We are providing these Overviews on various topics for you to learn more about the topics. Please let us know if you have other topics of interest and we will research and provide them.

These topics center around the Agile Software Development

  • Planning Meeting - first meeting of iteration; focus on assigning stories to the iteration and goals of iteration.
  • Standup Meeting - daily meeting of team to answer 3 questions
    • What I did today?
    • What I plan to do?
    • Any impediments
  • Demo Meeting - meeting to review/demonstrate for the Product Owner the completed story(s)
  • Retrospective Meeting - meeting at end of iteration to assess team processes
    • What is working?
    • What is not working?
    • Identify 1-2 items to change/improve for next iteration
  • Grooming Meeting - meeting to refine the stories in the backlog to get them ready for a sprint. (Setup as needed trying to get at least 3 sprints of stories groomed)
  • Product Backlog - list of stories for the effort in prioritized order by Product Owner
  • Sprint Backlog - list of stories for an particular iteration
  • Burndown Chart - chart to identify the velocity of the iteration
  • Release Burndown Chart - chart to identify the velocity of the release (normally more than 1 sprint, likely on a quarterly release
  • Product Owner - person that is responsible for the product backlog and the prioritization of the stories
  • Scrum Master - person that leads the team and facilitates the agile meetings; person also removes impediments
  • Team Member - people on the team that complete the story(s) in the product backlog; can play multiple roles from requirements to coding to testing
  1. Our highest priority is to satisfy the customer through early and continuous delivery of valuable software.
  2. Welcome changing requirements, even late in development. Agile processes harness change for the customer's competitive advantage.
  3. Deliver working software frequently, from a couple of weeks to a couple of months, with a preference to the shorter timescale.
  4. Business people and developers must work together daily throughout the project.
  5. Build projects around motivated individuals. Give them the environment and support they need, and trust them to get the job done.
  6. The most efficient and effective method of conveying information to and within a development team is face-to-face conversation.
  7. Working software is the primary measure of progress.
  8.  Agile processes promote sustainable development.  The sponsors, developers, and users should be able to maintain a constant pace indefinitely.
  9. Continuous attention to technical excellence and good design enhances agility.
  10. Simplicity--the art of maximizing the amount of work not done--is essential.
  11. The best architectures, requirements, and designs  emerge from self-organizing teams.
  12. At regular intervals, the team reflects on how to become more effective, then tunes and adjusts its behavior accordingly.
  • Burndown Chart
  • Jira
    • Project - contains all the stories for the project
      • Issue types
        • Epics, Story, Sub-Task, Defect, Spike
      • Organizers
        • Labels, Components, Fix Release
    • Dashboards
      • Filters, Gadgets
    • Boards
      • Scrum, Kanban
  • Acceptance Criteria - the information on a story that defines how you will know when the story is done
  • Definition of Done - list of items/criteria that determine when a story is done
  • Definition of Ready - list of items/criteria that defines when a story is ready(groomed).
  • Fibonacci Sequence - the number pattern to assign points (2/3 of previous number) eg. (1, 2, 3, 5, 8, 13, 21)
  • Gherkin - a way to write user stories in business language (Feature, Scenario, Given, When, Then)
  • Grooming - the refinement of story details by the team.  Team continues the conversation with business for function/features needed.
  • MVP - Minimum Viable Product
  • Reference Story - a story that is used as a standard for assigning story points to other stories.  It would normally completed in a sprint and be a basis of comparison.
  • Sprint 0 - a sprint or time to get team the tools/training needed before starting to use Agile methodology.
  • Story Points - a way to measure the effort and complexity of a story
  • Velocity - the rate at which you are able to implement functionality
  • Definitions
    • User Story - is a requirement or feature expressed briefly from the user's perspective
    • User Stories - describe Who has a need, What that need is, Why they need it
    • Story Points - a number that is used to represent the effort needed to complete a story. (Teams often use Fibonacci sequence 1, 2, 3, 5, 8, 13)
    • Enabler Story - a story that precedes or clears a dependency for a future story
  • INSPECT - acronym to help with ensuring a story is properly defined
    • Independent - not dependent on another story (ideally)
    • Negotiable - not cast in stone. Changed/defined thru conversation
    • Valuable - story should add value to customer or owner of solution
    • Estimable - team should be able to estimate work effort
    • Small - able to complete the story in a sprint
    • Testable - team needs to be able to test the story based on acceptance criteria
  • Three C's Process - one method to create/define stories
    • Card - initially defined on a card (As a , I want , so that
    • Conversation - details continue to be captured in discussions with product owner
    • Confirmation - finalize the story with acceptance criteria (how we know it will be done)
  • Gherkin - a way to write user stories in business language
    • Feature - describes what the product should do
    • Scenario - describes the situation or scenario for when to use a product
    • Given - this can be thought of as a pre-condition (ie. beginning state)
    • When - describe the action of the user
    • Then - describe what the application should do for a user (this should be a testable outcome of the When)
  • Example of Gherkin
    • Feature: Customer wants to withdraw cash
      • Scenario:  Customer account has sufficient funds
        • Given the account balance of $400
          • and the Customer Card is Valid
          • and the ATM/Teller Drawer has enough money
        • When the Customer requests $100
        • Then the ATM/Teller should dispense $100
          • and the Customer account should be $300
          • and the card should be returned to customer
  • Grooming Meeting - meeting to refine the stories in the backlog to get them ready for a sprint. (Setup as needed trying to get at least 3 sprints of stories groomed)
  • Program Increment Planning - a set of meetings to identify the stories for each team and then additional meetings to review the stories across the team(s) for interdependencies
  • Scrum of Scrums - meeting of the scrum masters in the program to review/discuss interdependencies amongst the teams and remove impediments.
  • Architecture - set of candidate architectures for each application(s) and a target architecture for each team.  This would include the frameworks to be used.
  • Portfolio Backlog - backlog of stories across all the teams in the program
  • Roadmap - contains the timeline (ex. by quarter) of the features needed in the product
  • Vision - what the end product will do in terms of customer.  The vision contains the main features of the product.  The vision will serve as inspiration for the team(s).
  • Agile Release Train - 5 to 12 teams that are participating in the program
  • Portfolio Backlog - backlog of stories across all the teams in the Program
  • Product Management - person(s) responsible for the portfolio backlog
  • Release Train Engineer- person(s) responsible for ensuring the teams that are participating in a release are organized and able to deliver.
  • Solution Architect - person that helps layout the architecture that the team(s) will use for the program.
  • Agile Release Train (ART) - delivery of work across a program in fixed time increments into releases.
  • Confidence Vote - At conclusion of Program Increment Planning, ask team for confidence in completing the release.  Scale of 1 to 5 with 5 being Very High Confidence.
  • Continuous Deployment - process that will take the work from the continuous integration team and ready it for production release
  • Continuous Exploration - process of using collaboration, research and synthesis
  • Continuous Integration - process of taking features from the program backlog and developing and testing for delivery to the staging environment and onto production via continuous deployment.
  • Release Train Engineer - person(s)/role that is responsible for identifying and facilitating the delivery of value for the program
Coming Soon!

These topics center around the Art of Project Management/Leading Teams

Situational Leadership II defines four leadership styles for leading an individual on a specific task.   The individual’s skill level and motivation for that task indicate the appropriate style to employ.
To effectively use Situational Leadership II, a leader needs to be able to
  1. Accurately determine the development (Low to high competence) level of the individual
  2. Be flexible, so that they can lead with any of the four leadership styles, depending on the situation
  3. Partner for performance, insuring that the individual understands and accepts the leader’s role
To apply the model the leader will follow the above three steps to employ a leadership style on an individual for a given task/assignment.  Over time the steps will become second nature because you will learn the current development level of the team member’s skills and then apply a leadership style to support them.
The four levels of development are the following:
  • D1 – Enthusiastic Beginner (Low Competence, High Commitment)
  • D2 – Disillusioned Learner (Low to Some Competence, High Commitment)
  • D3 – Capable but Cautious Performer (Moderate to High Competence, Variable Commitment)
  • D4 – Self-reliant Achiever (High Competence, High Commitment)
Development Levels
  • Direct those who are inexperienced
  • Coach those who are not quite able to do the task independently and need some specific help or coaching
  • Support those who have the skills but may have other issues affecting their ability to complete the task
  • Delegate to those with the skills motivation to do the task on their own.
Four Leadership Styles of Situational Leadership
Using the SMART goal method helps to focus your goal setting.  See the items below for the way to use the acronym SMART.
  • Specific – being specific will increase the likelihood of you being successful with your goal.  In our example we have two specific criteria for our goal.  Length of a workout is 60 minutes and we will do the workout 4 times a week.   When being specific you might want to answer questions like these:
    • Who is involved?
    • What timeframe?
    •  How often?
  • Measurable – this is a key element to be sure you can measure or track your progress.  In our goal the two measurements are to do a workout for 60 minutes and complete the workout 4 times a week.  We could create a spreadsheet to measure our progress.  For each week we can track the days you work out and the length of each workout.   We want to be able to answer these questions:
    • How many?
    • Was the goal accomplished?
  • Attainable – it is important to be sure that you can attain the goal.  You will want to assess your skills and create a plan to achieve the goal.  You may need to adjust your goals based on the timeframe needed to accomplish the goal.  In our example goal, if you have not worked out recently you may need to change 30 minutes rather than 60 minutes.  Over time you could increase the length of your workout.
  • Realistic – this element is needed to ensure that you have both the ability and skill to meet the goal.   You will want to be sure that you also have the determination to meet the goal.  Let’s say that you have family obligations that demand your time you may need to adjust the length of the workouts to better fit your schedule.
  • Timely – the last element is that the goal be time based.  Setting a timeframe will help you to measure the success of the goal.  In our example we indicated the duration was for 2021 and the timeframe starts in January.
Stages of Project Team Development
  • Forming Stage - During the forming stage the team member’s first objective to fit into the new team.  In this stage there will be little to no conflict.  The tone of the team will be positive.  No one at this stage will want to offend others on the team.  Two of the areas of focus at this stage will be to understand the goals of the team and to ensure that each person on the team will work to understand their role within the team.  The leader of the team will be focusing on Directing the team at this stage.
  • Storming Stage - During this stage there will begin to be conflict.  Some of the “silent” team members will begin to express their concerns or opinions.   There is normally some resistance from some of the team about how to approach the work on the project.  There may also begin to be discussion about the quality of the project if the project is a timeline based effort.  The team is starting to begin to understand the other team member roles and how to work with one another.  The leader of the team will still be focusing on Directing the team as well as some Coaching.
  • Norming Stage - In the norming stage the team is beginning to work together.   You may encounter some bouncing back to the Storming stage on a particular issue.    The team will now offer constructive criticism during this phase with the focus on improving the team.   The majority of the energy of the team is on doing project work.  The leader of the team will begin to do some Delegating as well as more Coaching.
  • Performing Stage - The team is now performing well.  Additional work can be added to the project team with little or no issues from the team.  The team seldom falls back to the Storming stage.   The team is now promoting the work of the team to others outside of the team.  The team is now functioning for the majority of the time on its own.   During this stage you will notice the volume of work has increased significantly.  The leader of the team will now spend the majority of the time in Delegating mode.
  • Adjourning Stage - During this stage some of the team (or all of the team) will move on to other efforts.  There will be some reluctance of the team to move on.  The relationships gained by the team members will continue for long term once the team is disbanded.

These topics center around the Personal Development

Coming Soon!
  • Introduction - The principle of the StrengthsFinder assessment is that you have natural talent.   The assessment identifies the top five of your talents based on the responses to the assessment.
  • StrengthsFinders Assessment - The first thing we completed was an assessment.   The assessment consisted of 177 questions.  For each question we had to rate ourselves with one of 5 responses.  The range of the 5 responses was something we would almost always do on one end or something we would not likely do or agree with.  The results of the assessment are presented back to you in the form of your top five strengths.  The five strengths are from a total of 34 possible strengths.
  • Assessment Results - Upon completion of the assessment, a set of documents are created that contain information that you can use to develop/understand your strengths.  To understand and build on your strengths you will need to go through these three steps:
    • Awareness – this step is just to get familiar with “what” each of your 5 strengths.
    • Application – you will need to figure out how to apply or best use your 5 strengths.
    • Achievement – an example of someone that has achieved things while utilizing one of the strengths The following documents were created in the format of a PDF file:
      • “Awareness” – Strengths Insight Guide:  This report contains a list of your top 5 strengths.  It contains a common or shared description for each of the 5 strengths. The report also has a personalized message of what makes you stand out for each of your 5 strengths.
      • “Awareness and Application” –  Strengths Discovery and Development Guide:  This report is the baseline or starting point for developing your strengths.  This report also contains each of your top 5 strengths (talents).  It also has a list of action items that you can review to provide ideas on how to utilize or apply each of your strengths.  It contains a section for you to write down some development action items.   The last section of the report contains a list of suggestions for focusing on strengths.
      • “Awareness, Application, and Achievement” – Strength Insight and Action Planning Guide: This report combines the information from the two reports mentioned above and one additional section.  The additional section has three real quotes from people that have the same strength as you do.
      • Resource Guide – this report contains the 34 possible strengths (themes).  The report contains a description, a set of action items, and a description of how to manage a person with a particular strength.