How Relative Story Sizing Won Me Over

RJ Dela-Cruz Agile, Consulting, Dev Methodologies, Problem Solving Leave a Comment

Anyone who practices agile methodologies such as scrum is going to be very familiar with the practice of story pointing user stories (also known as poker planning). The good ole’ fashion 4, 8, 13, etc. Fibonacci sequences we assign to user stories of a sprint.

If you’re not familiar, it’s where the team gathers together to discuss the user stories to bring into a coming sprint and assigning each a number called story points. These story points are estimates that represent the level of difficulty and time it is expected to take to complete the story.

The team often will have discussions on whether a story is a particular story point number and argue their point of view until the team comes to an agreement to what story point it should be. I’ve done this type of work estimation for a long time that it’s natural for me… until we did something a bit different on a scrum team that I was a part of.

In this blog, we discuss a different way to assign poker points to user stories that could be beneficial to your scrum team – relative story sizing.

Strategy: Knowledge Transfer In Consulting Projects

Josh Green Agile, Consulting, Dev Methodologies, Soft Skills Leave a Comment

Imparting Knowledge And Preparing For The End Of A Contract

In this blog, I share an example of a consulting engagement that required significant knowledge transfer to new hires. We detail an approach for teaching Spring Batch to developers with no previous experience in Java or the Spring Framework.

The goal is to provide a real-world example of closing a contract, imparting knowledge with the client and their employees, and the potential issues faced in the process.

Microservices Anti-Patterns

Dallas Monson Agile, Consulting, Microservices 1 Comment

Microservices? Yeah, you’re doing it wrong.

Microservices is a silver bullet, magic pill, instant fix, and can’t-go-wrong solution to all of software’s problems. In fact, as soon you implement even the basics of microservices all of your dreams come true; you will triple productivity, reach your ideal weight, land your dream job, win the lottery 10 times, and be able to fly, clearly.

While this sounds like a lot of hyperbole wrapped up in some BS, if you have been listening to anything around microservices recently you will most likely have heard something not too far from this exaggerated sentiment – especially if it is coming from sales folks.

As a result of this, you or someone you know will likely have been charged by management to implement a solution in microservices or refactor an existing application to take advantage of microservices to ensure that you get all the magic. With so much overinflation of the truth out there, chances are you may have also implemented a microservices antipattern. These antipatterns are actually more common in the wild than fully functional microservices architectures.

Overview
In this post we will cover the most common antipatterns that I have witnessed in the wild:

Break the Piggy Bank
Everything Micro (Except for the Data)
We are Agile! a.k.a. The Frankenstein

Each one of these results from a common misconception. We will do our best to define these patterns and their symptoms. After each, we will also show a way out of the mess so that you can recover and begin to move towards a better implementation. Let’s get started!

Web Development Business

Refreshing Your Scrum

Keith Shakib Agile, Consulting, Design, Dev Methodologies, Problem Solving, Soft Skills 3 Comments

Most of us now have some experience with Agile Scrum practices. Many of us have had years of practice on multiple processes. As a consultant, I have the opportunity to see many differences in how organizations implement and practice the most popular development process methodologies.

While the prescription for good practices is well-documented, many of us have lost our “mojo” at least once and seen many of the benefits of using the process decline.

In this blog, I will indicate some key points required to return to optimal agile performance. I will highlight three common pitfalls, some common causes of those problems, and reminders of how to get back to a high-performance Scrum implementation. Let’s dive in.

Agile Perspective

Tim Broyles Agile, Dev Methodologies 1 Comment

You may think of Agile as just another process. While this is incorrect (as it is a framework created to help developers create processes), there is a fundamental difference between this methodology and most methodologies that have come before.

Agile–done the way it was intended–is revolutionary. Fundamentally, Agile is an advocate of a bottom-up development process. I believe this is why it is often proposed with good intention, however then implemented with a top-down, fixed idea of what the Agile team (and hence the process) will be like.

If you take time to read the Agile Manifesto you will read statements like: ”The best architectures, requirements, and designs emerge from self-organizing teams.” Just consider that for a second. The team has the power to keep what works and dispose of what does not.

There are some basic concepts that allow Agile development to be successful. In this post, I highlight the key parts of Agile that appeal to me (as a reluctant process advocate) and have enabled successful Agile development in recent projects…