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Posts Tagged ‘David Spann

Questions from “Ask an Expert”

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I had the pleasure of participating in the May 7 and May 14 sessions of the Agile Austin “Ask an Expert” Service. You can read the questions/topics brought up in these sessions by clicking here. Following are two observations from the questions cited so far:

  • Enterprise readiness issues are rarely understood, let alone addressed in advance of an Agile roll-out. The focus on the “hows” of the process seems to consume the energy of the Agile practitioners. Precious little is left for the “whys.”
  • Many questions (and the discussions that follow) are actually about the software engineering fabric, not about Agile per se.

The two are actually related. It is too easy to try to boil the ocean if you do not think of Agile as a single “layer” in the overall software engineering fabric, pretty much along the lines one thinks of a layer such as Transport in the OSI Model. Needless to say, trying to boil the ocean can consume you to the point nothing is left for the deeper understanding of the “whys” of Agile.

The reader is encouraged to take a look at the post entitled The House Jim Built. The two views of Agile given in this post by Cutter consultants Jim Highsmith and David Spann capture the essence of Agile in a lucid manner. You can start with either of the two views, using the one you prefer as a guide to placing Agile in the bigger picture.

(Please note Anne Mullaney‘s kind offer in the thread accompanying the post to send the full copy of Jim’s E-Mail Advisor to readers of the blog. David’s Research Report is in the public domain).

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Written by israelgat

May 18, 2009 at 4:51 pm

A Note on the Kanban & Retrospectives Post by David Andreson

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David Anderson wrote an interesting post on Kanban & Retrospectives. David observes that some seasoned Kanban teams ceased doing “official” retrospectives. To quote David:

Some mature Kanban teams did drop the use of retrospectives. No one told them to do it. They just did. Retrospectives were not adding value in their lives and hence were seen as a wasteful activity that could be eliminated.

David carefully examines retrospectives in the Kanban context. His concluding recommendation is as follows:

Kanban can enable a team to reach a level of maturity where they may choose to eliminate retrospectives (or not.) It’s a choice! Every situation will be unique. The important thing is not to see elimination of retrospectives as wrong or bad or “not agile.” Equally, don’t rush in and eliminate retrospectives. Don’t proscribe retrospectives. Let the team make its own decision when it is ready and embrace the evolution of process that comes with continuous improvement.

I certainly understand where David is coming from and the sound logic of his reasoning. However, the question on my mind is whether core Scrum practices could be reduced without jeopardizing the method. The following excerpt from a recent Cutter Consortium post entitled Breaking the Facade of Truth: An Introspective View into and a Case Study About the “Apparent Truths” of Agile by David Spann nicely summarizes how minimalistic Scrum is:

Scrum, as a management methodology, is elegant in its design, requiring only three roles (i.e., product owner, ScrumMaster, and self-organized team), three ceremonies (sprint/iteration planning, daily Scrum/debrief, and sprint review meetings), and three artifacts (product and sprint backlogs and the burndown chart) — just-enough practical advice so agile teams do not overcomplicate the development lifecycle with too much ceremony and documentation

Can one meaningfully drop a core practice of a just-enough method?

Opinions please!

Written by israelgat

March 21, 2009 at 2:07 pm