Keep it Simple. We’re Still Learning Agile Development!

November 8, 2013 Victor Hernandez

I have a VERY active, wily, and curious two-year old at home… the best kind – who loves watching his brothers build complex Lego sets (I know, who wouldn’t!). Obviously as colorful, attractive, and deliciously intricate as the pieces and constructs are, these are not yet optimal for his type of unstructured play.  While age-appropriate Duplos might be better suited, they fail to hold his attention for long – he WANTS the variety, complexity, and feature-rich capabilities he sees his siblings use.  Remarkably, in emulating his brothers, simple wooden blocks and boxes do the trick, and he creates his own little worlds this way.  His tool set is simple, but certainly allows for learning, discovery, AND scaling – isn’t this how architects get started?

The agile phases of planning and tracking project work.

VersionOne provides this type of agile development tooling – simple, easy-to-adopt, provides for learning, adaptation, and scaling.  Consider the image to the right – What is Agility? The graphic is a visual representation of the phases of planning and tracking of agile development projects.  With this model in mind, VersionOne provides discrete sections that group the tools to accomplish each type of activity.  This framework provides guidance for the different roles involved in managing an agile development project.

Let’s consider what each stage is and how the system supports it.

The phases of agile planning and execution in VersionOne* Strategic Planning – For the Product Manager, Product Owner, BAs – this is all about the vision, the purpose, the initiative – capture, define, and organize high-level Epics and User Story backlogs, plan and visualize the execution in Product Planning.

* Project or Release Planning – For the Product Owner, Project Manager, Project Leads – schedule and manage the delivery of scope for a certain time frame.  Tweak and organize a release backlog, use forecasting to understand scope and velocity, and plan work for the teams in Release Planning.

* Sprint or Iteration Planning – For the ScrumMasters, Team Leads and Team Members – plan at the tactical level: use velocity to organize the backlog for the short iteration and break it down if it makes sense; estimate your tasks and tests in Sprint Planning.

* Daily Tracking – For the ScrumMasters and Team Members – update status, remaining estimates, collaborate and provide visibility into progress through information radiators in Sprint Tracking (AND Team Rooms!).

* Inspection – For the Product Owner, ScrumMasters and Team Members – review work completed and ready for sign-off or disposition and close the Sprint; conduct Retrospectives and capture inputs and outputs to this team meeting in Sprint Review.

So here they are – the building blocks to facilitate agile project management for those learning agile.  But also, a tool set ready to provide complex capabilities for seasoned veterans.  Now go build the next BIG thing!

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