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Showing posts from March, 2011

PMI Agile Certification - what is it worth?

The Project Management Institute has started beta testing a new certification of Agile Project Leaders. What does this mean? Where does it fit in with the existing certifications? And what impact will it have on the Scrum Community?

Gregory Balestrero, President & CEO of PMI, attended the Orlando Scrum Gathering in 2009. When he got there what did he see? Half the attendees had a PMP!

These attendees were members of the PMI for whom the PMI was doing nothing! So this Scrum and Agile stuff was not just a passing fad, but represented a real need in the software space. The PMI had to do something, and that something is the PMI Agile Certification.

The program has now been published on their website. According to the PMI, their certification program should enable practitioners to:
"Demonstrate to employers their level of professionalism in Agile practices of project management "Increase their professional versatility in both project management tools and techniques "…

Good Profits, Bad Profits, and Roaming Profits

Today, I opened the latest issue of K-Tipp (the Swiss equivalent of Consumer Reports) and they reported on the new Data Roaming Rates of the three big Swiss Telcos. Although the Telcos claimed simpler, lower rates for customers, the rates are still high and confusing. I believe these companies are doing a tremendous disservice to themselves, which will eventually cost them market share and profitability. They are creating Brand Debt.

Under the new rates, Switzerland's leading provider charges 30 Swiss cents / 30 KB. There is a daily limit of CHF 7, unless you exceed 5 MB, in which case, access costs 30cts per additional 30KB. Why don't they say CHF 10/MB? Here in Europe we have the metric system for a reason! And what is this limit that is not a limit?

It sounds like I could send an email up to 30 KB for 30 cents. Is that true? Far from it! I measured the data volume to sign on to the internet and check my email: 1330 KB with no new messages! (OK I'm a special case: I have…

Plan B: Eject the Warp Core!

I don't often write off-topic, but the images coming from Japan are just too troubling. I am not sure which images trouble more - those coming from Fukushima, those that came from Chernobyl or this video from Swiss TV:

What would happen if something like Fukushima or Chernobyl happened here in Switzerland? 800'000 workers were needed to contain Chernobyl; 50'000 of them have died of radiation sickness. The radiation in the Chernobyl reactor was so intense that even the robots failed.

Switzerland's population is only 7.4 million, of whom 2.5 Million are adult males, aged 20 to 60. If an accident on the scale of Chernobyl happened here, that would mean more than 1 Swiss in 10 -- or more likely, 1 adult male in 3 -- would be called into service and around 1 adult male in 30 would die. An area nearly the size of Switzerland would be rendered uninhabitable.  Where would the rest of us go?

How can we expose ourselves to that kind of risk?

Either we need to get rid of nuclea…

Call for Participation: Lean Agile Scrum Conference Zurich 2011

The third LAS Conference will takes place on September 14, 2011 in Zürich. The conference is a forum for practitioners of Scrum, Lean, Agile and related disciplines to learn and share their experiences. As a low cost community event, it is open to a large spectrum of interested parties.

This year's motto is: "Field Reports on the Road from Pilot Project to Corporate Strategy" The organizers, the SwissICT Lean, Agile & Scrum group, once again seek to bridge the gap between C-level executives, managers, project leaders, business analysts, developers, testers and connect the management perspective with the view from the trenches.

The day starts with a keynote by Stephen Denning in the morning. After this free event, the official conference starts at 10:00 with tutorials (90 minutes) on Scrum, Kanban and a yet undefined topic. The afternoon sessions open with a keynote by David Anderson, followed by eight experience reports (45 minutes) in 4 parallel tracks.


Interview with Steve Denning on Storytelling and Radical Management

I met Steve Denning on the Agile Business group at Yahoo! He had joined a discussion on the best way to get started with Agile and implement the change process.

A few months later, he asked for reviewers for his new book and I signed on. His "radical management" (sounded like 'extreme programming') struck me as a synthesis and extension of key patterns, principles and practices from Scrum and Lean (which I have been promoting for years), something new called Leadership Storytelling, and a sharp focus on delighting the customers. His book is written in clear language for people outside the IT and Automotive sectors.

It clicked immediately with me. When I heard about the Washington Gathering, it was clear that I had to go! What does Steve say about Agile?
I believe that (genuine) Agile is a better way of managing and a great breakthrough in terms of management innovation.

But for this to be recognized and for Agile to have its rightful place in the overall scheme …

Success Factors in a Scrum Sprint

Last week, I posted a summary of the responses to my poll on scrum sprint success and story size. I also proposed a simple definition of success: a successful Scrum team delivers what it promises.

A good Scrum team does not systematically over-commit. It doesn't under-commit either - not one single response indicated that the team usually delivered more that 110% of its commitment. By this definition, 32% of the respondents are "successful" while 68% are "improvable".

Let's take a closer look at Team Size, Story Size and Sprint Duration and how the relate to relate to successfully completing the a Scrum Sprint.

Team Size and Sprint Duration

Two week sprints are by far the most popular with 50 respondents, and the distribution of on the number of stories committed to each sprint looks pretty much like a bell curve centered around 6 stories/sprints. Three week sprints a relatively popular - 17 responses - but the volume of data is probably too small for a c…

What is the optimal Story Size?

Last November, I started a quick poll on Story Size, Team Size, and Sprint Success. I wanted to explore that variables of team size, sprint duration, average and maximum story size, and whether there is any correlation between between these parameters and team success.

I received 81 responses (presumably from 81 different people and hopefully from 81 different teams, but I have no way of checking this). 78 claimed to be doing Scrum, one claimed XP, and two did not reveal their preference. This article presents a first look at the results.

Team Size

Scrum recommends an Implementation Team size of 7+/-2, so 5 to 9. Based on the poll, 63% of the respondents are in the range of 5 to 10 (should have sized the response blocks differently!). 28% have 1 to 4 people and 9% have 11 of more.

Sprint Length

These results were something of a surprise to me. More than half (63%) of all respondents indicated they did two week sprints. Only 1/3 that number reported 3 week sprints. In May 2008, …