Category Archives: Agile

New Microsoft Planner Due Date Notifications

A short while ago I wrote about our team’s initial adoption of Microsoft Planner. At the time, we were having issues with the due dates feature because there seemed to be no way to view our schedule. A few months later, we ran into another issue with due dates. The complaint? Users were not being notified when their content was due. Since the team was not looking at the plan every day, and had no way to view a schedule, tasks were getting lost and we were having to work around this issue in other ways. What could we do?

As I spent some time after a team meeting discussing this, I discovered Microsoft had actually started development on this feature. As of January 16th, all users now have access! With this feature, you now get emails in your inbox reminding you of tasks that have expired as well as upcoming tasks.

planner_tasks

This was exactly the functionality we needed to make sure the team was reminded about the items that were coming up on their plate.

Bonus: Schedule view

The new Schedule view also gives us a calendar view of our tasks based on due dates. This will make reviewing upcoming tasks even eaiser so we can visualize the distribution of tasks over time. Sometimes, as we reschedule late tasks, we can wind up with too many tasks all clumped together and this is a good way for us to find those clusters.

A good start! I’m looking forward to seeing Microsoft continue to invest in this tool and bring it up to par with others in the field.

 

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Using Epics to drive a fixed-price backlog

You probably read the title and said to yourself: “Epic: you keep using that word, but I don’t think it means what you thinks it means”.

It is true. The fixed-price agile backlog exists.

Now, if you are lucky enough to have never faced such a beast, then I bow to you and wish upon you continued good fortune. However, many of us have lived Agile in the Iron Triangle. Many of us have walked away as shattered and broken shadows of our former selves. We have lived, lost, learned, and ranted to whomever would listen.

This post is brought to you by an experiment in requirements cross-checking.

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Continuous Everything: The Art of Repetition

It is very fashionable to apply a single word to pretty much ANYTHING to try to get in on the latest trend. The current ‘Whatever-Ops’ trend (MarketingOps, ChatOps, OpsOps) is one such example. For a while, though, we’ve been having the word ‘Continuous’ thrown in front of a whole lot of activities in the software development world: Continuous Delivery, Continuous Improvement, Continuous Management. There’s a reason for this… repeatable processes are a key ingredient to predictable delivery. And predictable delivery means money in the bank!

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Eighth day of Christmas… Scaling agile!

On the eighth day of Christmas, my true blog gave to me:

Eight Scrums a-scaling,
Seven most-heard retrospective comments,
Six Keystone config tips
,
Five Golden Rules!
Four CI tools
,
Three powershell scripts,
Two Keystone merge tips,
…and a placeholder rule in the content tree.

You may have found that a lot of the traditional agile frameworks  are missing guidance on how to operate within larger organizations. Over the last few years a series of ‘scaled’ frameworks have appeared, with varying levels of adoption/training/certifications. Let’s take a look at some of what is out there for scaling agile!
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Seventh day of Christmas… most-heard retrospective comments

On the seventh day of Christmas, my true blog gave to me:

Seven most-heard retrospective comments,
Six Keystone config tips
,
Five Golden Rules!
Four CI tools
,
Three powershell scripts,
Two Keystone merge tips,
…and a placeholder rule in the content tree.

Over the years, I’ve sat in a lot of sprint retrospectives. Below are some of the most-heard comments that might help you optimize your flow before you even see the problems!
Continue reading Seventh day of Christmas… most-heard retrospective comments