Tuesday, January 26, 2016

Timely Topics, Deep Discussions: Agile Open Jam at BBC 2015

Open Jam 2015

Enthusiasm + experience = deep conversations. And there were plenty of insightful discussions during the Agile Open Jam at the 2015 Building Business Capability (BBC) conference, where passionate practitioners shared and learned from each other.

For the third year in a row, BBC attendees took advantage of an open jam format to better explore a wide variety of agile topics. We at EBG were pleased to continue serving as the organizer and host of the Agile Open Jam at the BBC, the official conference of the International Institute of Business Analysis (IIBA®).

Participants at the jam said there was “great collaboration of ideas and problem solving” and “awesome conversations.” Continue reading

Tuesday, December 15, 2015

Decide How to Decide: Empowering Product Ownership

Common Decision Rules

As the product owner, you are responsible for the product’s vision, and ultimately, the value of your product. You “own” the backlog. If your responsibilities include upstream product management—what I refer to as strategic product ownership—then you also shepherd your product through its entire lifecycle.

Bottom line, your prime responsibility is deciding what to build and when to build it. Your decisions guide not just the health and well being of your product, but also all the people engaged in product discovery and delivery.

Yet a common product ownership struggle I see in agile teams—regardless of industry and product type—is determining how to make decisions. As an agile coach, I use a pattern I call “Decide How to Decide.” It’s a simple technique to help people make transparent, participatory, and trusted decisions. Continue reading

Thursday, October 29, 2015

Boosting Confidence through Successful Agile Business Analysis

Confidence

In our prior blog post we shared nine practices of great agile teams. They are powerful confidence builders for individual members, and even more so when the entire team lives the practices.

Here, we’re focusing specifically on a number of practices that are the hallmark for successful agile business analysis work. Gaining proficiency in these practices is a sure way to increase your team’s confidence and help them be successful.

VALUE Keep the product’s vision visible! Build the vision collaboratively, using visuals before turning it into a textual vision statement. Amplify the vision with qualitative goals, then quantify the goals with testable objectives. Ground your structured conversations in value as you explore product options, evaluate and select high-value options, and confirm that the options will meet the objectives. Value is the byword of agile business analysis work. Continue reading

Tuesday, September 29, 2015

Boosting Confidence: 9 Practices of Great Agile Teams

Confidence

We’ve noticed something about the high-performing agile teams we work with: their confidence. They truly believe and trust in their individual and collective abilities. Their confidence extends to how they go about managing their product and delivering value, continuously.

Inspired by Lisa Crispin’s blog, we have compiled our own list of confidence-boosting practices that we suggest when coaching agile teams. We hope they’ll help you and your team as you strive to discover and deliver great products. Continue reading | 2 Comments

Sunday, June 28, 2015

Amplify Learning with Mind Maps

Mind Mapping

I’ve long been an advocate for visual learning and discovery tools. Models, maps, prototypes, along with the use of symbols and color, aid in understanding complex ideas. So what I saw in a recent Agile Requirements training class I taught in Tokyo, Japan—hosted by our training partner OGIS-RI—took my love of visuals to a new level. One attendee, Hidehiko Akasaka, was especially engaged. To my delight, he was using mind maps to help him organize and amplify his learning!

I use mind maps for a variety of topics. For example, recently I “wrote” a book review using a mind map. Yet, for me, Akasaka-san takes mind maps to a new level Continue reading | 2 Comments

Wednesday, May 20, 2015

Smoothing and Speeding Your Agile Learning Journeys with
More Agile Testing

MoreAgileTesting

I love the latest book from Janet Gregory and Lisa Crispin, More Agile Testing: Learning Journeys for the Whole Team. My own copy is littered with dog-eared pages, highlighted text, and stickies marking ideas I want to come back to, bring to my own work, and share with others.

When I sat down to write this book review, I started with a mind map, as Janet and Lisa often suggest. My plan was to turn this organized brainstorm into a standard text-heavy book review that would elegantly and persuasively describe how valuable I find the book. Yet as the mind map began to take shape, I paused to reconsider. I wondered if perhaps using the mind map as my book review would be the best solution. Continue reading

Monday, April 20, 2015

Learning about Agile Requirements: “Voice of the Customer” Highlights

7ProductDimensions
Agile Requirements – Creative Collaborative and Colorful Discovery – was the title of a workshop held on March 16, 2015, at the RE Conf (Requirements Engineering Conference) in Munich. Coach Ellen Gottesdiener (founder of EBG Consulting) is a renowned pioneer in the field of collaborative partnerships for Requirements Engineering and Management. During this workshop we experienced her creative and colorful way of thinking – and were quite impressed by her “retro approach” based on flip charts and colored post-its.

What’s more, we were not allowed to forget the “mantra of value” during the one-day workshop! Every software application (or even hardware component) upgrade must add value for the various customer, business and technology stakeholders or partners involved. Otherwise the requirement should be disregarded. Continue reading

Monday, March 30, 2015

Quick, Highly Effective Ideas for Writing Better Stories

50quick
We’re big fans of the latest book from Gojko Adzic and David Evans, Fifty Quick Ideas to Improve Your User Stories. After all, who isn’t always looking for ways to improve? We encourage you to check it out.

Whether you’re looking for new ideas for creating stories, planning with stories, discussing stories, splitting stories, or managing iterative delivery, you’re sure to find a number of improvement ideas. Continue reading

Friday, February 6, 2015

Going Global

DtoD Japanese
We’re excited to announce that the Japanese version of Discover to Deliver is now available. We deeply appreciate Mr. Taku Fujii, of OGIS-RI, for his excellent work in translating our book for a whole new audience.

Discover to Deliver: Agile Product Planning and Analysis has helped professionals all over the world to collaboratively conceive, deliver and support software products and systems. Many thanks to Taku-san for his thoroughness and professionalism in preparing the Japanese translation. Continue reading

Wednesday, January 21, 2015

Agile Soul Mates Jamming in Florida
by Mary Gorman

Agile_Open_Jam
When you see Agile business analysis and product management as a topic for multi-day, deep conversions, you’ve entered the world of Agile Open Jam.

For the second year in a row, the Agile Open Jam on “Business Analysis and Product Management in Agile” was a big hit at the Building Business Capability conference.

This is the second Agile Open Jam EBG has hosted (last year, Ellen hosted), and we were jazzed yet again by the enthusiasm, sharing, and energy the Open Jam generated. Dozens and dozens of folks participated—proposing provocative topics, diving into deep conversations, and networking with kindred spirits. Continue reading