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Latest 7 Posts
Four free Agile resources that you should know about (but probably don’t!)
Mon, Oct 17th 2016 7
Agile Tour Sydney 2016 – call for facilitators
Tue, Oct 4th 2016 2
How popular are Agile Certifications with employers?
Mon, Aug 8th 2016 7
The Rubber Chicken and other ways to get Agile meetings started on time
Tue, Jul 26th 2016 5
LAST Conference 2016 (Sydney) – only 16 places left
Wed, Jul 20th 2016 2
Agile and The Black Swan
Fri, Jul 8th 2016 6
Highlights from Scrum Australia 2016
Mon, May 2nd 2016 6
Top 10
Inaugural Sydney Agile Coach meetup
Thu, Apr 28th 2016 10
The Project Manager – conductor or one-man band?
Sat, Feb 6th 2016 9
Reminder: Agile Tour Sydney November 19th
Sun, Oct 11th 2015 8
The Agile Coach (Atlassian)
Tue, May 12th 2015 8
Scrum Maturity Model presentation in Sydney on Wednesday 27 January.
Thu, Jan 21st 2016 8
Has Agile Outlived Its Usefulness?
Sat, Dec 12th 2015 7
How to “slice the elephant” – real-life Agile Scaling.
Tue, Dec 15th 2015 7
Martin Fowler coming to Australia in March
Sun, Feb 14th 2016 7
How popular are Agile Certifications with employers?
Mon, Aug 8th 2016 7
Four free Agile resources that you should know about (but probably don’t!)
Mon, Oct 17th 2016 7


Ethann Castell
Blog Title Ethann Castell
Blog Description Technology, innovation, business and more.
Blog URL http://www.ethann.com
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Feed Last Checked Oct 17, 2016 7:15:24 PM EST. Realtime Update:
Location Sydney, Australia


Recent Blog Posts
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Four free Agile resources that you should know about (but probably don’t!)
Mon, Oct 17th 2016 7:52p   Ethann Castell
There are lots of free Agile resources on the internet. However not all information is created equal. Frankly a lot of the stuff out there is just click-bait designed to get you to buy a product or service. But there are good sources lots of good information out there. I’m going to assume that you’ve read the Agile Manifesto and The Scrum Guide, and that you are familiar with sites such as The Scrum Alliance, Scrum.org and Mountain Goat Software. Today I’m going to share
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Agile Tour Sydney 2016 – call for facilitators
Tue, Oct 4th 2016 5:50p   Ethann Castell
The Agile Tour Sydney is on again on November 14. For 2016 there’s a change of venue to the Aerial UTS Function Centre in Sydney.  So only 40 sleeps to go before the big day. The call has now gone out for nominations from those who would like to run a workshop on the day. So if you’ve got a good idea or a burning topic to share then get to it and submit your idea now. The Agile Tour is one of my favorite Agile events of the year and extremely good value at only $100 per ticket (t
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How popular are Agile Certifications with employers?
Mon, Aug 8th 2016 6:28a   Ethann Castell
Certifications can be a controversial topic. Get a bunch of Agile practitioners together, and if the topic should turn to certifications, then a heated debate often follows. Some folks love certifications and see much value in them. Others don’t think that they’re worth the paper they are written on. Regardless of your personal opinion about the value of certifications, if employers or clients are looking for certain certifications, then this tends to drive all but the most strident
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The Rubber Chicken and other ways to get Agile meetings started on time
Tue, Jul 26th 2016 6:21p   Ethann Castell
In a typical Agile or Scrum environment if there’s one thing that reduces productivity and efficiency, its people being late for meetings. Valuable minutes, which soon add up to hours and days, are lost while the team waits for the stragglers to arrive. Waste = bad Waiting is one of the sevens wastes of Muda, as categorized by Taiichi Ohno within the Toyota production system. Lean teaches us to focus on eliminating all waste, so working to get meetings started on time is a great way
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LAST Conference 2016 (Sydney) – only 16 places left
Wed, Jul 20th 2016 7:52a   Ethann Castell
A quick heads up that the Sydney LAST Conference is on next Monday (July 25th) and there are only 16 tickets left! LAST stands for Lean, Agile, Systems Thinking, so sessions will fall broadly into one or more of those three categories. Tickets for the full day event are only $99 and you can find more information at the LAST Conference website. The post LAST Conference 2016 (Sydney) – only 16 places left appeared first on Ethann Castell.
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Agile and The Black Swan
Fri, Jul 8th 2016 4:39a   Ethann Castell
The Black Swan The Black Swan concept is based on an ancient saying which presumed black swans did not exist. People mistakenly thought that the fact that no-one had even seen a black swan, meant that they didn’t exist. (The saying was rewritten after black swans were discovered in the wild!) Nassim Nicholas Taleb popularized the term in his 2007 book The Black Swan: The Impact of the Highly Improbable. Taleb talks in his book about events or occurrences which that deviate beyond what is norm
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Highlights from Scrum Australia 2016
Mon, May 2nd 2016 7:55p   Ethann Castell
Scrum Australia 2016 was a fantastic event. Hats off to the organizing committee for running the event in such a professional manner. Although there were a number of stand-outs, four highlights stood out in my mind. Steve Denning’s opening keynote Aattendees Buzz Bas Vodde’s closing keynote Steve Denning’s opening keynote Steve Denning, the well-known author and Forbes columnist, kicked off the event in grand style. Steve covered many areas but the big idea from his speech is
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Inaugural Sydney Agile Coach meetup
Thu, Apr 28th 2016 9:01p   Ethann Castell
A quick heads-up that an exciting new Agile meetup is starting next week in Sydney. The inaugural Sydney Agile Coach Meetup is taking place on Tuesday 3rd May. It’s already attracting some heavy-hitters which is not surprising as it’s being run by Peter Lee from Campaign Monitor and Marcio Sete from Elabor8 – two very knowledgeable guys. This should be a great event and the start of a fantastic community.  Maybe I’ll see you there? The post Inaugural Sydney Agile Coa
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What is the difference between Risks and Issues?
Sat, Feb 20th 2016 2:05a   Ethann Castell
In traditional world of Project Management, many of us have used a RAID (Risks, Assumptions, Issues and Decisions) log, or some variation of it.  Even in Agile corporate environments we often encounter Risks and Issues logs at a project or program level. I had a colleague ask me the other day what was the difference a Risk and and Issue. It’s an interesting question which has a surprisingly succinct answer. Risk A risk is an occurrence which could negatively impact the project. Issue An
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Martin Fowler coming to Australia in March
Sun, Feb 14th 2016 9:31p   Ethann Castell
A quick heads up that Martin Fowler is coming to Australia in March to talk at YOW! Nights in Sydney (8th) and Melbourne (29th). Martin has been a pioneer and thought leader in Informatin Technology for a number of years and has written a number of books including “Refactoring”, “UML Distilled” and “Patterns of Enterprise Application Architecture”. The post Martin Fowler coming to Australia in March appeared first on Ethann Castell.
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The Project Manager – conductor or one-man band?
Sat, Feb 6th 2016 8:04p   Ethann Castell
There are many different metaphors used to describe Project Managers. So many in fact that you may have cause to ask What the Hell is project Management, Anyway? Project Management metaphors Some of the most common metaphors used include: Sports Coach Military Commander Movie Director While some of the more obscure metaphors include: Batman Lifeguard Cat herder Another of the most common metaphors for Project Manager is that of Conductor.  This is is particularly powerful metaphor for to
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Scrum Maturity Model presentation in Sydney on Wednesday 27 January.
Thu, Jan 21st 2016 1:00p   Ethann Castell
A quick heads-up that James Cowden is giving a presentation next Wednesday night in Sydney on the Scrum Maturity Model (SMM). This should be an interesting topic with Scrum being a leading Agile methodology, and Maturity Model bringing back memories of the Capability Maturity Model (CMM) which was fairly popular in the 1990’s. The post Scrum Maturity Model presentation in Sydney on Wednesday 27 January. appeared first on Ethann Castell.
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Eliminate wastage from you stand-ups
Tue, Jan 19th 2016 4:13p   Ethann Castell
One of the key concepts behind Lean and Kanban is to eliminate wastage. You can apply this wastage elimination to all the processes within your project, including the daily stand-up meetings. One key area where wastage can occur during the daily stand-up meeting is when it comes to discussing issues or blockers.  Granted, some issues benefit from input of the whole team. But be careful that you are not wasting the teams time by discussing issues within the whole team, when only specific memb
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Spice up the Monday morning stand-up
Sun, Jan 17th 2016 6:00p   Ethann Castell
The morning stand-up meetings are a great tool for keeping the whole team informed, and for identifying and resolving issues in a timely manner. They can however become somewhat repetitive. One technique I’ve used before is that in the Monday morning stand-up to ask “What did you do yesterday?” and to literally mean yesterday (i.e. Sunday). Getting the team members to describe what they did on the weekend helps the team to bond, and it also just mixes it up a little and break
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The untapped value of a Shared Common Language
Thu, Jan 14th 2016 11:57p   Ethann Castell
Today I’m going to share with you a simple tool that can drastically increase the clarity of communication with your customers, stakeholders and within the project team. Furthermore, you can implement this tool immediately within your project today.  A common problem on many projects A problem that I’ve seen occur on numerous projects is a basic lack of agreement on common terms used throughout the project.  I’ve lost count of the number of times I’ve seen people on
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Product Development @ Atlassian talk tomorrow night.
Wed, Jan 13th 2016 1:20a   Ethann Castell
Just a quick reminder that Joseph Ayoub is giving a talk on Product Development at Atlassian tomorrow night, Thursday 14/1/2016. Here’s a quick synopsis: With an ambitious mission statement to ‘unleash the potential in every team’ and ‘advance humanity though the power of software’, Atlassian isn’t afraid to do things differently. Developers, Product people and Project Managers at Atlassian really do live and breath the organisation’s core values, which
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How to spot a novice Project Manager
Mon, Jan 4th 2016 11:55p   Ethann Castell
I’ve heard it said before that a good way to identify a novice Project Manager (and to a lesser extent, Scrum Master) is when you hear them say something along the lines of “if something doesn’t go to plan, then we’ll…”. A seasoned Project Manager (or Scrum Master) on the other hand, will more likely take the approach of “when something doesn’t go to plan, then we’ll…”. That’s only a small difference to be sure, but I think it
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Software Costs Estimation In Agile Project Management
Thu, Dec 17th 2015 8:17p   Ethann Castell
Software Cost Estimation is one of the more difficult aspects of Agile Software Development. Software Estimation has always been challenging and Agile doesn’t necessarily make this type of predictive exercise any easier. Customers, whether they be external or internal, are used to working in fixed price contracts. Getting customers to agree to fixing Time and Cost, but with Variable scope, is a new way of working which requires a much higher degree of trust and collaboration than man
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How to “slice the elephant” – real-life Agile Scaling.
Tue, Dec 15th 2015 6:31p   Ethann Castell
Henrik Kniberg, author of the “Scrum and XP from the Trenches”, gave the opening keynote at the Agile Tour Bangkok conference on Saturday 21 November in Thailand. His talk was titled “Real-life Agile Scaling” and includes some great insights into scaling Scrum. Especially interesting is his take on Minimum Viable Product (MVP) which he believes is better viewed as a series of steps: Earliest Testable Produce Earliest Usable Product Earliest Lovable Product This reminds me of a collea
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Has Agile Outlived Its Usefulness?
Sat, Dec 12th 2015 7:54p   Ethann Castell
If Agile is indeed an umbrella term, then the umbrella continues to increase in size.  While Scrum, XP and DSDM have been under cover for quite some time, many more additions have recently taken their place in the shade including Kanban, Lean, LeSS, SAFE. Test Driven Development (TDD) and Behaviour Driven Development (BDD) are hot topics which many practitioners also include within the Agile scope. But just as Agile is about evolving in response to change, Agile itself continues to evolve and c
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Feature teams
Fri, Dec 4th 2015 3:56p   Ethann Castell
A feature team is “is a long-lived, cross-functional, cross-component team that completes many end-to-end customer features—one by one.” Feature teams are an essential element to scaling up agile development. Without a feature team structure (but instead, a component team organization—based on code ownership, combined with a single-function organization—analyst group, programmer group, testing group, …) your organization is likely to create numerous wastes and sub-optimizations t
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Bas Vodde – “An Agile Fireside Story”
Tue, Dec 1st 2015 4:05p   Ethann Castell
Bas Vodde, co-creator of the LeSS (Large Scale Scrum), gave a great talk last night at the Agile@Scale group in Sydney last night. Bas Vodde is a coach, programmer, trainer, and author related to modern agile and lean product development. He is the creator of the LeSS (Large-Scale Scrum) framework for scaling agile development. He is the author of Large-Scale Scrum: More with LeSS, Scaling Agile and Lean Development: Thinking and Organizational Tools for Large-Scale Scrum and of Practice
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Adventures of Agile Adoption in Australia – Speakers Panel Discussion
Tue, Dec 1st 2015 1:43a   Ethann Castell
End of year get-together featuring an impressive line-up of speakers: • Peter Merel – Agile : The Next Generation • Matt Sharpe – Global Views Towards Scrum Implementation • Rowan Bunning – Agile Risk Management • Shane Williamson – Lean Product Management • John Smart – Behaviour Driven Development & 3 Amigos • TJ Gokcen – Keep Calm and Use Kanban • Dave Bales – Top 10 Challenges for PMs Moving to Agile and How To Work With T
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Yow Sydney 2015
Sun, Nov 15th 2015 3:14a   Ethann Castell
YOW! Sydney kicks off on December 10th with it’s usual line-up of top speakers and cutting-edge topics. It’s looking unlikely that I’ll be able to make it this year, which is a real shame because I would have loved to attend the session by Dan North, the originator of behavior-driven development (BDD). sydney.yowconference.com.au The post Yow Sydney 2015 appeared first on Ethann Castell.
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Reminder: Agile Tour Sydney November 19th
Sun, Oct 11th 2015 7:38p   Ethann Castell
Just a reminder that the annual Agile tour is on again in Sydney on November 19th.  It’s a great opportunity to learn and to mix with fellow Agile-ists. http://at2015.agiletour.org/sydney.html The post Reminder: Agile Tour Sydney November 19th appeared first on Ethann Castell.
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Agile Australia 2016 dates announced
Thu, Oct 1st 2015 5:22a   Ethann Castell
Agile Australia 2016 will take place in Melbourne from June 20-June 21st at the Melbourne Convention Centre. Tickets are not yet on sale but the call for speakers has opened. The post Agile Australia 2016 dates announced appeared first on Ethann Castell.
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Want to become agile? Learn from your IT team
Wed, Aug 12th 2015 10:23p   Ethann Castell
IT teams have spent decades adjusting to the rapid evolution of hardware and software. Here’s how to benefit from that experience. http://www.mckinsey.com/insights/business_technology/want_to_become_agile_learn_from_your_it_team The post Want to become agile? Learn from your IT team appeared first on Ethann Castell.
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Free Book: Scrum and XP from the Trenches – 2nd Edition
Thu, Jul 16th 2015 4:46a   Ethann Castell
The tricky part to agile software development is that there is no manual telling you exactly how to do it. You have to experiment and continuously adapt the process until it suits your specific situation. This book aims to give you a head start by providing a detailed down-to-earth account of how one Swedish company implemented Scrum and XP with a team of approximately 40 people and how they continuously improved their process over a year’s time. Under the leadership of Henrik Kniberg they exp
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The Agile Coach (Atlassian)
Tue, May 12th 2015 9:57p   Ethann Castell
Most people in the software industry have heard of Atlassian, the amazing Australian start-up success story, and their products Jira, Confluence etc. The Agile Coach What many aren’t aware of is that the Atlassian web site contains a section called The Agile Coach which is full of great articles based on how Atlassian has used Agile to great success. Well worth a read and especially useful for anyone new to Agile. The post The Agile Coach (Atlassian) appeared first on Ethann Castell.
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Martin Fowler on Agile
Fri, May 8th 2015 11:08p   Ethann Castell
The post Martin Fowler on Agile appeared first on Ethann Castell.
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Getting started with BPMN
Fri, Dec 12th 2014 9:30p   Ethann Castell
The BPM Resource Centre has some pretty good tutorials for getting started with BPMN. For those who really want to produce top quality BMPN diagrams, I highly recommend BPMN Method and Style by Bruce Silver . Don’t be put off by the second part of the book, the first half is excellent. BPMN Method and Style The post Getting started with BPMN appeared first on Ethann Castell.




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