Articles

Lean-Agile for Executives and Transformation Agents

The Business Case for Agility. The five most important reasons for going Agile and how it is that understanding the whys of Agile helps you with this transition. This article also discovers our breakthrough approach to managing requirements - the Minimum Business Increment (MBI). (Al Shalloway. 11/2016)

Net Objectives' Approach to Agile at Scale. Thousands of organizations have adopted Agile principles and practices because it can be a powerful engine for innovation. But the Agile engine is only part of a larger mechanism that must drive business and technology transformation. We help clients successfully unleash the full potential of Agile as measured in business outcomes. (Al Shalloway. 1/2017)

Our Approach to the Scaled Agile Framework (SAFe)® While Agile has worked well for small teams it has achieved mixed results as one attempts to scale it. This article discusses the challenges of Agile at scale and some effective ways to achieve success. (Al Shalloway. 1/2017)

Aligning Multiple Teams with Lean-Agile Thinking. Three key principles of Lean Thinking for software development. This article describes how they apply to the value stream (the name Lean gives the workflow from “concept” to “consumption”). It also describes three disciplines Lean-Agile teams will need to follow to keep value flowing. Finally, it illustrates how Lean Thinking guides Agile enterprises in addressing challenges in their context. Lean-Agile lays out a different, more disciplined approach for scaling Agile. (Al Shalloway. 11/2016)

Net Objectives' Approach for Fast Growth and Mid-Scale Organizations. Many companies are looking at large scale Agile solutions because they’ve been unable to get teams to work together. While Scrum-of-Scrums has proven to be ineffective, there are other methods that can have multiple teams work together effectively without heavy overhead. This paper discusses several issues of Agile at mid-scale and several techniques that can be used that allow more Agility and greater pivoting when necessary. These methods work both for fast growth companies that are wanting to keep their levels of innovation up while they grow as well as companies in the mid-scale range (150-1000) people that are looking to rejuvenate their methods. (Al Shalloway. 1/2017)

Net Objectives Coaching Academy. It takes time and experience to become a great Lean-Agile coach at the team level. The Coaching Academy: Team-Level Track is designed for people who will be providing coaching support at the team level. The essence of Lean-Agile is that it is a combination of both systems thinking to understand what to do and kaizen to improve your ability to do it. The Net Objectives Coaching Academy is designed to help novice coaches expand their experience in Lean-Agile methods so that they know how to guide teams in applying Lean-Agile principles and to give them tools and approaches to teach and mentor teams in these practices. Net Objectives is the only consulting company that has been at the forefront of the adoption of XP, Scrum, Lean, Kanban and SAFe®. This enables us to provide your coaches with the skill sets that are appropriate for your organization regardless of the practices you are using.

Product Portfolio Management

Driving Enterprise Agility from the Program Management Office.An experience report from one of our clients that discusses how they improved their IT effectiveness by focusing on the Program Management Office. (Guy Beaver, Kelley Horton. 7/2010)

Lean Portfolio Management: Guiding IT Projects with Business Value. An introduction to project portfolio management, offering a review of the Lean portfolio, the importance of letting Business value lead the effort, and the benefits to be derived. (Guy Beaver. 3/2008)

Using Product Portfolio Management to Improve the Efficiency of Teams. How organizations often fail in rolling out Agile methods to the organization because they never truly address the real impediment their development organization is facing: too many projects, projects that are too large, and/or projects that are poorly understood. (Al Shalloway. 4/2010)

Becoming Lean-Agile

Agile Conversations. A collection of conversations that demonstrates some of the tangible and intangible benefits of a successful Agile implementation. (Guy Beaver, Alan Chedalawada. 3/2008)

Becoming Lean: The Why, What and How. A different way of looking at Lean Software Development, one that is independent of Lean's manufacturing heritage. It begins by presenting Lean as a collection of a body of knowledge applying Lean principles to software development. It then shows how this creates a new paradigm of management, one that does not inevitably lead to micro-management or chaos. Finally, it concludes with a discussion about how organizations can use Lean to improve their ability to learn. (Al Shalloway. 12/2010)

Evolving Your Business With Lean-Agile. How to achieve the promise of Lean and Agile methods by integrating the two approaches in a way that manifests the promise of each. In particular, Lean suggests we should focus on delivering business value quickly by creating a system for effective and efficient development. Agile informs our design of this system by attending to teams, creativity, and collaboration. Both advocate a continuous improvement of methods via feedback and reflection. Al first presents the key concepts and approaches for accomplishing this and then examines the impact on management when implementing them. (Al Shalloway. 3/2015)

Lean-Agile Adoption from the C-Suite to DevOps. What you must do to transition to Lean-Agile methods in an organization. It describes the three common challenges faced, the activities to resolve these challenges, and the approach we take to become effective. (Al Shalloway. 3/2016)

Lean Anti-Patterns and What to do About Them. A discussion of a few common Lean Anti-Patterns. Anti-Patterns are commonly recurring practices that are counterproductive. We call them "Lean" Anti-Patterns because these anti-patterns result from violating Lean principles. Lean principles form the basis for Scrum practices. Looking at how Lean Anti-Patterns violate lean principles gives us insight into how we need to modify our practices to be more effective. (Al Shalloway. 8/2007)

Our Approach to Scaled Agile Framework (SAFe®). For some organizations, SAFe by itself is sufficient, but for larger organizations (2,000+) that have inter-leaved products and whose shared services (such as business intelligence) are required to support multiple products, some additional practices are needed. It is important to remember that SAFe is a framework and not a total solution in and of itself. There are many areas where SAFe provides mere awareness of issues you must solve, not a full solution. In addition, there are several practices we have found useful that are not included in the framework. While the standard courses and website might tell you what to achieve, they do little to tell you how to do it in many areas. The essential difference here is that we look to SAFe for ideas when provided solutions don’t exactly fit the needs of your organization. We use the principles of Lean-Agile to guide us, along with other practices to enhance SAFe to be more effective. (Al Shalloway. 11/2016)

Overview of Guardrails: Keeping Aligned and On Track. The purpose of guardrails is both for alignment and to keep people on the right path. They provide guidance to ensure that you are on course and to allow you to make decisions at a local level while ensuring you are still aligned to the rest of the value stream. This article introduces the idea of guardrails and describes each one. (Al Shalloway. 9/2015)

Overview of Lean-Agile Methods. An overview of the more popular Lean-Agile methods of the last decade, including XP, Scrum, Kanban and Lean. (Al Shalloway. 9/2010)

Steps to Agile Success. Having well-defined outcomes and a plan for achieving those outcomes is key to keeping the transformation effort on track. (Alex Singh. 1/2017)

Using Lean-Agile to Provide the Real Value of ALM. How to use Lean-Thinking to guide Agile transitions. (Al Shalloway. 10/2010)

Where to Begin Your Transition to Lean-Agile. Too many organizations assume that the place to start their Agile transition is at the team. Often, it is not. This article discusses what to consider when starting a transition to Agile methods. (Al Shalloway. 12/2000)

Why Tailored Agile Transformation Solutions Are More Effective, Less Expensive, and Less Risky. Our contention and experience is that solutions tailored to an organization’s current situation, challenges, and culture can be more effective and less costly than predefined ones that are applied out of the box. While there are risks to the former, these can be avoided. The different set of risks to taking predefined solutions, ironically, can only be avoided by tailoring them. This article discusses the values and risks of both approaches and how to get the benefits of both. (Al Shalloway. 11/2016)

Team Agility

Challenging Why (Not if) Scrum Works. Why does Scrum work? The answer may surprise you. It also opens up why you must always go beyond practices and look at the principles on which they are built. (Al Shalloway. 9/2007)

Demystifying Kanban. Kanban is a systems approach to software development that affects many different types of behaviors. This article mentions a few of the common misconceptions people have about Kanban in order to help clarify what Kanban is and is not. (Al Shalloway. 3/2011)

Introduction to Commonality/Variability Analysis. Design patterns do not exist in isolation, but work in concert with other design patterns to help you create more robust applications. In this book, you will gain a solid understanding of twelve core design patterns and a pattern used in analysis. You will gain enough of a foundation that you will be able to read the design pattern literature, if you want to, and possibly discover patterns on your own. Most importantly, you will be better equipped to create flexible and complete software that is easier to maintain. (Al Shalloway, James R Trott. 10/2004)

Technical Agility

Acceptance Test-Driven Development: An Introduction. A short introduction to Acceptance Test-Driven Development (ATDD). (Ken Pugh. 5/2011)

Avoiding System Bankruptcy: How to Pay Off Your Technical Debt. This reprint from Agile Product and Project Management introduces the concept of technical debt, what practices and attitudes cause it, and what we can do to prevent it or pay it off. (Amir Kolsky. 11/2016)

Can Patterns Be Harmful? Patterns are an effective thought process, not merely solutions to recurring problems in a context. (Al Shalloway. 9/2003)

Introductory Acceptance Test. This article is an excerpt from Ken Pugh's Lean-Agile Acceptance Test Driven Development: Better Software Through Collaboration. It provides an example of an acceptance test. In this example, the developer and tester are introducing ATDD to the customer. It shows what might go on in a meeting like this. (Ken Pugh. 3/2010)

Shalloway's Law. This reprint from Chapter 4 of Essential Skills for the Agile Developer: A Guide to Better Programming and Design, discusses how to truly avoid redundancy. (Al Shalloway, Scott Bain, Ken Pugh, Amir Kolsky. 9/2011)

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