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Focused on One Goal: Business Value Delivery

Scrum Alliance

This past week, the Scrum Alliance published an article I wrote, “What is Productivity in Agile?.” Productivity can be a painstaking conversation for Agile teams, who are dedicated to following the principles in the Agile Manifesto, aimed at improving productivity, but they are often pulled in the opposite direction by management to achieve a higher velocity.

In my article, I discuss how everyone (IT and the business units) needs to focus on the same end goal – business value delivery. To do this, they must jointly define value metrics and ensure all team members, both in IT and the business side, understand those metrics and are held accountable for achieving them.

I have seen my clients successfully use metrics for Cost of Delay (CoD) and Weighted Shortest Job First (WSJF) to help prioritize their projects based on business value. I believe that having the IT team and business unit collaborate to create relative metrics in these two areas is a good starting point, but it is also critical that everyone is held accountable for improving value. 

Organizations need to put standard processes in place to ensure the appropriate parties (this includes the business unit) are involved in the entire software development process and that the metrics are not being decided on by one individual, such as the product owner. The business units may push back on being so involved in the process as they will expect the IT department to simply do what they have asked. However, if they realize that the collaboration with IT is more than just about efficiency, but also about enabling them to justify the expenditure to management, they may be less resistant to being involved in the process.

Check out the complete article on the Scrum Alliance website. I welcome your feedback on how your team prioritizes your projects.

Mike Harris

Written by Michael D. Harris at 05:00

The State of Scrum

Tom CagleyObviously at DCG we’re advocates of Agile, thanks to its well-documented benefits: increased productivity, accelerated time to market and the ability to easily adapt to the changing needs of the business/customer (to name just a few).

We regularly help our clients implement Agile and improve their techniques through the use of various frameworks (sometimes in combination), including Scrum. So, we have great interest in keeping up with the Agile community and using that knowledge to help our clients prosper.

In May we were sponsors of the Scrum Alliance’s “Up Your Ante” gathering in Las Vegas, devoted to helping attendees improve their Agile techniques; the gathering was incredibly informative, and we’re looking forward to returning.

Scrum Alliance

That’s why we wanted to share with you this report from the Scrum Alliance, “The State of Scrum: Benchmarks and Guidelines,” which provides a thorough picture of how Scrum is being used and who is using it. We think it very clearly outlines the growing importance of Scrum in IT, while also noting the barriers that often prevent effective use of the framework.

I won’t spoil the report for you, but some of the key takeaways from it include:

  • Scrum use is widespread – and rapidly growing in the software development field and beyond
  • Scrum is easy to understand and hard to master (which is why we offer coaching!)
  • Scrum will be most successful if you have support from leadership, a culture that facilitates Scrum, and proper training and support for implementation and ongoing use

Download the report, “The State of Scrum: Benchmarks and Guidelines.”

So now you’ve read the report, tell us what you found most interesting!

Tom Cagley
Vice President of Consulting
Agile Practice Manager

Written by Tom Cagley at 05:00
Categories :

Scrum Gathering: Step Outside Your Comfort Zone

In today’s interconnected world, we have unparalleled access to ideas and concepts without leaving the safety of our cubes. If we want to explore a topic, we can pop out to the web and find articles, websites, podcasts, blogs and webinars. So, what do we gain from attending professional conferences in person?

Scrum Alliance logo

The 2013 Scrum Gathering in Las Vegas that I recently attended was an eye-opening experience.  It is very easy to get comfortable with ideas that we already have, that are working for us. The Scrum Gathering delivered an incredible array of new ways to think about how we work to deliver value to our organizations, whether we are developers or change agents.   

Shifting outside of our comfort zone, a state of mind without a sense of risk, makes it easier see things differently. Our comfort zone can be limiting because it insulates you from perceiving change. Dr. Bill Joiner, in his keynote at the Scrum Gathering, suggested that today’s managers must have the ability to achieve sustained success in a rapidly changing environment or they won’t survive. I translate that to mean that comfort zones are a thing of the past.

The gathering was a tool to challenge the attendees intellectually, while providing a platform for changing how we think about our professional challenges. For example:

  • Presentations that challenge orthodoxy that wouldn’t draw as mass-market webinars.
  • Free form programming, such as Open Spaces, that opened the lectern to anyone with an idea or a question (my favorite part of the conference).
  • Access to experts for formal and informal conversations.

Regardless of your profession, not challenging ourselves to move outside of our comfort zone will make us intellectually lazy. Without challenges, we can’t hope to raise our game to meet the future. Attending conferences like the Scrum Gathering and benefiting from not only the presentations, but also from the interactions, is a powerful tool to meet the challenges of tomorrow’s workplace.

Tom Cagley
Vice President of Consulting

Written by Tom Cagley at 08:00
Categories :

We're At Scrum Alliance This Week!

Scrum Alliance logo

If you’re in Las Vegas attending Scrum Alliance’s Scrum Gathering, be sure to say hi to Tom Cagley, Vice President of Consulting.

Tom Cagley
David Consulting Group is a bronze sponsor of the event and Tom will be there May 6-8. This gathering challenges attendees to "Up the Ante" on their Agile game and it features three tracks:

  • See The Future: This is the "What" in terms of delivery. It also includes the bigger picture and includes topics on organizational development, coaching, product road mapping, and similar activities.
  • Build The Future: This is where we focus on "How" to create the valuable work product. We think about the elements of Scrum like the Daily Scrum, Scrum Roles, Sprint Backlog, etc. Topics for this track include activities throughout the Sprint: effective retrospectives, collaboration techniques, removing impediments, and others.
  • Tools of the Trade: Here we focus on the tools and techniques for engineering practices such as continuous integration, code refactoring, pair programming, and unit testing. These constitute the technical aspect of "How" when it comes to value delivery.

Be sure to follow all the action from the event on Twitter using the hashtag #sglas – we’ll report back in another post on what we learn at the conference!

Sarah Weddle
Marketing Associate / Social Media Specialist

Written by Sarah Weddle at 06:20
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"It's frustrating that there are so many failed software projects when I know from personal experience that it's possible to do so much better - and we can help." 
- Mike Harris, DCG Owner

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