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micky

Coming out of the closet – the life and adventure of a traditional project manager turned Agilist

I�m coming out of the closet today. No, not that closet. Another closet, the tabu closet in the Agile community. Yes, I was (and to a point still am) a control freak, traditional, command and control project manager. Yes, that�s right you read it correctly. Here�s why this is important: …

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Humans suck at statistics – how agile velocity leads managers astray

Humans are highly optimized for quick decision making. The so-called System 1 that Kahneman refers to in his book “Thinking fast, thinking slow“. One specific area of weakness for the average human is understanding statistics. A very simple exercise to review this is the coin-toss simulation. Humans are highly optimized …

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Creating options by slicing features – #NoEstimates technique

Each feature (or story) in a product backlog contains many undiscovered options. By taking features as they are without slicing them into thin slices of functionality we implicitly commit to an implementation strategy. However, when we slice features we create options that allow us to pro-actively manage the scope of …

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Dealing with Complexity in Software Projects – The theory that explains why Agile Project Management works

Why do projects fail? This is a question that haunts all project managers. Good and bad, experienced and beginners, Agile or non-Agile. The reason for that is simple: we believe that if we crack the code of why projects fail, we will be able to avoid failure in our own …

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Real stories of how estimates destroy value in Software Development

A friend shared with me a few stories about how Estimates are destroying value in his organization. He was kind enough to allow me to share these stories anonymously. Enjoy the reading, I know I did! 🙂 The story of the customer that wanted software, but got the wrong estimates …

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How Chaos Theory will influence management and management styles in the future

Managers all over the world are faced with a critical challenge to their role. They ideas about management and their management style is being challenged. And this is even more important because many managers have reached a position of in their career where they thought they could “take it easy”. …

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We want to make Agile Finland even better, who wants to join? A platform for 2014-2015

The ideas below reflect the discussions we (Maaret Pyhaj�rvi, Martin von Weissenberg, Vasco Duarte) have had while reflecting on our Visions for Agile Finland. We hope these ideas are discussed and developed within the Agile community in Finland, and end up in a set of actions for the Agile Finland …

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Management science’s impossible quest: in search of predictability

Many years ago some people came up with a brilliant idea: “what if, we could turn abundant lead (Pb on the table of elements) into scarce gold?”. A brilliant idea to be sure, but as we know now, impossible. What made Alchemy grow and thrive as a science, was that …

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Fractals, the solution to all of your scaling problems. Including Scaling Agile

It is no secret that I love planning. I’m not coming out of the closet now, that’s been true forever! And at some point in my life I was even “cool” with that. Additionally, I want you to know (although you will not yet understand why) that I still love …

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Hire generalists to help your specialists shine!

Imagine you are developing a highly-specialized embedded software product. Like a radio tower for the GSM/UMTS network, or a high-frequency trading back-end for a large New York trading firm. Why would you want to have generalists in that team? After all, these are niche-niche-niche products. Maybe a few thousand people …

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The simple recipe for disciplined organizations

One question puzzles non-Agilists more than any other question. It is the question that uncovers why Agile does not fit their view of the world. A question that makes non-Agilists feel insecure and reject Agile completely or mostly. This question is: how can less structure, and less planning deliver software …

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How injecting randomness into your project can help it succeed

Success and failure differ, very often, by very little. Take nature as an example. A small change in our DNA (a few mutated genes) can have catastrophic consequences. On the other hand, without these mutations humans would never have come into existence. Humans and other species in the planet evolved …

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Why projects fail, is why (we think) they succeed!

When I started my career as a Project Manager, I too was convinced that following a plan was a mandatory requirement for project success. As I tried to manage my first projects, my emphasis was on making sure that the plan was known, understood and then followed by everyone involved. …

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The most valuable question for your software project

Every time a software project is started, a dance starts: the dance of project approval. Decision makers and project delivery team take different positions at a table, some ask questions, others do their best to respond, given that these questions are typically about the future. Some of the questions are …

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Use #NoEstimates to create options and deliver value reliably

Why do I use #NoEstimates? Certainly the first reason is obvious in the name of this movement. But there are may other reasons. One of the reasons that does not get enough airtime is that it creates more options than using pre-estimated methods to manage software projects. Value is unpredictable, …

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Which do we need the most, Project Managers or Line Managers?

Should we organize around the delivery of products or along the structure of our organization? Which organizational paradigm is the most effective or efficient? This is a question that most managers struggle with regularly. At least when they are asked to “re-organize” their respective organizations. In Europe (and I suspect …

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