Laptop bag 4.0, backlogs, and story form

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4354 days ago

Laptop bag 2.0

Somewhere out there is a laptop bag just waiting for me to find it. But first, I have to spec it out.

Like Rands, I recently got laptop bag religion and I spent an excessive amount of time cogitating about features, price, tradeoffs, where to buy, and features again.

Then I got serious about it.

I haven’t yet found the bag, but in the meantime, I’ve written this blog post, because it provided the excuse I needed to really go batshit insane do a thorough job of my analysis. Not only does this post include a detailed list of requirements for my perfect laptop bag, but it also includes a glance into what I do in my life as a Product Manager. Hopefully one or the other of those is interesting enough to keep your attention :)


Pivotal Tracker

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4919 days ago

I just sent this note to Pivotal Labs:

Thanks, guys.

In a world where everybody talks about “agile” but hardly anybody knows what they are talking about, and where it is very rare to see an agile team (by which I mean a group of people who are actually a “team” and are actually “agile”), and where product managers usually struggle to even maintain control over prioritization, let alone actually manage it well – it seems very unlikely that any software would exist that is designed to work in well-functioning agile teams.

And it seems impossible that that such software, produced for such a tiny market, would be brilliantly designed, brilliantly executed, and just always there when you need it. For free.

So I don’t know how or why you do it, or what the world did to deserve it, or why I was lucky enough to find it. But THANK YOU, THANK YOU, THANK YOU, for Pivotal Tracker.

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Agile for Managers

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6574 days ago

At minimum, my career at ThoughtWorks was a full-tilt education in “how to make Agile methodologies work.” I’ve experienced the best and worst of agile processes, and I have a very strong sense of what works, what doesn’t, and what’s irrelevant.

(For you non-geeks out there, “agile” is the name for a family of processes used to develop software. If you’re curious, you should follow the link below.)

When I came to NetJets I wanted to get all that knowledge out of my head and codify it somewhere, because my head is a notoriously bad place to store details. So I set about writing up “Agile for Managers” – an introduction to the spectrum of agile methodologies, with detailed notes about every major issue I could think of. Obviously, the target audience is the manager of a software shop; someone familiar with software development realities, but not necessarily familiar with agile methodologies.

I didn’t record all the deep insights and little details that really make it work – that would be found in “Agile for Analysts” and “Agile for Project Managers” and “Agile for Developers.” Instead, this is a roadmap to the core ideas, and a memory trigger (to me) for those details.

I wrote it all down as a TiddlyWiki, with the intent that I’d give a talk about it at NetJets. I never gave that talk, but the presentation still stands on its own. I’ve published it on this site, now, and hopefully the world will find it, and find it useful.

Before I give you the link, a warning: TiddlyWikis have issues with Internet Explorer, and with Greasemonkey. If you’re using either, please switch to Firefox and/or turn Greasemonkey off. (If you must use Internet Explorer, go ahead – it will probably work.)

With that, here it is: Agile for Managers. I hope you enjoy it – I put a lot of work into it.

If you have questions or issues or comments, please post them as comments in this article.

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