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Author Alex March

Defining Ready: A Checklist for Grooming

Grooming user stories and decomposing features is not always easy. The demands to fill a sprint backlog for an agile feature team in a large enterprise are already immense, and tight project deadlines only compound the issue. Outside stakeholders may not understand the effort it takes to prepare a single …

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The Project-changing Magic of Tidying Up Your Backlog

I’m a sucker for organization trends. Earlier this year, I read The Life-changing Magic of Tidying Up by Marie Kondo, and cleaned my entire house in a matter of weeks under a strange neurotic spell. I threw away years of accumulated papers. I trashed expired cold medicine. I donated 4 …

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Use Color-coded Models for Creative Communication

Necessity is the mother of all invention, the cliche goes, and requirements modelling is no exception. Creating ad-hoc color coding within models to effectively communicate within a project team can save time and prevent confusion. As part of our Seilevel methodology, we use skittles, or color-coded dots, to convey the …

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Agile Troubleshooting: Interface Documentation

When an organization first switches to agile, the documentation and proper vetting of interfaces can often be a significant roadblock to successful delivery. In my own project, I have seen this borne out several times over. No more—I am seeking to properly detail data requirements in sufficient time. I have …

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IFTTT: Acceptance Criteria for Daily Life

I recently downloaded an iPhone app called IFTTT (If This Then That). With IFTTT, users can automate phone and app functionality by constructing “recipes” that connect previously-unconnected features. For example, I could create an IFTTT recipe that sends an SMS message whenever I enter or exit a predefined area. After …

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Co-location: The Answer to Your Agile Woes

I get it—co-location is expensive and may not be feasible for many organizations. For my large enterprise projects, co-located development is the exception rather than the norm. After being handed a high-priority feature and a very aggressive timeline, the project leadership decided to bring the project team together from all …

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Adventures in Data Mapping

I’ve done a lot of data mapping lately. Seriously. In the past eight months or so, my work life has been taken over by a seemingly endless stream of data mapping between interfaces for a credit adjudication system. This was an overwhelming amount of work for me at first. As …

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Hard Lessons in Agile

Sometimes you have to feel pain to learn a lesson. This is true in life, love, and software development. When a team is new to agile development after years of waterfall development, sometimes people dogmatically adhere to the agile manifesto without adapting to unique organizational circumstances. I recently experienced this …

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