VersionOne’s State of Agile Survey for 2012 is Out!

February 27, 2013

I received an email yesterday that VersionOne’s State of Agile Development Survey for 2012 was ready and I immediately grabbed my copy. It’s always interesting to see how agile development is progressing and where the challenges are.

On the plus side, this survey indicates that agile continues to have legs, with future plans to implement agile increasing from 59% last year to 83% this year, along with an increase of organizations with 5+ agile teams (48% this year compared to 33% last year).

Crunch Time: If You Play, You Pay

February 20, 2013

Wiktionaryx defines crunch time as, “A critical period of time during which it is necessary to work hard and fast.” We’ve all faced deadlines and for various reasons, when work has piled up and we need to suck it up and get things done. And this may very well mean working longer hours than usual.

Do we get a productivity boost from overtime? Yes, but we need to make sure that we limit this overtime to short bursts of a few weeks. And there is a trade-off involved; as Daniel Cook says in a great productivity presentation, “When you crunch, you pay.”

Spiraling Up Towards Agility

February 13, 2013

My last post introduced an upward spiral of change from the book Changeology: 5 Steps to Realizing Your Goals and Resolutions by John Norcross and Kristin Loberg. This spiral illustrates a progression of 5 steps related to personal change and how people iterate through those steps, progressing in a non-linear fashion. This is because Norcross and Loberg acknowledge that we’ll make small slips along the way, reverting back to old habits in small ways as we implement change.

The same process is followed as people and teams strive to become agile. They iterate towards greater agility over a period of time, undergoing continual change as they learn more about what it means to be agile and as the team collectively shifts its very thinking about work and its approach to work. And there will be slips back to old habits and ways of thinking along the way.

For example, a team might start out by learning the Scrum framework, learning how the Scrum artifacts, ceremonies and roles are designed to facilitate a self-managed team in delivering software in short sprints. As the team continues to learn and improve, they will look to add technical practices, doing so in ways that support agile thinking.

The Upward Spiral of Successful Personal Change

February 6, 2013

A downward spiral is a pattern of self-destruction that is repeated over time until we reach a BAD PLACE. Downward spirals are not deliberate choices and actions designed to reach that BAD PLACE. After all, no one really commits to a gradual journey of succumbing to temptation and implementing behavior designed to take them to that place, do they?

But you can end up in that BAD PLACE, and once you are there, you may wonder how you got there. If you’ve been self-aware enough to understand that you have been doing things all along that could lead you to that BAD PLACE, you may ask yourself why you allowed yourself to do those things and why you didn’t take action to change before you arrived.

Perhaps you tried to change, but it didn’t stick. How often do people quit smoking only to resume it later? Or go on that crash diet only to re-gain the weight again? How many of those gym memberships that people signed up for in the New Year are destined to go idle any day now?