Letita Fearon – This is Agile? – Live Blog 2015

Letitia Fearon is a Agile Business Analyst, currently with Lloyds of London, with over ten years experience. Letitia helps individuals, teams and organisations work effectively with Agile techniques, using Scrum, Lean or Kanban. You can catch up with Letita on Twitter.


Do we really work in an Agile environment. More than half of the audience indicate they do not believe their workplace is truly Agile.

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A smart phone is a great example of a product that has gone through the product life cycle. Tech users were early adopters whereas now most phones are smart.

GCHQ have a platform where anyone can submit an idea for consideration for monetary support for that project. Would GCHQ own the rights to surveillance of that idea?

Unless you have buy-in from the entire team you will never be truly agile. After all there is no I in team. Rockstars are often not team players, sharing knowledge amongst others. Would you rather have someone who says they know it all or that knows their weakness but still wants to help?

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Bigger teams encourages knowledge silos due to the large number of communication paths. Adding people to a project at the point of realising that a project will run over will normally make it even later.

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Kanban boards promote visibility of work within teams. It helps to spread work amongst team members, making on time delivery much more likely.

Vision statements are often missing the vision part of the statement, instead stating a set of goals and end users. All stories that are currently being worked on must be working towards that vision statement. Teams must pull together to reach these goals. Story mapping can help ensure that all are pulling in the same direction.

Teams need a shared understanding of the work being undertaken and the direction it will take them.

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The core principle

  • Committed +
  • Ownership +
  • Responsibility =
  • Excellence

By committing to one thing you will fail something else. You will achieve excellence in the one thing you focus on. You must own every aspect of the work needed to reach that goal and be responsible for reaching it.

Marginal gains make the difference between good and awesome. Look at all areas of your plan / life and look for micro optimisations and waste reductions in order to make each item just 1% more efficient. They will all add up to something bigger than the sum of parts.

The work environment is important to team moral and productivity. Use it to share knowledge by creating areas that ideas can be shared freely and openly. Smaller teams co-location by project has been most efficient for Letita’s team.

Mob and paired programming are good ways to build team morale, sharing skills and improving efficiency.

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Team training, be it a course, conference of lunch and learn build stronger teams. Without team building it will take time for a team to gel and to become more effective. A good way is to get all members out of the office and into an unfamiliar environment, that way no one is more comfortable ensuring everyone s on the same level playing field.

Fast / slow thinking and context switching need to be taking account when planing work.

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Track waste / non project time over the course of a project and reflect on it during the retrospective. This is a great way to capture some easy optimisations.

Help teams be great

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