Friday, 16 December 2016

Agile and The Design Sprint

This week's Auspicious Agile video blog takes a look at the Google Ventures Design Sprint.  We cover several applications including Venture Capital, Innovation Labs, Hackathons, and Agile Product Teams.

Sunday, 23 October 2016

The Culture Change of DevOps (Video Blog)

This week's Auspicious Agile Video Blog takes a look at the culture change of DevOps. DevOps requires more than just adopting tools, it also requires changes in culture and the way we work. Here we look at several culture aspects in DevOps to consider.

Here are some of the links and resources mentioned in the video blog:
- Xebia Labs periodic table of DevOps -
- Phoenix Project by Gene Kim -
- Dan Pink Drive -
- Auspicious Agile first blog on culture change of DevOps -
- Mirco Herring, DevOps Leadership Culture -

Saturday, 27 August 2016

SAFe Agile Contracts

This week's Auspicious Agile video blog takes a look at the Scaled Agile Framework (SAFe) approach to Agile contracts.  This blog is a continuation of the series on Agile contracts.
The first blog post in this series can be found here -
The related Scaled Agile Framework Blog post can be found here -

Sunday, 24 July 2016

Discuss Agile - Agile & DevOps Scaling Tour Webinar

The Agile Scaling and DevOps Tour compares some of the most popular Agile scaling methods today including SAFe, LESS, DAD, Spotify, Nexus and Scrum-of-Scrums. The DevOps portion of the tour covers how Agile and DevOps are related, and aspects of the DevOps Toolchain. Together Enterprise Agile and DevOps are powerful tools for achieving business results, learn how by watching this Webinar.

Full YouTube Playlist is => here

Saturday, 9 July 2016

Design Thinking

This week we take a deeper look into the process behind design thinking.  The process varies depending on the company or organization, but the there are several steps that are common to most Design Thinking processes.

Saturday, 28 May 2016

The DevOps Toolchain

The DevOps toolchain helps to automate the development and deployment of software. It works hand-in-hand with the culture change of DevOps and the increased speed of delivery from Agile. This week the Auspicious Agile Video blog takes a look at the DevOps toolchain.

Saturday, 23 April 2016

SAFe Agile Portfolio - CapEx and OpEx

This week's Auspicious Agile video blog looks at the Scaled Agile Framework (SAFe4) Portfolio Level - CapEx & OpEx.  A practitioner's perspective on the recent SAFe and Dean Leffingwell article on the topic.  CapEx & OpEx are accounting and financial terms, but they are very relevant for the enterprise Agile practitioner.  Find out how in this week's video blog.

Saturday, 26 March 2016

A Tale of Two (Lean) Start-ups

This week's Auspicious Agile Video Blog takes a look at two real start-up companies.  We will look at how the principles of Lean Start-up (think Agile for Businesses) applies to each of the companies.  We will see where each company used Lean Start-up principles and where they failed to do so.

Sunday, 28 February 2016

The Culture Change of DevOps and Your Career

DevOps has been viewed primarily as adopting tools. Actually the major shift in DevOps is a cultural shift that is supported by processes and tools. Many voices in the technology community are now focused on the cultural change of DevOps. What are the implications for companies and those in development and operations focused roles?
Christian Posta makes clear the shift associated with DevOps in his article – DevOps and the Myth of Efficiency.
“DevOps, Microservices, Cloud, etc are all about making organizations more effective. It’s laying the groundwork to treat our organizations as complex systems, not machines. This approach lends itself to really understanding the value of feedback, failure, learning, autonomy, and emergent behavior which are critical for any complex system to exhibit to evolve and stay relevant in a complex, not merely complicated, world.”
A recent SD Times article interviews two evangelists for Red Hat: Markus Eisele, a developer advocate based in Germany, near Munich, and Burr Sutter, product management director for developer products based in Raleigh, NC, to get their perspectives on how enterprise DevOps can best gain traction. Posta and Burr had this to say on the culture change required for DevOps:
Sutter: The No. 1 mistake I see IT organizations, shops and developers make is often they’re looking for a tool to come in and solve their problems. There are tools that help, but in general it’s about cultural change, workflow and process change.
Eisele: Enterprises in general don’t actually see what it means to do DevOps. To them it’s a solvable problem by tool. We have seen independent software development teams and internal IT organizations working together in waterfall-driven processes for years. When people jumped into agile, they said, “Let’s see if we can get the stakeholders closer to each other,” but that never included operations. The whole problem goes all the way up the organizational chain. Getting those cross-business-unit methodologies to work together is not solvable by a tool. And when vendors say, “We are going to sell you containers and microservices so you can achieve Continuous Delivery,” the part they don’t mention is the cultural change.”
Tech Beacon article discusses the opinions of Gene Kim on the topic. Kim is a co-author of the best-selling book The Phoenix Project: A Novel About IT, DevOps, and Helping Your Business Win, the former CTO of Tripwire and one of the organizers of the annual DevOps Enterprise Summit. In the article Kim states:
“The original idea was simply to de-silo dev and ops to overcome the bottlenecks in the software development and deployment process, mostly on the ops side. Today, with the evolution of DevOps, the goal is supporting a continuous delivery pipeline. Operations has been adopting so many of the techniques used by developers to support more agile and responsive processes that we’re seeing a kind of “dev-ification of ops.”
The “dev-ification” of ops and “ops-ification” of dev as Kim talks about later in the article leads to considerations for those working in development and operations roles today. In order to be well positioned for this culture change it stands to reason that some additional skills will be needed.
In a recent ebook UpGuard – a Mountainview California based DevOps and CyberSecurity company – gives ideas of how developers, operations and others can prepare their careers for DevOps. The eBook titled “The DevOps Career Guide” quotes research from, that indicates that DevOps salaries average more than $10,000 per year more than traditional developer roles. In the San Francisco Bay Area early stage startups pay upward of $150,000.

The UpGuard ebook goes on to state:
“Culture first, tools second. This is the order of precedent that most DevOps practitioners encourage, albeit– the tools help to shape the culture. Because Agile and lean are close cousins to DevOps, many of the highly valued personality traits integral to them are also highly valued to DevOps shops. Communication skills and empathy are perhaps the two most important skills– this allows team members to be responsive to the needs of the product offering, the customer, other stakeholders– and perhaps most importantly, other team members. The best tooling in the world will not go far without the proper cross-team communication skills and collaboration strategies.”
“A typical DevOps-enabled organization might expect proficiency with CM tools like Chef, Puppet, or Ansible– as well as other automation and orchestration platforms like Jenkins and Travis CI. As DevOps is spiritually a grassroots movement, command of popular open source tools is a highly prized skill set in the DevOps arena. Containerization technologies such as Docker and CoreOS’ Rocket are also essential tools in the DevOps toolchain.”
On potential interview questions the UpGuard ebook recommends:
“Be prepared to discuss topics around scope maintenance, workflow streamlining, setting objectives amongst team members, and resolving conflicts, among others. Again– at the end of the day, technical skills are only part of the equation when it comes to DevOps. A skilled DevOps practitioner is able to use technical skills and tools to augment and promoter tighter teamwork and positive behavior for building optimal products and services.”
Of course just as DevOps is first a culture change, there is also a very relevant aspect based on tools. Today we looked at some of the voices emphasizing the importance of the culture change in DevOps. We also looked at some relevant career considerations for individuals desiring to position themselves well for DevOps. Next time in the DevOps series we will take a look at the DevOps toolchain and some of the most relevant current technologies.

Tuesday, 9 February 2016

The Universe of "Agile" Approaches

There are a broad array of "Agile" methods.  From Transformation Design, and Design Thinking, to Agile Scaling, Lean & Kanban, Scrum & DevOps.  This week we take a look at the spectrum of Agile methods from the business oriented to the technology focused and see what they have in common.

Saturday, 16 January 2016

Scaled Agile Framework 4.0 - A Practitioner's Perspective

This week we take a look at the new version of SAFe 4.0. I will give a practitioner's perspective on the changes and updates, covering interesting and noteworthy areas. SAFe 4.0 represents a significant update and is beneficial to learn about if you are or plan on scaling Agile.

Sunday, 3 January 2016

An Agile Start to the New Year 2016!

This classic Auspicious Agile blog post, (with a few updates) appears below. I hope it helps you to have a great Agile start to the New Year!
Hello and Happy New Year!  In looking forward to the New Year, setting goals, and making resolutions here are some thoughts to keep you Agile, flexible, and successful:
1.  Flexibility in your goals
As you set your goals for the New Year, start by building in some flexibility in your goal setting. Let's look at a few examples, some personal and some professional.  
For example:  You may want to re-start or continue your education.  At the same time you may want to start a new relationship, or get more serious about an existing relationship.  A few months into the year you may realise that the time required for achieving additional / higher education and also being involved in a relationship are more time than you have available in your discretionary time.
Being flexible you may choose to try another educational approach, like on-line learning or micro-learning so you can continue your education where you are or while you are at home.  This may give you more time for your relationship(s).  Or you may decide to put plans for a more serious relationship on hold until you complete your continuing education goals.  The point being that building in flexibility to your plans can help you to better achieve your goals and if necessary re-prioritize them (see personal backlog below).
Another example:  Let’s look at a professional case where you may be considering expanding your business into a new market.  While it makes sense to set some milestones this year to achieve market entry, it also makes sense to leave room to be flexible in your market entry approach.
It may make sense to set up a new business entity in the market, but it may also make more sense to work with local partners already in the market.  Leaving yourself some flexibility in achieving your milestones and goals for this year increases your likelihood of achieving your goals and resolutions.
2.  Adapting and adjusting your personal backlog
Just like the way we set up a Scrum Product Backlog or in a SAFe scaling context a Program Backlog in planning to meet your New Year’s goals and resolutions create a personal backlog. This builds on the first point as it helps you to visualise your goals and prioritise them.  Having a personal backlog in place also allows you to prioritise your goals and make trade-offs if you aren’t able to achieve everything according to your initial plan (and of course plans do change).
For example maybe you want to gain a new professional certification, start exercising again, and travel more to a new region.  Two month’s into the new year you may realise that you won’t be able to maintain your exercise routine and increase your travel to the new region.  In that case you may need to update your backlog to incorporate a new type of exercise that you haven’t done in the past.  Or you may need to look at the priorities in your personal backlog and decide whether travel to the new region is as important to you as being able to continue your exercise program.  Having a personal backlog enables you to be flexible.
3.  Limit your WIP
Limiting Work in Process (WIP) is a Lean principle that we see in Agile in the form of the sprint backlog (which limits the work in process every 2 – 4 week time box / sprint).  Limiting your personal WIP this New Year will help you to focus on what is really important. Do you have new family commitments, broader responsibilities in the work place, and want to continue your education. These are all great resolutions and goals, but trying to do everything at the same time makes it unlikely you will do anything very well.
So you may choose to focus on those new family commitments during the first month or first quarter (we can think of this as a sprint goal or in SAFe a Program Increment Objective).  During the second month or second quarter you may increase your focus on executing on those new workplace responsibilities (of course you will have probably done some initial planning during the first month or quarter).  Finally you may tackle that goal of continuing your education by enrolling in a Masters Program in the second half of the year.
By limiting WIP you are able to focus on a limited set of things (stories) in your backlog.  By doing this you can benefit from reduced task switching and achieve some early wins in key personal areas that will help to encourage you to continue in other areas.  Limiting WIP is a key approach to help you to achieve your goals and resolutions in the New Year!
4. Use a Kanban Board
A Kanban board is something that allows you to visualise your tasks and activities. There is an example below, but you can name the columns whatever you like.
For example when I moved from the US to Asia, I used a Kanban board to coordinate all of the activities. The columns were Ready/Blocked/In-Progress/Done. Using this method I could visualise all of the activities I needed to do like packing and shipping, finding housing, and updating mailing information. Using the Kanban board allowed me to effectively manage a complex move, and I actually still use one to track my day-to-day activities.

In Summary
Applying a few Agile principles to your planning for the New Year can help you to be more successful in achieving your goals.  Namely, by maintaining flexibility in your goals, creating and adapting your personal backlog, limiting WIP, and using a personal Kanban board, you will be well on your way to a successful and Happy New Year.
Have a Happy and Prosperous New Year 2016, and Stay Agile!
The Original blog posts can be found here: