Mining Code

Agile Line Management

Paper boats lining up behind a leader
Photo by KOBU Agency on Unsplash

This is going to be another opinionated piece on the ideal line management reporting structure for an Agile team. I’m not going to get into organisational hierarchy or connections between teams, instead just focusing on the Agile team itself. This does, however, relate to the concept of dependencies.

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The Psychological Impact of IT dependencies

Man wearing white top using MacBook
Photo by Tim Gouw on Unsplash

Over this series, I’ve spoken in detail about the organisational impact of IT dependencies in your system. I’d like to take a diversion and discuss how it can impact the individual.

I posit that even without the work benefits you could derive from eliminating dependencies, the quality of life changes you could bring about would more than pay for the effort.

This isn’t an article about workplace stress, we’re all pretty familiar with its cost to our economy. Nor is this an article about the cost of employee churn. It’s not even about the cost to productivity through disengagement. Let’s move forward knowing the impact of people not being happy.

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Quick and dirty dependency map automation

horizontal neon lights
Photo by H Shaw on Unsplash

After some of my recent articles on building a dependency map, a few people got in touch asking for tips on actually creating them. Here’s a quick way to get started.

You might have noticed the following example in my previous posts.

Dependency map example

I created the graphic above with an amazing bit of kit called Neo4j. It’s actually an incredibly sophisticated graph database technology, so it almost feels a little sacrilegious to be using it for this.

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9 Common Retrospective Pitfalls

woman placing sticky notes on wall during a retrospective
Photo by You X Ventures on Unsplash

I’ve written a few heavy articles recently, so thought I’d take a step back with something a little lighter. I absolutely love retrospectives and am going to take this time to highlight some common retrospective pitfalls that I frequently see people falling into.

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Facilitation for Introverts

Why should we care about facilitation for introverts? What does it actually matter? Let’s run through it.

“[…]someone who prefers calm, minimally stimulating environments.”

noun

I sat there in the audience, gazing up at the exuberant figure breathing life and energy into the room. New to facilitation, I felt anxious just watching him play the room. I could see how the content was broken up with quick questions to the audience, group activities helped to encourage engagement from everyone. Engagement, that seemed important. If I was going to be good, then I needed to get everyone involved somehow.

For the past few years, I’ve sought to hone my craft at facilitation. Engagement has been a driving force for how I structure my content and a measure for how successful I feel that I’ve been. I felt that if everyone was active in some way, then that’s a quantitative measure of success, right?

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Dependency Map Analysis

pen on paper showing a graph
Photo by Isaac Smith on Unsplash

If you’re not up to speed on the concept of dependency mapping, then I’d suggest taking a look at my previous post where I talked through how to go about building a dependency map.

So what happens now? You’ve gone through the workshop and now have a bunch of data that’s telling you what? Something about your system? I’m going to run through some of the actions I take when attempting to understand a dependency map.

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Self care when working from home

A working from home setup. MacBook Pro, white ceramic mug,and black smartphone on table
Photo by Andrew Neel on Unsplash

There’s been a deluge of advice on how to survive working from home recently. I almost didn’t bother, so as not to add to the noise. But I figured what the hell, even if one other person can be helped then maybe I should.

I’m a consultant, so work from a variety of places. Home is a common one, often for extended periods of time. Working for an excellent company that is remote first, DevOpsGroup, has given me plenty of time to perfect my pattern. Here are my tips on looking after yourself when confined to the house.

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Dependency Mapping

A large number of coloured cables plugged into a machine.

Recently, I published an article where I discussed the concept of dependency as a proxy for complexity. I also tried to show that complexity is the biggest aspect to consider when attempting to improve the flow of value. This is all part of a concept I call Dependency Mapping.

Following publication of the article, I had a few people who read it on LinkedIn reach out for some advice on actually doing it in their place of work. In this article I will dig deeper into the process by which we can start to map out dependencies. With the map completed, we can then work to remove them.

Dependency maps are going to be messy as they try and convey a huge amount of information. We’ll aim small, and then offer some suggestions for improvement from there.

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Why complexity is killing your business

dependent adjective

de· pen· dent | \ di-ˈpen-dənt  \

determined or conditioned by another

If you ask 10 people why Digital Transformations fail, you’ll get 10 different answers, often with phrases like “buy-in” and “culture” thrown around. Although there isn’t a simple answer to this question, I’d like to talk about one that often gets ignored. Dependencies.

You have a dependency if something is contingent on another, here are some examples:

  • “Getting this work complete is contingent on the tests passing.”
  • “We need the platform team to spin up a test environment before we can run the tests.”
  • “We need to have sign-off before we can allocate time to create the instance.”
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Penny Flow, an Agile Game

Summary:

This Agile game is based on The Penny Game.  I’ve seen it in various incarnations, but this is based on the original concept.  Instead of simply showing how batch size affects throughput, this game has been heavily modified to give several additional lessons.  Attendees can expect to learn about Agile’s roots in Lean manufacturing, batch size theory, single piece flow, being adaptive to change, quick feedback and communication.

Each round after the first is essentially optional, you can choose exactly which lessons you wish to deliver.  This may be all of them for more experienced teams, or fewer for those new to Agile.

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