Levent Ali

The 8 Agile Maxims of Woody Zuill

I highly recommend absorbing Woody’s 8 Agile Maxims.

He gave a presentation at Agile Open SoCal 2012 and expanded upon them further.

Woody’s Maxims:

  • It is in the doing of the work that we discover the work that we must do. Doing exposes reality.
  • “Responding to Change” is impossible unless code is easy to change, easy to maintain, easy to fix, and easy to enhance.
  • Question Everything – put special focus on our deepest held beliefs. What we trust most hides our biggest problems.
  • “Working Software” is software that users are actually using. Until it’s in use it is truly useless.
  • Stress at work diminishes value. Crunch-time is a symptom of harmful and counter-productive attitudes.
  • We are the innovators of our process. Learn what works for others, prove it for our self, innovate beyond.
  • The object isn’t to make great software, it’s to be in that wonderful state which makes great software inevitable – Henri
  • The more we work at the work we do, the less capable we become -Repenning/Sterman – Make time for improving capability
  • The unspoken Agile Maxim – I reserve the right to add, remove, change, improve.

“Working Software” is software that users are actually using reminds me of conversation with Eben Halford where he was explaining how businesses often fail to understand the difference between iterative versus incremental development. Release often and as soon as possible.

Organising Self-Organising Teams

Self-organising teams are the core of Agile. Although just one of the core Agile Principles it’s definitely deemed to be the most important, yet there is little documentation on how to create them.

During this study 24 practitioners across 14 different organisations were interviewed through Grounded Theory research to highlight what makes self-organising teams. Through their research they discovered that informal roles commonly emerge in the following categories.


Guides and supports the team initially, helps them become confident in their use of Agile methods, and encourages continued adherence to Agile principles.


Acts as a representative of the self-organising Agile team to coordinate communication and change requests from customers.


Understands and translates between the business language used by customers and the technical terminology used by the team, in an effort to improve communication between the two.


Champions the Agile cause with the senior management within their organisation in order to gain support for the self-organising Agile team.


Promotes Agile with customers, and attempts to secure their involvement and collaboration to support the efficient functioning of the self-organising Agile team.


Identifies team members threatening the proper functioning and productivity of the self-organising Agile team and engages senior management support in removing such members from the team.

Scrum is Simple

Tobias Mayer recently posted “Scrum: a 5-step guide for managers”.

It really is as simple as that.

The difficulty often lies in Step 1: “Start with a clear product vision — and a visionary guide.”

Product Ownership is hard. Most of the Product Owners I have worked with have other duties that get in the way, making it even harder.

Henrik Kniberg’s excellent video condenses a day long Product Ownership course into 15 minutes:

If you want to build the best product, focus on your area and let others get on with theirs (Step 5: “Get out of the way”):

Product Owner: Build the right thing.

Dev Team: Build the thing right.

Coach: Build it fast.

Agileista Elasticsearch and HipChat Integration


Agileista now uses Elasticsearch which allows far more flexible queries as well as improving scalability.

Agileista Search Results

The Query Interface

You can now run more advanced queries to find items in your backlog, aside from the usual keyword search.

Queries can include creation date range, tag and story point value (=, <, >= and so forth).

Agileista Query Interface

HipChat Integration

Setting up HipChat integration is simple from your project’s settings page.

HipChat Integration

This will spam your chat room with user story activity on your Backlog as well as activity on the Task Board.

HipChat Messages

Other changes since the last update include

  • Dynamic tagging (add [tag] to any story definition)
  • Multiple projects
  • Velocity calculations based from a specific sprint onwards
  • Better graphs (powered by d3.js)
  • Several infrastructure upgrades to servers and services

CosmX Update

There’s a new release of CosmX (0.2).

Download the latest version from Github and never download it manually again!

CosmX Auto-Update

This release comes with an auto-updater which will unleash more of your machine’s stats.

Let me know what else you would like CosmX to track.