A few years ago, Luke Hohmann, Conteneo's CEO, was helping with a large scale enterprise Agile Transformation project lead by Applied Frameworks with several hundred engineers spread across multiple locations. The client was a cloud based infrastructure company who had grown very rapidly both organically and through multiple acquisitions. A key part of Applied Framework’s transformation services is starting every transformation with retrospectives so that we can better understand what all members of the product development function – from developers and quality assurance, to product management and customer care – think about what is going well and what needs to be improved.
We have released fully anonymous participation for
organizations that need to increase safety when tackling sensitive topics.
Today I am announcing the release of an important feature in the Weave platform: Fully anonymous participation. It isn’t often that a single feature deserves a newsletter and a blog post, but given the state of our society and the reality of what many people experience in their organizations I feel it is important to share this feature and its implications. I'll outline a bit of the history around this feature, why we implemented it and some of our hopes as to how this feature can help organizations thrive by enabling them to tackle really hard topics.
A few blog posts ago I wrote about how much I love to read. Along with books, some of my favorite magazines include Forbes, Fortune, Fast Company, Businessweek and Harvard Business Review.
Somewhere along the line the Agile community decided to use the word "Epic" to mean "Product Backlog Item too big for a Sprint". I've contributed to this use of the word in our training, often thinking it was helpful.
I now realize this can be pretty harmful, because I'm seeing too much excess baggage that does nothing more than slow down a team and not enough epics.
Epics Should Be Epic Wins
Some of the best insights come when you're teaching advanced classes. In November of 2016, in a master class on Agile Portfolio Prioritization I co-taught with Certified Collaboration Instructor Raphael Goumot, we developed and shared a whole host of insights that were worthy of sharing.
Over the past 15 years we've produced thousands of Participatory Budgeting and Buy a Feature events. In that time we've created a lot of variations of the core theme - and we continue to create more! In this design tip we'd like to share some of the many variations we've used in the hopes that you might find combinations that can help you Collaborate at Scale. Think of this design tip as giving you access to a set of knobs and dials that will enable you to create versions of this framework that meet your needs. I will also cover Zero-Based Budgeting, a very special configuration of these policies that is becoming increasingly important in our Participatory Budgeting projects. A subsequent design tip will give more insight into analyzing results of Buy a Feature frameworks.
It is the time of year where we reflect on what we’ve accomplished and set plans for the coming year. Accordingly, we and several of our clients are presently engaged in various forms of strategic planning and roadmapping. You might also be engaged in similar activities, so for this month’s framework of the month I want to focus on a framework that is great at helping organizations in strategic planning: The Innovation Ambition Matrix. We use this framework so we think you should use it too. This framework works well with the Sweet Spot of Strategy and Horizon Planning frameworks, which I will cover in a future framework of the month.
We like to be as Agile as possible, with what some might perceive as an extreme emphasis on the Agile value of “Customer collaboration over contract negotiation”. Our customers and partners asked me to write this post in order to share how we express this value in our development process. I was under the impression that what we do is pretty standard, but I've learned that many of our customers find it novel and suggested I share our approach more broadly. It is timely, because if you read it you’ll find out how you can get a sneak preview of all of the “cool new stuff” under development, including the new Conteneo Weave platform that we’re launching in Jan 2017.
The central tool of managing work in Scrum/Agile teams is the backlog, "an ordered list of everything that might be needed in the product and is the single source of requirements for any changes to be made to the product." (ref)
And that's mostly true. But it doesn't reflect the reality of Agile, especially for Product Managers with an entrepreneurial spirit (hmmm... all of us). The reality of Agile is that there are three "logs" - the Backlog, the BLACKlog and the Dreamlog. In this post I'll share which of these are normal, which are healthy and which are dangerous and how to fix them.
Let's start with your backlog, since that's the one log we all have!