Agile Practices

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Grant tells of Exygy of trying to do agile for their client services

  • Hit some bumps. Focused too much on the practices instead of the principles.
  • Tries pair programming, improved code quality but not value delivery
  • Instead of code quality, talk about code scalability
  • Developing a set of best practices to support agile principles
  • Genevieve is working with nonprofits to focus on outcomes
  • Creating an iterative process has been most impactful on project management
  • When doing services, salespeople should sell the process not solutions
  • Using pivotal tracker forces some process on you
  • The concept of a backlog and working on the most important thing has been powerful
  • What to do if the clients priorities don't make sense?
    • Clients jump to the very end sometimes.
    • Agile says that you should have a product owner
    • Exygy pairs one client representative with one staff guide
    • Mike thinks ownership is more about owning the process to build consensus
    • It really depends on the client
    • Tread lightly with people's emotions about their projects
  • Agile is a toolbox, pull practices out as needed
  • Have the designer talk to developers earlier in the process
  • Screen early and often to identify problems when they are manageable
  • Leading an org is like playing an organ, you need to move all the levers
  • Micro and macro viewing is important
  • Keep breaking things down as much as possible
  • Mike likes using Epics in JIRA to break things down by area
  • Kanban is a practice/philosophy. The source of active/backlog/icebox columns
  • Your work in progress only has three things in it at a time
  • Trello is a very simple implementation
  • Lean Kit is a simple Kanban board
  • Retrospectives are important. Review after every iteration.
  • Ask yourself "is this working?"
  • Ask the team for:
    • likes of what is working well
    • wishes for improvements
    • wonders / questions
  • Wiping the slate clean is a huge benefit of iterations
  • Product road maps are the worst. Projects are not a highway.
  • Product terrain maps are better, list obstacles and destination but keep exploring
  • Get a big win early to get people on board with an iterative process


No perfect tool, and even if there was it will not be when your process changes

  • Reading: The Toyota Way says problems are useful
  • Tool: Stories On Board helps break things down
  • Reading: Personal Kanban to bring it into your own life
  • Tool: Workflowy lets you drill down