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Best Practices for Agile Managers

about 10 years ago | Lalatendu Das: Interpretations of technorealism

Agile Managers! Sounds like an Oxymoron? In reality, there are organizations which have functional or product manager roles which do not fit under the traditional roles defined by agile methods. Jurgen Appelo started a thread (on his blog) to capture the best practices for a newly minted agile manager.Here is what I think (as interpreted from the Agile principles)..please add on if I missed anything importantAn agile manager should:Focus on optimizing the "business value" being delivered by the agile team. You may decide on your own metrics for business value (qualitative, quantitative or gut feel), but key is to have a sense ..at all times Pursue delivery of a fully working software at end of each sprint Periodically (pick your own frequency) Review and optimize the 'Done' list Identify key stakeholders and ensure their participation (as required) during the entire project life cycle Set expectations clearly (with all stakeholders), manage expectations to avoid last minute surprises Make an genuine effort to understand all aspects of the project (example: if you are not technical, don't avoid the architecture all together, try to gather just enough understanding) Set up information radiators (to convey real time information to all stakeholders) Focus on attaining a sustainable velocity quickly and early in the project life-cycle (it helps in planning and avoids burn outs) Watch out for 'Smells' (things which might be an impediment to agile practices Last but not the least, an agile manager should demonstrate thought leadership and show genuine concern for professional growth of each member of the team. It's essential for the agile manager to win the respect of the team. You would always be better of by being a 'Leader' rather than a 'Manager'

Myths of agility

about 10 years ago | Lalatendu Das: Interpretations of technorealism

In the context of Software development, the term “agility” is widely misunderstood. Even many seasoned software engineers associate agility with complex process changes to adopt ‘Agile’ methods such as XP, SCRUM, DSDM, FDD and Crystal etc. But in reality, this specious association can’t be any farther from the truth. Before you join the ‘Agile’ bandwagon and start reading a XP or SCRUM book, it is essential for you to understand the fine line between ‘Agile methods’ and being ‘agile’. Being ‘agile’ is a state where your organization is completely adaptive to changing environment. You are driven by business value. Your entire infrastructure, not just IT department but also other business functions such as sales, marketing, finance, production, procurement etc look to maximize the business value generated for the organizations. All it requires certain level of maturity in the way you work, nothing else matters. In the context of Software development, you can adopt any methodology you like (yes, even waterfall, RUP) as long as you focus on a) maximizing “Business value” instead of “through-put” b) being “Adaptive” instead of being “Predictive” c) and Continuous sustainable improvement. All that ‘Agile’ methods do, is to enable some of the aforesaid attributes a bit more than any other traditional methods (such as Waterfall, RUP etc).Looking from a holistic perspective, being agile is the end goal of all organization and adopting an ‘Agile’ method (for that matter any other software development method) is just a mean to achieve the end goal. However it’s unfortunate to see many organizations blindly adopt XP or Scrum process without giving sufficient thoughts to the values required to make an organization truly agile. It is, therefore obvious that such changes fail over long run. If you care for being agile, have a look at the Principles behind agile methods. Have a open discussion within your team to determine what each principle means to you as a group. Look at your existing processes and see if they adhere to these principles (fully or partially). Start working on those processes which needs refinement. Change if you must, but only after fully grasping what change means to the overall organization. Rest assured you will ensure a successful and sustainable process change towards being truly agile.

Kwik Gourmet

about 10 years ago | Suman Thareja: Spice it up!..

Its amazing how many more street food carts are popping up everywhere in cities from New York to Philly to DC and Los Angeles. One of my favorites and extremely popular with all my colleagues is the Kwik Gourmet  (a Vendy award nominee) on Park Avenue and 47th Street.  He also has a 24hour cart […]

Take a second look – they may not be stupid

about 10 years ago | James Torio: Designing the experience

That person is stupid. The client is stupid because he shot down my idea. The developer is stupid because he is pushing back on the worlds most beautiful design. The designer is stupid because she cares about the UI being pixel perfect in IE 7. It could be our client, team member or anyone else we interact with. […]

"To acquire knowledge, one must study; but to acquire wisdom, one must observe."

about 10 years ago | Nirmal Merchant: Urban Gypsy

“To acquire knowledge, one must study; but to acquire wisdom, one must observe.” -   - Marilyn vos Savant (Shared by Yanwing Wong)

At Globe in San Fransisco. Nice inky and medium body not too...

about 10 years ago | Nirmal Merchant: Urban Gypsy

At Globe in San Fransisco. Nice inky and medium body not too fruity or earthy.  Enjoyed it with a roast chicken with grilled asparagus, pickled beets and steamed corn.

Kash Keval

about 10 years ago | Suman Thareja: Spice it up!..

Deli / Cheese Market in the front and lovely Wine Bar in the back.  Easily mistaken for just a Deli.  If you enjoy tapas sytle dining and like your wine Kash Keval is a must try. Its small and quaint giving you the privacy you sometimes want in a restaurant.  The lighting and ambiance is […]

Bootstrap, from Twitter

about 10 years ago | Eduard Moldovan: eduardmoldovan.com - tech

Twitter recently joined the companies which provide such tools to web developers which help them do a better work. Let's check out quickly what Bootstrap is about!

Lets Play with Scala

about 10 years ago | Aishwarya Singhal: Aishwarya Singhal

Sometime earlier this year, I read a blog  and an article. These are interesting thoughts and coming from the Java space of enterprise applications, I know exactly how bad performance and unmaintainable the code can get. Scala’s claim of reducing the code by a factor of 2 or 3 is extremely tempting! Add to that a lot [...]


about 10 years ago | Suman Thareja: Spice it up!..

Its been a while since I added a restaurant to my ‘I will go back anytime!’ list.  Empellon made it there easily.  Alex Stupak has a really mouth watering menu and does wonders with his Mexican flavors. I got an amazing deal through thrillist (which if you haven’t use yet, you must!).  Greed for flavor […]

New in Dolphin - Java 7

about 10 years ago | Subodh Gupta: Subodh's Blog

With Dolphin java introduced cool new features like:1. Strings in “switch” block     switch(s) {          case “Apple”:          // do something;          case “Orange”:          // do something;          default :     }     2. <> (Diamond) operator – Type inference for generic instance creationE.g List > list = new ArrayList>();vis-à-visList > list = new ArrayList <> ();Empty diamond braces is required and it's not a typo :).     3. Single Catch for multiple Exceptions with "|" operator          try {          // Reflective operations calling Class.forName,          // Class.newInstance, Class.getMethod, Method.invoke, etc.     } catch (final ClassNotFoundException |      InstantiationException | NoSuchMethodException |      InvocationTargetException e) {          log(e)          throw e;     }     4. Also in Java 7, this will work     public void rethrowException(String exceptionName) throws FirstException, SecondException {          try { // ...          } catch (Exception e) {          throw e;     }}     5. Try-with-resources statement – basic objective is to facilitate automatic resource management, simplify coding and highlight pertinent exceptions e.g.     try (InputStream in = new FileInputStream(src);     OutputStream out = new FileOutputStream(dest);) {          byte buf = new byte[8192];          int n;          while ((n = in.read(buf)) >= 0)               out.write(buf, 0, n);          }

"Keep away from people who try to belittle your ambitions. Small people always do that, but the..."

about 10 years ago | Nirmal Merchant: Urban Gypsy

“Keep away from people who try to belittle your ambitions. Small people always do that, but the really great make you feel that you, too, can become great.” - Mark Twain  (Reblogged from Praful Baweja)

"I don’t know the key to success, but the key to failure is to try to please everyone."

about 10 years ago | Nirmal Merchant: Urban Gypsy

“I don’t know the key to success, but the key to failure is to try to please everyone.” - Bill Cosby

Prior to Agile, our Sponsors were in the habit of committing a...

about 10 years ago | Nirmal Merchant: Urban Gypsy

Prior to Agile, our Sponsors were in the habit of committing a drop dead production release date and aggressively heightening the sense of urgency by asking the team if the product features are going to get delivered by that time.  When they got introduced to Agile.. they readily adopted the liberty to add/change the stories in the backlog but continued to hold us to the original deadline.  On one such project, my team and I used the Scope Burn Down chart to demonstrate to the sponsors that we are not only completing what was originally in the scope but also completing stories that have been added later on.  It also helped them visualize how much the scope changed at what point in the project.   Using the Release Burn Down chart we were able to demonstrate that if they removed stories, we could deliver the project sooner.  This enabled the sponsors to take a hard look at the stories and remove the “nice to have” features (so called “bells and whistles” shown below the x-axis).  When they could no longer remove stories, we convinced them to split the delivery into two releases instead of one.  The first release had the features the users would want to see on day 1.  The second release had features that users would not use before the end of the year or early next year.

Making smaller circles.

about 10 years ago | Nirmal Merchant: Urban Gypsy

This is the second installment in the series - Bringing it all together - Philosophy, Agile, Lean and Learning How does one eat an elephant? One bite at a time! In The Art of Learning, Josh recommends breaking down an activity into smaller steps and repeating each of the steps enough number of times to appreciate the nuances and make it second nature.  Once each step is internalized, he practices different permutations of the steps until he has mastered the entire activity.  This is the core discipline one needs as one moves from Apprentice - Journey Man - Master.  A common misunderstanding is that if you know more about something you can move up this ladder.  The truth is that you cannot be a Journey Man until you have practiced the activity enough number of times to have learned the essence of that activity.  As Josh says: We have to be able to do something slowly before we can have any hope of doing it correctly with speed. When I reflect on my own prior efforts at learning something new, dancing stands out as the one area where I have practiced such tenacity.  I am not a master dancer yet, but I know that certain aspects of dancing have been internalized to the level of a reflex action or response.  Both Agile and Lean Startups recommend expediting the learning moments by shortening the feedback loop. In Agile, we practice this by breakdown business requirements into stories small enough that about 5 to 7 of them can be constructed, tested and deployed into production in the smallest possible sprint (one or two week long sprints are recommended).  As the team practices this discipline again & again, it inspects & adapts and gets better at software development.  As a result, its velocity begins to improve. Lean Startups conduct incremental experiments that follow the Build-Measure-Learn loop to discover valuable truths about a Startup’s present and future business prospects.  In other words, they conduct a series of small, low risk experiments to ascertain that their hypothesis on the next product feature that needs to be built, the price the customer is willing to pay and the customer that they are targeting are actually correct. Both Agile and Lean Startups practice the principle of Making smaller circles to expedite learning and avoid or reduce waste.

For, hover, size and padding on the checkbox input

about 10 years ago | Eduard Moldovan: eduardmoldovan.com - tech

Isn't it frustrating not to be able to check a checkbox due to its small size? Here are a few ideas on how to improve that.