The Team Squeezer or the story of an agile transition

An important management tool to improve team performance is the Team Squeezer. It’s really simple: just use hierarchical power and exert pressure to make the development team hurry up. Usually the Team Squeezer backfires.

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Meet with user to create great products

Even though – as a UX professional – I must stress the importance of meeting users, I have to admit that the title of this article is not exactly accurate and just meeting users is not really the point. Having revealed this, I should probably explain what really matters when meeting users and give some indication on how to do it. This article covers two stars to road essentials: the UCD cycle and the UX levels.

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Bill & Chuck – and how they fight ideas into the market

Let me introduce two characters, Bill and Chuck. To be honest, they are personae distilled from people you could meet. They are especially interesting because of their behavior: Instead of collaborating to let ideas compete they fight to get their ideas into the market. And sadly, they have good reasons to do so.

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Five or one guidelines for the minimal viable product

In our current project, we use an approach of the minimal viable product and we steer it with the story mapping technique. From the discussions in our team, here are five guidelines (or just one?) for such an endeavor to ensure a better work-life-balance.

LifeBalance - LeadIn

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User experience flow from stars to road

Companies, not surprisingly, want to make business. New products are not created just for fun but they should contribute to this overall plan. For that, a performing team combining a couple fields of expertise is an excellent asset. Each of these experts brings in their respective methodology. The article agile innovation from stars to road outlines a basic collaborative structure. This article is about the methodology from user experience.

UXFlow_LeadIn

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User story shopping – a sports event management system

The challenge awaits our project: How to deal with the many expectations from our customers that are far beyond the project budget? The answer in my current project – the sports event management system – is based on user story mapping. 

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What if there isn’t a product owner?

Scrum defines three roles: product owner, team, and scrum master. It is actually very simple. And for the team it’s great to have one person – the product owner – to deal with the really difficult stuff. That is the VVIP, the users and why the whole thing just will make money in the market.

ConversationLeadin

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grok – negotiate – build up

In our current project, a software for managing sports events, user stories play an important role when it comes to development. Interestingly the focus of the requirements conversation changed completely from one level of maturity to the next. And there is a pattern behind it, as it seems. It leads to story mapping.

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What is a requirement? A probably agile answer

Requirements focus on value. This at least is the name of a category for this Blog. But what are requirements anyway? If you know the answer, fine. But for all those that are as confused as I am, this article gives the ultimate answer, or hopefully one as helpful as 42 was for Loonquawl and Phouchg.

GlassLaw_Leadin

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A case for features – a sports event management system

Currently, I’m involved in a project to develop an event management system for large sports events. The goal is to replace a few existing systems with one integrated system that is able to cater for the coming needs. End of elaboration is closing in and we’re planning for the incremental delivery to follow during construction. 

SportsEvent_BalanceActLeadin

Budgeting, estimation and release planning all turn around features (Part 2).

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User centred business analysis – a sports event management system

Currently, I’m involved in a project to develop an event management system for large sports events. The goal is to replace a few existing systems with one integrated system that is able to cater for the coming needs. The project will last for about five years. The project team will grow to approximately 20 persons. We apply an agile unified process.  

SportsEvent_ProcessMap_Leadin

Part 1: Understanding business is a success factor. We use methods from user centred design rather than from business modeling.

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Yet Another Manifesto…….

What is it with the recent rash of manifesto’s?

Since the signing of the Agile Manifesto a plethora of other Manifesto’s have arrived on the scene. Software Craftmanship, Project Management to name but a few.

They add NO value to development, in fact it seems their sole purpose is so that the signatories can make more money.

To me, this feels like the rash of CMM’s that arrived in the 90’s.  The original CMM was a useful tool for measuring the maturity of an organization. We needed one and only one.  The CMM was diluted by a number of new flavours; for Hardware; for Testing; for Software    resulting in a lack of clarity of objectives & direction.  Finally this was consolidated into CMMI and now it has become about implementing maturity (which even sounds ridiculous).

How long will it be before the various manifestos are consolidated into another chocolate teapot? See http://www.usingenglish.com/reference/idioms/about+as+useful+as+a+chocolate+teapot.html

Agility, Common Sense and Agilista Failings

Much of Agile is simply about common sense. Do what is needed when it is needed!

Most of the real value of Agile methods is in how it enables us to knock the rust off old ways of working. The revelation that software development needs “people centric” is, in fact, no revelation at all.

The really big news is that developers need to engage in with the business. Oddly, this is the message that the vast majority of agilista’s fail to deliver to, failing to properly engage the business in the agile development process!