The Improving Projects blog from Huge IO (UK & Ireland) is primarily about products, organisations and projects... and how to improve them. As well as musings on agile processes, software engineering in general, and methods like Kanban and Scrum, there's advice here too for users of process planning, execution and improvement tools - and the metrics they can provide.
Search This Blog
There are 6 general practices of Kanban... and I'm happy with that!
There are 6 general practices of Kanban, and in spite of my preference for groups of 3 (see "There are 3 ... Principles of Kanban"), I'm really happy with that. (I guess 7 would have a nice golden ring to it... but now I am being silly.)
The core practices are:
Make Process Policies Explicit
Implement feedback mechanisms
Improve Collaboratively, Evolve Experimentally (using models & the scientific method)
Nevertheless I've found it useful to start a team off by emphasising three of these (no really):
Before we can manage the flow we need to see it, and so getting a Kanban board with items moving across it really is the first step. Limiting work in progress is the essence of Lean and fundamental to all agile processes. Surprisingly to most teams, it nearly always brings an immediate impact in increased throughput and reduced lead time. And finally, as the foundational principles tell us, continuous improvement is the whole point. Let's start improving from day one.
Is it just me or do you also find it odd that some teams have clauses like this in their definition of done (DoD)? ... the Story will contain defects of level 3 severity or less only ...
Of course they don't mean you have to put minor bugs in your code - that really would be mad - but it does mean you can sign the Story off as "Done"if the bugs you discover in it are only minor (like spelling mistakes, graphical misalignment, faults with easy workarounds, etc.). I saw DoDs like this some time ago and was seriously puzzled by the madness of it. I was reminded of it again at a meet-up discussion recently - it's clearly a practice that's not uncommon.
Let's look at the consequences of this policy.
Potentially for every User Story that is signed off as "Done" there could be several additional Defect Stories (of low priority) that will be created. It's possible that finishing a Story (with no additional user requirements) will result in an increase in…
Ron Lichty is well known in the Software Engineering community on the West Coast as a practitioner, as a seasoned project manager of many successful ventures and in a number of SIGs and conferences in which he is active. In spite of knowing Ron by correspondence over a long period of time it was only at JavaOne this year that we finally got together and I'm very glad we did.
Ron wrote to me after our meeting:
I told a number of people later at JavaOne, and even later that evening at the Software Engineering Management SIG, about xProcess. It really looks good. A question came up: It's a common technique in large organizations to keep a "Plan of Intent" and a "Plan of Record" - to have two project plans, one for the business partners and boss, one you actually execute to. Any support for that in xProcess?
Good question! Here's my reply...
There is support in xProcess for an arbitrary number of target levels through what we call (in the process definitions) P…
Cost of Delay (CoD) is a vital concept to understand in product development. It should be a guide to the ordering of work items, even if - as is often the case - estimating it quantitatively may be difficult or even impossible. Analysing Cost of Delay (even if done qualitatively) is important because it focuses on the business value of work items and how that value changes over time. An understanding of Cost of Delay is essential if you want to maximise the flow of value to your customers.
Don Reinertsen in his book Flow  has shown that, if you want to deliver the maximum business value with a given size team, you give the highest priority, not to the most valuable work items in your "pool of ideas," not even to the most urgent items (those whose business value decays at the fastest rate), nor to your smallest items. Rather you should prioritise those items with the highest value of urgency (or CoD) divided by the time taken to implement them. Reinertsen called this appro…