Episode 87: Coffee From The Trenches with Henrik Kniberg

The Agile Revolution Podcast

Henrik KnibergRenee and Craig catch up with Henrik Kniberg at Scrum Australia 2014 where he tries coffee for the first time in ten years at the Paramount Coffee Project (the best coffee in Sydney according to Renee). Apart from getting his verdict on the brew, they also talk about:

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Lean Metrics & Time Tracking

Lean MetricsAt this month’s Agile Brisbane meetup, Ben Starr presented on Lean Metrics. His talk was based on metrics that they tracked at his previous company on an operational support team. A couple of points from the talk:

  • used Kanban – work item types to allocate capacity and 3 levels of service (standard, coordinated, expedite)
  • JIRA was the tool but was not the most ideal choice and not really up to the task
  • reported by type on backlog, work in progress, throughput (number of work items not size), velocity (throughput and velocity were similar which showed average size), cycle time, class of service mix, due date performance, estimation accuracy, cancelled WIP (started and then cancelled work) and demand balancing (clearing out the backlog)
  • flow efficiency – percentage of time you work on an item versus in progress, also referred to as touch time – using time tracking in JIRA to do this
  • time allocation – value add, failure load (defects), transaction cost (overheads of planning and releasing), coordination cost (management), used percentage of time spent rather than actual hours

The one things that got me thinking during this presentation was the flow efficiency report.

Early on my journey of being an Iteration Manager, my teams used to track times per card. We used to use XPlanner which had some reasoanbly easy functionality for tracking time (one of the good features was as the Iteration Manager I could enter time for my team if needed, tools like JIRA require the developer to record that data if you want it assigned to that developer). We used to use thee metrics for comparing estimates to actuals but over time I came to the conclusion that we would be much better off just making sure that the cards were completing on time (an average of 3 times) and splitting cards out if they appeared to big.

Lately, a number of people in my Agile classes have been arguing that time track is beneficial. My usual response to this (like for all metrics) that it is OK if it adds value, but my recommendation is not to waste your time. Even more so, this opens up the estimation debate that I also believe that a lot of time should not be wasted on (#noestimates), but that is a discussion for another post. My main reasoning is often we need to track for other sources (like timesheets) in different systems, and the overhead does not justify the effort. If teams need time metrics (often to see if time is being wasted away from the core work of the team, say on production support or corporate meetings), I suggest they are done at a team level and rounded to the nearest hour, and collected as time not spent not on project work.

In the graph above, flow efficiency is a good way for showing waste in the system (in this example, the team could potentially be way more effcient), but it relied on the team tracking time (in this case using the time tracking feature in JIRA against each card). I really like it as a graph, I am just not sure the effort to produce it is justified.

Some discussion in the Q&A revolved around recording time tracking (or similar metrics) is OK if the team understands it is an incentive for better metrics, and I can’t disagree with that thought. Just in my experience as an Iteration Manager, getting reliable and timely time and effort metrics ha been painful and the reward outweighed the effort.

Episode 79: Vomit Value with Jim Benson

The Agile Revolution Podcast

14491375311_22bf182a39_zAt Agile Australia 2014 in Melbourne, Jim Benson of Personal Kanban fame takes some time to talk with Craig, Renee, Tony and (a very silent) Kim Ballestrin and along the way they talk about:

  • early work implementing David J. Anderson’s Agile Management which resulted in Jim focussing on the person (Personal Kanban) and David focussing on the organisation (Kanban method) – two different viewpoints on the same solution set
  • XP, Scrum, Kanban method and Personal Kanban exemplify the people who created them
  • The Oath of Non Allegiance
  • Scrum vs Kanban
  • Why Limit WIP and Why Plans Fail books out now and working on an upcoming book about meetings
  • Individuals and interactions is redundant – relevant in 2001 to shake people out of complacency
  • Agile is anti-manager
  • Agile in knowledge work
  • WIP limits and avoiding “death flow”
  • Vomit Value – user stories with spurious and arbitrary value in a…

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Episode 70: Hello Is This Thing On?

The Agile Revolution Podcast

IsThisThingOnCraig, Renee and Tony catch up again and discuss the wonderfully diverse world of Agile :

The Agile Revolution – 70  (65 minutes)

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Episode 68: Together Again Like Peas & Carrots

The Agile Revolution Podcast

peascarrotsCan you believe it ! Yes it’s a real Forest Gump moment, the revolutionists are finally back together again just like peas and carrots . They are back to their best discussing :

The Agile Revolution-68 (53 minutes)

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Agile Encore 2013: Visual Management: Leading With What You Can See

AgileEncore2013My presentation from the Agile Encore 2013 conference called “Visual Management: Leading With What You Can See” is available on Slideshare.

Renee Troughton was unfortunately unable to join me to present this reprise of the talk we presented together at Agile Australia 2013.

Using task boards or story walls is a key Agile practice, but are you making the most of it? Visual Management is more than just putting cards on a wall, it is a growing style of management that focuses on managing work only by what you can see rather than reports or paper being shuffled around. Visual Management allows you to understand the constraints in the system, mitigate risks before they become issues, report on progress from the micro to the macro. Visual Management can also be used to demonstrate to customers and clients where the work they care about is at. This presentation is all about taking the management of your work to the next stage of transparency. Discover:

* How to identify when your story wall isn’t telling you everything and how to adjust it
* What the three different types of story walls are and which one is more suitable to certain circumstances
* Different ways to visualise your product backlogWhy queue columns and limiting work in progress is so important regardless of whether you are using Scrum or Kanban
* How symbols and tokens can be used to give more information
* What else can you use other than story walls to visualise information
* How to ingrain Visual Management into both the team and management structures of your organisation
* Visualising Your Quality, Testing and Team
* What is systemic flow mapping and why is it important

Unfortunately the talk was interrupted about three-quarters of the way through by a rogue video conference call into the auditorium. My attempt to try and answer questions why people were trying to fix the problem were interrupted by audio coming through the call. We soldiered on – but it interrupted the flow.

And here are some feedback from the feedback forms – much appreciated!

  • Lots of ideas
  • Very informative with real world examples
  • Delivered as per advertised. Was relevant and interesting to listen to. Some great take outs
  • More relevant to where we are as an organisation
  • Big wall
  • Most applicable as I am a newbie
  • Kept the audience engaged from start to finish
  • The task based techniques most relevant
  • Gave more understanding of how to do better Agile

 

Episode 63: The Lean-Agile Project with Al Shalloway

The Agile Revolution Podcast

alan_shallowayAt Agile 2013 in Nashville, TN, Craig talks to Al Shalloway from Net Objectives in the open space area (ironically in front of a waterfall) about his current areas of interest in the Lean Agile community. Al has been a leading voice in the Agile community for many years, is the author of many software development and Agile related books and is a SAFe Program Consultant as well as a co-founder of the Lean Software & Systems Consortium. The topics discussed include:

TheAgileRevolution-63 (26 minutes)

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Episode 58: Don’t Drink and Podcast!

The Agile Revolution Podcast

Beer CheersCraig and Renee are in Sydney and dangerously podcast after Renee’s one (1) drink and Craig’s two (2) drinks. Along the way they fumble over the following topics:

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Agile Australia 2013: Visual Management: Leading With What You Can See

Agile Australia 2013 Speaker ButtonMy presentation with Renee Troughton from the Agile Australia 2013 conference called “Visual Management: Leading With What You Can See” is available on Slideshare.

Using task boards or story walls is a key Agile practice, but are you making the most of it? Visual Management is more than just putting cards on a wall, it is a growing style of management that focuses on managing work only by what you can see rather than reports or paper being shuffled around. Visual Management allows you to understand the constraints in the system, mitigate risks before they become issues, report on progress from the micro to the macro. Visual Management can also be used to demonstrate to customers and clients where the work they care about is at. This presentation is all about taking the management of your work to the next stage of transparency. Discover:

* How to identify when your story wall isn’t telling you everything and how to adjust it
* What the three different types of story walls are and which one is more suitable to certain circumstances
* Different ways to visualise your product backlogWhy queue columns and limiting work in progress is so important regardless of whether you are using Scrum or Kanban
* How symbols and tokens can be used to give more information
* What else can you use other than story walls to visualise information
* How to ingrain Visual Management into both the team and management structures of your organisation
* Visualising Your Quality, Testing and Team
* What is systemic flow mapping and why is it important

Lynne Cazaly did an awesome visualisation of the talk!

We had some great feedback from people after the talk as well as via Twitter.

Renee also has a (slightly earler) version of the slidedeck online via her Slideshare, with one slide change and one omission…

Victoria University of Wellington: Going All XP On Your Business

Victoria University of WellingtonMy lecture for students in SWEN302 Agile Methods at Victoria University of Wellington called “Going All XP On Your Business” is available on Slideshare.