Rethinking Agile in an office-less world

Agile practices over the last several years have focused on high bandwidth communication. It could be standup meetings, pair programming, or even just that over the shoulder code reviews. As a product manager I completely understand what DHH is talking about when you have remote team members. Being able to have an ad-hoc conversation with developer keeps things moving enabling quick decisions.

It’s an optimization for the assumption that we’re all going to be in the same place at the same time. Under that assumption, it’s a great set of tactics.

But assumptions change. “Everyone in the same office” is less true now than it ever was. People are waking up to the benefits of remote working. From quality of life to quality of talent. It’s a new world, and thus a new set of assumptions.

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It’s time for a reset. We need the same care and diligence that was put into documenting the agile practices of an office-centric world applied to an office-less world. There’s a new global maxima to be found. Let’s chart its path.

It takes more effort to initially run an agile team when not everyone is in the same location, but it is possible of you are motivated enough. It requires both all members of the team to make this possible, ensure communication with remote team members are kept up.

I have started working from home at least once a week. And keeping the communication level high while I am not in the office takes a bit of extra work for everyone. But tools such as HipChat and Campfire really help lower the barrier.

Repaying your mentors

I’ve had several mentors over my career. Most of them informal mentors that were able to see something in me and help guide me in a more productive direction. Sometimes they were managers, or often friends that provided a different point of view. In most cases I still don’t know what they noticed in me, or why they helped, but damn I am glad they did.

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On Leaving Microsoft

April 22, was my last day at Microsoft. I have thought a good bit about how I would talk about this publicly. Would I write a blog post? Would I just leave it to a short messages on social various networks?

I finally decide that it was necessary to write this post as a record of my thoughts for my future self.

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Favorite Productivity Tools for 2012

I added two productivity tools to my arsenal in 2012, Writemonkey and Trello.

Writemonkey

I can't live without a simple text editor that understands markdown. I have shifted over this last year from proprietary note taking application such as OneNote and Evernote, to simple text documents saved in the cloud. I used markdown for taking notes, specifications and blog posts. If I have an idea I usually start with a new markdown document followed quickly with a card in Trello (more on that in a moment). continue...

What can we learn from a Sushi Chef?

I like extremes. There is something pure about seeing something taken to extreme. There are negatives at the extremes. But there is also elements that come out that can provide inspiration.

Take Jiro Ono, a 85-year old sushi chef from Tokyo. Jiro has taken the act of preparing sushi to an extreme level. His goal is to approach perfection. Jiro runs a 10 seat sushi restaurant in the basement of a Tokyo office building. Not the type of place you would expect to be a 3 star Michelin rated restaurant. continue...

OLDER

This site was last updated at 28 September, 2014