Saturday, November 20, 2010

Agile Tips: All about user stories

Several months ago our team started the transition to Agile. One of the top topics of the transition is user stories. How are stories created? How do they change in the process of planning and implementation? How to split them and how do they compare to other planning tools?

This slide deck is from a workshop I prepared and our team did. I addressed different aspects of user stories in Agile.

Monday, September 20, 2010

SharePoint Saturday LA – great event

A second SharePoint Saturday Event in California took place in LA last Saturday at the Hilton LAX. The organizing committee chair Karuana Gatimu and co-chair Christian Buckley, once again put a great community conference. Owen Allen did a very insightful keynote on the transition of SharePoint to a business management platform. Needless to say I loved to hear him talk about ACM and CM utilizing SharePoint as a solution platform.

The sessions were a mix of repeats from SharePoint Saturday East Bay and local speakers, covering a variety SharePoint topics. I did once again my talk on when and how to use SharePoint and Silverlight, with excellent attendance and great feedback.  For those that joined the session follow the links below to download the slide deck and other resources.

Client Object Model on Channel 9

Using the Silverlight Object Model

Saturday, September 11, 2010

SharePoint Saturday East Bay – Recap

Another great SharePoint Saturday Event  in San Ramon. The organizers Christian Buckley, Michael Noel, the sponsors, and the volunteers did an excellent job in providing a top notch facilities and amenities for the event. Global 360 was a gold sponsor of the event.

Lots of great sessions on SharePoint virtualization, search, governance and other hot SharePoint topics. I was really thrilled to do a new session on when and how to use SharePoint and Silverlight. For those that attended the session follow the links below to download the slide deck and other resources.

Client Object Model on Channel 9

Using the Silverlight Object Model

Friday, September 03, 2010

Agile Tips: The End Game

Making short iterations work is hard. First the team has to find the right amount of work and commit, only to be confronted with reality and find out that the estimates are not what they meant them to be.

In the first days of the iteration (T-8) the top priority stories get tackled, and somewhere in the middle of the iteration (T-5) the team has a pretty good feel, of which stories have a good chance to get accepted, and which may fall off the iteration or get split.

This last part of the iteration is what our team calls the End Game. The End Game starts 3-4 days (T-3) before the end of the (2 weeks) iteration. This is when we start deciding, which stories can be accepted, which  may be split, and which may be moved to the next iteration. The rule of thumb we adopted is that once we enter the End Game, we do not take new stories if there are other stories in the works that have higher chances of acceptance.


This simple rule helps the team concentrate on completing top priority stories and the associated bugs first and then move onto new work. We found that this leads to a much better outcome rather than have many stories open at once and than struggle to split them or move them to the next iteration.

Another effect of adopting the End Game rule is that it raises the team awareness of what it takes to complete the stories with highest chance for acceptance. This is when team members that have completed and accepted their assigned stories, start asking the question: “How can I help other stories so they get accepted?”.

Tasks get reshuffled, pairs form to tackle difficult tasks, conversations with the product owner take place to set priorities. Work gets done-done.

Monday, August 30, 2010

Free Day-Long SharePoint Event

Are you new to SharePoint, and want to find out more? Is your company already using the technology, but you’d like to expand your knowledge with best practices? Do you have specific business or technical questions, and want to take advantage of this opportunity to speak with the experts?

SharePoint Saturday East Bay is an educational, informative and always FREE day filled with sessions from respected SharePoint professionals and MVPs, covering a wide variety of topics focused on Microsoft SharePoint technologies. SharePoint Saturday is open to the public, and is your local chance to immerse yourself in SharePoint! Food and beverages will be provided throughout the day, wrapping up with a raffle and many prizes.


· 40 sessions across 7 different tracks, including Business Intelligence, Search, Social Media, Metadata and Taxonomy, Migration and Upgrade, SharePoint Designer, Branding, and more…

· 30+ speakers, 20 sponsors, product demonstrations, best practices

· Fabulous raffle items, including SharePoint tools and a new iPad!

· Food and beverages throughout the day

Invite your friends, your colleagues, and your entire team!  Register online today at

SharePoint Saturday East Bay

When:                   September 11, 2010

                              Doors open at 7:30am, Keynote at 8:30am

Where:                  San Ramon Marriott

My session:          SharePoint 2010 and Silverlight a Bigger Picture

2600 Bishop Drive

San Ramon, CA 94583 

Phone:  925-867-9200

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Agile Tips: Celebrate success or get pounded by the waterfall (again and again)

A crucial part of driving and sustaining a change towards better adoption of Agile is the opportunity to celebrate success – small wins, frequently. Winning teams have clear expectations, understandable context and the commitment to get the work done-done. Driving point in declaring small wins after each iteration is setting the scope of the iteration close to the actual capacity of the team. If you consistently get burn up charts where the scope undergoes big adjustments downward (red scope line), this is a clear sign that the team committed to more that can be done. Reasons for that can be lack of experience in estimating points, external pressures etc.  A good way to control the scope is to experiment each iteration to committing to a lower/higher number estimated points, so that the scope is with in the 5% margin from the average for the team (green scope line). This can be achieved by controlling external pressures, estimating points as a team rather than individually and actively negotiating with product owner and other stakeholders about what goes in the iteration and what not. 



While dry charts and numbers don’t create great software, they help teams adjust and build up the culture of the motivated successful team.  Step 1 - pick the right size for each bite.

Monday, August 16, 2010

SharePoint 2010 and Silverlight a Bigger Picture

We've all seen sessions where the power of SIlverlight is demonstrated with "Hello World!" apps and smily faces. We've also seen sessions on SharePoint 2010 that outline how to use the Client OM, but stop short when it comes to putting the complete solution into perspective.

Is this enough to build well researched and designed, innovative solutions?

I am really thrilled to join as a speaker and attendee with many other SharePoint enthusiasts at the two upcoming SharePoint Saturday events on the West Coast. I'll talk about how our team at Global 360 approaches business solutions. Starting with an outline of the use of Sketchflow as a design, communication and prototyping tool and then taking a deeper dive into how to use SharePoint 2010, Silverlight and specifically the SharePoint 2010 Client Object Model to transform the prototype into a small scale case management application.

If you are interested, join the SharePoint crowds at:

SharePoint Saturday - East Bay

SharePoint Saturday - Los Angeles