Definition of Ready for working in an Agile way

Recently we were asked to help make some traditional waterfall projects ‘more agile’. On investigation it wasn’t clear if the work would be better off with a switch to agile, and if that part of the organisation was ready to support an agile way of working. To provide more clarity we created this guide to help consider if agile was the ‘right’ approach, and if so – what conditions needed to be present.

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Take a scientific approach to starting a Remote Working Community of Practice

So many of us have been thrust recently into remote working. We are dealing with new challenges and emerging practices to support us working effectively, blending our home and work life and maintaining social connections at a time we feel more isolated.

This seems fertile ground to start a new community of practice where people could discuss their challenges and share practices for which others might benefit. We felt this community of practice would have relevance to a group wider than the agile community we are normally engaged with. A new community group seemed appropriate over simply an event at one of the existing Agile community meetups we help organise.

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Personal Shield – An Exercise to Build a Strong Team

To build a strong team you need more than just documented ways of working (WoW). Having a defined process, definition of done and clear understanding of the roles we each play within a team is important, and alone will not make a team successful. A team is more than the sum of its parts – and great teamwork arises when team members know and care about each other personally..

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Remote working: how we do it at Agility Systems

At Agility Systems we operate as a remote scrum team. During the day we individually focus on serving our clients. To facilitate the business of Agility Systems we’ve developed a set of practices and behaviours that support us in working at our best outside usual business hours and when we’re not face to face. If you are experienced or new to remote teamwork, there may be something here for you – or maybe there is something you would like to offer us in the comments.

  1. Support asynchronous communications by default
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Scaling Multi Team Scrum Delivery with Jira

Many organizations have multiple teams running Scrum and use Jira for work tracking and managing the sprint cycle.

Popular Agile scaling frameworks including Large Scale Scrum (LeSS), Scrum@Scale and Nexus all recommend having a single backlog and Product Owner.

This article will give you guidance on how to set up Jira and your teams to best support delivery of business value through having multiple teams working from the same backlog.

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Do you need to forecast a new piece of work or the velocity of a new team?

This is a simple and quick exercise we ran through because we needed to help the PO collaborate with the team to provide a forecast for key stakeholders. This approach allowed us to forecast our velocity, which meant we could put a rough release plan together, and have an idea about what we might deliver, by when. The plan that will be refined as we get more empirical data on actual team velocity.

Using cards to forecast
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Agile Coaching at RAC

RAC Insurance reached out to us to see if we could help one of their teams face into some challenges that they were experiencing.

This was a relatively new team with a number of new people who had joined with diverse experiences of agile from different organisations. They were not on the same page around some agile practices and some even wondered how agile as a team they were actually were.

As with all new teams they were also wrestling with how to work well with each other, dealing with many of the normal challenges you might expect a new team to face into.

In addition, they were changing their technology stack and their mission was very technical in nature. This increased the complexity for the team and even made it hard to understand how some of the agile practices might work for the technical challenges they faced.

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Running The Perth Code Dojo

Shortly after moving to Perth I decided to set up a local Code Dojo. It is a great way to improve as a programmer, learn, share with others and be part of a community (which gives you a warm fuzzy feeling).

Previously I had been a member of the London Code Dojo and had ran dojos as a way of training TDD and programming practices for clients. In this post I will share my experiences in attending code dojos and some tips on how to run your own.

Code Dojos are targeted at professional programmers and college / university graduates. This is unlike the ‘CoderDojo’ initiatives, which have gained in popularity and aims to teach youngsters to code. It is great to see this development on the concept being used by a non-profit group set up to help the next generation. This is certainly something I have enjoyed participating in with my own daughter.

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Losing your way with scaling

I was working with a very Agile experienced business unit recently, they were having some issues with “momentum” in building a new product offering.

Within the business unit, there were 5 teams working on the minimum viable product offering, and 2 teams working on other products. The teams had all participated in incepting the work, and by all accounts it was a successful inception. Each team consisted of established team members, who together were high-performing and agile knowledgeable. There was one product backlog where features were defined. Each team was capable of delivering all the way to production. All the elements for success, it seemed was there.

They were tackling a brand new build, new technology and 5 teams all working on the same product. They launched into their sprints full of energy and enthusiasm. However, after several sprints, no business value was delivered, and their enthusiasm was replaced by stress.

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