10 Expert Agile Tips and Techniques

10 Expert Agile Tips and Techniques

This article covers the expert agile tips and techniques for your reference. You can use these valuable insights to create effective, self-organizing teams. These tips are in no particular order, so feel free to skim down the list and read the ones that are most suitable for you.

 

Agile Tip # 1: Discipline

Agile Tips - Discipline

Discipline is the key ingredient in achieving extraordinary results. It brings stability and structure to one’s work or personal life. It takes discipline to attend scrum ceremonies, meet sprint commitments, and continually learn.

“Discipline is the bridge between goals and accomplishment.” - Jim Rohn

 

Agile Tip # 2: Team Collaboration

Agile Tips - Team Collaboration

In Scrum, the entire development team is responsible to ensure that sprint commitments are met. A team member who has completed his assigned tasks should look to assist other team members who need help. The team should practice empathy towards others, learn new skills, and meets their commitments.

 

Agile Tip # 3: Story Point Estimation

Agile Tips - Story Point Estimation

Story points are a relative unit of measure for estimating user stories. A team’s story point estimate should include: 1) the amount of work 2) the complexity of the work 3) any risks or unknowns in doing the work 4) must-have items on your definition of done.

 

Agile Tip # 4: Splitting User Stories

Agile Tips - Splitting User Stories

Split your stories into small stories. Resist the temptation to group items together to avoid the management overhead. Smaller stories flow better through the sprint. Imagine 1,000 marbles working their way down a chute rather than 100 basketballs working their way down the same chute. Smaller stories are easy to estimate and have less variability than large stories.

 

Agile Tip # 5: Define personas

Agile Tips - Define Personas

Define personas for your product and write persona-based user stories. A persona is a fictional character that you create based on your user research to represent different users that might use your product. Understanding the characteristics, experiences, behaviors, and needs of your personas will help you to write valuable user stories.

 

Agile Tip # 6: Maximize the business value

Agile Tips - Maximize Business Value

It is important that you understand the business value associated with each prioritized user story. 

"Your job isn't to build more software faster; it's to maximize the outcome and impact you get from what you choose to build." - Jeff Patton

 

Agile Tip # 7: Focus on One Thing

Agile Tips - Focus on One Thing

Are you multitasking or is it context-switching? Research suggests that productivity can be reduced by as much as 40% by the mental blocks created when people switch tasks. Not only should you work exclusively on what's most important, but you should also look to minimize the number of different things you work on at any given time.

"Extraordinary results are directly determined by how narrow you can make your focus." - Gary Keller

 

Agile Tip # 8: Prioritization

Agile Tips - Prioritization

Product owners should consider both importance and urgency when prioritizing product backlog items for the team. In Scaled Agile Framework (SAFe), WSJF or Weighted Shortest Job First technique is used to sequence jobs and ensure maximum economic benefit. Read more here.

"What is important is seldom urgent, and what is urgent is seldom important."- Eisenhower.

 

Agile Tip # 9: Clean Code

Agile Principle 7 - Working Software

Write a clean and high-quality code to minimize technical debt.

"Anyone can write a code that a computer can understand. Good programmers write code that humans can understand." - Martin Fowler, Author, and Programmer

 

Agile Tip # 10: Sprint Retrospectives

Agile Tips - Sprint Retrospective

Sprint Retrospectives provide explicit opportunities to improve the existing process. Retrospectives promote ownership and responsibility with respect to all aspects of the process. 

"If you adopt only one Agile practice, let it be retrospective. Everything else will follow." - Woody Zuill

 

Also, read my agile tips on Medium.

 

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What are the Agile Principles?

What are the Agile Principles?

What are Agile Principles?

Let's understand the 12 Agile Principles that set the foundation for being agile. The following principles are based on 'The Agile Manifesto'.

 

Principle 1: Our highest priority is to satisfy the customer through early and continuous delivery of valuable software.

Customer First

Agile Principle 1 - Satisfy the Customer                                                                                    Photo by rawpixel on Unsplash

What does this Agile principle mean? The phrase “our highest priority” signifies that the entire product team should know their priorities and should work on the highest priority items first. The highest priority for the product team is to “satisfy the customer” such that the product meets the needs of the customer. The phrase “early and continuous delivery of valuable software” implies that the work completed during the iteration must be demonstrated to the customers as soon as it meets the ‘Definition of Done’ to get their early feedback. Moreover, the team must strive to deliver valuable software to the customers at the end of each time-bound iteration.

 

Principle 2: Welcome changing requirements, even late in development. Agile processes harness change for the customer's competitive advantage.

Agile Principle 2 - Welcome Changing Requirements

Agile Principle 2 - Welcome Changing Requirements 🙂 Just Kidding!                                         Photo by rawpixel on Unsplash

This Agile principle focuses on embracing change. The phrase “welcome changing requirements” signifies the importance of accepting revised business priorities. The phrase "even late in development" signifies that changes should be welcomed irrespective of the time and effort the team has already invested to develop a feature. It's hard not to get defensive! But, think from your customer's perspective and understand the business value or the key drivers of the change. 

“Intelligence is the ability to adapt to change.” – Stephen Hawking

 

Principle 3: Deliver working software frequently, from a couple of weeks to a couple of months, with a preference to the shorter timescale.

Agile Principle 3 - Deliver Working Software Frequently

Agile Principle 3 - Deliver Frequently 🙂                                                                                   Photo by Pope Moysuh on Unsplash

Let’s understand what this principle means. The phrase, “deliver working software” means that the Agile development team should target to deliver high-quality production-ready work at the end of each iteration. The team should target to deliver working software frequently, preferably, after every couple of weeks. The shorter the delivery timescale, the more incremental development happens with the lesser cost of change.

 

Principle 4: Business people and developers must work together daily throughout the project.

Agile Principle 4 - Collaboration

Agile Principle 4 - Collaboration                                                                                                    Photo by rawpixel on Unsplash

This principle focuses on collaboration between the business and the development team. The phrase “must work together daily” implies that Agile development teams must interact with product sponsors daily throughout the work execution.

“Individual commitment to a group effort – that is what makes a team work, a company work, a society work, a civilization work.” - Vince Lombardi

 

Principle 5: Build projects around motivated individuals. Give them the environment and support they need, and trust them to get the job done.

Agile Principle 5 - Motivation, Support, and Trust

Agile Principle 5 - Motivation, Support, and Trust                                                                   Photo by Samuel Zeller on Unsplash

What does this principle mean? The phrase, “build around motivated individuals” emphasizes the importance of having motivated people on the team.

“Find people who share your values, and you’ll conquer the world together.” - John Ratzenberger

Give them the environment and support they need” – this phrase means that agile leaders should provide the necessary infrastructure that development teams need to continuously integrate and deploy their changes and should trust the team to deliver valuable software to customers.

 

Principle 6: The most efficient and effective method of conveying information to and within a development team is a face-to-face conversation.

Agile Principle 6 - Face-to-Face Conversation

Agile Principle 6 - Face-to-Face Conversation                                                           Photo by Kawtar CHERKAOUI on Unsplash

This principle is all about face-to-face conversation. Agile leaders, product sponsors, and business stakeholders must meet with the development team in-person regularly. Face-to-face conversations boost creativity, credibility, trust, and collaboration as people better understand feelings and reactions via body language and expressions. Face-to-face conversations also promote friendliness and build relationships. Often, face-to-face conversations are constrained by the geographical presence of the development team. Platforms for video conferencing provide the same benefits as that of face-to-face conversations and should be encouraged.

 

Principle 7: Working software is the primary measure of progress.

Agile Principle 7 - Working Software

Agile Principle 7 - Working Software                                                                                       Photo by Markus Spiske on Unsplash

This principle focuses on “working software”. The Agile development team must deliver high-quality work at the end of each iteration that can be released on-demand to end-users or customers of the product. Working software is the primary success measure. Other metrics such as productivity, committed vs actual work, and burndown charts are secondary.

 

Principle 8: Agile processes promote sustainable development. The sponsors, developers, and users should be able to maintain a constant pace indefinitely.

Agile Principle 8 - Constant Pace

Agile Principle 8 - Constant Pace                                                                                           Photo by Boris Stefanik on Unsplash

The phrase “sustainable development” means that work is developed at a constant pace that can be sustained indefinitely without overburdening a development team.

“It does not matter how slowly you go as long as you do not stop.”  – Confucius

 

Principle 9: Continuous attention to technical excellence and good design enhances agility.

Agile Principle 9 - Technical Excellence

Agile Principle 9 - Technical Excellence                                                                     Photo by Kelly Sikkema on Unsplash

The principle states that agile leaders, developers, and the product team must continuously seek technical excellence and emergent design to enhance agility.

“In an agile project, technical excellence is measured by both capacity to deliver customer value today and create an adaptable product for tomorrow.” - Jim Highsmith

 

Principle 10: Simplicity--the art of maximizing the amount of work not done--is essential.

Agile Principle 10 - Simplicity

Agile Principle 10 - Simplicity                                                                                                Photo by rawpixel on Unsplash

The developers, product sponsors, and the agile leaders must identify things that do not add value or in other words, must simplify things by maximizing the amount of work not done. 

“A designer knows he has achieved perfection not when there is nothing left to add, but when there is, nothing left to take away.” - Antoine de Saint-Exupery

 

Principle 11: The best architectures, requirements, and designs emerge from self-organizing teams.

Agile Principle 11 - Self-Organizing Teams

Agile Principle 11 - Self-Organizing Teams                                                                                Photo by rawpixel on Unsplash

This principle is all about self-organizing teams. The product architecture, design, and features emerge from mature self-organizing teams who can freely take decisions and remove temporary blockers on their own. If developers are free to make decisions, they tend to be more accountable, innovative, and collaborative. Such an environment is best suited for emergent design and iterative development. 

“A self-organizing team has authority over its work and the process it uses.” - Mike Cohn

 

Principle 12: At regular intervals, the team reflects on how to become more effective, then tunes and adjusts its behavior accordingly.

Agile Principle 12 - Inspect and Adapt

Agile Principle 12 - Inspect and Adapt                                                                                       Photo by Devin Avery on Unsplash

This principle focuses on inspect and adapt. The phrase “at regular intervals” signifies the importance of setting up a regular cadence to inspect and improve. Agile frameworks recommend regular practices such as product demo and retrospectives to continuously improve the process in an iterative way.

“Continuous improvement is better than delayed perfection.” -  Mark Twain

 

Apply these 12 Agile Principles to be agile. Hope this article provided value to you. Please post your valuable feedback in the comments section. Thank you!

To learn more about the Agile Scrum Framework, read my bestselling book, The Basics Of SCRUM. If you like to understand the Lean Kanban method, check out my other book, The Basics Of Kanban.

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7 Traits of Superstars @ Work

7 Traits of Superstars @ Work

Do you have someone in your team who seems to be a superstar? Someone who gets a lot done in much less time? Someone who is always looking for challenges? Such highly productive people are an asset to any organization. Over the past few years, I have been observing the common traits, habits, and characteristics of such people around me.

 

The 7 traits that are most common in these superstars are listed below:

Focusing on ONE thing:

A super-productive person always seems to focus on the ONE thing at a time. As rightly written by Gary Keller, "Extraordinary results happen only when you give the best you have to become the best you can be at your most important work."

Multitasking is a myth. Research suggests that productivity can be reduced by 40% by the mental blocks created when people switch tasks. Super-stars focus their energies on the most important thing. They also tend to minimize the number of different things to work on at a given time.

Setting High Goals

Superstars set stretch goals for them and are always keen to challenge themselves. They aim to achieve the highest possible reward and recognition in their organization. They think BIG and are often self-motivators.

Building expertise

A super-productive person continuously learns new skills and builds his or her expertise. He appreciates the need for continuous learning and believes in the concept, 'What got you here, Won’t get you there’.

Collaborating with others

The star performers know the power of networking within and outside the organization. They tend to collaborate with like-minded people and share their knowledge freely with them. They empower others around them and help them to be more productive and successful in their careers.

Having Self-Discipline

Superstars are highly disciplined in life. They tend to resist temptations, adhere to the guidelines, and follow the goals that they set for themselves. With high self-discipline, they consistently drive great results.

Being Positive

Superstars have a positive mindset for work and for life in general. They like to read new books, attend inspirational seminars, volunteer their time to local charities, etc. They surround themselves with positive like-minded people.

Innovate

Star performers tend to be more creative than others around them. They look for opportunities to pioneer innovations in business processes and technical practices. They thrive better in a team that fosters a culture of innovation in an open and transparent environment. 


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Kanban Boards – Practical Examples

Kanban Boards - Practical Examples

Applying Kanban

What Is a Kanban Board?

A Kanban board is a visual tool for enabling Kanban to manage work for any business. The board helps the team to track each of their work items, minimize idle time, improve predictability, increase quality, and reduce time-to-market.

 

Sample Kanban Boards

Let's dive-in into a few practical examples when teams manage their work via Kanban:

 

Consider a scenario that a DevOps team receives several requests each day to automate build process in Jenkins, resolve test environment issues, onboard new applications onto the hybrid cloud, and so on. Here’s a sample Kanban board for such a scenario.

DevOps Kanban

 

Consider a scenario that an operations team receives several calls during the day from its customers and works together to analyze reported issues, provide real-time guidance, and execute fixes to a customer-facing application. Here’s a sample Kanban board for such a scenario.

 

Consider a scenario that a software development team receives new requests on a regular basis to build new capabilities and enhance existing application features. This team targets to deliver a quality code and invests time in peer code reviews and application testing. Here’s a sample Kanban board for such a scenario.

 

Consider a scenario that an organization’s legal team receives requests on a regular basis from different portfolios in the organization to review content on their sites, campaigns, offers, etc. from a legal point of view. Here’s a sample Kanban board for such a scenario.

 

Consider a scenario that a platform team receives multiple requests from different application teams every day to onboard their applications onto the new platform. Here’s a sample Kanban board for such a team.

 

Consider a scenario that you are buying a new home. In order to track the various tasks and reduce distractions, you create a personal Kanban Board with a WIP limit of 2 home viewings. Here’s a sample Kanban board for such a scenario. 

 

Consider a scenario that you need to sort your house over the weekend. You decide to organize your work and reduce task-switching by creating a personal Kanban board. Here’s a sample Kanban board for such a scenario. 

 

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What is a Sprint Burndown Chart?

What is a Sprint Burndown Chart?

The Sprint Burndown or the Iteration Burndown chart is a powerful tool to communicate daily progress to the stakeholders. It tracks the completion of work for a given sprint or an iteration. The horizontal axis represents the days within a Sprint. The vertical axis represents the hours remaining to complete the committed work. As Mike Cohn rightly stated, the purpose of a sprint burndown chart is to show the total amount of work remaining.

The below table shows the number of hours remaining at the end of each day within a Sprint to create a sample Sprint burndown chart. The ideal remaining hours are calculated by assuming a uniform rate of task completion each day.

 

Sprint Burndown Chart Table

The Scrum Master creates a Sprint Burndown chart using such data. The below diagram depicts a sample Sprint Burndown chart with ‘Date’ represented on the horizontal axis and ‘Remaining Effort (Hours)’ represented on the vertical axis.

Sample Sprint Burndown Chart

Learn all about Agile Scrum with my book, The Basics Of SCRUM.

 

 

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5 Habits that Successful Leaders Have

5 Habits that Successful Leaders Have

The 5 significant habits of successful leaders are listed below:

  • Having a Positive Mindset

Great leaders have a positive mindset and they radiate positive energy to others. They strongly believe that they are they are confident, successful, and loved. They read inspirational books, listen to motivational speakers, attend personal development workshops, and surround themselves with positive like-minded people. Leaders hire right people on their teams, who not only have the right skills but also possess a positive mindset. Such positive minded people are self-motivated to perform at their best.

Check out my inspirational book, Think Positive, Speak Positive, Act Positive to embrace positivity and change your life.

  • Communicating Effectively

Effective communication is vital to the success of an organization. In 1938, Chester Barnard, the author of pioneering work in management theory and organizational studies, concluded that effective communication is the most important responsibility of leaders. Great leaders listen effectively and encourage their team members to provide feedback. They keep an open mind, encourage collaboration, and promote consensus.

  •  Empowering Others

Great leaders with a positive mindset empower the team. They target to create more leaders than followers.

The best-known entrepreneurs of the personal computer revolution, Bill Gates stated, “As we look ahead into the next century, leaders will be those who empower others.”

Great leaders inspire their team, appreciate their work, help their team members to grow their visibility, connect them with right opportunities, and encourage them to fulfill their dreams. One of the richest American and successful industrialist, Andrew Carnegie, once said, “No man will make a great leader who wants to do it all himself, or to get all the credit for doing it.”

  • Continuous Learning

Great leaders always look forward to read inspirational books, listen to motivational speakers, read the autobiographies of other great leaders, and learn from successful self-development coaches. They often listen to audiobooks while driving to work. Leaders set aside some percentage of their earnings to invest in their learning.

John F. Kennedy once stated, “Leadership and learning are indispensable to each other.”

  • Networking

Great leaders spend their time and energy to build strong relationships with others. They like to connect with like-minded people. They attend seminars, workshops, meetings, conferences, and any other public events not only to build their expertise but to meet new people who share their passion and purpose.

There’s a famous quote, Birds of the same feather flock together.”

 

Read about High Ambition and Purpose Driven Leadership, Goal Setting, and Successful Habits in my book, Think Big.

 

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The Power of Positive Thoughts

The Power of Positive Thoughts

You might have noticed around you that there are some people who are a pleasure to be with. They have a magnetic personality. They attract people and share their positive vibrations with others. Such people find it very easy to strike a conversation with anyone. They are usually your ‘go-to’ persons at your work or elsewhere. On the other hand, there are other people who seem worried and depressed. They like to stay with themselves. They usually find it difficult to start a conversation and feel comfortable when they are alone. The difference lies in the energy that they possess and radiate. Thoughts play an important part in creating this energy. Every moment, one is receiving and radiating thoughts. Thoughts define our character and influence our destiny.

Positive thoughts are formed if you have self-confidence. If you think you are strong, confident, accepted, successful, and loved, you will radiate positive energy to others. On the contrary, if you think that you are weak, unaccepted, defeated, unsuccessful and unloved, you will possess negative thoughts and radiate negative energy.

Swami Vivekananda once said, “All power is within you. Do not believe that you are weak. You can do anything and everything.”

The human mind is always full of thoughts. It is very difficult to retain the positive thoughts in the mind. Negative thoughts will try to enter your mind all the time, but the key is to replace those thoughts with positive ones. If you start to think that you are weak, painful or tired, immediately replace those thoughts with those of strength and recovery. If you think you have failed, replace your negative thoughts with positive memories; when you brought a smile to others, when you wiped off the tears of your loved ones, or when you made them proud. Fill your mind with thoughts that make you happy. Remember the moments when somebody thanked you for your generosity, when you received an honest appreciation for your hard work, or when your colleagues admired your skills. Realize the power of positive thoughts. With positive thoughts, you can attract the positive energy towards you.

Do not doubt your abilities. Don’t forget that you are the creation of the almighty God and have a unique purpose in life. You are a masterpiece. You have been carefully made by the creator of this universe. You can achieve whatever you want.

Nick Vujicic is an Australian Christian man who is born with no arms and no legs. It was very easy for him to think negative. Imagine how helpless he would have felt in his childhood. He must have received countless comments about his inadequacy. But, instead of thinking negative, he chose to stay positive. Despite his disabilities, he didn’t find reasons to give up. He not only wrote seven successful books but is also a motivational speaker across the world. One of Nick’s quotes is, “God won’t allow anything to happen in your life, if it’s not for your good.”

Albert Einstein, one of the most brilliant scientist in the world, was expelled from school. One of his teachers called him ‘a lazy dog’. After being expelled, he was very disappointed in himself. Even then, he refused to live his life under the shadows of poor self-esteem. He went on to become a professor at the University of Zurich, introduced his theory of relativity, and won the Noble Prize for Physics. One of his quotes is, “Imagination is more important than knowledge.”

Zig Ziglar was raised in a little house in the outskirts of Alabama. When he was five years old, both his dad and his younger sister died. In his childhood, he used to milk the cows, sell vegetables on the street, and work in the grocery store. He was underweight and had poor self-esteem. His dream was to own a large house with an acre of land, and a big garden. He attended the University of South Carolina, married at the age of seventeen, dropped out of college, and worked as a cookware salesman for WearEver Aluminum Company. He feared rejection and did not sell much. During one of his sales meeting, Mr. P. C. Merrell, the divisional supervisor of the company, encouraged him to believe in himself and trust his potential. He gave him advice on how to succeed. This was the turning point in Zig’s life. As soon as his self-esteem improved, he became one of the best salesmen and got promoted to the divisional supervisor position. Later, he became a bestselling author and a motivational speaker. His first book ‘See you at the Top’ was published in 1975. He wrote several books, including his autobiography, and even received the prestigious Cavett award by the National Speakers Association. Such was the result of an improved self-esteem and positive thinking.

If you like this blog, you may be interested to read my book, Harness The Power Within.

 

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8 Most Popular Connected Home Devices

8 Most Popular Connected Home Devices

What are the some of the popular connected home devices?

 

The most popular connected home devices are listed below for your reference:

  • CURB Home Energy Monitoring System: This is the most powerful smart system for visualizing and controlling the real-time energy consumption in your home. It integrates with Samsung’s SmartThings platform to enable direct control of the system via smartphones on the go.

 

  • Ecobee 3 Smart Thermostat: This is a very smart thermostat that delivers the right temperature in the rooms that are occupied based on home's unique energy profile, the weather outside, and many other factors. It works seamlessly with Amazon Alexa on voice commands and even supports Apple HomeKit.

 

  • Amazon Echo: This is a smart hands-free speaker that you can control with your voice. It can connect with Amazon Alexa to play music, make calls, provide information, set alarms and reminders, send and receive messages, and more.

 

  • Amazon Cloud Cam: A smart indoor security camera that works with Alexa and provides 1080p Full HD view to watch the last 24 hours of motion alert video clips for free. Check out the complete specifications on the Amazon product page to understand how this smart device is contributing to home security.

 

  • Philips Hue Smart Light Bulbs: Compatible with Amazon Alexa, Apple Homekit, and Google Assistant, this wireless lighting system can automate your lighting experience such that you can control or schedule your light settings from your smart phone. Detailed product details are available on Amazon product page for your reference.

 

  • August Smart Lock: August Smart Lock is a smart keyless door lock that works with Amazon Alexa and Apple’s HomeKit. With this lock system, you can control and monitor your door from anywhere. It attaches easily to your existing deadbolt so you can use your existing keys anytime. This is yet another smart product that is available to enhance your home security.

 

  • SkyBell HD Bronze WiFi Video Doorbell: Compatible with Alexa, this WiFi video door bell will enable you to monitor your front door and see, hear, and speak with your visitor via your smart phone. You may refer to the full specifications on the Amazon product page for reference.

 

  • Belkin WeMo Mini Wi-Fi Smart Plug: With this Wi-Fi enabled smart plug, you can control your lights and appliances from your phone and your voice through Amazon Alexa or Google Home. This sleek plug also works with Nest.

 

Learn more on connected homes and other emerging technologies with my book, Emerging Technology Trends.

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15 differences between Waterfall and Agile Scrum

15 differences between traditional Waterfall and Agile Scrum approach

Here's a quick comparison of the plan-driven Waterfall methodology and Agile Scrum approach:

 

Core Waterfall Features:

  • Encourages conformance to processes and tools
  • Needs comprehensive documentation
  • Restricts new ideas
  • Promotes a process-centric environment
  • Depends on contract negotiation
  • Conforms to a plan
  • Requires continuous effort to motivate the team members
  • Require a huge rework to accommodate late changes
  • Results in a high cost of change
  • Encourages a detailed project plan
  • Leaves a large possibility of a mismatch between requirements and the final product
  • Is likely to have unhappy customers
  • Supports late customer feedback
  • Requires upfront decisions
  • Does not encourage regular interaction with business sponsors

Core Scrum Features:

  • Encourages people interactions
  • Promotes working software over comprehensive documentation
  • Encourages experimentation and new ideas
  • Promotes a people-centric environment
  • Encourages customer collaboration
  • Embraces change
  • Creates high performing, self-organizing, and motivated teams
  • Adapts late changes with minimal rework
  • Has a low cost of change
  • Is based on just-in-time planning principles
  • Reduces mismatch between initial business requirements and the final product
  • Is likely to produce delighted customers
  • Encourages fast and frequent customer feedback
  • Decisions wait till the last responsible moment (LRM)
  • Promotes high collaboration with the Product Owner

Learn Agile Scrum with my complete handbook, The Basics of SCRUM.

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Bitcoins

Bitcoins

Emerging Technology Trends

What is Bitcoin?

Bitcoin is a virtual currency created in 2009 by an unknown person or group of people with alias Satoshi Nakamoto. The main difference between real money and virtual currency is that virtual currency transactions don’t have any transaction fees. Moreover, they are not subject to bank regulations.

How can I purchase Bitcoins?

A user must install a virtual wallet onto a personal computer or a mobile device to purchase Bitcoins. The wallet keeps track of all Bitcoin transactions for the user. The user then deposits the real money to an account that allows the user to buy or sell Bitcoins. The transactions are like trading stocks through an exchange such as Bitstamp or MtGox. Bitcoins can also be purchased from third parties who deposit Bitcoins directly into the virtual wallet.

Where are my Bitcoins?

Bitcoins are stored in a virtual bank account or a digital wallet, which either exists in the cloud or on user’s computer. Unlike bank accounts, Bitcoin digital wallets are not insured by the FDIC.

What is the identity of a Bitcoin owner?

Bitcoin owners are identified by a string of characters such as a digital address. This digital address is also known as Bitcoin address.

Is your identity linked to your Bitcoin address?

Yes, your identity can be associated with your Bitcoin address. If you post your Bitcoin address and your name online, then your name gets associated with your Bitcoin address on the internet. If you create any content online, for example, post comment on an online forum, create a new blog etc. and provide your Bitcoin address, your personal details get tied to your Bitcoin address. Moreover, if you trade Bitcoins on an exchange or transact with Bitcoin, your personal details that you provide to the exchange or merchants will be associated with your Bitcoin address.

What are the risks from Bitcoin Transactions?

Since Bitcoin transactions don’t record buyer’s and seller’s name or physical location, these transactions can be used to buy or sell illegal products or services anonymously. Law enforcement agencies don’t like the anonymity with Bitcoins.

 

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