Shortening Our Iteration Length: Results

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For release 4.0 of V-Commander, the team voted to change our iteration length from 3 weeks to 2 weeks.  There were a number of reasons for running this experiment, including:

  • addressing the slight lull that we experience in week 2
  • reducing the length of planning sessions and having the ability to plan in shorter time frames
  • introducing a change to shake out any issues that are hidden by 3-week iterations

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Book: Predictably Irrational

Predictably Irrational, Revised And Expanded Edition

by Dan Ariely

Summary: A discussion of the results of a number of surprising experiments from the fields of economics and psychology on how people act and make decisions. This book helps to explain a lot of choices that you see or make in day-to-day life that don’t seem to be the right thing to do.

Intended Audience: Of general interest as an accessible introduction to behavioural economics

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Book: The Leader’s Guide to Radical Management

The Leader’s Guide to Radical Management: Reinventing the Workplace for the 21st Century

by Stephen Denning

Summary: Traditional management practices are failing to create value in the new economy and a new way of managing and leading in the workplace is needed to foster innovation

Intended Audience: Influencers in both old and new organizations

Continue reading Book: The Leader’s Guide to Radical Management

Shortening Our Iteration Length

The Scrum project management method. Part of t...

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Since I started working at Embotics in 2007, we have always used an iteration length of 3 weeks.  I don’t know why three weeks was chosen, though I suspect it provided a convenient trade-off between the amount of planning required to track the project and the amount of knowledge about where the project was going.  As we increased our level of agility, we continued to use 3 weeks since it worked for us.

I’ve been talking with a number of others in our community and doing a lot of reading and it seems like we are an outlier here.  Almost everyone else appears to be operating on 1 and 2 week iterations.  The The Wisdom of Crowds indicates that we may be missing out on something here.


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Results of Our First FedEx Day

FedEx A310 and A300 cargo aircraft fly daily f...

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I recently wrote about some planning that went into our first FedEx day.  Now that we have run this experiment, it is time to share the results.

The day started in a slightly chaotic manner as we were completing our move from our old offices.  However, we were able to quickly sort out some minor issues like power and get started more or less on time.

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Book: Scrumban – Essays on Kanban Systems for Lean Software Development

Scrumban – Essays on Kanban Systems for Lean Software Development

by Corey Ladas

Summary: A series of practical essays on how to apply Lean techniques to Agile, and in particular Scrum-based, software development organizations

Intended Audience: Scrum practitioners who want to investigate Lean concepts to improve the way they work

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Our Big Information Radiator

emboticswallboard.jpg

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Atlassian recently ran the Ultimate Wallboard competition where individuals and companies were invited to send in pictures or videos and descriptions of wallboards that they use to make their lives and jobs easier.  Embotics submitted our Scrum wall to this contest and came away with an honourable mention in the Old School category.

The timing of the contest was a little unfortunate for us as we were nearing the end of a release and simultaneously preparing for a release.  As a result, I was only able to provide a little colour to our entry but now have the opportunity to elaborate on what our big visible board contains and how it evolved to its current shape.

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Preparing for a FedEx Day

The idea of introducing free time to explore ideas and foster innovation at work has a lot of appeal to me.  Evidence from 3M, Google, Atlassian, and others suggests that many new product features and workplace improvements can be discovered if people are given some slack time to explore.

Coming off a difficult and demanding release, Embotics will be spending some time next week on our first FedEx day.  The timing is great: the release is out the door, we are moving into our new office space, and everyone has a to-do list of things they thought about during the release but didn’t have time to investigate.


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