Lean Portfolio Management may just be the most important development for online learning since the industry's adoption. This management aligns the strategy and execution of information - in essence: it creates effective processes.

Lean Portfolio Management has several benefits like reducing waste and helping to amplify learning. It also empowers teams, optimizes interactions, and allaround builds stronger integrity within the business. Our video is a short but succinct overview of lean portfolio management. By our videos' end, you'll have learned the primary focus of lean portfolio management, its benefits, and how you can introduce it into your operations.

You'll also get handy resources to maximize your results. Want to learn more? Read at:

Be sure to talk with our experts when visiting our site, too, for all things Agile training and consulting.

Let's work together in helping you explore all the many benefits of Lean-Agile transformation!

The Phases of Agile Software Development

The Phases of Agile Software Development

The Phases of Agile Software Development

The phases of agile software development are six equally important part. They optimize development tasks and help to help to reduce the amount of errors

Keyword(s): agile software development

Projects that involve agile software development are 28 per cent more successful than projects that use traditional development. If you want to increase the success of your projects, you should switch to this process.

Not only will it help you be more successful, but it will give you a list of steps that you can follow for your future development work.

Keep reading to learn about the phases of agile software development.

Determine and Prioritize Projects

The first step in agile software development is to determine what projects you need to complete. Many software development companies focus on more than one project at a time.

If you have two or more projects to work on, you need to decide which takes the highest priority. The easiest way to do this is to determine how a project would affect your company's bottom line.

Perhaps you have a project that you're passionate about. But if it's a smaller project that won't earn you a ton of money, it might not have as much priority.

You can also use any deadlines to determine the priority of your projects. If one project is due in the next month while one isn't due for a few months, you can focus on the first option.

The project that receives your top priority may not always be obvious, so you should consider everything that you can. From the payout to the due date, make sure you prioritize your projects correctly.

Outline the Requirements

Once you have your top-priority project, you should move to the next stage in the agile software development life cycle. You need to work with your stakeholders to make sure they are happy with the requirements.

Consider using flow diagrams when planning out any new features. Diagrams are a popular tool in agile software development because they can give you a visual.

Instead of listing all of the features you will add, you can view how each feature affects other features. Then, you can make sure the connections make sense.

If one requirement doesn't make logical sense, you can add something to it. Or you could drop it altogether if you find you don't need it.

No two agile software development projects will have the same requirements. For example, the first round will involve creating the software from scratch. But as you add more features, you will be able to work off the original program.

Create the First Draft

The next step of the agile software development model is to create the first draft of the software. If you have a team, you will need to assign tasks to everyone so that you can get the draft done quickly.

If you're working by yourself, you will need to focus on everything from the user experience to the coding. Luckily, you don't need the draft to cover every feature you plan to add.

You will need to put the software through a few rounds of revisions, so you don't need to add anything fancy. But you should have an idea of where the more advanced items will go.

Then, when you need to add those specifications, you can do so more easily. So think of your first iteration as just that. Don't worry about getting it perfect on the first round.

Test the System

After you complete the first iteration in your software development, you need to test it out. You can test the system yourself or have your team do so, even if they work remotely.

If you want customer feedback, you can release a beta version and have people use it and give you their thoughts. Then, you can make any changes that your team and customers have.

Whether you work with your customers or your team to test your iteration, you will probably need to fix some issues. Sometimes, the issue will be small and easy to resolve.

Other times, you may need to go back to the drawing board. But that is all a part of the agile software development life cycle.

After you fix any problems that you have, you should retest the system to make sure it works now. Once you get rid of all issues, you can finalize the system and user documentation.

Review with your team how the software works so that you all know how to improve it later on. Finally, you can release the software to the public.

Offer User Support

Now that your software is available to anyone, you may feel like your job is done. Remember, continuing support is an essential element of agile software development.

You should provide assistance to users whenever they have questions. You can offer a tutorial on how to use the software, or you can answer individual inquiries.

Whenever you or a user finds a bug, you should fix that error as soon as possible. You can then release a fix for that problem, and you can release it as an update rather than a new version.

You should keep offering support for users for as long as you plan to keep the software active. However, there will come a time when you can stop supporting it.

Replace the System

The final stage of the agile software development life cycle involves replacing the system. If you encounter a major issue, such as a lack of compatibility with hardware, you will need to make bigger changes.

One fantastic solution is to replace the system with a new version of the program. You can then follow the same steps to create that new version.

However, if you find that your software isn't as popular as it was, you may choose to retire it. You don't have to create a new version of the program if it doesn't make sense for your company.

Remember the first step, and always prioritize projects according to company values and needs.

The Circle of Agile Software Development

Agile software development involves a set of steps for designing, creating, and releasing software. Updating the system over time is also important for many programs.

You can do a lot with agile software development, but you need to make the most of it.

Want to learn more? Check out our course list to learn more about agile software development.

Importance of Daily Stand-Ups

Importance of Daily Stand-Ups

Stand-up meetings; that also go by the names daily scrum, morning roll-call, and daily huddle are short meetings where every participant communicates the progress since the last stand-up, action items planned till the following stand-up, and brings up issues if any so team members can contribute solutions.

The idea behind a daily stand-up is to give the whole development team an opportunity to see what has been happening in the development timebox since the previous stand-up, what is planned to be done before the following stand-up, and to state any issues that they may be having. A daily meeting the place problems and roadblocks are outlined and discussed permits the team lead or different team members to solve them shortly and successfully.

The Scrum Guide says that the daily stand up ought to take not more than 15 minutes; the Agile Project Framework says that usually the daily Scrum stand-up shouldn't last more than quarter-hour but also says that 2 minutes per participant + 2 minutes is an efficient guide; for a team of 9 members this may equate to twenty minutes.

What is Daily Stand-Up?

In Scrum, on every day of a sprint, the scrum group holds a daily scrum meeting known as the daily scrum or the daily standup meeting. The daily standup meeting offers both project stakeholders and the team an opportunity to get a fast update of the project's status and align their targets with that of the project.

Stand-up meetings are a good way for teams to align brief- and long-term targets, along with personal tasks and general team projects. The standup meeting is held to make the team conscious of the present status and impediments, not to foster an extended discussion or try to solve problems.

The development group uses the daily Scrum stand-up to examine progress toward meeting the development timebox objective and the likelihood that the development timebox MVP shall be met. You don't need a lot for a stand-up meeting agenda - since they're so brief, all you need is a handful of questions to get the ball rolling and immediate team members to offer status updates.

The Scrum Master concentrates on the success of project, by helping the product owner and the team is utilizing the proper process for making a successful goal and establishing the Agile principles. There are numerous activities or "meeting rules" you can put in place, to make sure your team stand-up meeting is efficient, and not a complete waste of time for everybody.

These kinds of meetings are commonest in software program firms and other companies that use agile development methodologies, like Kanban, however they're also helpful amongst all kinds of teams in search of an efficient method to share updates, overcome roadblocks and keep aligned as a team. So, the Scrum Master ought to be capable of help the team members to undertake the changes.

All development team members should attend, both full and part-time members. Also, non-development group members are welcome to attend daily stand-ups but aren't allowed to talk.

Time and Structure of Stand-Up Meetings

Time and Structure of Stand-Up Meetings

As described within the Scrum Guide, the Daily Scrum is a 15-minute time-boxed event for the Development Team to synchronize activities and create a plan for the following 24 hours.

The place and time for the every day stand-up must be chosen to offer the least inconvenience to the development group members. When deciding a time to run the every day stand-up, the time should be set to inconvenience the development team members as little as possible; totally different individuals ought to select whether their attendance throughout "unsocial hours" is worth it to themselves. Similarly, if group members should arrive later for personal causes (e.g., need to drop off children at school), the beginning time should be set at a time so that everyone can attend. The time for the daily stand-up ought to be set when all development team members have a great chance of attending, that is necessary for geographically dispersed groups.

Team stand-up meetings are a incredible method to make sure everyone inside your team is on the same page, have a shared understanding of duties and objectives. The structure of the meeting is set by the Development Team and can be carried out in different methods if it focuses on progress towards the Sprint Goal. With just one 10 to 15 minute meeting through the day, group members can spend their time on focused work, rather than arguing about points that are simply resolved.

Since both the Scrum Master and product owner are committed team members, they are expected to attend and participate. The daily stand-up must be run by the development team though, in some organisations, the Agile Project Manager/Scrum Master runs the event. In the standard scrum meeting format, the members of a team stand across the room or close to the project board and report on their progress. But, the daily stand-up is not meant for members to "catch up" with each other on non-project-associated matters.

If your organization has employed remote workers, be sure to embrace them in your standups; one of the primary aims of standups is to make the whole team feel closer together, which incorporates your remote workers.

As every team member is sharing the 3 main points ( current goals, completed objectives, and challenges facing these goals), they should remember to try to keep things as succinct as possible.

If you uncover the standup meeting is beginning to get longer, this could possibly be a sign that group members aren't speaking effectively over the course of the working day.

Importance of Daily Stand-Up

Daily Scrums improve communications, get rid of other meetings, determine impediments to development for removal, highlight and promote fast decision-making, and enhance the Development Team's stage of information. If your standup meetings tend to devolve into discussions round who can swap shifts or take on totally different projects, think about whether a tool that facilitates easier communication between team members might work better than a daily meeting.

For those of you who're unaware of what a daily stand-up is, it's the chance for group members to shortly and effectively "stand" together within the office and every run through their priorities for the day, what they achieved the day before and if they need help from any friends.

But remind yourself and your group that the daily standup meetings usually are not held to solve issues or have long discussions. Teams that don't run efficient standup meetings are those where every team member offers in-depth status stories, repeating the identical information day after day, or the discussion is allowed to spirals right into a sea of in-depth technical problem-fixing discussions.

When teams don't maintain a daily standup meeting, the group risk losing the communication, focus and momentum of a team needed to build the proper product with the suitable quality on time. The Development Team uses the Daily Scrum to inspect progress towards the Sprint Goal and to examine how progress is trending toward completing the work within the Sprint Backlog. The Development Team or team members often meet instantly after the Daily Scrum for detailed discussions, or to adapt, or replan, the rest of the Sprint's work.

Daily stand-up meetings are a recurring solution to a specific set of problems that occur when a group of individuals try to work collectively as a group. The function of those meetings is to get fast info and make fast recommendations, and not essentially to provide status updates to stakeholders (though they might be present) and they also continue even if certain team members are absent.

When the team is conducting effective standup meetings, potential delays to the project are discovered early and shortly, allowing the team to proactively find methods to stay on schedule. The daily standup meeting helps you and your team to have a shared understanding of your objectives. You and your team members can update the board outside of the standup and may raise challenges anytime you're working.

The two roles - Scrum Master and Product Owner are priceless for the team, as they build an ideal relation with the team, and thereby delivering the best outcomes. When holding the daily stand-up meeting, it makes it a lot easier if group members can point at stories and duties on a task board. The Daily Scrum optimizes the chance that the Development Team can easily meet the Sprint Goal.

Also, just remember to give extra introverted team members time to speak about what's on their minds, whether it's updating other members of the team on what they're working on or helping to reply questions on upcoming tasks.

If you're working in remote groups, a daily standup through video chat is usually a significantly useful tool for staying connected to your team, growing their efficiency, and instilling in them a sense of group. To conclude, a daily stand-up is there to assist the team communicate, search support as well as track progress or obstacles with each other.

Agile Center offers training and consultancy services for Scrum Masters and Development Teams. If you need help or more information, please contact us.

Qualities You Need to Succeed in a Product Manager Role

Product Manager Role

Qualities You Need to Succeed in a Product Manager Role

Becoming a product manager isn't for everyone. Learn what qualities you need to naturally have in order to succeed in a product manager role.

Keyword(s): product manager role

According to a survey, one out of five products doesn’t meet customer needs.

In a crowded market, such a slip up can spell a firm's death. How well a product satisfies your client base is a direct responsibility of the product manager (PM). Thus you need to understand the qualities that make for a strong PM if you are to excel in your organization.

Here are five do-or-die skills you must possess to shine in a product manager role.

What Is a Product Manager?

A product manager is charged with discovering a valuable and useful product for users in a viable manner.

PMs stand at the intersection of technology, business, and user experience.

As a business executive, a PM needs to uncover ways to extricate value from a product to maximize the return on investment (ROI). From a technology perspective, a PM needs deep insight into how the product gets built.

Sure, as a PM, you don’t necessarily need to know how to code (it’s useful but not a must).

However, you do need to understand the technology stack in play and the effort it will take to put a viable product together.

As a PM utilizing agile project management methodologies, it’s even more critical that you have a firm grasp on the technology in play. A majority of your time will be spent with the development team.

User experience is another critical core role you’ll handle as a PM. Essentially, you are meant to be the user’s voice within the business.

You champion the things that matter to users for the product to have sustainable customer value. While a reliable PM doesn’t need to be deeply conversant in all three, they need an in-depth domain experience in at least one of these areas.

On top of that, a good PM must be passionate about all three areas while being familiar with professionals who opera in these three areas.

What Qualities Can Help You Excel in a Product Manager Role?

A PM’s day-to-day job features many moving pieces. Thus, you need several skills that can help you balance everything optimally.

Let’s look at some of these vital skills.

1. Relationship Management

Being adept at positively managing relationships is arguably the most critical skill a PM can't do without.

Internally, relationship management is vital in gaining the team's buy-in to deliver compelling results. If you don't know how to rally a team behind a project or problem successfully, your productivity will tank.

A PM is continually walking the fine line between clients, hitting the firm’s revenue targets, and having limited resources on the engineering team.

To maintain this delicate balance, you need to excel at forming and nurturing relationships.

Externally, relationship management helps you navigate customer-facing problems. If you need a stealth test, you can galvanize users to try out your product while in beta.

2. Emotional Intelligence

Emotional intelligence (popularly denoted as EQ) is vital in today’s organizational landscape. Statistics show that over 70% of hiring managers value EQ or intellect.

Why is EQ so valuable to you as a PM?

It can help you excel in one of the most crucial roles: customer relations.

When you are talking to customers to get more insight, for example, EQ helps you empathize with them. You can listen to what is being said and also pay attention to the unsaid.

Body language and indirectly expressed emotions are mission-critical in accurately identifying pain points customers face.

The better you can relate to users and draw their thoughts out, the more effectively your solutions can meet their needs.

Aside from that, EQ also helps you relate better with your coworkers and leaders. That is useful as there are many internal hurdles to jump over when you want to ship a product.

3. Intrinsic Motivation

A PM’s job is full of stress. Your team will have demands you need to meet, the CEO will lean on you to achieve set targets, and customers have issues they ended you to solve.

Without the ability to intrinsically motivate yourself, it’s easy to fall behind crucial deadlines. You need to have the grit to push hard on what you know is urgent without making others panic.

Learning how to switch contexts quickly is also critical as that helps you move from one task to another seamlessly.

4. Strategic Thinking

At a macro level, a PM’s job mirrors that of a CEO to a degree. You need to understand your product strategy and tie it to the overarching company strategy.

When it comes to product vision, you need to figure out ways to give users value. But that’s not all.

Your product vision needs to generate value for customers in a differentiated manner from the competition. A strategic understanding of this convergence is essential as it helps galvanize your team behind a product.

Once the product team can draw an arc between what they are making, how it fulfills customer desires and helps the firm win, they will be motivated to deliver.

Once you ship a successful product as the PM, you need to factor in long term survival.

That calls for strategic thinking in terms of how user behavior may change, dynamic technology trends, and how the competition will respond.

5. Effective Problem Solving

A PM will always face two categories of problems when building and shipping a product.

The first type of problem is figuring out your customers’ pain points. If you get this wrong, you commit the firm’s precious resources to a product that won't meet user needs and, therefore, flop.

The second category of problems PMs anticipate is barriers that make it hard for the team to build the solution you need to ship.

You need to be adept at continually solving these two problems, time and again.

Remember that you can't get too caught up in either one. If you focus too much on customer pain points, you may miss out on feasible ways to meet these needs with your product.

On the other hand, if you focus too much on what you’re building, you lose sight of the ‘why’ behind the building and therefore ship a dud.

Do You Have What It Takes to Excel in a Product Manager Role?

Being a PM is rewarding as well as stressful. As a critical component that shapes how well the product performs, you will need to juggle several balls. Thus, as you eye a product manager role, you need to identify the traits that can help you execute your job and deliver stellar results.

Agile Center offers consultancy services on Lean-Agile Transformation, Agile Program/Portfolio Management, and Agile Strategy audit.

Talk to us for training and insights that help unlock valuable efficiencies for your business.

Understand the Role of a Scrum Master Before Choosing This Career Path

Role of a Scrum Master

Understand the Role of a Scrum Master Before Choosing This Career Path

If you're thinking about getting certified as a scrum master, you need to understand what it entails. Learn all about the role of a scrum master.

Keyword(s): role of a scrum master

Project management works when good quality work finishes on time. However, that's easier said than done.

In order to help combat classic project woes, scrum was born.

Scrum is an agile project management philosophy that improves team efficiency. Under the role of a scrum master, projects are administered through sprints.

A sprint is word scrum masters use to describe a period of time—typically two to four weeks. The methodology is understandably popular due to its team efficiency benefits.

By the end of each sprint, team members need to complete their projects. Scrum masters are the leaders who plan and organize these sprints.

If that sounds exciting to you, keep reading. We'll discuss the what scrum master is and how to become one.

What Is a Scrum Master?

A scrum master coordinates projects by planning sprints and hosting check-ins with team members. They use an agile-based approach that relies on communication and collaboration.

Scrum masters help compartmentalize projects into manageable tasks for their team.

With daily updates from the team, scrum masters gain a better understanding of project progress. This helps them quickly pivot when roadblocks come up. Constant communication allows scrum masters to plan sprints effectively.

Other roles on the scrum team include the product owner and team members. The product owner is usually a manager overseeing the entire team, while the scrum master oversees the team members.

Part of the scrum master's job to implement the product owner's ideas and vision. All three roles work harmoniously together to deliver their projects.

What Does the Role of a Scrum Master Entail?

A scrum master has two main expectations alongside their other daily tasks:

Creates and Maintains Sprints

Scrum masters are responsible for structuring sprints for team members. This involves using a scrum software for transparency and hosting a weekly scrum meeting.

Within the tool, scrum masters assign tasks for each team member and set a deadline, which is usually the end of the sprint. The scrum meeting exists to answer team member questions and discuss the sprint.

Hosts Team Meetings

Scrum masters host multiple meetings outside the weekly scrum meeting.

The number of meetings vary between each master—some meet daily or weekly. These are known as daily scrums or check-ins. The scrum master uses this time to connect with team members about the sprint.

During scrum meetings, team members discuss potential missed deadlines or project confusion. The scrum master mediates these issues. Part of a scrum master's job is to predict a team member's capabilities and bandwidth before a sprint begins.

Scrum masters may also have separate sprint planning meetings with managers to plan future sprints. Scrum masters may also hold review meetings. These meetings cover the sprint retrospectively.

Reflecting on past sprints help scrum masters and managers streamline processes.

The Differences Between Scrum Masters and Project Managers

Both scrum masters and project managers organize teams and projects. However, there are differences between the two roles.

The role of a scrum master involves upholding agile-based methodologies when planning and assigning projects. They rely on their methodologies to work as expected and collaborate with team members when issues arise.

Issues resolve over time by streamlining the scrum process with the team. Streamlining can involve extending deadlines or adjusting the sprint's length.

Project managers use a non-agile methodology. They facilitate projects and expectations with a more controlled, report-based approach. This is because they are responsible for the entire scope of each project.

Each team member is assigned a project, and a deadline is assigned based on the scope of the project. Project managers ensure team members meet deadlines. One on one meetings with team members help mediate roadblocks.

Both scrum masters and project managers are responsible for mediating project issues and preventing deadline blockers. However, scrum masters are more flexible and use issues as a learning lesson for future sprints.

How to Become a Scrum Master

Before becoming a scrum master, you need to get certified.

The scrum master career path is ideal for those who have project management or product owner experience. However, anyone can learn the principles of scrum and pave their way toward a rewarding scrum master career.

Regardless of experience, it's essential to learn scrum principles before diving into certification.

After preparing, it's time to begin the official scrum master course. The CSM (Certified scrum master) course is available online or in-person and cover the fundamentals of the scrum and agile framework.

The last step involves an official exam. Upon passing, you're ready to start applying for scrum master roles.

Once you land your career as a scrum master, there are ways to continue educating and improve your expertise. Scrum masters interested in a more significant leadership role may want to consider getting certified in Scaled Agile Framework (SAFe).

In this two day course, you learn about implementing a lean-agile framework into an enterprise environment. This is a perfect route for scrum masters who are eager to plan and execute the scrum methodology on a larger scale.

Professional scrum master (PSM) courses are more advanced routes you can take to advance your scrum proficiency.

This course and exam are ideal for scrum masters who are in the middle of their career and want advancement options. The process is more difficult than the CSM course, but it's worth it if you want a higher-level certification.

The Next Steps

Scrum is an ideal methodology for collaborative departments that often experience project pivoting. Thanks to its proven efficiency, the agile-based project management process is a decision that will pay off in the long run. In fact, 85% of people feel scrum improved their work lives.

More companies are implementing this strategy, making now the best time to start the role of a scrum master. If you're ready to implement a scrum strategy for your workplace, contact us today.

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