Showing posts from 2015

The Empirical Manifesto - taking continuous improvement seriously

Recently I have been using the scientific method in a small team in a large program. When I say using it I mean all the time.

Previously I paid lip service to an empirical approach, but I decided to make it the base of everything the team do. In this I was quite lucky that the team I'm in were keen and immediate management didn't resist. I am working in an environment where we are a snow-plough for a whole program. We don't know what does work, wont work, how to do things, where to sit etc. May sound familiar. 

Our response was to Guess, Test and Refine really rapidly.
Scrum says Inspect and Adapt, but this is not enough, in fact it isn't science. This is one of the reasons I was not getting hard evidence for what I was doing and sometimes had to persuade stakeholders to go along with what the team were saying - "Just trust us, we've done this many times before". Clearly this is subjective and open to challenge and rightly so. It often means change  The Scien…

In sprint cumulative flow in Jira

I wanted to experiment using cumulative flow in Jira on a Scrum project. I tried it on my last 2 projects, the first time manually and the second time using Jira. We found it was a good addition to Burndown charts. I also found that it was a great predictor of completion. It also exposed work in progress (Inventory) and start to end time (throughput).

It is one of the tools that I use to reduce reliance on estimating.

It was labour intensive when done manually, however it was zero effort to maintain in Jira, just a bit tricky, so here are the steps
How to do it? You need to go to Board configuration

Click on Configure then select Quick Filters and create this filter:

Click the "Add" button then select your Agile Board and Select Reports:

When you have done this select the Cumulative Flow report as follows:

Now configure the report to set the start and end dates to match your current sprint as follows:

Then refine the report to select all the columns you require and select t…

Time to Think

Don’t you sometimes feel you are so deep in what you are doing that you don’t have time to think?

Being a contractor I sometimes get periods to myself where I am not working full time. I recently came off a stint of 18 months of back-to-back contracts. I didn’t have a day off sick and only took one day of holiday in all that time. Surprisingly, I wasn’t exhausted, but felt something was missing from my life. So during my current downtime I decided to renovate a property and catch-up on some learning. I finished the renovation, read some books, wrote some blogs, watched some TED talks.
What I didn’t understand, until today, was how important this time has been to me; the hurly burly of project life often seems to preclude self inspection and improvement. My unconscious goal was to pursue neglected areas to be able to look at challenges in a new way. So I thought I would put down some things I’ve learnt about myself over the past few weeks including which techniques made my learning m…