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Productivity

August 25, 2008 by Jeremy Weiskotten

Productivity is often confused with velocity. They're related, but they're very different things.

Velocity is the amount of work that you/your team can do in an iteration. In economics terms, productivity is defined as "the ratio of what is produced to what is required to produce" (source: Wikipedia). So, a person who can carve ten statues out of a lump of granite is more productive than a person who can only carve eight statues out of an equal size lump of granite.

At this point it's understood that we can't measure productivity when it comes to building software because there's no good, consistent, accurate way to measure output.

However, while we can't measure our productivity, we can often improve it. Without measurement we won't know how much of an improvement we've gained (or how much we've regressed), but we can measure improvements in velocity, which can indicate corresponding productivity improvements.

Finding the Right Process

December 31, 2007 by Jeremy Weiskotten

Agile teams are often faced with a dilemma: how much process is the right amount of process for us? There's no right answer, of course, and the closest thing to a right answer can change as often as you change your socks, which, for the sake of your teammates, I hope is pretty often.

The amount of process your team needs to succeed is influenced by a variety of factors, such as team size, team skill, honesty and trust, management style, your product domain, your team's understanding of the product domain, access to your customers, and much more. There are too many factors and variables to even consider coming up with a formula, so experiment -- try doing some new things, try not doing some old things, and see what happens.

10 Signs That You're Not Agile

December 24, 2007 by Jeremy Weiskotten

Since most readers of this blog are likely to be practicing or budding Agilists, replace "you" with "your coworkers" or "your manager" as appropriate.

1. You haven't seen or spoken to a coworker about work for at least a day.

Even remote team members should be in contact on a daily basis for Scrum/stand-up meetings and throughout the day over the phone/Skype/IM/email. On-site, co-located teams really have no excuse to work in isolation.

XP Values: Honesty

December 17, 2007 by Jeremy Weiskotten

"Honesty is the best policy — when there is money in it."
- Mark Twain

XP requires constant communication between team members. More specifically, XP and Agile teams depend on honest communication between stakeholders, including developers, testers, managers, and customers.

We expect manufacturers and vendors to be honest to us about the products and services they offer and market to us. Our customers expect the same. Honesty is especially crucial during iterative development where a minor course correction early in the schedule can save significant time down the road.

Velocity: Measuring and Planning an Agile Project

December 10, 2007 by Jeremy Weiskotten


Bridgekeeper: “What is the velocity of an unladen swallow?”
King Arthur: “An African or European swallow?”
Bridgekeeper: “Huh? I don’t know that…”

- Monty Python and the Holy Grail

One of the most important metrics of an Agile team is its velocity. (No, you don't have to give the receptionist a stopwatch and do laps around your office.) In project management terms, velocity is the amount of work that a team can complete in a specified period of time.

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