worked in largely non-Agile, non-Scrum organisations. With my Product
ambitions, ensuring my next role is Agile is something of a challenge. I have
stacks of experience of handling the sort of problems that always arise in any
event – most are a form of change management. The key is that when operating
Scrum, through its three pillars of Transparency,
Inspection and Adaptation life should be immediately easier, not harder,
for a team member new to Scrum. i.e. Conversion should be quick and easy.
I decided to certify. Being self-funded, the Scrum Alliance route was going to be out of my reach, so PSM via Scrum.org is my way to go. I didn’t want to have to pay for any retesting and there’s more to passing first time than just reading the scrum guide a few times. My route:
Having spent the last 6 years or so, mostly project managing things digital, web and mobile we selectively adopted some artefacts and ceremonies from Kanban and Scrum. However neither the organisation nor clients were ready to fully adopt Agile culture.
Meanwhile Agile has found its way beyond tech’ into traditionally conservative organisations including banking.
There was agility before the Agile manifesto formally pulled it all together. As a Studio Manager in the late 1990s we had a few things right which map to Agile priorities:
Individuals and interactions over processes and tools
Customer collaboration over contract negotiation
We certainly recognised and valued staff who could work in multi-function teams. We sought designers with technical aptitude and developers with an creative flair to ensure some overlap in skill-sets (T-shaped capability). A core project team consisted of a designer, developer and account manager. Any of whom might be project lead, based on the nature of the project. i.e. a very creative project may well be lead by a designer, functionally complex projects lead by a developer and content driven projects typically by an account manager.
At that time, laptops were rare and hot-desking impractical with each person’s workstation often highly customised, big and heavy.
We redesigned our studio and it’s furniture to facilitate quick and easy team flexibility. Instead of benches of workstations, we had specially designed furniture arranged in clusters of four. Within the cluster, the centre space was kept clear with computer screens were arranged to the outer edge ensuring team members can see each other, easily communicate and view each screen content with a slight turn. Workstations consisted of desktop computer and monitor both on top of a customised mobile pedestal. Changing teams was simply a matter of unplugging and wheeling the workstation to the next cluster.
I haven’t found an environment quite like it since. Of course, laptops and WIFI make the ‘wheelie-workstation’ less necessary. I remain proud of the work we did in that studio, my colleagues and the way we worked together.
A video, demonstrating a positive development environment. As I shift my mindset to ‘Product’, it also shows significant investment in the team’s knowledge and instincts as a source of product development ideas, company wide and how that benefits all concerned.
Agile makes it possible: (from 2 minutes) Transforming to best practice and an agile development culture improved code quality and development flexibility
A note to self, looking back on my last post to see what actually was achieved since.
Step 1 – “Get some tooling” – CHECK. Applied to ageing personal web stuff.
Step 2 – “Read up Jeff Patton’s User Story Mapping” – CHECK. The key catchphrases stand up no matter what: “Build the right product”, “Shared understanding” and adding my own twist “develop the greatest effect soonest”. Definitely worth a second read and reference.
Step 3 – “Play with Docker” – PARTIAL CHECK. Our lead developer has built an excellent Docker based infrastructure at work, bringing greater reliability and efficiency. My home kit isn’t compatible yet, so Vagrant will suffice until I update.
Steps 4 and 5 – We did set about using JIRA, Confluence and Bitbucket and bringing legacy projects to them
Moving on from my last employer, my next steps are to ensure I dedicate more time to:
Exploring new tech – AR and VR of particular interest as it gains momentum as Oculus Go continues the process of bringing it mainstream