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Posts Tagged ‘software business’

New Scrum Term: Chig

Published by Christopher Daily on July 6th, 2011 - in Agile, Scrum, Software Development

I would like to suggest a new term to be considered in Scrum: Chig. So what is a Chig? Before I explain what a Chig is, I should probably give you a little background. Within Scrum, their are only three types of members of the team: Scrum Master, Product Owner, and the team. These team members are often referred to as pigs, as they are committed. Agile/Scrum Cartoon about a chicken and a pig.

All others are parties are called chickens, referring to the fact that they are involved, but not committed. For those of you not familiar with the joke, click here to see the original pig and chicken cartoon.

So, what is a Chig? A Chig is a term that we have started using for those folks who say they are a chicken, but act as though they are a pig. What kind of things do Chigs do?

  1. Though not part of the team, Chigs make assignments to members of the Scrum team.
  2. Though not part of the team, Chigs make promises to deliver functionality to users.
  3. Though not part of the team, Chigs ask questions and offer advice during standups.
  4. Though not part of the team, Chigs provide status progress updates to other Chigs.

As we discussed this in our latest Standup, I pointed out that I am guilty of occasionally stepping over the line moving from the chicken side of the line to the pig side, making me a Chig. As I talked about being a Chig, I could see a couple of self-proclaimed Chickens looking at the floor. As the Scrum/Agile coach, I didn’t have to say a word.

I did talk to one of my fellow Chigs later. Bill “Chig” pulled me aside later and admitted that he was in fact a Chig. We laughed about being Chigs, and agreed to call each other out when we were slipping into the Chig role.

Keeping each other honest is critical in Scrum and Agile projects.

Thanks for coming in today.

Chris

Piling on: Agile/Scrum Certifications

Published by Christopher Daily on July 1st, 2011 - in Agile, IMO, Scrum, Software Development, Uncategorized

There seems to have been a lot of discussion lately about certifications, and the validity of them.  I may have even tried to get my two cents in. Most of the authors have been challenging whether the Agile community needs certifications at all.

I support certifications in general, and specifically in some professions.  Doctors and lawyers are a couple of professions that I think certifications might be good examples.  Doctors and lawyers are two good examples where certifications might be applicable.  Both professions require a commitment to education past the normal 4 year under-graduate degree.  Yet an M.D. degree doesn’t mean that you will get a competent doctor.  Lawyers have been the but of many jokes in spite of their advanced degree.  How the lawyer or doctor uses the knowledge obtained is what is critical, though a degree is the first filter most people apply.

Years ago, when I acquired my MBA, I thought it might separate me from other candidates for a job.  I never expected to get hired because of my MBA.  I believe how you apply what you  have learned is far more important.

Anyone who hires exclusively because of a certification won’t be making that mistake too long.  He will be fired or moved to a “Special” projects position.

Interested in what a couple of the Agile Gurus are saying?  Check out Martin Fowler’s post “Certification Competence Correlation” or Alistair Cockburn’s certification debate with James Shore sponsored by PMI.

Thanks for coming in today.

How do I start being “Agile”: Getting Started

Published by Christopher Daily on June 30th, 2011 - in Agile, Scrum, Software Development

I have been somewhat negligent in writing any Agile posts over the last few weeks.  I have been working with a development organization on an out of town coaching engagement.  The initiation phase is probably my least favorite time.  My doubts about myself and my abilities always seem to surface in my mind.  Will I be able to help this company?  Will they be willing to help themselves?  Do they really want to be Agile?  What kind of management support will we get?

As the engagement starts, most of these questions get answered fairly quickly.  Over the last week, I have developed the first version of the answer to most of the questions.  Various team members have been dropping by, introducing themselves, and then started telling me why they needed help.  Some of the conversations are 5 minutes, and a couple have gone 2 hours.

So back to the main point:  I have been asked ‘How do I start being “Agile”‘?

Many of you know that Agile is an umbrella term that represents a collection of development methodologies and frameworks that embrace the principles of the Agile Manifesto.  It includes such disciplines as Scrum(my favorite), Kanban, Crystal, Test Driven Development, and Extreme Programming.  However, in my opinion (IMO), Agile is really a state of mind.  To get started with Agile, you need to change how you think.

How I think? That continues to be the biggest challenge for me. I grew up professionally in a Command and Control structure. It started early when you followed the demand of your football coach yelling at you. It continued when I graduated to flipping burgers, and later developing soft are. We were told what to do and how to do it.  Most managers today got into management because they got tired of being told what to do.  I know I wanted to be the “Man”, giving orders to those below me.

Somewhere around the early 90’s I noticed a change. Successful mangers have been quietly moving away from C&C.

Transitioning to Agile brings this move front and center.  Moving to an Agile state of mind means that managers:

Let go of the perception that they are in charge.  In reality, you were never in charge, but you told everyone you were.

Support their Scrum teams by helping remove impediments and assisting in the prioritization of the backlog.

Be a cheerleader for your scrum teams. Be a chicken as they self-organize, but point out in one on one conversations when you see something good happen.

Listen to new ideas.  This is a tough one.  A lot of C&C managers believe people should just follow. They also believe they are smarter than everyone else. While that may be true, shut up and listen. Your team will surprise you.

Embrace the Agile Manifesto. If you read it, you will have to agree with it. It just makes sense.

Thanks for coming in today.
Chris

Software Development Lifecycle, Fahgettaboutdit! Really????

Published by Christopher Daily on April 18th, 2011 - in Software Development

I made the following comments in response to an article about SDLC’s.  Here is the link: 

http://drdobbs.com/blogs/architecture-and-design/229401132

 Here is a summary of my comments:

I agree, sort of…………

Comment by Cndaily Apr 18, 2011, 13:58 PM EDT

 

I like your use of Amazon as a reference source. I did the same with my post, http://wp.me/p17Gqw-1X, which adds credibility to a position.

I agreed with your post for the most part until I got to the bottom. I think most of us would agree that documentation, rules, and process are not things on our Christmas list. What I don’t agree with is your ascertion that you can just hire passionate bright specialists and your problems will be solved. IMO, a reasonable level of documentation around an SDLC is needed for a development organization of about 10 or more. That need is usually generated by clients, new employees, and managers.

Your thoughts?

The Puck.

Published by Christopher Daily on January 30th, 2011 - in Business Musings

A good hockey player plays where the puck is. A great hockey player plays where the puck is going to be.

Wayne Gretzky (via advice from his father, Walter Gretzky)

This is one of my favorite business quotes of all time. I have used it for years, and I just saw it in a 37Signals blog post.  This is what we continue to do in business.  We strive to catch up to the competition,  only to find out we are still behind because the competition has moved on.  Tough to do.  There is only one Wayne Gretsky.  You won’t know if you are unless you try.

Thanks for coming in today.
Chris

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