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Creative Experimentation: Developing a Skill Critical for Managing Complex Operating Systems
Posted:Wed, 03 Oct 2012 14:53:56 -1000
A good discussion by Steven J. Spear on how experimentation is useful when dealing with complex systems like markets and Mustangs.  Spear explains how this technique led Toyota to the creation of Lexus.     ...
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You Can Manage What You Can't Measure
Posted:Mon, 10 Sep 2012 05:33:31 -1000
Most often attributed to Taylor, this adage "You can't manage what you can't measure" is a product of the industrial revolution and the efficiency movement. The theme being we need to measure everything so we can maximize efficiency. While there is some truth to the statement with machines, the intent as it relates to people is flawed. People are not machines. A more modern set of ideas has been presented by W. Edwards Deming who stated "The most important things cannot be measured." Deming arms us with the continuous improvement tool and forces us to recognize that people are messy and complex. Deming also introduces us to System Thinking where localized measurement and efficiency maximization can have disastrous results.  Deming used 14 key principles to help organizations embrace these ideas.   "Create constancy of purpose towards improvement". Replace short-term reaction with long-term planning. "A...
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Agile Contracts
Posted:Fri, 31 Aug 2012 05:13:56 -1000
There seems to be a ton of willingness today for companies to modify their legal relationship with their clients.  Maybe we are finally at a point where we realize that holding people’s feet to the fire doesn’t produce the kind of results we had hoped for.  What I’m talking about here is commonly referred to as “Agile Contracts.”  A legal arrangement with your client to deliver a product in iterative, incremental way.  For starters, Agile contracts should have some basic components. Make clear that both parties are “co-invested” in the success of the project. While you will require a basic list of requirements to start, the contract should make clear that this list is subject to change after every Sprint.  This will benefit both parties. Client is billed for the working software delivered as part of every Sprint.  Some people have suggested using a pay-per-story model.  I have found this to be problematic....
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Professional Scrum Development with Microsoft Visual Studio 2012
Posted:Sun, 26 Aug 2012 08:53:15 -1000
I thought I would give a shout out to Richard Hundhausen in anticipation of his new book.  I’ve been helping to review the book as he is writing it and this is going to be a phenomenal piece of work!  It will likely release in October and will surely be a staple for many of my coaching engagements.  Pre-order yours today! ...
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Revamp an Organizations DNA?
Posted:Mon, 30 Jul 2012 08:10:00 -1000
I just finished reading Deborah Mills-Scofield’s HBR article on bringing back corporate accountability.  This is a great article in its own right.  It lead me to an article she posted in April of this year on building Communities of Practice by Building Virtues into the Organization’s DNA.  Her moonshots to fix problems we see in corporate culture in this article are: Focus the work of management on a higher purpose Rebuild management's philosophical foundations Enable communities of passion What Mills-Scofield is describing here is that many of the problems we see today are not tactical or process in nature, but rather reflect of loss (at least in practice) of key social virtues.  She focuses on ...
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Vodafone360’s Team Board
Posted:Sun, 03 Jun 2012 07:52:00 -1000
This is very cool!  Flow of work across the team board with computer generated Burndown and column sums. ...
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Scrum Master or Scrum Enforcer?
Posted:Wed, 09 May 2012 07:03:00 -1000
To quote the Scrum Guide, part of the Scrum Master’s role is to “ensuring Scrum is understood and enacted.”  This is often interpreted as “enforcing” Scrum. I have found the use of "enforcement" to be challenging. I have seen it create adversarial environments. You will he Development Team members talk like this: (snotty tone) "The Scrum Master said we can't do that! (laugh)!”  This is certainly not health behavior.  But what should be done about it?  Instead of enforcing Scrum, the Scrum Master should coach the team to follow the rules of Scrum. If the team wants to make a change to Scrum, use powerful questioning and ...
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Is Branching a Dysfunction?
Posted:Sun, 29 Apr 2012 05:32:00 -1000
I have done source code branching with a ton of teams.  The pattern looks pretty much the same independent of what type of branching the team is doing.  “We are doing some work that we don’t want other teams to see or get impacted by.” So it goes the team creates a branch to work on a PBI/feature, test some ideas in a Spike or begin the next version of the product.  Work sails along swimmingly  until the team has to merge the code with mainline (which happens 90% of the time).  This is where all hell breaks loose.  The team, working in isolation, has created a large amount of code that will no longer integrate with the changes that have happened along the way.  At this point code is rewritten (not just refactored), new ideas are brought into the mix, tests are rewritten and so on.  For those of you that have been through this, you know what I mean.  Are there ways of dealing this this chaos?  Sure! Work can minimized ...
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ALM Chicago Presentation Video
Posted:Sun, 15 Apr 2012 08:51:00 -1000
Here is a video of my ALM Chicago talk:    ...
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Agile and the Boom/Bust Cycle
Posted:Mon, 26 Mar 2012 05:29:00 -1000
I spend a fair amount of time these days working with senior business leaders on some of the challenges they face.  One of the things that both they and I are seeing is the impact of shorter business cycles on planning.  While the use of the word “cycle” implies that these changes occur with some predictability, it is also clear from observation that they do not.  In fact, many economist choose to use the term “fluctuation” over “cycle” to denote its chaotic nature.   Many factors go into making our economy behave this way, globalization, decreasing consumer attention span, less brand affinity, increasing technology and government intervention to name a few.  The real question many leaders face as it relates to these cycles is “How long do I have to get my product or service offering to market?”  They want to understand how quickly they can take and idea to market without hav...
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