Tag Archives: Larry Lawhead

DevOps Overview for Scrum Masters

Requires System Thinking DevOps creates a process (system) where by the development team and IT operations teams communicate issues, define priorities, complete work and report outcomes. DevOps grew out of the necessity that development and IT operations teams understand who … Continue reading

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Middle Management Reformation!

Agile Adoption has a Problem I’ve been in a few conversations lately where middle managers appear lost as they find themselves in an Agile transformation. Command and control is out the window. So is the concept of “reports”. How do … Continue reading

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Telling a Good Story

Fixing Blame When that amazing new idea blows up in your face and everyone is super angry, you need to do two things. First, observe this Japanese proverb, When something goes wrong fix the process, not the blame. The second … Continue reading

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Value Stream Maps

Stopwatch Development? Learning to see is a bit more difficult than it may appear. If Ohno’s trainees found it hard to “see” manufacturing improvements, what’s a software manager to do? Looking over the shoulders of your development team, will only … Continue reading

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Reduce Corruption through Agile Values

Whatever Happened to “Old Ed”? There is hardly anything that makes the man on the street feel more helpless than a trusted institution’s fraudulent or negligent behavior. We’ve moved from “Old Ed” down at the general store who had everything … Continue reading

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Have a new Team? Establish Your Working Agreement

Establishing Boundaries via Distributed Control A solid working agreement between the Scrum Master and the team is the foundation for all improvements. Accountability, courtesy or law-and-order are not the key reasons. Boundaries simply make everyone feel comfortable. Comfort comes from … Continue reading

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What do you see?

Learning to See Taiichi Ohno is the Japanese industrial engineer who played a major role in pioneering the Toyota Production System. When training a new manager, legend has it he drew a circle on the shop floor and have the manager … Continue reading

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Can’t Stop Learning!

Passionate Learner I am hooked on learning. An explanation that finally clicked, came while taking the Gallup Strengths survey. If you’ve not taken it, do so. The easiest way is to read their book Strengths Finder 2.0. The book gives an explanation of the … Continue reading

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New Scrum Guide – Emphasis on Values

A Classic Apple Move On July 6th the creators of the Scrum Framework (Jeff Sutherland and Ken Schwaber) discussed their highly anticipated update. Even though the move was due to popular demand, their emphasis on Scrum Values hit me more like a … Continue reading

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Battleground “Innovation”

I read an interesting article this week from the Deutsche Welle. The central theme was China’s goal to be the world’s top innovator by 2030. By 2049 China also intends to lead the world in science and technology; just in … Continue reading

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Why is that guy still here…?

It’s Not the Person, It’s the Process A while ago, I over heard a product owner voicing his displeasure with a team member by asking, “Why is that guy still here?” Initially my adrenaline spiked as the pressure in my … Continue reading

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I Love my Teams!

I love managing and mentoring teams. Creating high performing teams out of groups of individuals has always been a major PM challenge and remains a distant dream for many. Discovering Agile Scrum offered just the framework I was looking for. … Continue reading

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Things I love

Today’s my wedding anniversary. The occasion gives opportunity to reflect on things I love. After many project management years, I ran into Agile Scrum. The simplicity of the framework caught my attention right away. Little did I realize what lies under … Continue reading

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How to Decompose a Release Plan – User Story Mapping

A while back my team overcommitted themselves on a technical debt Sprint. It became apparent we did not have a decent model to expose those pesky “unknown – unknowns”. No matter how much talking and diagramming and more talking we did, we … Continue reading

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How to Decompose Epics & Stories

Assigning Epics effort estimates is risky business. However, since organizations usually require schedules and budgets when uncertainty is at its highest, continuously defining effort as the decomposition process evolves may work. It must be remembered, no estimate is completely accurate but this process does … Continue reading

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Numbers, Time and Benchmarks

What do you value? Numbers and time are interesting. They have no value in themselves, but success is constantly measured by them. Sports teams, businesses, families and even religious organizations have their set of sacred numbers and times. Either is simply … Continue reading

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Project Cost Example

Important Please read the previous post explaining this model, before reviewing the example below. This example uses the following steps. Adds employee salary, benefits and contractor fees as cost variables. Calculates how much these variables cost each week. Sets highest number of story points … Continue reading

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Calculating Project Costs Using Story Points

Fibonacci Numbers & Dog Breeds? Managers using the cost accounting method to estimate projects are often lost when it comes to calculating the cost of Agile Scrum projects. Where the cost accounting method typically uses cost of time per project task as … Continue reading

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Profits Falling – Don’t Panic!

Expenses vs. Income – Distracts from Finding the Real Problem When it’s all said and done any companies’ goal must be to make money. No money – no business. It’s that simple. The trick to making money is to know how … Continue reading

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The Yin and Yang of “Hacktivism”

I ran across an interesting Ted Talk by Keren Elazari about hackers. She makes some bold statements such as, “…you just can’t see something broken in the world and leave it be.” She also states “I think we need hackers, … Continue reading

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Neutron Jack vs. Transcendent Teams

During his tenure as CEO at GE, Jack Welch popularized a “Rank and Yank policy” by firing the bottom 10% of his managers. Some argue the downside of his scorched earth team management methodology pressured employees to cut corners. This … Continue reading

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Book Review – Naked Statistics Stripping the Dread from the Data

Title – Naked Statistics Stripping the Dread from the Data Author – Charles Wheelan Publisher – W. W. Norton & Company Summary – The need for getting good data is widely understood. Bad numbers lead to bad decisions leading to bad … Continue reading

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Improper Planning – The Skeleton in the Closet

I had a long talk last week with a guy we will call Joe. He works for a company who has undertaken a large data conversion project. Mid way through that project the sponsors became very concerned about the project’s … Continue reading

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Managing Software Quality Assurance Test Rounds – Part Five (Critical Numbers)

In his book The Personal MBA: Master the Art of Business, the author Josh Kaufman recommends isolating two to five critical indicators, or what he calls Key Performance Indicators (KPI). These numbers should measure throughput and of a given system. The goal … Continue reading

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Managing Software Quality Assurance Test Rounds – Part Six (Discovering What Went Wrong)

When discovering and resolving issues two attributes are absolutely necessary. These are a calm head and an experimental mindset. Uncertainty is inevitable. The sooner this is accepted, the better you will become at solving problems. Having numbers that expose issues … Continue reading

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Managing Software Quality Assurance Test Rounds – Part Four (Test Round Scenario)

Now that we understand the overall project risk and have our project matrix in place, we are ready to actually plan our tests and follow the critical numbers. The purpose of this example is not to be entirely accurate in every … Continue reading

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Managing Software Quality Assurance Test Rounds – Part Three (Developing the Project Matrix)

Now that we understand how to assess the project risk, we are ready to actually plan and manage our test rounds. Since software development is a dynamic process, each level of testing must allow a great amount of flexibility. Offering … Continue reading

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Managing Software Quality Assurance Test Rounds – Part Two (Assessing Quality Assurance Risk)

“What gets measured gets managed and what gets managed gets done.” – Peter Drucker Before the project is organized and critical numbers are calculated, I recommend running a risk assessment exposing weaknesses in your quality assurance planning and processes. This analysis … Continue reading

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Managing Software Quality Assurance Test Rounds – Part One (Understanding the Nature of Software Testing)

Professor Cem Kaner J.D., PhD explains the “Impossibility of Complete Testing” in his lecture notes. This lecture mathematically demonstrates how impossible it to test all the options of a given set of enhancements. The testing straggly is to identify the … Continue reading

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Managing Software Quality Assurance Test Rounds – Introduction

Thus far we have discussed two fundamental areas of testing software. These are Architecting the Environment (Principles behind setting up hardware environments.) Quality Assurance Management (Principles behind managing QA projects.) Now we are ready to discuss Managing Software Quality Assurance … Continue reading

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A Balanced Approach to Software Testing

In his reconstruction speech given to Congress on April 11, 1865, Abraham Lincoln warned the nation that creating inflexible plans will, “…become a new entanglement”. The quality assurance manager can draw a number of lessons from the broader context  of … Continue reading

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Quality Assurance Planning – Part Five (A Final Word – Nothing trumps experience)

You will become better at planning your test cycles the more often you execute them. There is no substitute for experience. A plan is basically a prioritized list of tasks assigned to a resource. A plan is like a noun. … Continue reading

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Quality Assurance Planning – Part Four (Selecting the Appropriate Test Type)

Here is how I break-down quality assurance types and what questions I ask to determine which should be included in the test cycle: Development (Have the coding architectural errors been identified and resolved? This can only done as a white … Continue reading

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Quality Assurance Planning – Part Three (Acceptance Testing)

Now that the system has been tested by the developer during their unit tests, the load test is complete and the quality assurance team has successfully executed their standard and new test cases, we are ready for our restaurant’s “Pre-Opening … Continue reading

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Quality Assurance Planning – Part Two (Integration & System Testing)

Integration testing is the most extensive level and the one which requires the largest portion of the test plan. At this point you should plan for a full regression test as well as functional testing to insure new features work … Continue reading

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Quality Assurance Planning – Part One (Unit Testing)

Unit testing should be done by the developer and include two tests. The first of these is to walk through each line of his code to insure it works correctly. This is a normal part of the development process, however … Continue reading

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Quality Assurance Planning – Introduction

“Plans are nothing; planning is everything.” Dwight D. Eisenhower — These words apply to everything that is important; both personally and in business. Software testing is no exception. If you don’t formulate your plan then you have nothing. Continue reading

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Book Review – The First 20 Hours

Title – The First 20 Hours Author – Josh Kaufman Publisher – Penguin Group US Summary – If you are wondering how to accomplish your desire to learn new skills or polish up on ones you have forgotten, then this book is … Continue reading

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Architectures for Good Software Testing – Part Five (Production Environment)

The Production environment must be considered “sacred”. If the previous processes have been conducted thoughtfully and with a huge amount of dedication and hard work, the application that finds its home in production should make work easier for the end … Continue reading

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Architectures for Good Software Testing – Part Four (Staging Environment)

The Staging Environment serves as a place to hold tested applications until deployment schedules are established. It is possible some customers will not want a certain release. It is also possible that customers cannot accommodate a release as soon as … Continue reading

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Architectures for Good Software Testing – Part Three (Quality Assurance Environment)

My father-in-law was a well known Slovenian metal sculptor. He would heat, pound, weld, pound, re-heat and re-pound his scrap mettle until it became an amazing work of art. I see quality assurance in much the same light. The QA … Continue reading

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Architectures for Good Software Testing – Part Two (Development Environment)

One of the most important issues with development environments is “gold plating”. To put it simply, this is when the developer tries new technologies, or approaches to make his job more interesting or challenging. If the enterprise does not allow … Continue reading

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Architectures for Good Software Testing – Part One (Finding a Home)

Deploying a solution to an unsuitable environment is like dumping a newly purchased gold fish in a bowl that is several times colder than the temperature in its take home bag. The chances of our new shiny pet surviving are extremely poor. Continue reading

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Architectures for Good Software Testing – Introduction

Through out history architecture and engineering has created masterful physical assets such as bridges, houses and office complexes. Some constructions such as the Barnenez (France), Sechin Bajo (Peru), Mehrgarh (Pakistan) and Pyramid of Djoser (Egypt) have lasted for thousands of … Continue reading

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Book Review – The Athena Doctrine

…feminine values drive broad business benefits by creating lasting and mutually beneficial relationships with customers and communities. Continue reading

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Software Development Risk Management Model

Quantifying elements that make up problems creates clear pathways to action. This sample Software Development Risk Management Model creates meaningful data offering “actionable” information. Continue reading

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