I’m once again coaching teams using the Scrum process for agile development, and it occurs to me that many of these teams go through an evolution, similar to the “Five Stages of Grief.” I thought it might be interesting to present here for you a coaches view of team evolution, in the hopes that it might prove useful to another coach, or to a team that is particularly introspective and interested in the journey. Read more



In my current engagement, I’m working once again with teams that are adopting agile development practices. Since I started coaching agile teams in 2009, knowledge of how a team “does agile” has become more common, but true agility, such as the adoption of a kaizen culture, is still rare. Read more



There’s a weird tension in the modern office around disperse vs. co-located teams. We have lots of ways to integrate off site folks into the team these days: video conferencing, instant messaging, VoIP solutions like Skype (which also include video), and soon solutions like SIP will join the fray as well. Don’t forget there’s also the “old” solution of email and telephone too. With all of these solutions, it’s easier than ever to be “there” even when you’re two minutes, or two hours away. So why is there still such a premium on physical co-location of teams? Read more



Recently decided to take a secure Java coding course from SANS, partially because it’s good to brush up on the latest attacks, countermeasures and practices, but to be honest, mostly to log some CPEs for my CISSP certification. The course is part of the SANS Application Security (AppSec) curriculum. Here’s an overview of the course, and my review of it’s content.

The course is 4 days, and is taught in three different ways: live, via vLive (virtual classroom) and On Demand. I chose the On Demand option, which included the course books, a VMWare image with Linux and the software pre-loaded for the labs, and time-limited access (90 days) to the SANS training portal, where I could view pre-recorded sessions and take the quizzes. I ended up taking the course over the span of about 5 weeks, due to other commitments interrupting my progress. Read more



When you’re running a software development project, you have to deal with risks to the project. Some teams just trundle along, not really adopting a formal risk management process. But for those who do, what do you do with a project risk once you’ve identified it? Read more



I’ve covered a number of basic agile concepts over the last few weeks, and I think it’s time to start to talk about some of the more complicated ones. This week, it’s time to talk about failure, and why you should fail fast. Read more



This week, we’re going to take a look at retrospectives. The principles behind the manifesto include “At regular intervals, the team reflects on how to become more effective, then tunes and adjusts it’s behavior accordingly”. The most common way this is done is the retrospective. Read more



Continuing the theme from last week, where we discussed some of the principles behind the manifesto, this week’s concept is technical excellence. The principles say “Continuous attention to technical excellence and good design enhances agility”. Why should that be so? Can’t we just add quality in later? Read more



The Principles Behind the Agile Manifesto includes among it’s many good ideas the following: Simplicity – the art of maximizing the amount of work not done – is essential. What’s that about, then? Read more



Agile practitioners like to use lightweight project management approaches. We still need a way to keep track of what needs to happen, even if we don’t use a Microsoft Project plan.  One approach, favored by Scrum practitioners, is the backlog. So what’s a backlog? Is there more than one type? And what goes in them? Read more

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