Fun with Agile…Really

Hello Folks,

Welcome back to another episode of “Exploring Agile”. Today we will be taking advantage of the universally loved YouTube.  While I will admit that this cartoon is no Conjunction Junction, it does a nice job of simply conveying the Scrum version of Agile Methodology.  The video is eight and half minutes long, with the last minute and a half being a plug.

For those of you not willing to invest the seven minutes, I have provided a brief outline of the content;

Reasons to use Agile;

  • Focuses on prioritized customer value
  • Mitigates risk by involving customers during incremental development called Sprints
  • Minimizes Time to Market
  • Promotes Certainty or Deliverable Confidence
  • Increases Revenue

Project Management Agile (Scrum) Process;

  • Create a Product Backlog comprised of;  User Story’s (user/customer needs)
  • Hold a Sprint Planning Meeting (Scrum Master and Project team)
    • Reviews User Story’s and inquires about additional pertinent details
    • Prioritizes User Story’s from Project Backlog to create a Sprint Backlog
    • Hold Daily Stand-Up Meetings to status;
      • Yesterday’s activities
      • Today’s activities
      • Current Obstacles and Roadblocks
      • Records Progress in Sprint Backlog
      • Charts Progress on a “Burn-down Graph”

      End of Sprint Review Meeting – Present completed deliverables to customer

      Launch Sprint #1 Deliverables

    • Conduct Informational Interviews to get
      • Feedback
      • Missed deliverables
      • Desirable Enhancements
    • Sprint Retrospective Meeting
      • What did or did not work well: identify areas for improvement
      • Start the Process again


I have been working on and in projects for over fifteen years.  To be honest, the methodology I had been exposed to was only ever identified as “traditional”.  There was a beginning and an end, with planned deliverables falling sequentially in between.  You would often here phrases like “Plan your work and work your plan.”  Then somewhere about ten years ago, I began to hear the phrase “waterfall” being used to identify our process flows.  To-ma-toe, Ta-ma-toe I thought, it is still the same old project management.  What I had failed to realize, is that the phrase was being used to compare the traditional project methodologies with a system of new methodologies that were rapidly growing in popularity.  The term being used to describe this new system is collectively known as Agile.

The organization I work for is very project oriented.  I have been there four years, and am now in my fourth role.  The skills I have developed during the previous three roles lend themselves very well to the current role.  However, not surprisingly, there are yet more changes on the horizon.

My employer wants to transform our existing network to be entirely IP based by the year 2020. AT&T has recently launched a new HR initiative that strategically aligns itself to that primary goal.  Planning for success, our leadership has provided a list of essential skills that will be required to work in the new environment.  The list includes those skills that you would intuitively associate with such a transition.  The larger categorical line items include Big Data Analytics and Computer Science.  Also on the list is Agile Project Management.

Looking at the proverbial road map of my career, I now have “motivation” to learn more about the Agile methodologies.  AT&T has something called “T” University that offers various professional developmental programs and certifications.  Given our current MBA program, and the PMP training I have scheduled for the fall, the pursuit of the Agile certification will have to wait until next year.  Those facts notwithstanding, my natural paranoia dictates that I at least familiarize myself with this new topic.  After all, if it has been deemed relevant where I work, it is likely to be so elsewhere.

So as a point in fact, what you are witnessing here is the manifestation of my previously admitted paranoia.  Over next several weeks, I am bound and determined to use the blog post assignment as a means to research various articles that introduce “us” to the topic of Agile Project Management.  So please join me as I stubbornly (or ironically) begin this journey at the only logical place I can conceivably start, which is of course at the very inception of Agile!  The short article listed below will help answer the question; why deviate from traditional methodology?