Scaling up the Planning Game

Our paper on Scaling up the Planning Game: Collaboration Challenges in Large-Scale Agile Product Development has been accepted at XP conference 2016 in Edinburgh. In this joint work of Felix Evbota, Eric Knauss, Anna Sandberg we discuss how a large-scale agile organization can align views of developers and customers in order to incorporate agile values in their planning. For me, this is a particularly interesting topic because it helps (=is a first step) to understand how customer needs and requirements can and should be communicated in agile organizations.

Title: Scaling up the Planning Game: Collaboration Challenges in Large-Scale Agile Product Development

Abstract: One of the benefits of agile is close collaboration of customer and developer. This ensures good commitment and excellent knowledge flows of information about priorities and efforts. However, it is unclear if this benefit can be leveraged at scale. Clearly, it is infeasible to use practices such as planning game with several agile teams in the room. In this paper, we investigate how a large-scale agile organization manages, what challenges exist, and which opportunities can be leveraged. We found challenges in three areas: (i) the ability to estimate, prioritize, and plan; (ii) the context of planning with respect to working environment, team build-up, and team spirit; and (iii) the ceremonial agreement which promises to allow leveraging abilities in a given context.

Keywords: large-scale agile, planning, collaboration, communication

Pre-Print: EKS2016

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Teaching Agile: Project Content vs. Method Content

Last year, we have started an initiative to better align teaching of agile methodologies at Chalmers | University of Gothenburg in various courses on the undergraduate and graduate level. During this work, we found that we are facing very similar challenges. Our discussions have lead to two publications, first at XP 2015 Conference where we received great feedback and encouragement and then at ICSE 2016 conference, where the paper attached to this post was very well received by the program board. We hope that you can join our discussion and our striving for excellence in agile methods education, either at ICSE next month in Austin, Texas or any time by contacting us directly.

This is joint work by Jan-Philipp Steghöfer, Eric Knauss, Emil Alégroth, Imed HammoudaHåkan Burden, and Morgan Ericsson.

Title: Teaching Agile – Addressing the Conflict Between Project Delivery and Application of Agile Methods

Abstract: This paper analyses the changes we have made in teaching agile methodologies, practices, and principles in four courses in order to address a specific dilemma: students need to apply agile methods in order to learn them, but when complementing our courses with applied content, we face the problem that students perceive the learning and application of agile methods as less important than delivering a finished product at the end of the course. This causes students to not apply theoretical process knowledge and therefore to not develop necessary skills associated with working with defined processes in the industry. Concretely, we report on our experience with teaching Scrum with Lego, removing formal grading requirements on the delivered product, emphasising process application in post-mortem reports, and organisational changes to support the process during supervision. These changes are analysed in the context of student satisfaction, teacher observations, and achievements of learning outcomes. We also provide an overview of the lessons learnt to help guide the design of courses on agile methodologies.

Pre-print: SKA+2016 Continue reading