Agile, Scrum, Kanban, done properly ..

So, I'm not a great fan of the whole "agile" process, not because I have a problem with the concept, in principle Agile is great and fundamentally it's the way I've worked (when I've had the choice) for the last 30 years.

The problems come in project specific implementations, and the software used to manage the process. If you find yourself spending more time in meetings and scrum sessions than actually coding, or more time trying to figure out how to make the software schedule a story or split a story into tasks - than it would take to complete the story, this to me is an indication that someone charge doesn't really 'get' Agile.

On the software side, well, I notice that during January, one of the larger vendors in the sector dropped a chunk off their stock value. Having used their software on multiple projects I can't say I'm shocked.

Meetings

There's no real answer to this one without a management change, apart from developing a cold or an urgent bathroom requirement every time someone utters the word .. consider my favourite Meetings cartoon;

Meetings

Software

This is a different matter and there are alternatives to the corporate approach that can actually help your project be more efficient and indeed more Agile. I spent a little time recently looking for the 'ideal' candidate with the following requirements;

  • affordable and / or Open Source
  • Provide KanBan, maybe even Scrum
  • Have a good backlog -> Kanban interface
  • Have a good task splitting interface
  • Have an integrated issue tracker

Precious few that satisfy all of the above, but when I did find one, boy did I find one. taiga.io ticks all the boxes, and then some. Not only is it an Open Source project (so you can run on-site for free) but they also do a hosted version, and for a single project - also free! In addition to doing the above really well, it also covers;

  • Sprints, points and votes
  • Promotion of issues to new user stories
  • Built-in video conferencing
  • The obligatory timeline and Wiki stuff

Anyway, I've had it running for a week and I'm completely sold, whether you like Agile or not it's a fantastic project management tool. Now, I need to practice my hysterical laughter for the next time I run into someone managing their project with A... no, I can't bring myself to type the name. So much lost time I'll never get back ...