Recently I had the opportunity to share about my work passion, Agile and Scrum at a local IT group luncheon. I was pleasantly surprised at the level of interest and depth of questions. Organizer John Hatherly told me they had about double the normal pre-registrations for a talk.
Perhaps the tough economic times is behind some of the interest. Agile / Scrum is ideal for these conditions, since Agile delivers the highest value early and often to clients:
- The product backlog is a list of potential work items prioritized by business value. The highest value items are worked on first.
- Working software is released early and often, making it possible to go to market faster.
- Continuous feedback helps ensure the team is delivering what the client needs, and helps the client to better understand their own needs. Requirements are always better understood once there is working software to try out.
- Regular team retrospectives with actionable items give teams the opportunity to continuously improve.
- Proven software engineering practices: test-driven development, collaborative programming, continuous integration and refactoring increase quality and lower the costs of maintaining software. Think of software as a liability to maintain.
Jeff Sutherland, co-founder of Scrum stated in a presentation at Agile 2008 that even teams doing partial Scrum, or ScrumButt as he calls it, can increase revenues by 40%. High performing teams can improve 400% over traditional Waterfall teams. That’s a huge competitive advantage at any time, especially during tough economic times.
My search for a video / slide presentation tool succeeded, so now you can watch it again (nothing else to do?) or catch it for the first time. Total length is about 1 hour 15 minutes due to many excellent questions asked (original presentation is 45 minutes).
Here are useful links for people new to Agile and Scrum:
- Scrum cartoons
- Learn Agile by playing scenario games
- Agile games for making retrospectives interesting
- (PDF) Scrum in 5 Minutes is a quick digest of Scrum for sharing with others.
- (Video) Scrum in Under 10 Minutes for those preferring visual stimulation.
- Agile Manifesto
- Scrum diagram and overview
- This poster captures the essence of Agile software development. I have it on my wall.
- Scrum glossary of terms
- Succeeding with Agile: A Guide To Transitioning – video and slides from Mike Cohn
- Play planning poker online, or order some cards
- Agilito, a Django Scrum tool we developed at ifPeople
- Assess the Agile practices your organization is ready to adopt.
- Agile Alliance (I’m a member) and Scrum Alliance (my member profile)
- Scrum discussion list is a great place to ask questions and get answers from prominent people in the Agile community. I’m subscribed.
Book recommendations, in order of preference:
- Agile Estimating and Planning by Mike Cohn
- User Stories Applied: For Agile Software Development by Mike Cohn
- Agile Retrospectives: Making Good Teams Great by Esther Derby, Diana Larsen, Ken Schwaber
- Implementing Lean Software Development: From Concept to Cash by Mary Poppendieck, Tom Poppendieck
Thinking of transitioning to Agile? Contact me to see if I may be able to help your organization or team.