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Dinner with Dean at Agile Australia 2015

At the 2015 Agile Australia pre-conference speaker’s dinner I was seated next to invited speaker Dean Leffingwell (pictured here on the left) founder of the Scaled Agile Framework: ‘SAFe', a process framework invented to help organisations scale their Agility beyond a few teams to much larger software delivery teams. Applied to teams and departments numbering in the hundreds, SAFe is now gaining traction at several large Australian organisations, Telstra and Australia Post to name but two notable examples happy to showcase their SAFe successes. 
I shared with Dean one of my frustrations at our implementation of SAFe at Auspost where I was a Head of Digital Engineering. Although I found many good things in the framework, and had blogged previously on the topic myself, I observed that SAFe can lead to software delivery teams becoming bloated with people, and that the ‘Big Picture’ SAFe artifact contributed to the problem. 

This diagrammatic model shows how the three major levels of…
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Equal Pay for Women in IT

I’ve never blogged on the topic of equality for women, in IT or otherwise, however as I watch my daughter grow up and wonder what her working life will be like, and see the industry I joined mature, as I mature, I realise I do have quite a lot of opinions on the subject. As a former IT leader at several organisations who happens to be female, I’ve had both advantages and disadvantages in being in a minority group. I won’t complain about the additional job opportunities that have come my way due to the privilege of my second X chromosome, and it’s always amusing to hear recruiters squirm as they clumsily dance around the topic; “…and well, I think the company would really like to have a women in this role” eventually they blurt it out, trying to entice me with their potential of increasing the likelihood of success for me.

So I’ve always maintained that the inequality has helped me as much as it may have hindered my career, and I honestly don’t have too many stories of personally being …

Gamify your children - The results!

The results of our 2 week experiment into the Gamification of the school holidays for the kids are in.

The use of Trello for this was no good, too much administration was required to remove earned points for rewards and it's just not the right tool for this.

A friend has suggested Evernote as an alternative but I'm leaning towards HabitRPG as suggested by James Ross for next time.

There will definitely be a next time! The children all agreed that it was good. Here are some of their reflections from our retrospective on the game under: 

What did you like about the game?

The whole system was goodBecause it was fairWe were allowed to add new ideasIt was easy to earn points
Under What was bad about the game?

Some rewards cost too littleWe didn't get to do all the rewardsWhen all 3 of us wanted to do different things we couldn't have our own wayUnder What would you change about it next time?

Have enough days to use rewards and get points. (They wanted some transparency in planning …

Gamify your children

Inspired by James Ross’s LAST conference talk on The Shamification of Lamification and the Reclaimification of Gamification I was motivated to try and “Gamify” the school holidays for my three children, Leo aged 8, Chloe 9 and Max 10.
Buy-in is everything, so the first thing we did was a quick workshop to extract the kids ideas. I asked them to write their ideas for good rewards on sticky notes, with a few examples for context, such as ‘trip to the movies or ‘play date with a friend’ . They had 5 minutes to come up with their ideas – one idea per sticky note (as always).
They then read out their ideas for all of us to hear, there were a few duplicates and also a few comedy suggestions. Even though we had ruled out crazy stuff, such as rewards of a million dollars, Leo had written down ‘A unicorn for the back yard’ reading it out with gleeful giggles.
Then they spent 5 minutes writing down tasks that they could do to earn rewards. By now they had the hang of it and quickly came up with t…

Video of: Scaling! Oh the Horror!

At the LAST Conference 2014 in Melbourne this year I spoke of the horrors of scaling software delivery.

Here's the Video of Scaling! Oh the Horror! where I present why organisations may want to scale their software delivery rapidly, why it can be difficult and talk through 3 different cases studies of organisations I worked for, who all wanted to scale their agile software delivery, in different ways.

This YouTube clip is on the LAST conference channel and you can find many other good LAST conference videos there too!


Business Requirement Documents are just no good and should be abolished from the world of creating software

I had hoped the world could have wholeheartedly rejected Business Requirement documents by now. For too long I’ve seen the repeated scenario of only commencing the creation of a new initiative with a requirements document.Unfortunately most organisations that have teams developing software still use these flawed anathemas to creativity as the status quo. Despite agile approaches maturing and customer-centric modes of design emerging, requirements documents still persist. 
If you work in an organisation that doesn’t use business requirement documents any more, read no further. You are lucky; sense has prevailed at your place however in my experience, you are still the minority.
Let's face it; addressing this issue is not always the point you want to start your improvement work when there's much that could be dysfunctional with how a team is delivering software. But now, I find myself as mad as hell, and I'm not going to take business requirement documents anymore. I want to …