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Guest blog: 4 Reasons Why to Focus on Scrum for the Success of Distributed Teams

Ben Linders - Mon, 04/11/2016 - 21:47

I met Hugo Messer a couple of years ago, when I connected with Bridge Global who started publishing guest posts from me. We talked about working with remote teams to find out that our thoughts on this are quite similar. In this guest post Hugo explores how Scrum can help distributed software development teams. Continue reading →

The post Guest blog: 4 Reasons Why to Focus on Scrum for the Success of Distributed Teams appeared first on Ben Linders.

Categories: Blogs

Agile Metrics Beyond the Burndown Chart

Scrum Expert - Mon, 04/11/2016 - 16:17
How can metrics be used safely in coaching Agile teams? The classic Goldratt quote “Tell me how you will measure me and I will tell you how I’ll behave” signals the danger of using metrics to manage or motivate employees. This presentation shows and suggests approaches to Agile metrics that avoid the common pitfalls and shows some practical dashboards and the resulting chaos or calm they caused. This talk will show actual dashboards and metrics from actual industry engagements. It will explain how to safely capture and display these and how to teach an organization to see and understand its data. Be warned though, the techniques shown go beyond burndowns charts and cumulative flow diagrams. Watching this presentation you will learn: * The dangers of managing by metrics * Balanced approach to metric dashboards (less is more, but too little is disastrous) * Digital storytelling and patterns (examples of good and bad dashboards) * Coaching advice and dashboards * Visualizations of the edge – attention grabbing ideas for action Video producer: Further reading: * Understanding the Scrum Burndown Chart * Lean Agile Metrics for Scaled Agile Systems
Categories: Communities

Targetprocess v.3.8.5: custom rules for Request closing, Planned Start/End date lanes, Customized card units update

TargetProcess - Edge of Chaos Blog - Mon, 04/11/2016 - 13:35
Minor Features A custom rule for Request closing

We've created custom rules that will close a request once all of its related items (outbound and/or inbound) have been closed. These rules will help to save time and effort, and will minimize the chance that a request unnecessarily remains open after all related work has been completed.  

3.8.5 pic7

Planned Start/End date lanes

We've also introduced the ability to set up views that group user stories, defects and other entities by planned start and planned end dates.  For example, let’s say you want to see which user stories are planned to end next week so you can increase their priority.  To do this, create a view that displays User Stories as cards. Select 'planned end date' as a lane and filter it using your desired date range: ?(It >= '11-Apr-2016' and It <='18-Apr-2016')   



Customize cards with 'Entity Type' and 'Planned/Forecast duration' units

Sometimes, it can be difficult to recognize what kind of item a card is through color coding alone.  To remedy this, we have added a new “Entity Type” unit for cards to help you immediately recognize if an item is a User Story, Task, Bug, Request, etc.   

3.8.5 pic5

We've also added units of time for planned and forecasted duration. So, you can now see how long an item is planned or forecasted to take. For example, an entity with a planned start date of April 8th, 2016 and planned end date of August 20th, 2017 will display a planned duration of “1 year, 4 months.” In tooltip, you can see more a more detailed representation of the duration -- e.g., “1 year, 4 months, 3 weeks and 2 days (500 days).”

Relations are shown independently from the specified context now

Previously, Relations were displayed based on the selected projects and teams in the top bar’s context/filter selector. A user had to select "All projects" and "All teams" to see all specified Relations. From now on, you'll be able to see all the available Relations no matter what context is selected. This change affects the Relations tab on entity view and Inbound/Outbound Relation cards.

The ability to map Team workflow to a final Project state only

You might be in a situation where you need a team to start work on an entity only at the final stage of its workflow. For example, when new functionality is ready, the Copywriter Team is assigned to write the relevant User Guide pages. You can now plan this out in Targetprocess by creating a team workflow that's mapped only to the final project state.

3.8.5 pic6

Math functions syntax simplified to work with nullable values

We've simplified the syntax of functions that are used in Reports to work with null data (data with no value assigned to it).
For example, in early versions of Reports, you would have to write the following formula to see requests' lead time in minutes:

IIF(StartDate != null, Math.Round((Today-StartDate.Value).TotalMinutes), -1)

This complex formula would have to be used for those instances when a request is not yet started and its StartDate is null. Now the formula can be written simply:


Fixed Bugs
  • Fixed currency display for money fields
  • Fixed quick add form submit by enter key
  • Fixed some layout problems for custom card units
  • Fixed an issue with CKeditor: links did not open in a new window
  • Fixed a problem with creating attachments for Requests from messages sent from a third party tool like ServiceNow
  • Fixed broken search in IE11 after changing entity assignments
Categories: Companies

Agile Day Riga, Riga, Latvia, May 25 2016

Scrum Expert - Mon, 04/11/2016 - 10:00
Agile Day Riga is a one-day conference focused on Agile project management and Scrum. Presentations and workshops will be in Latvian, English and Russian. In the agenda of Agile Day Riga you can find topics like “Is It Time to Renew Agile?”, “Lean Metrics – Measuring and Driving Change”, “Scrum Pitfalls”, “Scrum Master’s Personal Development Techniques”, “The Great Intersection of Psychology and Agile”, “Being Agile to become Customer centric”, “Agile Innovation – Why people matters”, “Agile Metrics – what is really needed and makes sense in order to steer a large agile project “, “Is “your” Scrum working?” , “Software architecture also needs Agile”, “Why We Fail to Change”. Web site: Location for the Agile Day Riga conference: Islande Hotel, Ķīpsalas iela 20, Rīga, LV-1048, Latvia
Categories: Communities

Should You Scale Agile? First, What Do You Mean by That?

NetObjectives - Sun, 04/10/2016 - 14:07
This blog was inspired by the live Q&A session for our first webinar in the Net Objectives Community Webinar Series on The Essence of Agile at Scale (btw, these are a great way to talk to industry thought leaders).   I was asked the question: “what should I look for to see if we should scale Agile?” I often get asked by people if they should scale Agile.  I ask them what they mean by this as...

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Categories: Companies

8 Nerf Guns that can Bring out the Genius in You

About SCRUM - Hamid Shojaee Axosoft - Thu, 04/07/2016 - 18:45

Do you remember a time when you were so immersed in a project at work that you were alert, 100% present, stimulated and just “in the zone”? Everything was jiving together and time flew by. You were totally satisfied and confident in your abilities.

This state is called “flow” and we typically first experience it as children when we are playing.

If play is so paramount to our being and helps us be the best possible versions of ourselves, why should we “grow up”? Fortunately, many companies subscribe to the belief that play is paramount and embrace it as part of their culture. Axosoft is one.

What are the benefits of play? I’m glad you asked. They include:

  • Less stress
  • Being more creative
  • Bonding with others

Yeah, these things are needed in the workplace! Which is one of the reasons Axosoft takes time to work out, play video games and yes, indulge in Nerf gun battles. Nerf wars break out in a moment’s notice and as an employee here, you have to be at the ready. Because if you’re not, you’re just a sitting target with a bullseye on your back. And trust me, you don’t want that.

So, here’s my review of eight Nerf guns that I personally have either used or have seen used successfully. Because, at the end of the day, we take no prisoners, make clean code, deliver software on time and have fun doing it.

1. NERF Rival Zeus MXV-1200 red Nerf gunFour words: Thirty miles per hour.

Unlike most of the other guns at Axosoft, this piece of heavenly craftsmanship shoots out little yellow foam balls, instead of the normal boring long ‘darts’, at the unheard of speed of 30 miles an hour!

Sadly the clip only holds 12 balls, so I’m constantly having to refill, which can also be a pain because the little round buggers like to roll. During most of the fire fights you’ll see me hunched over in panic as I scurry after my roll-away ammo.

2. NERF N-Strike Elite Centurion Mega Blaster Orange Nerf gunGood if you’re planning to stay in one spot.

The best thing about this gun is the dart bullets are the size of a small Buick and pretty much feel about the same when you get hit by one. However, because of the ‘mega’ size, you’re basically stuck in one spot while you snipe at any poor soul who mistakenly runs by your hiding spot.

3. NERF N-Strike Elite Hail-Fire blue nerf gunImpressive, but tends to jam. You’ve been warned.

This was my first Axosoft gun, and while I loved the menacing low hum of warning it sent out when I pressed the lower trigger, I did NOT like the jamming. So. Much. Jamming!

Plus the top cocking mechanism you have to use to move to the next canister of darts was awkward and usually caused me to spend most of the Nerf battles hiding behind a potted ficus trying to get the darn thing to work.

4. NERF N-Strike Stampede ECS yellow Nerf gunAccurate, portable and and an easy favorite.

This Nerf gun may be the most popular gun at Axosoft. It makes a nice scary fighter helicopter engine noise when you press the trigger, it shoots out darts at an impressive speed with the best possible accuracy you can get from a Nerf dart gun, and it has a handy dandy face shield clipped to the front. But to be honest no one really uses the shield, as they prefer to shoot this Nerf gun from their hip, all Rambo style.

5. NERF N-Strike Vortex Pyragon Blaster orange nerf gun cannisterThis coveted machine keeps you safe.

There are a select lucky few that have the vortex stashed under their desk and they guard it closely as it shoots out discs rapidly and painfully. It has a large cartridge that holds about 40 discs, which means while others are frantically trying to reload, the vortex users are calmly walking around the office destroying all they find.

6. NERF Triad EX-3 Blaster little blue nerf gunSmall yet mighty…

Never has ‘size doesn’t matter’ been more true than it is when it comes to this little sneaky bugger. When war is declared, and you’re on defense as you weave and dodge through the office, you’re only focused on finding someone toting a big gun.

But with the Triad, some despicable human being can walk up to you with their hands in their pocket and then BAM right between the eyes… I hate those guys.

7. NERF N-Strike Elite Strongarm Blaster blue nerf gun with bulletsWelcome to Axosoft. Here’s your starter Nerf gun. 8. NERF N-Strike Elite Rough Cut 2×4 nerf gunYour first Nerf gun.

Both of these guns are usually mercy guns given to the employees that are not as devoted to the Nerf battles as the rest of us.

Most the time during a battle you can find them under the desk trying to figure out how to make their gun shoot or screaming “DAMMIT GUYS, I’M NOT PLAYING!!!!” which is ignored by their fellow co-workers as they’re annihilated with balls, darts, discs, and mini Buicks.

So, there you have it. Do you think you have what it takes to win a Nerf gun fight or develop software? If so, check out our open positions; there may be a spot for you. And remember, always watch your back.

Categories: Companies

Improved Project Visibility: A Top 3 Benefit of Agile

The Agile Management Blog - VersionOne - Thu, 04/07/2016 - 14:30

improved-project-visibility-a-top-3-benefit-of-agile-800x328-2Visibility, the ability to see what is in front of you, is critically important for companies in order to remain profitable and relevant in their industry. Imagine how difficult it would be for you to drive a car without being able to see the road.  Adding in weather impediment elements can hamper your ability to reach your destination on-time even further. Even the sunniest days can blind your vision causing you to be distracted from where you are going.

Just like with driving a car, it’s a leader’s ability to chart the course with a clear vision for what the customer needs, along with what the teams can deliver, that is key to business success. So it comes as no surprise that 87% of the 10th annual State of Agile survey respondents said that the “ability to manage changing priorities” remains as the top improvement result of implementing agile practices. The ability to change helps foster the #2 item on that list, “increased team productivity” at 85%, and both of those are a result of “improved project visibility” at 84%.* In fact, managing change, increased productivity, and improved project visibility have been at the top of this list for the past five years.

Benefits of Agile

While change and productivity are so very important, visibility is the key that paves the road to agile success. Without visibility, how hard would it be to change course quickly? Without visibility how do you track and measure productivity improvements? And just like in driving, visibility is a two-way street. Teams need to know where they are going as much as the leaders of your organization need to know what the current map looks like, how fast the cars are driving, and how close we are to various destinations.

Whether you are a senior leader, or a member of an agile team, here a few key areas to help your company reap the benefits through better visibility practices:

Team Visibility

  • Know the important team indicators that drive the company’s success (e.g., velocity, throughput, productivity)
  • Align your work items correctly to help influence the success factors and be open to discussing this in your daily and weekly planning sessions
  • Be transparent with leadership and encourage them to be more involved in reviews
  • Share impediments and bad news as quickly and efficiently as possible
  • Practice extreme visibility with all your indicators, make them visible and known far and wide

Leadership Visibility

  • Become a trust agent for your teams and remember to always be building trust
  • Share company news and the key indicators that drive the company, have the teams help create these key numbers in partnership (e.g. share ownership on scorecards and dashboards)
  • Know how the teams operate and understand the value of their processes and ceremonies (act and think more like a team member)
  • Celebrate every win and encourage good behavior (vs discouraging bad behavior)
  • Ruthlessly remove impediments for the team to help them be successful

Improving the visibility in your organization can produce amazing results. Agile companies strive to provide customer value early and often. The State of Agile Report once again highlights how agile companies are seeing productivity improvements that boost company profits and increase the number happy customers.

Do you have the visibility your organization needs to succeed?

State of Agile is a trademark of VersionOne Inc.


The post Improved Project Visibility: A Top 3 Benefit of Agile appeared first on The Agile Management Blog.

Categories: Companies

cPrime Introduces Scrum Hardware Certification

Scrum Expert - Thu, 04/07/2016 - 09:32
cPrime is addressing the surge of interest in Agile Hardware product development by adding a training and certification class in how to apply the popular Scrum process to develop electronic and electromechanical hardware. cPrime’s new Agile hardware certification’s focus on practicalities distinguish it from the more abstract level of most certification classes. That practicality, and the hard-won knowledge provided by cPrime’s original research and client experiences, set this training apart from the rest. cPrime’s CEO, Zubin Irani, agrees. “We’re not guessing,” he said. “We have enough hardware clients under our belt now that we know what we’re doing. Our hardware clients want the flexibility, visibility, and reliability that Agile project-management techniques provide. We see Agile Hardware as truly the next big thing in the Agile world, and we intend to lead in that space.” cPrime is focusing on helping clients who produce laboratory equipment, telecommunications equipment, and other electronic or electromechanical devices. cPrime’s extensive background in Agile project management for software development is a plus, as most such devices both contain software and interact with other software products.
Categories: Communities

Encryption is not Binary

Tyner Blain - Scott Sehlhorst - Thu, 04/07/2016 - 05:38

Kano model - more is better - depicting 'good enough' as a concept

If you ask someone if they require encryption on their device, first of all, you will likely get one of two answers – yes or no – useful for segmenting your market or developing persona.  If you’re lucky, you’ll get a better answer – “you’re asking the wrong question!

Be Outside-In, Not Inside-Out

Inside-out thinking is taking your current view of your product (or product-to-be), and mapping it to the problems you discover in the market.  By contrast, outside-in is to understand problems your prospective customers face, and build viable solutions to those problems.

People don’t require encryption, they require protection of information.  You could achieve that protection through encryption, or by embedding your device in epoxy, or keeping it in your pocket at all times.

As an example, in 2008 the iPhone 3G’s user storage was not encrypted.  Data Protection was provided by unlocking the user interface to the phone with a PIN code.  The expectation was that you had to use the interface to access the stored data, so by protecting the user interface, the data is protected.  Without encryption.

Inside-out thinking is being an order taker, providing what is requested, not what is needed.

Outside-in thinking is recognizing that people want to protect their data from others.

Outside-in thinking might even re-frame the problem as one aspect of a need for privacy.  It just depends on what context in which you are defining the scope of the problem you wish to solve.

Applying Kano to Data Protection

Kano analysis is one of the key components of what I teach in DIT’s product management program every spring, and will also feature in one of the sessions of Product Owner Survival Camp in May 2016.

At first glance, what seems obvious in 2016 is that data protection – from the point of view of the user – can be classified in one of three ways

  1. must have data protection on my device
  2. must not have data protection on my device
  3. I am indifferent about data protection being available on my device

While the Kano model supports the notion of requiring that a feature not be present I have not found it useful yet in a product management context.  Partly, I suspect, because with an outside-in perspective, you aren’t looking at the presence or absence of features, you are only looking at capabilities – and I haven’t found a product where the concept of “I would have bought it, except someone could use it to do this other thing I don’t like, so I will not buy it.”

It is possible, in some markets, that the ability to protect data would be a delighter.  In those markets, the capability would be disruptive.

Data Protection, however, is not a boolean capability.  There are degrees of protection.  This implies that there is a notion of good enough protection of data. What might that look like?

Good Enough Data Protection

Building on a rapid refresher of first principles of applying Kano modeling as a product manager, we start with a realistic view of the more is better characterization of problems.

More is better Kano model - including diminishing returns[larger version]

The notion of good enough is added to the model.  There is some level of security that a user perceives about their data (using slightly more outside-in language), as a function of how well it is protected (outside-in), utilizing whatever technology (inside-out) the product happens to use.

Below this threshold, a user will be unsatisfied, and above the threshold, the user will be satisfied.  When we’re defining an MVP, we need to make sure we satisfice the user.

We want to aim for viable, not just minimal with our product.


A common source of product failure is delivering incomplete solutions to problems.

Adding some illustrative data points to the model, we get the following:

data security diminishing returns kano model[larger version]

The degree to which you need to solve a particular problem is defined by your users.  It may not simply be a Boolean decision (“is data protection a capability?”), it may be a scale of increasing capability (“how much data protection is provided?”).

In the security space in particular, there is the added complexity of deciding if you need to provide legitimate security, or the perception of security, or both.  Then you have to decide what that means in the context of your market, customers, competition, and product.


While the debate surrounding the current encryption & phone-unlocking controversy can be interesting, the lesson for product managers is that there is value in understanding how your users frame the problems you hope to help them solve.

Approaching your product from the outside-in – from the perspective of understanding what your users value, is critical.

Framing, or characterizing, the problem the same way your users does will help you determine when good enough is actually good enough.

Categories: Blogs

Agile Games, Cambridge, USA April 28-30 2016

Scrum Expert - Wed, 04/06/2016 - 13:00
The Agile Games Conference is three-day annual event organized by Agile New England that focuses teaching, demonstrating, and improving Agile and organizational effectiveness using game theory. In the agenda of Agile Games conference you can find keynotes and workshops like “Faster, Cheaper, Better: Designing Agile Training That Delivers Results”, “Awesome Teams: Games for Continuous (Extreme?) Teaming”, “This is Your Brain. This is Your Brain on Agile Games”, “Using the Tension Between Agile & Management”, ” Agile Technical Practices in LEGO”, “Improve Your Agile or Scrum Stand-up – PLUS Building a REAL Team”, “Scrum or Not? A Team Game to Assess Knowledge & Readiness”, ” Agile: The Gathering An Interactive Card Game to Promote Agile Culture”. Web site: Location for the Agile Games conference: The Microsoft New England Research & Development (NERD) Center, One Memorial Drive, Cambridge, MA 02142, USA
Categories: Communities

ZenHub Released Epics Agile Tool

Scrum Expert - Tue, 04/05/2016 - 21:01
ZenHub, a project management tool integrated natively in GitHub, has released ZenHub Epics – an upgrade to task management in GitHub. ZenHub Epics allows software teams to plan and execute product backlogs – bringing a level of focus to the development process not previously achievable for GitHub’s millions of users. This release is a competitive move by the company, which is just over one year old. Coupled with a steady stream of product improvements, ZenHub is luring software-driven teams away from “traditional” project management tools. Legacy project management tools have faced criticism by their end users – software developers – for steep learning curves, bloated feature sets, or prohibitive permissions structures. ZenHub provides a different approach to the project management process – putting control in the hands of developers, not a gated administrator; placing the code on centre stage; and providing just enough process to help teams move as fast as possible. ZenHub keeps teams focused within largest technical collaboration platform in the world: GitHub. As the only solution natively integrated in GitHub’s interface, customers save the equivalent of forty workdays per year with the tool, which offers features like visual task boards, burndown charts to track velocity, and a personal task manager. ZenHub Enterprise, the company’s on-premise solution for GitHub Enterprise users, will also support epics.
Categories: Communities

User Story Mapping for Games - An Example

Agile Game Development - Tue, 04/05/2016 - 18:25
This article explains the basics of User Story Mapping and provides a simple example.

Years ago, I attended a lecture from Jeff Patton on User Story Mapping.  I was intrigued by his example, but struggled with how to apply it to video games.  Then, last year, he published his book on the topic.  The book is a great resource on different approaches and examples for mapping.  About this time I had a chance to mapping with a mobile game team.  Our variation on mapping worked well.

What is User Story Mapping?

User story mapping is a technique for creating a two-dimensional map of user stories usually
arranged by priority or a narrative of user activity on the horizontal axis.  The vertical axis often groups stories by sprints or releases (time).

Building the Example Map

It's useful to create a map for each release.  In a typical release, we'll usually start with a "Big Hairy Audacious Goal" or BHAG.  For our example, let's use a BHAG for a hypothetical car racing game:

"You are a fugitive driver, being chased, avoiding traffic and using your driving skills to escape Chicago!"

This is a good goal and a sizable chunk of work.  One of the first steps in release planning is to break the BHAG down into some smaller epic stories (stories still too big to fit into a sprint).

For our example, we have the following epics:
  • As a fugitive I want to drive a car fast to evade the police.
  • As a fugitive I want to avoid obstacles so I can keep ahead of the police.
  • As a fugitive I want to use the busy streets of  Chicago to lose the police.
With a bit of prioritization and refinement based on team structures, we can recreate the BHAG as a narrative made up of the epic stories:

This isn't the only possible arrangement of the narrative, but for this example, I arrange it this way to highlight the priority of the epics.  Obviously, driving the car is the most important.  It wouldn't be much fun if you can't evade the police.  Avoiding obstacles would be nice, but less important than the city and police.
Also note that the narrative isn't a set of user stories following the user story template.  The reason is that we want the narrative to be clearly readable as a whole tightly-coupled story.  The template can get it the way of doing that.
The next step is to forecast some sprints by:
  1. Splitting the narrative "epics"
  2. Sizing them by whatever method you use
  3. Prioritizing the split stories
  4. Placing them into their appropriate sprint (row) under the narrative epics (column).
In the example, the map might then look like this:
The colors represent the sprints (rows) for forecasted sprint goals.  The purple post-it in the lower right is large because it's still an epic.  We'll split that up after the spike (experimental work) on the ambient traffic in the previous sprint gives us a bit more knowledge about the work involved.
Why User Story Maps?
There are some advantages of user story mapping:
  • It visually organizes the work for a release.  I love the big picture view.  This can be used on games with a hundred people to give everyone a clear view of the shared goal and progress.
  • The narrative communicates "why" we are working on the stories.  I've noticed that teams using a map will respond to emergence better because they understand the big picture.
  • It's two-dimensional.  The one-dimensional view of a traditional product backlog is limiting.  Having multiple dimensions is better at handling prioritization.
  • It's very customizable.  For example, if you want to map a dependency, you can tack a piece of string or ribbon between two stories.
  • It responds to change very well.  We can shift stories, priorities and how work might be shared very quickly.
Other Useful Bits I've Learned
  • Build your maps with as many people as you can.  If you have 100 people on your team, have teams map out their columns individually.  This helps build a shared vision.
  • Physical boards trump tools!  I feel I'm a broken record on this, but maps don't take much space,  radiate information and can be instantly customizable and modified (sorry distributed teams).
  • Don't use post-its.  Although I use them in the art above, these maps live for months.  Index cards and cork boards, etc. work better.
Have fun mapping!
Categories: Blogs

Arizona Gives Day 2016

About SCRUM - Hamid Shojaee Axosoft - Tue, 04/05/2016 - 18:08

Axosoft is passionate about supporting our community through donations, sponsorships, volunteer work, mentorship, teaching, and really any other way we can think of! That’s why we’re excited to participate in Arizona Gives Day today!

What is Arizona Gives Day?

Arizona Gives Day is a single statewide day of giving that has raised $4.5 million for Arizona nonprofits since 2013. This year, #AZGivesDay will take place on Tuesday, April 5, 2016 from 12:00 a.m. to 11:59 p.m. (Arizona Time).

Arizona Gives Day - April 5 2016

Okay, but why is it important?

Arizona nonprofits provide necessary services to our communities and are actually an integral part of our state’s economy. Annually, they have an economic impact of $22.4 billion, or nearly 8% of Arizona’s gross state product, and employ 324,000 people.

Arizona Gives Day - April 5 2016

So, what should we do?

Monetary donations are the most direct way to help a nonprofit make an impact! Donations empower nonprofits to allocate funds where they are most needed. Arizona Gives Day is focused on helping participating nonprofits raise funds that are critical to supporting their work.

Arizona Gives Day - April 5 2016

At Axosoft, we’re donating to a nonprofit called Support My Club, whose mission is to help students on their path to graduation by engaging communities to fulfill the needs of school clubs and teams. Their vision is for all students to have the opportunity to pursue their hopes, dreams and aspirations through participation in extracurricular activities.

Support My club is able to meet their objectives through these donations! They have grown at a significant rate year-over-year since their inception in 2012; currently serving 83 high schools across the state of Arizona with nearly 400 clubs in Academics, Activities, Arts and Athletics. Donors have fulfilled over 4,200 needs totaling over $225,000!

According to Amy Armstrong, CEO and Founder of Support My Club,

“Research says that structured after-school activities work. They work to engage students, keep them in school, and keep them from participating in risky behaviors. Clubs and sporting activities need help to provide the inspired minds and innovative ideas of students with the tools to succeed in their missions. That’s where we come in.”

The Story of Support My Club

I asked Amy what inspired her to found Support My Club, and this was her response:

“I was working with a local high school and saw the amazing talents and innovative ideas that these students had, but many were just dreaming about them because they didn’t have the tools or resources to make them come to life. For example, there was a newly formed Fashion Club with gorgeous sketches of ball gown, but they didn’t have a sewing machine, fabric, scissors or thread—so the ideas sat on paper. After we equipped them properly, they created an entire line of original dresses and held their first runway show! There were so many examples like that… opportunities for the students to pursue their talents and passions if they were supported.”

For Support My Club, Arizona Gives Day is an important day because it not only brings awareness to their services and opportunities but it is a chance to gather with other nonprofits in a day of celebration! Amy remarked,

“Nonprofit employees, board members and volunteers work very hard on a wide variety of issues in our state and I so appreciate the community feeling of support that is shown on Arizona Gives Day.”

Get Involved!

You can go to and donate to Support My Club or any organization that aligns with your community goals! Every dollar helps.

Amy proudly told me,

“Last year, the money raised during this 1 day was what funded an AmeriCorps VISTA to be placed with us full time for 1 year. That capacity building position allowed us to open up our services statewide and we are now serving 7 additional counties outside of Maricopa!”

Arizona Gives Day - April 5 2016Arizona Gives Day stats for 2015
Categories: Companies

What’s New in Axosoft Version 16.2?

About SCRUM - Hamid Shojaee Axosoft - Tue, 04/05/2016 - 16:10

Version 16.2 is here! We have a UX-focused release for you with several handy improvements. Here’s what you can expect:

  • Quick Filter on multi-select lists
  • Remaining Estimate update
  • Standup burndown can now be filtered by team
  • Multi-select options in Users section
  • Work logs tab update
  • Audit Trails rebuilt to track more changes.

For a full list of features and fixes please be sure to also review our version history. Also, if you are an Axosoft Installed customer, this version will include all the changes from v16.1 as well.

What do you mean by “Quick Filter on multi-select lists?”

Did you know you could quick filter on grid columns? The option is available when you right click on a column header in grid view:

Hover over a column in grid view to use a quick filter.Hover over a column in grid view to use a quick filter.

Now we have expanded this quick filter to multi-select lists. Say you tag an item with several options in the your multi-select list. With this new feature set, you can filter down to a specific selection so you only see what you need. Yay filters!

Remaining Estimate update

We made Axosoft a little smarter with this update. Select an item and then hit d on your keyboard.

Use the keyboard shortcut "d" to modify durations.Use the keyboard shortcut “d” to modify durations.

Now any time both fields are blank when you open a new or existing item, Axosoft will update the Remaining Estimate field when you enter a value in the Initial Estimate field. It will even update as you update the Initial Estimate field.  However, if you explicitly state a value for the Remaining Estimate field then Axosoft will respect that data entry moving forward.

What’s new with the Stand Up

Teams filters for the Stand Up burndown charts are now available. Access this menu as shown below to enable your team filter:

Get a burndown chart that only displays work by the selected team.Get a burndown chart that only displays work by the selected team.

Now only items from members of the selected team will show in the burndown chart.

What can I do with users now?

Did you know that you could right-click on a user when you navigate to Tools/ People/ Users?

This menu can be accessed from Tools/ People/ UsersThis menu can be accessed from Tools/ People/ Users

As of version 16.2, you can multi-select users and right-click to make bulk changes. Activate, deactivate, or unlock multiple users at once.

What other multi-select options are new?

For up to 100 items at once, you can perform the following bulk actions on multi-selected items:

  • Copying to other item types
  • Move to other item types
  • Duplicate
Do more in bulk. Limit of up to 100 items!Do more in bulk. Limit of up to 100 items!

Remember, when deciding between “Copy to” or “Move to” we always recommend defaulting to the copy option so you keep an original record.

Where can I add a work log?

It is now even easier to add to your work logs for a specific item. Simply navigate to your work logs tab, and right-click on an existing record to log more work.

Right click on a record to get this menu.Right click on a record to get this menu.

You can also use the keyboard shortcut W to add an additional work log for the selected record.

More Audit Trails

We reworked the backend for Audit trails so that it tracks system changes to include:

  • Projects
  • Release
  • User
  • Team
  • Contact
  • And more
Access the Audit Trails tab to review item and object history.Access the Audit Trails tab to review item and object history.

For now, system changes are limited to name changes. Don’t forget, you can also include item audits in addition to any system object updates.

Lastly, we updated the Organize Panel and the Details Panel so that they fly open or close when you click the arrow icon. There is no need to pin any longer

Categories: Companies

Summarizing the Results of a Sprint

The end of an agile sprint or iteration should be a relatively lightweight occasion. After all, it’s something that will be done at least once a month, and often much more frequently than that. So, it’s important that we don’t burden a team with any more process ceremony than necessary. Often a very simple sprint review is all that is needed.

A Sprint Summary Document

Sometimes, though, as a ScrumMaster, I like to produce a sprint summary document. This short document contains very brief details of what work was done during the sprint, when the sprint was, who was on the team, any key decisions that were made during the sprint, and perhaps a few important metrics.


There are two target audiences for a sprint summary document. The first is any interested outsiders. This could include the VP of development, executives, stakeholders, department management, other teams and so on.

The second audience is future versions of the agile team itself. I’ve been in many situations where a team wanted to look back in time. A sprint summary can provide that view. Let me provide an example.

This one team was feeling depressed about how few automated tests they were writing. In the prior sprint, they’d added only about 200 total automated tests, which they knew was too low for what their system needed.

Because their ScrumMaster had been producing sprint summary documents, I retrieved a summary from six months earlier.

I shared with the team that they had once been struggling to write even one or two automated tests per sprint. (They were refactoring code so that it could support automated testing and were learning the concepts and tools.)

By sharing this information with the team from their sprint summary, I helped them realize how far they had come. Yes, they still had a long way to go, but they had already started moving the mountain, and momentum was now on their side.

Without a sprint summary document to provide exact facts, I would have had to rely on memory or had to piece things together by digging through the source code repository.


While the specific contents of a sprint summary document are entirely up to you, there are a few things I’ve found to be helpful. These include ...


Simply list the start and end date of the sprint and the number of working days in the sprint. I also list the people who were on the team, how many days each was expected to be available and the approximate number of days each was actually available.

The number of days a team member worked may differ from the planned days available because of illness or because the person was pulled onto another project mid-sprint, for example.


Include any metrics here that are important to the ScrumMaster, stakeholders or the team. Keep it simple. I tend to include a graph or table of the velocity of the last 10 or so sprints (whatever horizon seems reasonable for your team). If you’re using burndown charts, include those.

You might also consider including things like the number of defects found or fixed, the number of automated tests added, code coverage, the number of builds deployed and so on.

If you are building the software for a client and need to report on cost, include things like billable hours and cost in this section.

But keep it simple.

Contents and Assessment

In this section, include a list of each product backlog item the team planned to do. Indicate whether the item was finished or not. And if the team estimates product backlog items (for example, in story points), include the size of the story.

Also include any additional notes from the sprint review on relevant decisions.

Finally, consider including a list of actions decided as a result of the sprint retrospective. This is entirely optional and be sure the team is OK including this. They may or may not be, depending on the audience for the sprint summary document.

Keep The Effort Short

Once you’ve produced an initial sprint summary document, you should find creating a new one for each sprint quite simple. My guideline is that it should not take more than 15 minutes per sprint to produce. If you keep the metrics section simple, this is quite feasible.

I’ve included a sample sprint summary document you can use to get started.

What Are You Tracking?

In the comments below, please share your thoughts. What do you think of the things I like to track? What do you track already? Or what will you begin tracking now after reading this?

Categories: Blogs

The Results Are In! Read the 10th Annual State of Agile Report

The Agile Management Blog - VersionOne - Tue, 04/05/2016 - 14:30

SOA-1024x512 (2)

VersionOne is excited to release the 10th annual State of Agile Report – one of the key ways that the company proactively gives back to the software development community.  For more than 10 years, this annual survey has collected unbiased feedback to give software professionals insight into agile trends, best practices, and lessons learned to help them succeed with their agile transformations. In fact this year there were a total of 3,880 completed responses, of which only 28% were VersionOne customers, further adding to the range and diversity of respondents. While many of the trends remained constant, we were surprised by some of the results.

Here’s a sneak peek:

  • Larger enterprises are embracing agile – 24% of respondents work for organizations with 20,000+ employees.
  • Agile is scaling – Scrum still dominates, but the Scaled Agile Framework® (SAFe®) made a big jump this year.
  • Agile talent and experience is growing – 63% said they were ‘very’ to ‘extremely’ knowledgeable about agile.
  • Agile is going global – 26% of the respondents work in Europe, and more than 18% work in Asia, South America, Oceania, and Africa.
  • You’re succeeding with agile – 95% reported that their organizations practice agile, and only 1% had experienced agile failure.

Read the report and get access to the archives of the previous nine State of Agile reports.

VersionOne is a registered trademark and State of Agile is a trademark of VersionOne Inc.
Scaled Agile Framework and SAFe are registered trademarks of Scaled Agile, Inc.

The post The Results Are In! Read the 10th Annual State of Agile Report appeared first on The Agile Management Blog.

Categories: Companies

Software Delivery Track for Agile on the Beach Conference

Scrum Expert - Tue, 04/05/2016 - 10:34
The Agile on the Beach conference has confirmed its Software Delivery line up which will run on the both days. The conference will have 40+ speakers including a keynote by Dr Linda Rising, internationally known for her work in patterns, retrospectives, influence strategies, agile development, and the change process. The Software Delivery track will be headlined by a keynote from Rebecca Parsons CTO at Thoughtworks * Jo Cranford: Build In Quality * Byran Wills-Heath: How we implemented TDD in Embedded C/C++ * Jon Jagger: The design and implementation of cyber-dojo * Elizabeth Pope: 10% time the pros and cons? * Wouter Lagerweij: Testing in a Continuous Delivery World * Paul Boocock: Continuously delivering software to big brands * Lyndsay Prewer: Smoothing the continuous delivery path – a tale of two architectures * David Brownhill & Craig Scott-Angell: Penetration Testing in the Release Pipeline * Jim Barritt: Finding the merkle tree in the block chain forest * Sarah Glanville & Paul Lemon: Sky – Moving on up Session details below for Software Delivery with full details at Speakers and sessions for our themes of Agile Teams and Practices, Agile Business and Product Design and Management will be confirmed over the next few weeks with a full schedule announced by May. Super Early Birds can secure tickets at £295 (£100 off full price) if booked before 31st May. For help with travel and accommodation please visit our website
Categories: Communities

Yes in agile means that you will deliver

Ben Linders - Tue, 04/05/2016 - 06:58

NO and YES are two simple words, yet practice shows that professionals often have difficulties in using them. Actually it's very easy, certainly when you want to work in an agile way. Dare to say NO when you are unsure if you can do what's requested. When you say YES it means that you will deliver the product, on time with the right quality. Continue reading →

The post Yes in agile means that you will deliver appeared first on Ben Linders.

Categories: Blogs

Axosoft GitKraken Announces Contest to Celebrate V1.0 Launch

About SCRUM - Hamid Shojaee Axosoft - Mon, 04/04/2016 - 18:38

Axosoft GitKraken has launched v1.0! We’re so excited to share our journey to create the best Git client on the planet. We’ve relied heavily on our early adopters and listened to all the chatter on Twitter (believe us, we heard you!)

In order to show our thanks, we’ve turned our launch party into a contest! Choose from one of 3 categories described below for a chance to get yourself some CASH to STASH, as well as some fabulous prizes (dev approved).

Check out this video and catch the kraken excitement:

Don’t skip over the contest rules at the end—they’re important. Now on to the #GKContest!

 1. Songwriting Battle

gitkraken songwriting contest

Are you a rising rap artist? An up and coming crooner? A promising pop star? Or just the most successful singer in your car? If you are (and even if you aren’t) let’s see what you got! Write a song (it can be a parody or completely original) in the genre of your choice!

Honestly, we’re kind of partial to rap, so if you want to concentrate on that, we won’t be mad.

But, whatever your cup of tea, we want you to write us a song about the Kraken! Here are some keywords you can use:

  • Clone
  • Push/Pull
  • Commit
  • Remotes
  • Stash (hunk)
  • Branch
  • Rebase
  • Cherry pick
  • GUI (“gooey”)
  • Command Line

Here are some parody songs we came up with. Feel free to use these as inspiration:

  • “Like I’m Mergin” (“Like a Virgin”)
  • “The Kraken Dance” (“The Humpty Dance”)
  • “Stand By Your Kraken” (“Stand By Your Man”)
  • “Don’t Let Your Babies Grow up to Be Krakens” (“Don’t Let Your Babies Grow up to Be Cowboys”)
  • “Let’s Git it On” (“Let’s Get it On”)
  • “Push it” (a la Salt n’ Peppa)
  • “Under the Sea” (A homage to Disney’s “The Little Mermaid”)

Obviously, these are just examples. We want to see and hear your creativity, and if you are in the least bit successful, you’re in the running for a grand prize!

  • $3,000 Clams (Yes, $3,000 U.S. dollars)
  • Super sweet headphones
  • GitKraken T-shirts for your entire band/crew (limit of 5)
  • GitKraken guitar picks
  • GitKraken stickers (limit 10)
  1. Record your song and upload it to YouTube or Soundcloud.
  2. Tweet the link to us @GitKraken using #GKContest. The decision to create a music video or just upload audio is completely up to you.

11:59PM (Arizona time) on April 15, 2016

Evaluation Criteria:

The Krakenest* submission with the most engagement** wins! It’s up to you to share your video or song with as many people as you can to increase the amount of ‘likes’ and ‘shares’ you receive.

2. Video Game Throwdown

gitkraken game

Who doesn’t love video games? Show us your dev skills and make a GitKraken themed game. GitKraxian? KrakenMan? KrakenKong? Super Kraken Fighter? Krakémon? You get the picture.

Use of frameworks/libraries to help speed up your development is permitted, as long as you use them fully in accordance with their respective licenses.

Phaser is a great open source HTML5 canvas and javascript library for game development. You might want to use it as a starting point.

Just let the Kraken inspire you and send us your game. You can win awesome prizes!

  • $1,500 Big Ones (Yes, that’s U.S. dollars.)
  • Playstation 4 (valued at approximately $350)
  • Razer BlackWidow Chroma Clicky Mechanical Gaming Keyboard (valued at approximately $160)
  • 1 GitKraken T-shirt
  • 5 GitKraken stickers
  1. Come up with a strong concept using the Kraken.
  2. Download the Kraken assets here if you’d like to use them. (not required)
  3. Create your game and post it at a link where folks can play it. It’s important your game be playable in the browser without any plugins. Newer web technologies like canvas are great—flash is not.
  4. Tweet your link to us @GitKraken using #GKContest.

11:59PM (Arizona time) on April 15, 2016

Evaluation Criteria:

The submission with the most engagement* wins! It’s up to you to share your game with as many people as you can to increase the amount of ‘likes’ and ‘shares’ you receive.

3. Kraken Design O’Rama Challenge

Kraken design o-rama

By now, you’re probably acquainted with our Kraken logo. However, not sure if you’ve noticed that the Kraken has a very versatile wardrobe:

Are you inspired to design your own Kraken yet? Go ahead, you could win these awesome prizes!

  • $750 Greenbacks (That’s U.S. dollars in case you didn’t know)
  • A t-shirt with YOUR custom Kraken design
  • A GitKraken messenger bag
  • 5 GitKraken stickers
  1. Come up with a concept using the GitKraken logo (download here)
  2. Use your slick design skills to create a .jpg or .png
  3. Tweet the image to us @GitKraken using #GKContest.

11:59PM (Arizona time) on April 15, 2016

The Rules:

All submissions must be sent through Twitter using @GitKraken and #GKContest by 11:59PM (Arizona time) on April 15, 2016. All other submissions will not be considered. Originality is very important; no borrowing or stealing others’ work.

Contestants may enter the contest in multiple categories; however, you can only win for one category.

*Axosoft will consider your submission for relevance to GitKraken and general appropriateness. Any work deemed inappropriate for reasons including but not exclusive to bigotry, bad language, sexually explicit content, hate speech, etc. will not be considered. Keep it classy, devs.

**Engagement will be calculated as a combination of the following: favorites (hearts) on your Tweet submission, retweets of your tweet submission, and if applicable, likes (thumbs up) on your YouTube video OR favorites (hearts) on your Soundcloud file.

One submission with the highest combination of all engagement* metrics will be deemed the winner for each of the three (3) categories (song/video, game, logo), for a total of three (3) contest winners.

Scores will be calculated and winners will be selected at 11:59PM (Arizona time) on April 15, 2016. Winners will be announced on April 18, 2016.

GK Contest Graphic

Categories: Companies

Being Digital

NetObjectives - Mon, 04/04/2016 - 18:09
In a recent HBR article entitled Which Industries Are the Most Digital (and Why)?, the authors measure digital progress and adoption in 22 industry sectors. Specifically, they examine the various industry sectors in light of three categories of digital capabilities: digital assets, digital usage and digital labor, reaching the following conclusion: “What really sets the leaders apart, however, is...

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Categories: Companies

Scrum Knowledge Sharing

SpiraPlan is a agile project management system designed specifically for methodologies such as scrum, XP and Kanban.