Here is a minimal list of the things that every software professional should be conversant with:
You ought to be able to describe all 24 patterns in the GOF book and have a working knowledge of many of the patterns in the POSA books.
You should know the SOLID principles and have a good understanding of the component principles.
You should understand XP, Scrum, Lean, Kanban, Waterfall, Structured Analysis, and Structured Design.
You should practice TDD, Object-Oriented design, Structured Programming, Continuous Integration, and Pair Programming.
You should know how to use: UML, DFDs, Structure Charts, Petri Nets, State Transition Diagrams and Tables, flow charts, and decision tables.
You’re now able to download and print poster sized images of the Scaled Agile Framework (SAFe) Big Picture and display it anywhere in your work area. It comes in 5’x3’, 3’x2’ PDFs or as a PowerPoint slide. I highly recommend laminating it.
I was able to print both PDF sizes at my local FedEx office. It was a bit pricy. To print (in color) and laminate the 5’x3’ size poster came to $165. But considering the overall price of the Agile transformation it has had a huge ROI for my client. Also, please read the copyright notice as some restrictions apply to reproductions of the document.
A new CEO met privately with his predecessor on his first day in charge. The CEO who was stepping down presented him with three numbered envelopes.
‘Open these—one at a time—and only when you run up against a crisis that seems beyond your control,’ he said.Things went along pretty smoothly, but six months later, sales took a downturn and he was catching a lot of heat. He remembered the envelopes. He went to his drawer and took out the first envelope. The message read,
‘Blame the previous CEO!’The new CEO called a press conference and tactfully laid the blame at the feet of the previous CEO. Satisfied with his comments, the media and Wall Street responded positively, sales began to pick up, and the problem was soon behind him. A couple of years later, the company was hit again with a dip in sales combined with serious product problems. The CEO thought, ‘Aha! Time for envelope two!’ The CEO opened the second envelope. The message read,
‘Blame the economy!’Times were tough for everyone in the industry. This seemed to work fine. He was ready for another business cycle. After several consecutive profitable quarters, the company once again fell on difficult times. The CEO closed his office door and opened the third envelope. The message said,
‘Prepare three envelopes!’it’s a great reminder to all of us that we shouldn’t panic after our first setback. If we’re lucky we might even get another free pass before it’s too late.
Scrum is by far the most popular of the Agile processes. In fact, when software companies say they are doing agile development you can be pretty sure they are talking about Scrum.
The question that is worth asking is “How successful is Scrum over the long haul? Are we seeing diminishing returns after say a year of practice?” My own experience as an agile instructor and coach has been mixed. At the beginning of the organization’s transformation there is great excitement and desire to blow the doors off of productivity. After a couple of rocky sprints, the teams do become hyper productive. And everyone’s happy…for a while.
A dozen sprints (or so) later we begin to consistently see the following complaints from both management and the team:
Kanban is a much better process once the system has reached a steady state and the focus becomes process improvement, maturity and improved cycle times.
Scrum is an outstanding process to adopt when you want a radical departure from the past or if you’re a start up. Scrum is disruptive and pretty heavy by its nature but results in huge productivity increases in the short-term. But if you’re a mature company with an existing revenue stream from products you’re better off starting where you’re at and making conscious, gradual and continuous process improvements using Kanban. I believe this approach is both more affective as well as politically prudent.
As in every craft, it’s important to use the best tool for the job. In my opinion, Scrum is being used in many situations where Kanban is a more appropriate fit. As an agile coach it’s my job to steer my clients towards the most suitable processes for them. I think over the next year, we’ll be seeing many Scrum shops migrate towards Kanban as their products, processes and teams mature.
Senior Consultant, Portofino Solutions, Inc.
Assessing people’s character is simple. All you have to do is ask three questions:
Only when you can give a definitive “YES” should you invest in the person.
- Lou Holtz (author, football coach)
Try it out on someone you know; it works every time.