Real World Agility: Practical Guidance for Agile Practitioners

Real World Agility: Practical Guidance for Agile Practitioners

by Daniel James Gullo

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Proven Solutions for the Most Widespread and Frustrating Agile Challenges

“This book gives you the answers that a wise mentor would have given you, if you had one.

Daniel Gullo shares his insights on the principal questions that everyone coming

to the world of Agile will inevitably encounter. ”

–From the foreword by Stephen Denning, author of The Leader’s Guide to Radical Management

Agile is becoming ubiquitous, but successful Agile implementation remains difficult. Organizations keep getting stuck on the same issues. However, with Real World Agility: Practical Guidance for Agile Practitioners, that need not happen to you.


World-renowned Agile coach and consultant Daniel James Gullo identifies and addresses nearly sixty widespread challenges faced by anyone trying to derive value from Agile. Drawing on his vast experience guiding Agile teams to success, Gullo helps you accurately diagnose your problems, describes each solution with maximum clarity, and concisely presents the details you need in order to act effectively.


This accessible guide is for every project participant and stakeholder: from ScrumMasters and team leads to developers, project managers, product owners, and customers. Gullo addresses methods ranging from Scrum to Kanban, guides you on scaling Agile, and even helps you apply it beyond software development.


Coverage includes

  • Making sense of Agile’s many “flavors”
  • Overcoming key hurdles in transitioning from waterfall
  • Addressing cultural obstacles
  • Meshing Agile teams with your management hierarchy
  • Engaging executives with Agile practices and values
  • Clarifying relationships among ScrumMasters, product owners, and project managers
  • Smoothly handling key tasks, such as organizing backlogs and defining sprints
  • Taking advantage of continuous integration and test-driven development
  • Bringing Agile to distributed teams and large product portfolios

Throughout, vignettes show exactly how Agile problems manifest in the real world–and how Gullo’s solutions can help you overcome them. As you learn from others’ experiences, you’ll quickly begin to see a clear path to success.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780134191737
Publisher: Pearson Education
Publication date: 07/25/2016
Sold by: Barnes & Noble
Format: NOOK Book
Pages: 256
File size: 5 MB

About the Author

Daniel Gullo is founder and principal of Apple Brook Consulting; is the founder of and chief advisor to Agile Delaware; and is a frequent reviewer, volunteer, and speaker for the Scrum Alliance, Agile Alliance, PMI, and other organizations. Daniel serves on the Trainer Acceptance Committee (TAC) for the Certified Scrum Trainer (CST) certification program and is also a reviewer of Certified Enterprise Coach (CEC) applications. He is a founding member of the Scrum Coaching Retreat Planning Committee; host of Coaches Clinic events; and facilitator of Open Space Events, including the Scrum Alliance’s largest Open Space ever at the Scrum Gathering in Berlin (with more 500 people) and the Scrum Gathering in Shanghai. Daniel is well known and highly revered as “the hardest working man in Agile,” a title bestowed on him by several of his colleagues in the training and coaching community. His tireless dedication and effort has earned him the Most Valuable Agile Professional Award for 2015.

Table of Contents

Foreword xi

Preface xiii

Acknowledgments xvii

About the Author xix


Chapter 1: Agile in General 1

Waterfall Versus Agile 2

An “Agile” Experiment 9

Differences Between Agile, Lean, Six Sigma, PMP, and Other Methodologies 10

Agile Is NOT for You . . . 13

Marketability of Scrum Certification and Consistency of Employment 15

Certify THIS . . . 18

Getting the Most Value from Gatherings, Conferences, and Other Events 21

I’m Certified—So, NOW What? 24

Goodbye, My Friend 26

Closing 30


Chapter 2: Real Organizations 31

How Can Scrum Scale to Work Successfully with Large Teams? 32

SAFe SPC Training: A Reflection 34

What Is the Biggest Hurdle for a Company Transitioning from Waterfall to Scrum Methodology? 42

Pigs in Zen 48

How Do You Overcome the Culture of a Company That Is Not Conducive to the Scrum Ideology? 50

How Do We Get Our Leaders Agile Trained? 54

Closing 57


Chapter 3: Real Products 59

Do We Have the Insights We Need to Know What Customers Want Most/Next? 60

Breaking Down Requirements to Epics and User Stories 61

Nordstrom’s Knows What I Want 62

Breaking Down the Product Backlog into Sprints 64

Why Does Every Increment Need to Be Shippable/Valuable to an End User? 66

What Is the Difference Between a Product Backlog and a Sprint Backlog? 69

What Goes into Sprint Planning? 72

What Is the Typical Duration for Sprints? 74

What Is the Measure of Progress on Product Delivery/Approximate Completion Date? 77

What’s Done Is Done: User Stories 80

Story Points and the Burndown 84

Psssst! I Can Get You Fixed Cost AND Fixed Dates!! 90

What Are Some Trends of Burndown Charts and What Do the Patterns Indicate? 92

Should We Make a Big Change Between Sprints? 97

Closing 99


Chapter 4: Real Teams 101

What Are Some Tips on Self-Organization? 102

How Does the ScrumMaster Fit in with the PO/PM in Terms of Ability to Drive Process? 105

How to Ask a Question 109

Should the Quality Assurance Team Be Inside or Outside? 112

What One Skill Is Most Important to Being a ScrumMaster? 114

How Can Scrum and Kanban Teams Work Together Effectively? 116

Happiness Is YOUR Responsibility 118

Can a Team Member (Dev) Be an Effective ScrumMaster? 121

How Do Teams Get True Autonomy from Management? 123

What Can I Immediately Apply from a Training Course, Conference, or Seminar? 125

Where Should You Place User Experience/User Interface (UX/UI) in a Scrum Team? 127

In Scrum, Why All the Meetings? 129

What Is the Most Useful Way to Make People Accept Self-Management? 135

Closing 138


Chapter 5: Real People, Real Stories 139

Manny Gonzalez, CEO, Scrum Alliance 139

Anu Smalley, Agile Coach and Trainer 144

Alan Deffenderfer, Consultant 146

Jaya Shrivastava, Agile Trainer and Coach 147

Ebony Nicole Brown, Senior Enterprise Transformation Coach and Trainer 150

James Gifford, Agile Coach/Agile Transformation Specialist 155

Jean Russell, Culture Alchemist and Queen of Thrivability 160

Dave Prior, Certified Scrum Trainer (CST) 162

Michelle Slowinsky, Project Manager at Association Applications Group, LLC 164

Gavin Watson, CEO, Watson, Inc. 166

Kanwar Singh, IT Program Manager 169

Sam Laing, Agile Coach and Trainer at Growing Agile 171

Joel Semeniuk, Chief Innovation Officer and Incubation Director 172

Kristin Kowynia, Product Owner at Paylocity 176


Chapter 6: Real Terms, Real Definitions 181


Chapter 7: Real Books for Further Investigation 209


Index 213

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