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Making the Case for Agile Planning

Making the Case for Agile Planning | Agile delivery from offshore | Scoop.it
 “Planning is everything. Plans are nothing.” —Field Marshal Helmuth Graf von Moltke Predictability brings control. Control is what project managers are supposed to do.
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VizualBusiness: Is Offshore-Agile a Bad Idea?

VizualBusiness: Is Offshore-Agile a Bad Idea? | Agile delivery from offshore | Scoop.it

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Djebar Hammouche's curator insight, October 21, 2013 1:16 PM
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IDG Connect – Offshore Agile Software Development: A Practical Guide to Making It Work

IDG Connect – Offshore Agile Software Development: A Practical Guide to Making It Work | Agile delivery from offshore | Scoop.it
Agile software development is an often misunderstood and misused term. In an exclusive new series of articles, IDG Connect offers expert insight and opinion on Agile.

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IDG Connect's curator insight, May 10, 2013 5:03 AM

Agile software development is an often misunderstood and misused term. In an exclusive new series of articles, IDG Connect offers expert insight and opinion on Agile. In this piece, Sander Hoogendoorn, Principal Technology Officer and Global Agile Thought Leader at Capgemini, offers some key recommendations for making Agile word for you.

In my previous article, I explored how offshore Agile software development offers many benefits over more traditional, Waterfall style approaches, but only if some of the obvious difficulties in communication, overheads and language issues are addressed. So how do organizations overcome those difficulties to make offshore Agile work?

Over many years at Capgemini, we have gained experience with distributed Agile projects, whether onshore or offshore, and have learned a great deal about the dynamics of Agile software development teams. Based on our experience, this article outlines a number of key recommendations for making Agile work across distributed teams:

Cultural exchange: It is highly recommended to facilitate a cultural exchange of the people involved in the project. Prior to starting any implementation, it is good practice to ensure a preliminary stage where the basics for the project, such as an overall model of the requirements, estimates, plan, and a baseline architecture are set. This is an ideal moment to have the client and everybody in the team meet face-to-face, and get acquainted. Despite the obvious costs of arranging this meeting, teams will connect much more easily and collaborate more smoothly later on in the project. This is especially beneficial for long-running Agile projects.Facilitate continuous communication: In Agile projects, communication is key. Distributed projects need to facilitate the ability to continuously communicate. With the distance between team members involved in offshore projects, online communication methods are essential. Where possible, it is important to use phone, but preferably video conferencing for kick-offs, retrospectives and stand-up meetings. Many teams also use simple chat programs for asking questions and sharing knowledge.Solve language issues early: Many organizations, especially in public service, rely on communication and documentation in their native language. Even code is often written in the native language. To the offshore team members these languages are new and awkward. Even with team members sent to language courses, non-native languages leave room for misinterpretation. It is vital to offshore projects, especially when using Agile approaches, to set up a workflow for translating documentation and code before coding starts. Solving language issues should even be part of the contract.Standardize requirements: User stories are an immensely popular technique to gather requirements in Agile projects. However, as with traditional use cases, user stories can appear at different levels of granularity and suffer greatly from ambiguity. In many of our projects we therefore successfully apply smart use cases, a more standardized technique for defining requirements. By nature, smart use cases are defined at the same level of granularity, and take a much more standardized approach, facilitating easier distributed communication on individual work items.Standardize work item workflow: At the start of iterations, many Agile projects spend a lot of time breaking down user stories into individual tasks, and on estimating the required effort in hours, with the goal of being able to negotiate the amount of work that can be handled during each iteration. Iteration kick-off workshops are costly, and even worse, require the whole team to be present. It is good practice to minimize these kick-offs. Work item breakdowns and estimates are required much less if across work items work is aligned to a standardized work item workflow – with steps such as design, coding, developer testing, testing and acceptance.Visualize work item workflow: Once a standardized number of steps in the work item workflow are defined, the actual status of the individual work items can be visualized easily on a dashboard. Where co-located teams usually stick postits on a whiteboard, distributed teams will need a distributed dashboard. Usually this is a website that is accessible to all team members, including the client, or aligned with bug tracking or source control tools.Work item teams: Rather than the traditional divide between analysis and design, onshore and development, and testing offshore, there are great benefits in working in teams that consist of team members on either side of the line working jointly to implement individual work items. By operating in such work item teams, or feature teams, there is a much more implicit focus on getting the work done. Work item teams tend to be more coherent and much more motivating and stimulating.Standardize architecture and technology: A much-heard complaint in offshore development is that “they” don’t understand the software architecture and the technology that is used. However, it is important to realize that aspects such as software architectures, frameworks, complex domains and service oriented architectures are complicated by nature, and that for any team, whether co-located or distributed, it will take time to get used to any proposed solutions.Obtain stability: Offshore projects have a bad reputation for team instability. There are sometimes cases where members of the offshore team quit over the course of a weekend, or are replaced by new members who don’t have the required skills and knowledge. It is vital to keeps teams stable, especially in long-running projects. As working in Agile teams is experienced as much more motivating and pro-active, Agile helps to reduce team instability.

In conclusion, whether offshore Agile projects can be as successful as onshore Agile projects depends on a great number of factors in addition to the ones outlined above. But once the obvious difficulties in communication, overheads and language issues are reduced, offshore Agile projects can actually work particularly well, given a collaborative and standardized approach.

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Is Offshore-Agile a Bad Idea?

Is Offshore-Agile a Bad Idea? | Agile delivery from offshore | Scoop.it
Yes … if you have a co-located cross-functional team … and … there is no pressure or compulsion to shift part of the work offshore. Yes … if you do not feel any necessity or... (Is Offshore-Agile a Bad Idea?

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Djebar Hammouche's curator insight, January 26, 2013 2:37 AM
Is Offshore-Agile a Bad Idea?
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Making Agile Work with Offshore Teams | Managed Agile ...

Making Agile Work with Offshore Teams | Managed Agile ... | Agile delivery from offshore | Scoop.it
How do you make Agile work with offshore teams? There are a lot of difficulties and you have to be willing to accept compromises from an ideal Agile team.
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Waterfall versus Agile Methodology: Why Agile practice makes for perfect collaboration with offshore developers

Waterfall versus Agile Methodology: Why Agile practice makes for perfect collaboration with offshore developers | Agile delivery from offshore | Scoop.it
Waterfall vs. #Agile methodology http://t.co/qgTaCE9UWU
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Offshore Agile Software Development: Does It Work? | www ...

Due to the ever-rising demand for seasoned software developers in the nineties, offshore software development became a compelling alternative to in-house development for many organizations. Despite the cultural ...
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Offshore Agile – when your PO is far away « tisquirrel

Offshore Agile – when your PO is far away « tisquirrel | Agile delivery from offshore | Scoop.it
I am sure this scenario will sound so familiar to you. You have a great agile team and great PO overseas. But he can't devote much time to the distributed team. Yes, you asked him and he tried. But failed - he can't spent so ...
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Managing agile: increasing adoption while retaining control - GigaOM

Managing agile: increasing adoption while retaining control - GigaOM | Agile delivery from offshore | Scoop.it
GigaOM Research analysts and our sponsor AtTask will examine the inhibitors to agile adoption and the procedural and technological changes that might help enterprises transition without losing control.
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Did agile processes contribute to HealthCare.gov's problems? - GCN.com

Did agile processes contribute to HealthCare.gov's problems? - GCN.com | Agile delivery from offshore | Scoop.it
Did agile processes contribute to HealthCare.gov's problems?
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Converging Agile Methodologies with Offshore Software ... - Xicom

Converging Agile Methodologies with Offshore Software ... - Xicom | Agile delivery from offshore | Scoop.it
Xicom is an established web development company delivering web & application development services of any complexity to clients worldwide. Founded in the year 2002, Xicom is an ISO 9001:2008 certified offshore web ...

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The characters in your Agile offshore team

The characters in your Agile offshore team | Agile delivery from offshore | Scoop.it
Are you a Politician, a Value Addition or The Creepy Quiet Member? Agile coach Jay Rao has noticed six recurring roles.

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Using an Agile Software Process with Offshore Development

Using an Agile Software Process with Offshore Development | Agile delivery from offshore | Scoop.it
Using an Agile Software Process with Offshore Development http://www.martinfowler.com/articles/agileOffshore.html (Using an Agile Software Process with Offshore Development http://t.co/d83vQaVJ81)...
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Using an Agile Software Process with Offshore Development

Using an Agile Software Process with Offshore Development | Agile delivery from offshore | Scoop.it
Using an Agile Software Process with Offshore Development http://t.co/V5EOJJtvv2 via @instapaper
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Three Ways to Make Agile Work with your Offshore Team - DevX

Tips for the effective integration of offshore teams with agile development processes.
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Debunking 3 myths of agile marketing - Chief Marketing Technologist | #TheMarketingAutomationAlert

Debunking 3 myths of agile marketing - Chief Marketing Technologist | #TheMarketingAutomationAlert | Agile delivery from offshore | Scoop.it
Agile marketing continues to grow in popularity. Why?

 

Condensed...

 

Myth #1: Agile is about doing things quick and dirty.

There are two allegations here: quick and dirty. Both are mistaken.

  --> First, agile teams seek to minimize time spent on unnecessary overhead, such as excessive documentation, perfunctory meetings, or overly formal protocols between stakeholders.

  --> Second, agile seeks to break big projects into smaller deliverables, each of which has value on its own or can be tested, either by internal review or with external market feedback.

  --> Third, agile seeks to eliminate interrupt-driven fire drills that sap productivity. When teams are constantly interrupted with urgent ad hoc requests — drop that, do this — the “switching costs” of losing momentum, shifting gears, and picking back up again, take a heavy toll on productivity.

 

Myth #2: Agile doesn’t enforce consistency in what’s produced.

Generally, the goal is to put in place as much process and standardization as necessary to optimize net productivity. Having no standards might seem like greased lightning for a brief while, but it would quickly bog down the team in a Tower of Babel quagmire.

The same should be true for agile marketing. Processes for digital asset management, approval flows for deployment into the market, analytics for consistent reporting and review, enforcement of brand standards, etc., are all perfectly feasible — and usually desirable.

 

Myth #3: Agile doesn’t support a long-term vision.

It’s true that agile isn’t a strategy. Instead, it is a framework for implementing strategy. But one that is well-suited to a world where external environmental factors — changes with customers or competitors — can create unexpected opportunities and threats to one’s established strategy in short order.

 

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CYDigital's curator insight, October 7, 2013 10:03 PM

Probably the most sensible explanation of Agile Marketing yet. Agile Marketing is NOT this willy-nilly runaround: it is a disciplined process designed to move swiftly while supporting the strategic vision.

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Offshore Agile Software Development: A Practical Guide to Making It ...

In my previous post, I explored how offshore Agile software development offers many benefits over more traditional, Waterfall style approaches, but only if some of the obvious difficulties in communication, overheads and ...
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Enterprise architecture best practices for Agile development

Enterprise architecture best practices for Agile development | Agile delivery from offshore | Scoop.it
Old techniques used to build models no longer hold well. Follow these enterprise architecture best practices for successful Agile development.

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Quantifying the Impact of Agile: Video Series | Rally Software ...

Quantifying the Impact of Agile: Video Series | Rally Software ... | Agile delivery from offshore | Scoop.it
Wouldn't you like to know how to, double your productivity, cut time-to-market in half, improve quality by 250%, and build teams with the ideal size? Find out how in the Quantifying the Impact of Agile: Video Series.
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Techne: Goodbye Waterfall, Hello Agile | HowlRound

Techne: Goodbye Waterfall, Hello Agile | HowlRound | Agile delivery from offshore | Scoop.it
Techne: Goodbye Waterfall, Hello Agile #newplay http://t.co/03JOmx85ua via @HowlRound theatre for doing new plays
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