Posts by Kathy Iberle

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Rapid Learning Cycles: Agile for COTS Projects

by Kathy Iberle

Are you frustrated by the length of time it takes to purchase and configure COTS (Commercial-Off-the-Shelf) software? You’d like to go faster but Agile just doesn’t fit? There’s a good reason that methods such as Scrum don’t work well in COTS projects. Agile methods were developed for projects with high uncertainty (lots of unknowns) and a […]

State-Driven and Calendar-Driven Planning Boards

by Kathy Iberle

Agile projects generally use some form of state-driven planning boards, where each user story moves through a series of states until it reaches “Done”. This is an excellent way to handle work which doesn’t have deadlines prior to release or a lot of interdependencies. What about projects which do have interim deadlines and interdependencies?  Is a visual planning […]

Velocity – A Squishy Measure

by Kathy Iberle

What is Velocity? In our regular lives, we generally think of velocity as speed. (Except for physicists, who know velocity is speed plus direction). In the U.S., speed is usually expressed as miles per hour.  Every mile is the same length as every other mile.  When I’m hiking, the uphill miles may take longer, so […]

It’s Not Software – Can I Use Agile?

by Kathy Iberle

Yes.  And no.  It depends on which definition of agile you use. In the broadest sense, agile methods work by splitting your delivery into small batches and working on one batch at a time.  The team or organization finishes and delivers a batch before moving on to the next set of work.  Each time the team […]

The Agile Fluency Game

by Kathy Iberle

Last week, I attended an excellent workshop given by James Shore, Diana Larsen, and Adam Light to learn how to use the Agile Fluency Game. The Agile Fluency Game simulates the adoption of agile by a single team.  The Agile Fluency Game does discuss the Agile Fluency Model, but the model itself isn’t the focus of the game.  The simulation […]

What is the Rapid Learning Cycles Framework?

by Kathy Iberle

The Rapid Learning Cycles Framework is a synthesis of the best ideas from Agile Development for software and from Lean Product Development methods used in hardware. The framework is tailored for teams working on physical, chemical, and biological products – which includes mixed hardware/software projects. In these domains, Rapid Learning Cycles speed up the long, […]

Why Limit Work-in-Process?

by Kathy Iberle

“Work-in-Process” is a fancy name for jobs which are started but not finished. You may have a collection of half-finished projects on your desk, or in your garage, or your sewing area.  These are all Work-in-Process or WIP. At home, we usually realize that it’s not a great idea to have a dozen carpentry projects […]

Seven Wastes of Software Development – or Not

by Kathy Iberle

The seven wastes of Lean were originally used by Taiichi Ohno to categorize common sources of waste in a manufacturing process. A manufacturing process involves regular, fairly predictable chunks of work arriving in a fairly homogenous way.  In this sort of system, the seven wastes proposed by Ohno are common sources of waste. Software development, however, […]

Cadence – Why Rhythm is Good for You

by Kathy Iberle

One of the fundamental tools in Agile and Lean is cadence.  A cadence is a regular, predictable rhythm within a process.  For instance, your staff meeting is held every Monday at 10am, or your website is refreshed every 4th Tuesday. Agile sprints are another example of cadence. A regular, predictable cadence saves time by reducing time […]

What is the Improvement Kata?

by Kathy Iberle

The Improvement Kata is a pattern for making improvements.  It’s based on practices used at Toyota, where they apply the scientific method via a deliberate practice pattern or (in Japanese) a Kata. The Improvement Kata treats each change as an experiment.  Your hypothesis is that doing X will make things better.  Try it and see if that’s true!  Once you […]