The Agile Tribe

The Family Agile

Author: Shawn Wallace

I have been using Agile techniques on projects for many years now to a point at which I can barely remember doing things any other way. Even so,  I have never tried using them outside of the office until recently.
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Agile @Home – Finances!

Author: Jonathan Coleman

Let me begin by telling a story.

In our household – there’s 2 adults, and 3 kids. We live off one income, and have done so for the last 8 and ½ years. We’ve tried all sorts of things to keep our day-to-day budget under control – everything from pencil and paper adding up, to complicated spreadsheets that only a 3rd generation statistician can understand, to nothing at all (short lived), to back to paper and pencil …. etc etc.
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Agile is in the house!

Author: Susan Akers

I had the great pleasure to sit in on a talk given recently by Christian Scheiber, a project manager who has transferred his work experience with Agile to renovating his family home. Christian described it as an Agile journey where they have delivered several iterations and also put some stories into a backlog when priorities changed.

My first thought was – What a joy it must have been for his wife when he talked to her about what she wanted in the house and then he proceeded to fill the walls with storycards.

Christian argued that this helped both of them get a clear picture of how their requirements differed as the stakeholders so by setting up this basic Agile structure they were able to “get the right information at the right time” and the extensive upfront planning also gave them greater control.

So getting the right people involved at the right time is essential as well. What this meant was that Christian and his wife collaborated and used the MoSCoW principles to help them work out what was a Must Have, a Should have and a Could Have (or Nice to have). The business value to them was that they were able to describe their requirements clearly to the architect all at the same time and being a creative person himself, he understand the work required and how they, as users wanted to interact with each room.

It has not all run smoothly and what project, Agile or otherwise does? An unexpected blocker came in the form of how builders see things – not design, not the cost of this tap or wall unit, not how the room was to be used, the colours and all the other nice things you look forward to when building or renovating – No matter was the question was, the answer they always give was in Linear Metres!

So the renovation continues….. and so do the iterations and the strategies to remove the blocker. Agile remains in this house!

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Energy Sappers Vs Energisers – Which one are you???

Author: Fiona Mullen

I was inspired after reading “Liquid Thinking” written by Damian Hughes which talks about ways you can change your thinking so that you can reach your full potential.

From Lukasz Strachanowski (Flickr)

Damian notes that there are 2 types of folks – Energisers (Possibility Thinkers) and Energy Sappers (Probability Thinkers). These 2 groups have a very distinct approach to life which you need to understand so that you can manage your relationships with them effectively.

The Energisers have fire in their belly, full of spirit and life, stamina and strength; whereas the Energy Sappers drain every ounce of energy out of your body and can be quite exhaustive.

To really focus on channelling your energy and achieving your goals you need to understand the comments and clues of both groups. So let’s start with the energy sappers (get the negative folk over with early). They will have statements around:

“ We have done this before” or the classic “Yes but …”

On the other hand, when you pitch an idea to an Energiser , before you have even finished your sentence they have jumped in boots and all with “That sounds good” and in their mind they are already planning how to deliver the idea as it has spurred them on.

I choose to surround myself with Energisers both personally and professionally as I find that when I am with these folk my cup overflows with energy. They have heaps of ideas and passion and this spurs me on to think about new things and keep focussing on the end goal which is making a difference… So which one are you???

Can you see the possibilities or do you think an idea is probably going to fail?


Agile as a fundraising tool!

Author: Mark Palmer

I recently facilitated a fundraising “concept” workshop for a 1st XV rugby tour of Fiji, at my son’s school using agile. We had about 20 players and their parents and managed a fully prioritised, short-list of 5 fundraising activities (“features”) within about 1 hr, using low resource allocation and maximum benefit as our 2 success sliders. There’s also a backlog of lower benefit activities. We are now running a “spike” on a couple that require some feasibility analysis and then next week we are meeting again to develop the story cards for each activity. If you get an opportunity to try this outside of your workplace, have a go, because it works.