Posted on April 14th, 2013 in Tools For Agile by siddharta || No Comment
One of the main reasons why Agile tool adoptions fail is not because of a lack of features or not enough reports, but something much simpler — “informal requests” that come in which never get tracked. This is not so much of an issue when you have a “strict” agile process where the product owner or equivalent is the only one through which all requests come in. But for many teams, requests come in to team members via email, via phone calls or even just someone going to a team member and making a request directly.
None of these informal requests ever get added to the backlog simply because it is too much of an effort for team members to open a browser, go to the server, log in, and fill up a form. As a result anywhere between 10%-30% of the actual work that team members do might not be tracked. Worse, it is sometimes unimportant work that ends up taking the time of a high priority task.
Compared to other tools, Tools For Agile makes it very simple to add cards to the backlog, but we can go a step further and make it braindead easy. Read on to see how.
Continue reading ‘Solving the “informal request” problem’ »
Posted on April 12th, 2013 in Visual Management by siddharta || 2 Comments
One of the really nice things about putting a chart on the wall is the subconcious way in which everyone knows whats going on in the team. I already blogged about why visualisation is the key to being agile. I’ll just summarise that post here. Click the link if you want to read the whole post:
- Donald Gray’s experiment on three leadership systems shows that in complex systems, decentralised decision making within a framework is superior to centralised decision making.
- In order to make decisions, team members need to have, and understand, the current context in which they are working.
- David McCandles’ TED talk shows how our brain has evolved to process visual information. We can easily understand a picture in under 100 milliseconds, while it takes a few seconds to get the answer to a mathematical calculation like 13 x 24 x 3.
Continue reading ‘Ubiquitous Visualisation’ »
Posted on May 3rd, 2012 in Scrum by siddharta || No Comment
Many Scrum teams use two levels of estimation: A relative estimation technique like Story Points for estimating features, and hourly estimates for tasks.
I’m often asked how such a system can be implemented in Tools For Agile.
Continue reading ‘Two Level Scrum Estimation’ »
Posted on April 20th, 2012 in News & Updates by siddharta || No Comment
Today’s release allows board owners to customise the properties shown on the card.
When you create a custom field, you can now choose whether the property value should be shown on the card in the board, the card in the backlog or not shown at all.
With this update, the you can customise the visualisation to show you the important properties you need for prioritising, or for execution when the card is on the board, or hide properties that contain information that you don’t want to visualise on the card (you can still see the full card property values in the card details page).
Posted on March 26th, 2012 in Lean by siddharta || 3 Comments
A question came up in a recent discussion about why agile teams need to understand basic statistics.
Here is why…
[Note: the following post talks about Scrum teams and velocity. The equivalent for Kanban teams is lead time, so replace velocity with lead time everywhere if you are doing Kanban]
Take an example of a scrum team that committed to 40 points, delivered 20, then had a fiery debate during the retrospective about what went wrong and how to prevent it next time.
The next sprint they make some changes, deliver 45 points, get excited about the impact of their changes and decide that they should aim for 50 points now.
The sprint after they deliver only 30 points. Disaster!! Its doom and gloom at the retrospective about what went wrong this time. The Scrum Master steps in and says that its a major regression, this cant continue. That’s two sprints where they missed commitments by 20 points and stakeholders aren’t impressed. He recommends that they should seriously consider working weekends to hit commitments made to the stakeholders…..
How many times have we seen this pattern? Without realising it, this team is doing the absolutely worst thing possible. It’s called tampering. What is tampering? Read on…
Continue reading ‘Statistics for Agile Teams: Understanding Variation’ »