where is the problem?

I have been a developer back in the time and still. I hate meetings.

Sometimes a meeting is just a reminder of a calendar to talk about something "There is a problem, let's have a meeting with the maximum amount of people possible so that we …