DCG Agile Consultants

As most people know, we offer a range of Agile solutions and services, with the goal of helping our clients to implement Agile or to improve existing Agile implementations.

Depending on the offering - and depending on the client - we deploy a consultant or a team of consultants to execute and oversee the engagement.

Not only do our consultants have years of experiences in successfully helping our clients with these types of engagements, they also maintain key industry certifications.

CSM SealFirst up, the Scrum Master certification. This certification is awarded by the Scrum Alliance. To receive the certification, a person must take the Scrum Master course from a Certified Scrum Trainer and then demonstrate their knowledge via an official test.

A Certified ScrumMaster® (CSM) helps project teams properly use scrum, increasing the likelihood of the project's overall success. CSMs understand scrum values, practices, and applications and provide a level of knowledge and expertise above and beyond that of typical project managers.

At DCG we have 5 Certified ScrumMasters located in the U.S. and Europe:

  • Mike Harris
  • Tom Cagley
  • David Herron
  • Alan Cameron, DCG-SMS
  • Steve Kitching, DCG-SMS

SAFe Program ConsultantNext up is the Scaled Agile Framework® (SAFe) Program Consultant certification. This certification is awarded by Scaled Agile, Inc. To receive the certification, a person must have 5+ years of experience in software development, testing, business analysis and product or project management; 3+ years of experience in Agile; and one or more other relevant Agile certifications. In addition, they must attend the certification class and pass the exam.

With this certification, a person has access to the tools necessary to implement Agile programs; they can also launch Agile Release Trains as part of an enterprise Lean|Agile change initiative.

At DCG we have 2 Certified SAFe Program Consultants:

  • Mike Harris
  • Tom Cagley

Don't let Agile fail because of your consultants. Experience matters, of course, but certifications such as these highlight individuals who are qualified to help you and who have access to the materials that will foster success.

We're always here to help.

 

Written by Default at 05:00
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Drinking the Agile Movement Kool-Aid

Rob CrossI recently had the pleasure of attending two single-day conferences focused on the Agile development methodology, Agile Philly and Agile D.C. I have been in the software industry the majority of my 20-year career and these conferences reminded me a lot of various professional experiences I’ve had over the years where I was selling a paradigm shift or disruptive change countering the usual modus operandi. 

 In general, the recipe for change for these shifts tends to include:

  • Tremendous Passion [You embody and live what you preach]
  • Unlimited High Energy [As if you had an I.V. drip of caffeine 24x7]
  • Junkyard Dog Tenacity [Where failure = valuable feedback and another opportunity to iterate success]
  • Infectious Enthusiasm [“Why is this dude always so happy and excited about this?”]
  • Unwavering Faith [When everyone else looks at you as if you’re crazy, yet you still believe you are on the right path]
  • A Dash of Luck  [There needs to be a little Irish in all of us]

 In both conferences I attended, it was absolutely obvious which folks in attendance were Agile practitioners – they had all of the above ingredients. 

Zealot / “zeal·ot” - a person who is fanatical and uncompromising in pursuit of their religious, political, or other ideals. 

I definitely found myself in the company of Agile Zealots, and I use this term in a complimentary way. Just like Moses came down from the mountain with the Ten Commandments, the Agile methodology has its own manifesto with 12 commandments and a dedicated website to remind us all what those are.

THE CRUSADE

These Agile conferences, which take place nationally, remind me of localized crusades into corporate America’s IT departments to evangelize and convert managers and developers into disciples. I think these types of conferences are fantastic! And just to be clear, during an open question-and-answer session, I asked, “Are there any particular circumstances or projects where Agile doesn’t make sense?” (Before asking the question I definitely made sure I was close to an exit with no obstructions!) The whole room turned to look at me, but the panel appreciated the question and did not proceed to stone me in the town square; instead, it provided an excellent answer with various scenarios where Agile may not make sense. Bravo!

NET NET

Agile is an excellent methodology and everything about it makes logical sense. However, as we all know, change is not easy and adopting Agile requires lots of changes organizationally and, most important, culturally. This change includes thinking of your organization as horizontal rather than vertical, as well as putting into place an Agile workforce development plan, which requires management sponsorship. This is very hard and I certainly heard stories while attending these conferences of disasters and successes. All success stories had tremendous heartache and pain, but their businesses, products and customers are far better off having gone through the metamorphosis.   

Just like most transformational things in life, the process to obtain success is not a light switch and may take years to achieve. However, if the entire organization embraces the recipe for change above, then converting from the old to Agile will be a lot quicker and easier – but not without failures along the way. Those who believe in the Agile manifesto and succeed in its implementation will obtain a powerful weapon to outmaneuver those who don’t. 

Of course, we're always here to help your organization effectively embrace Agile. Questions? Just ask!


Rob Cross
PSC Vice President, DCG Sales

Written by Rob Cross at 05:00
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Agile: What We Offer

We're huge proponents of Agile at DCG. No, not because it's trendy right now. It's because we've seen the value it provides for our clients time and time again.

Of course, there are a number of barriers to an effective Agile implementation - and not all organizations suffer from the same issues. To that end, we offer a range of Agile services and solutions to meet the needs of a organization looking to implement its first Agile program, the needs of an advanced Agile team who needs to fine-tune its implementation, or the needs of a team who simply requires a training class.

Our Agile Solutions include:

  • Agile Estimation: Develop a process to estimate your Agile projects.
  • Agile Project JumpStart: Implement a structured approach to quickly address the introduction of Agile in a competitive software offering.
  • Agile Project Reboot: Apply Agile techniques to rescue failing projects before it’s too late.
  • Agile Readiness Review: Establish a plan for a successful Agile implementation.

 Our Agile Advisory Services include:

  • Executive Coaching Sessions: One-on-one coaching focused on the roles of IT and business in Agile projects.
  • Agile Team Coaching: An intensive team tune-up with an on-site Agile coach.
  • Mindset Review: A review to gauge if Agile is a fad or commitment within your organization.

Our Agile training courses include:

  • Agile Estimation: Understand the principles and methods of estimating in an Agile environment.
  • Agile Practical Techniques: Foster an understanding of Agile techniques.

And we can't forget about organizations who need assistance in scaling Agile. For that we offer a SAFe solution, as well as training classes:

  • Scaled Agile Framework (SAFe) Readiness Review: Evaluate your organization to establish a plan for a successful Agile implementation.

There really is something for everyone - there's no need to abandon your challenged Agile program or to put off implementing Agile. Our team includes certified Scrum Masters and certified SAFe Program Consultants, and we can help you successfully navigate the waters of Agile, so that you too can truly reap its benefits.

 

Written by Default at 05:00
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Splitting User Stories

On October 6, Mike Harris presented "Splitting User Stories" at Agile Philly, part of the Agile World Tour.

Why should you split user stories? Well, stories need to be small enough that they can be completed in one iteration, in order to deliver potentially releasable software at the end of each sprint.

But, as important as it is to create manageable user stories, it's not always easy to figure out how to do that.

This presentation discusses how to split user stories using INVEST, a mnemonic created by Bill Wake, which guides the development of user stories and helps to evaluate their quality.

Questions? Leave us a comment or reach out to Mike Harris directly!
Written by Default at 05:00
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Agile DC

Later this month DCG will be attending two Agile-based conferences in the D.C. area.

Agile DC Executive Summit

First up is the Agile DC Executive Summit on October 20. This conference is exclusive to senior managers and executives, as it focuses on sharing successes and failures that may benefit each other. The conversation will largely circulate around how to best nuture agility in an organization.

This will be our first time at this conference. We're looking forward to the speakers and we're very excited to share our thoughts about the usefulness of SAFe and how DCG has found success in its Agile implementations. As consultants, we are, of course, interested in the roadblocks others are facing in successfully implementing Agile, so that we can better understand how to help solve these challenges.

AgileDC

The following day, October 21, DCG's David Herron and Rob Cross will be at Agile DC. This will be our third year at the conference and our second year as a sponsor. We truly believe in the value of this conference in promoting the use of Agile in the region. There's always a top-notch list of speakers that fall within a number of different tracks - something for everyone!

It's a great environment to meet other people and talk one-on-one about what each person's organization is doing, while also taking in tips and strategies from the speakers. We call this one a don't-miss conference, so if you have the opportunity to attend - take it!

We can't wait to talk about SAFe and share more about what we believe to be a really important tool in the Agile toolkit. If you'll be at either of these conferences, please leave a comment below. We'd love to know what you're looking forward to the most, what Agile challenges you're facing and what Agile successes you've encountered. Of course, we'd also just like to schedule a time to chat about all of this in person. We can't get enough of Agile talk!

Look out D.C., here we come!

Written by Default at 05:00
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"It's frustrating that there are so many failed software projects when I know from personal experience that it's possible to do so much better - and we can help." 
- Mike Harris, DCG Owner

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