Absolutely! They even wear the finest shoes that exist. Over the past 10 years, Pyxis has been helping development teams to adopt Agility and perfect their Agile development practices. In doing so, some people might think we’re in the business of “showing” not “doing”. The truth is we’re in both. Pyxis really started as a software development company before we had any interest in showing and talking about Agility. Ever since we started to promote Agility around us and we never stopped doing what we were showing. Wearing our own shoes so to speak!
Category : Produits
For the 3rd time (2nd for Minyaa), I will be present to AtlasCamp in San Francisco.
My colleague François Perron launched a very interesting discussion on our private wiki – “As a coach, what to do when executives and upper management force the project team to do over time in order to meet deadlines?”.
As you can probably guess, this initiated very interesting discussions and an obvious reaction to such an approach.
Everyone agreed that due to the project visibility and the position of the organization within its market, the project launch date was critical. Everyone also understood that the organization had very few options so nobody debated the need to achieve results. The discussion was strictly around which measures to use in an Agile context.
I’ll admit up front that I am biased toward intrinsic motivation (I really loved Drive by Dan Pink) and the fact that it is well suited for an agile environment.
As such, my first impression to the conversation that was going on were:
- Does the organization wish that employees spend more hours at the office (attendance) or would they prefer more engagement (commitment)?
- If their choice is to increase the hours of attendance, imposing overtime will achieve this goal while giving them a false sense of increased performance. People will show they are working longer hours but the real throughput is unlikely to be much higher. In addition, software development is a brain intensive activity and reducing the amount of rest people get is likely to increase the number of mistakes they make.
- On the contrary, if the organization wanted more involvement, the inclusion of team members in determining the best way to achieve the results would probably come to a better decision – even possibly leading the willingness to do over time
It appears to me that by forcing overtime, the executives and senior managers will probably collect their bonus and congratulate each others in the short term only to realize in the longer term that they have simply pushed the problem forward for others to deal with – and possibly request more over time in the long run.
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Two weeks ago, Urban Turtle announced its brand new partnership program. The partners are a select group of consulting firms who mastered the ins and outs of Scrum and are friends of the “Turtle”.
To provide more details on each of our partners, I follow the series of blog posts with the firm Readify.
Founded in 1999, Readify has established itself as certified experts on the .NET Application Development Platform within Australia. They have office in Melbourne and Sydney and provide expertise around system architecture, application lifecycle management and user experience design using the latest Microsoft platform technologies.
In 2009 Readify introduced its projects offering known as DevPods. DevPods are based on a team-orientated project delivery capability which combines a high performance development team using an agile methodology (specifically Scrum) and focuses on close customer involvement to successfully deliver projects.
Readify is one of Australia’s young and savvy IT business success stories. This year they received the Australia’s 2010 ‘Best Places to Work’ award.
Mitch Denny, Chief Technology Officer at Readify explains why they appreciate Urban Turtle:
“If you plan to use Scrum with TFS, we recommend Urban Turtle instead of Excel-based planning workbooks”
At the Agile 2010 Conference this week, out of the two hundred or so sessions presented, a number of them talked about the role of the manager in an Agile team. A few people believe managers are no longer necessary once the team has self-organized while others say people managers are still required. Either group failed to provide compelling arguments for their position.
The notion of self-organized teams keeps gaining visibility and acceptance. Those who have adopted the approach can’t stop talking about the benefits. At the same time, people realize that managers are unlikely to disappear from the organizational landscape anytime soon. In this context, it is with a mixed-feeling that Agilists talk about the role of the people manager in an agile organization – mostly as something not so useful but that the team needs to keep around in order to maintain their autonomy – something similar to the appendix.
The most common explanation for the appendix’s existence in humans is that it’s a vestigial structure which has lost its original function – source wikipedia
Then a few things happened.
First, I got to attend Michael Spayd‘s session called “Blueprint for an Agile Enterprise: Plans, Tools & Tech to Build a Human Enterprise”.
Want your whole organization to be more like an Agile team? Starting teams is well understood; expanding Agile to the organization is definitely not. Using 8 years experience applying organization development to Agile, we’ll unfold a 7 layer organizational architecture for building a human enterprise. Each level has an overall perspective, specific tools and key practices. Part tutorial, part demo, we’ll create a change plan for one participant’s organization, exploring culture, leadership, change, team performance, and management’s role. You’ll leave with a plan template and many ideas – source Agile 2010 Program
Then, I went to Damon Poole’s session called “Getting Managers and Agile Teams Out of Each Other’s Hair”.
One of the most talked about and least well understood concepts in Agile is the “self-managing” team. This session will provide a new perspective on self-management by examining the external roots of the practice and by taking a bottom-up look at what it is, the benefits, and how it works. We’ll see how twelve widely adopted Agile practices contribute to self-management by reducing and/or redistributing traditional management activities. These practices provide a framework for delegation, communication and coordination; and encourage team ownership, commitment and accountability – source Agile 2010 Program
Finally, I also attended Jim Highsmith session called “What do Agile Executives and Leaders Do?”
In some circles agile executives and leaders are admonished to buy pizza and get out of the way. In others they are asked to be supportive of self-organizing teams. But leading agile organizations requires more. There are specific activities that help build agile organizations that can weather business turbulence. This session will explore those activities that an agile leader or executive must “do,” including: revising performance measurements; facilitating self-organizing teams; developing strategies for operational, portfolio, and strategic agility; and assessing how agile to be source Agile 2010 Program
After the sessions, I sat in the lobby of the conference and read some of the blog feeds I subscribe to and came across these…
Obviously, something’s up!
The role of a traditional people manager
In many organizations and depending on their level, people managers are expected to plan, direct, organize and control (Deming‘s Plan-Do-Check-Act) – more specifically, the role of the manager is to:
- Define the individual objectives
- Assign work to team members
- Determine priorities of the tasks
- Monitor progress of the activities
- Make decisions for the team
- Get visibility into the work of the team
- Mentor and train employees
- Protect the team’s financial and human resources
- Provide career development opportunities
- Build relationships with other departments and teams
- Motivate the team members
- Communicate information
What self-organization removes from the equation
Once the concept of self-organized team is implemented, there are a few things that were traditionally the responsibility of the people manager that now fall on the team. The activities are:
- Assigning work – team members now select their tasks instead of the manager
- Determine priorities – team members now determine the order in which they should to complete their work
- Monitor progress – team members track their own progress and make it visible and accessible to those who need to know
- Make decision for the team – within the team, team members get to make their decisions
- Get visibility into the work – team members track their own progress and make it visible and accessible to those who need to know
- Mentor and train employees – when possible, team members may decide to implement a mentoring program within the team
- Motivate – self-organized individuals are known to be more motivated than traditional teams, hence the reduced need for the people manager to retain this activity
So what is left for the people manager?
In order for the people managers to transform into Agile leaders and feel as part of the team, we already stated they need to modify their role. The agile manager will achieve higher level of performance and possibly increased personal job satisfaction by macro-managing – working with an increased perspective as opposed to getting into the details. As such, the activities the agile managers need to retain are to:
- Define high level objectives for their team and department instead of focusing on the tasks
- Determine priorities in the objectives of the team and department instead of the activities
- Monitor progress toward achieving the objectives
- Coach employees
- Continue to protect the team’s resources
- Support employees in their career development
- Build relationships with other departments and teams
I realize that this type of transition is easier said than done but with the willingness to recapture an important role as part of the team and with some external help, the traditional managers don’t have to became extinct professionals.
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Some members of the Urban Turtle team (Francois, Dominic and Mario) are at the Agile 2010 conference this week. If you attend the conference, please come see us Wednesday or Thursday at booth 128 in the exhibit area. We will be more than happy to discuss and to demonstrate the latest cool features of Urban Turtle such as the real-time burndown chart.
Aujourd ***, l’équipe Urban Turtle est fière de proposer une nouvelle version de son outil de gestion agile avec Team Foundation Server.
Cette dernière version propose aux équipes travaillant avec le dernier modèle de processus Visual Studio Scrum 1.0 un graphique d’avancement temps réel (donc pas de warehouse, d’analysis services etc…).
La dernière version est téléchargeable à l’endroit habituel : Download URBAN TURTLE
Urban Turtle is pleased to announce it is partnering with a select group of training organizations offering the Professional Scrum Developer (PSD) program. These organizations are Accentient, Pluralsight, Pyxis and SSW. Partnership involves a credit promotion for Urban Turtle and visibility of partner’s classes.
Professional Scrum Developer courses teach students how to turn product requirements into potentially shippable increments of software. Scrum traditionally avoids providing guidance for engineering practices. This course fills that void by addressing what developers do with the remaining 7 hours and 45 minutes of their day after the daily Scrum meeting. Classes are exercise-driven, where students work in teams and develop “done” increments from product backlog items. Each class is five days long, and classes can be either public or private.
All Professional Scrum Developer courses cover three main topics:
- Scrum. PSD courses cover Scrum Fundamentals like Scrum roles, artifacts, and timeboxes. The course simulates being part of a Scrum team to expose students to these concepts in action. Students learn how to work as part of a Scrum team, which requires them to understand techniques for self-organization. At the end of the course students develop skills in identifying and eliminate typical types of Scrum team dysfunction.
- Tools. PSD courses teach students how to leverage different development tools to employ Scrum practices. PSD .NET courses are taught in the context of Visual Studio 2010 using the Microsoft Scrum process template and add-ins such as Urban Turtle. Students learn how to map specific tool features and functions to the general Scrum practices they must use to be effective team members.
- Practices. PSD courses cover all of the technical practices that team members need to successfully implement and ship functionality. These include coding practices like test-driven development, continuous integration, and refactoring; architecture practices such as emergent architecture and evolutionary database development; release management practices like planning, requirements definition, and deploying, and quality assurance practices from defining “done” to pair programming to version control to acceptance testing.
Aaron Skonnard, founder of Pluralsight explains why they joined this Urban Turtle initiative:
“Any initiatives that eases adoption of proven engineering practices with Microsoft technologies will always gain support from Pluralsight”
We asked Adam Cogan, Chief Architect for SSW and Microsoft Regional Director, who teaches the PSD .NET course all around the globe, what his thoughts on Urban Turtle were. He said:
“Mario one of the high value take-aways the students tell me they get, is seeing some of the great third party TFS tools in action. That’s why I ensure I demonstrate Urban Turtle, so they see Team Web Access providing awesome value, and it eases adoption of Scrum with the Microsoft Visual Studio Scrum process template”
Then we have Richard Hundhausen, Accentient’s president, who in cooperation with Microsoft and Ken schwaber, created the Professional Scrum Developer .NET training course says
“I has not yet met a certified PSD trainer who did not want to be listed as a friend of the Turtle”
When registering students for a PSD .NET course to get up to 100% off your Urban Turtle license cost, all you have to do is register for one of the training sessions listed here http://urbanturtle.com/?item=professional-scrum-developer. Make sure to mention your Urban Turtle license when registering. Your discount will be applied to your training fees. For more information on the curriculum of the Professional Scrum Developer program visit http://www.scrum.org/psd-net-syllabus/
|Minyaa Suite was born to replace Kaamelot plugin, a plugin created 5 years ago, where I tried to merge all enhancements brought to JIRA, in order to meet our needs.|
This first year was mainly spent:
- for dispatching features by theme in dedicated modules,
- for integrating different mechanisms :
- for following all big changes occurred with JIRA 4.x :
- for extending Minyaa Time’s report with any type of Fields
- for extending Minyaa Workflows with a Workflow Designer able to :
- provide a graphical way to define your workflows
- integrate more features provided by OSWorkflow (Common Transitions, Global Transition, Recursive Transition)
- for assisting you in the adoption of Minyaa, which is easier to install than Kaamelot when procedure is followed, but can be difficult when a step is skipped.
Next year we will concentrate on the following points:
- ERADICATE most intrusions performed by Minyaa, in order to :
- Continue to enhance Minyaa Workflows’s features (OSWorkflow has again some useful mechanisms),
- Extend Minyaa Time with new features (wait and see!),
- Integrate Myrddin plugin in Minyaa Projects (Don’t try finding it… It was developed at the same time as Kaamelot, but was never released)
- And always assist you in the adoption of Minyaa.
Happy Birthday Minyaa !
“Align JIRA to your process“ is more than a slogan. It is an objective that we are trying to reach with Minyaa Suite for all our clients.
Since Minyaa 2.0, a new Workflow Designer allows you to create more easily Workflows using a graphical tool and giving the ability to use some unreachable features provided by OSWorkflow, library used by JIRA to manage workflows.
When you open JIRA for the first time, you discover the generic workflow :
- 5 Steps : Open, In Progress, Resolved, Closed and Reopened
- 7 Transitions : Create Issue, Start Progress, Stop Progress, Resolve Issue, Close Issue, Close (Resolved) Issue and Reopen Issue
Using the default Workflow Editor (HTML based), you see them as demonstrated below:
There are 2 Close Issue transitions, but when you try to produce the same Workflow using the default editor, you are not able to create 2 transitions with the same name.
There are 4 transitions reachable from different Steps, but always trying to do the same with default editor, you are not able to reproduce it.
After reading JIRA documentation and different JIRA Community contributions, you will discover that you have to use XML language to reproduce the default JIRA Workflow!
If you open the default JIRA Workflow with Minyaa Workflow Designer, you will obtain the view below:
You will have a better view of existing interactions between the different Steps and Transitions.
Many companies consider JIRA as an inexpensive tool to implement workflow for some of their processes … Fine ! But their processes are not always simple ones, and by using the default JIRA Workflow Editor, some of them may obtain something incomprehensible as showed below:
Edited with the JIRA Default Workflow Editor, this workflow needs more than 5 pages of your Browser ! Even when edited with the Minyaa Workflow editor, this workflow is still too large to be used easily.
This Workflow has 28 Steps and 141 Transitions … an XXL Workflow !
If we take a deeper look inside this Workflow, we will be able to identify some Transitions candidate to be defined as Common Transition or perhaps as Global Transition, and/or qualified as Recursive Transition, but also some exotic practices :
- 20 Cancel Transitions to step Cancelled :
- 4 allowed to all Users
- 1 reserved to the Reporter + Screen
- 1 reserved to the Reporter or Project Roles (10002,10031)
- 14 reserved to Project Roles (10002,10031)
- 6 Reject Transitions to step Rejected :
- 1 reserved to the Reporter or Project Roles (10002,10030,10031)
- 4 reserved to the Reporter or Project Roles (10002,10031)
- 1 allowed to all users
- 12 Request More Info Transitions
- 1 reserved to the Reporter or Project Roles (10002,10030,10031)
- 11 reserved to the Reporter or Project Roles (10000)
- 6 Transitions to step Deployment – Pending Info
- 5 Transitions to other different Steps
- 9 Edit Transitions (All recursives)
- 11 Put on Hold Transitions
- 18 Enter Info Transitions
- 6 Transitions from Pending Info (each of them with a condition to return to previous step), but Pending Info is never reachable (It appears that it was an aborted try!)
<condition type="class"> <arg name="jira.previousstatus">Deployment - Upload Verification</arg> <arg name="class.name">com.innovalog.jmwe.plugins.conditions.PreviousStatusCondition</arg> <arg name="jira.mostRecentStatusOnly">yes</arg> </condition>
- 6 Transitions from Deployment – Pending Info (each of them with a condition in order to return previous step)
- 6 Transitions from different step, always returning to previous Step
- 4 Activate Transitions
- 2 Transitions are strictly identical
- 2 Transitions differs just by a Post-Function
- 13 Reschedule Transitions
Editing workflows with XML may allow you to use Common Transition, but in this current example, the associated XML file has more 6000 lines !
To be honest, Minyaa Workflow Designer (developed in Flex) has encountered its current limits with this workflow when we tried to refactorize it. We will have to enhance its performance.
But in order to see what this workdlow would be, if it was created directly with the Minyaa Workflow Designer, its re-factorization has been done manually through XML.
We are obtaining the following Transitions :
- 4 Cancel Transition
- 3 Reject Transition
- 7 Request More Info Transition
- 1 Edit Transition qualified as Recursive Transition
- 1 Put on Hold Transitions
- 1 Enter Info Transition with the Post-Function : Back to Previous Step
- 3 Activate Transitions (potentially only 2)
- 1 Reschedule Transitions
Just by using Common Transition and the Back to Previous Step Post-Function provided by Minyaa Workflows (release 2.1), the workflow has now 60 Transitions (21 Common Transitions) and 22 Steps. It is now a XL Workflow.
The above screenshot is excruciatingly painful to read… From 93 Transitions identified as possible duplication, there are now 21 Common Transitions. Links from Transition to Step have been reduced, but there are still many links from Transition to Step.
With the current workflow, most of the new Common Transition are not in the Nominal Scenario : Cancel, Reject , Request more Info, Enter Info, Edit, Put on Hold. Then, you are able to hide Links from Steps to Transition …
I hope you do not have to design workflow as complex as this one, but I imagine that you do not have time to invest in learning the XML syntax for OSWorkflow library.
Like the default Workflow Editor, with Minyaa Workflow Designer, you will be able to :
- Clone a Workflow or Create a new one,
- Create Normal Step and Step Transition
- Configure all Transition with Condition
- Validator and Post-functions
Still unable to associate a Screen to your transition!
But also, you will access more features provided by OSWorkflow and be able to :
- Move Step Transition as Common Transition,
- Move Common Transition as Global Transsition,
- Move Global Transition as Common Transition,
- Detach a Step from a Common Transition,
- Qualify any Step, Common or Global Transition as Recursive Transition,
- Link a Step directly to a any Step or Common Transition
- Link a Step to itself and also create a Recursive Step Transition
- Have unused Common Transition
- Use some special Worflow function provided by Minyaa
- See your workflow in a graphical interface (It is always more easy to present)
- Also create a Snapshot of your Workflow for documentation …
Your feedback is welcome to enhance the Minyaa Workflow Designer capacities.
Useful links to the documentation:
- OSWorkflow by OpenSynphony
- Minyaa Workflow Designer
- Transitions by OSWorkflow
Note : The re-factorization presented above was done using Minyaa 2.1