Scaling Agile Requirements: User Stories to Agile Portfolio Management

In Dean Leffingwell’s recent webinar on scaling Lean|Agile development, he introduced the Scaled Agile Framework (SAFe) <click here for Dean’s recording>. SAFe is a public-facing set of practices which have been used to successfully scale Lean|Agile development to hundreds — and even thousands — of practitioners at companies like BMC Corporation and John Deere.

You will gain these valuable insights as we cover the following topics…

  • What are best practices for writing team-based User Stories and non-functional Agile requirements?
  • How do these scale to the program and portfolio levels?
  • How can you work more strategically with upper management to achieve the highest business value for your company and customers?

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Scaling Lean-Agile Development

Meet the Scaled Agile Framework™

by Dean Leffingwell

Are you tired of the myth that Scrum, XP and Kanban do not scale to the needs of the larger software enterprise? Are you tired of the ideologies that prevent your enterprise from even trying to apply them? If the answer to either of the above is yes, this presentation is for you.

In this presentation, Dean Leffingwell will finally dispel these myths and ideologies by describing the Scaled Agile Framework™, a public-facing set of practices which have been used to successfully scale Lean|Agile development to hundreds—and even thousands—of practitioners at companies like BMC Corporation, John Deere and others.

He’ll describe five key scaling mechanisms:
•    SCALING VALUE: Not everything is a User Story
•    SCALING DESIGN: Complex systems require intentional architecture.
•    SCALING TEAM AND TIMEBOX: Aligning teams to a common mission with the Agile Release Train
•    SCALING PORTFOLIO MANAGEMENT: Addressing legacy mindsets
•    SCALING LEADERSHIP: Your enterprise can be no leaner than your executives thinking.

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An Exercise in Flow, Value and Teamwork: The Dice Game

Games are a great way to learn…especially as a team.  Here is one simple but powerful exercise that can be used to demonstrate several aspects of flow, value and teamwork: The Dice Game, by Lithespeed.

You can have several teams – each representing a different method of delivery:  Watherfall, Continuous Flow/Kanban, Scrum.   And compare results afterwards.

Key Learning Points:

  • Value is delivered more rapidly in small batches
  • Steady delivery of features mitigates the risk of non-delivery
  • Small batches reduce the impact of customer changes
  • Teamwork is more prevalent when activities are shared and there is frequent interaction
  • New skills can be built over time by frequent interaction between those performing neighboring activities, leading to more polyskilled team members and hence more fruitful collaboration
  • Work in small batches is less complex
  • Optimal release strategies can maximize the flow of value, hence the necessity of the Product Owner role

>> Click here for Full Game Instructions



Scaling Agile Across the Enterprise

Agile software development has been gaining momentum and mind share in software development circles for well over a decade. Its emphasis on incrementally delivering business value by teams that are both cross-functional and self-organized has resulted in getting innovative products to market faster. However, most large enterprises have failed to embrace the Agile movement even though they have earnestly tried by sending scores of their people through Certified Scrum Master and similar Agile training programs. What has been lacking is an Agile framework that addresses the needs beyond the Team.  In order to succeed, the Program and Portfolio levels of an organization must be fully engaged in building an Agile Enterprise.

This webinar will discuss “proven” advances in enterprise scale Agility and present a framework that has been proven to scale to meet the needs of large product development organizations such as BMC,, Google, John Deere and Nokia.


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NEW – The Agilista PM Facebook Page

The Agilista PM is now on Facebook !!!

Our mission is to enable organizations and project teams to be as Lean-Agile as possible — by helping them determine HOW, WHEN and WHERE to utilize Lean-Agile practices along side their Traditional Waterfall methods to “Deliver Results Quickly”

Go to The Agilista PM Facebook Page



Discounted Lean-Agile PM and Kanban Classes (San Jose & Scottsdale)

Lean-Agile project management course

    San Jose CA – Feb 28-29
    Scottsdale AZ – Mar 6-7

Kanban accreditation course

    San Jose CA – Mar 1-2
    Scottsdale AZ – Mar 8-9
Instructor:    Doctor Masa K Maeda. Charter Member of the Lean-Kanban University and Kanban Trainer-coach
$200 discount to The Agilista PM readers (Code = apmsaver1)


FREE eBOOK – Kanban and Scrum: Making the most of Both

This FREE eBOOK DOWNLOAD by Henrik Kniberg and Mattias Skarin is excellent !   It clears up the fog, so you can figure out how Kanban and Scrum might be useful in your own environment. Thanks to InfoQ for posting it.

There isn’t a single “best” way to do things; you have to think for yourself and figure it out – based on your situation !


  • the difference between Scrum and Kanban.
  • their strengths and limitations,
  • when to use each
  • how and when to improve upon Scrum, or any other tool you may happen to be using.
  • how to apply them in real life situations
  • and more….

Mary Poppendieck writes:

Henrik Kniberg is one of those rare people who can extract the essence of a complicated situation, sort out the core ideas from the incidental distractions, and provide a crystal clear explanation that is incredibly easy to understand.  He makes it clear that these are just tools, and what you really want to do is have a full toolkit, understand the strengths and limitations of each tool and how to use them all. The important thing is not the tool you start with, but the way you constantly improve your use of that tool and expand your toolset over time.

David Anderson, the founder of Kanban, writes,

Kanban is proving useful to teams doing Agile software development but equally it is gaining traction with teams taking a more traditional approach. Kanban is being introduced as part of a Lean initiative to morph the culture of organizations and encourage continuous improvement.

Click here to LISTEN to Webinar Recording


Agile / Lean / Waterfall in the same Project – Is that possible?

I was asked recently:

“Do you believe Agile and Lean methods can be used along side traditional waterfall in the same project ?”

I quickly answered,

“YES I do – and I’ve done it with amazing results”

Agile methodology evangelists often find it difficult to obtain management support.  

They are often seen as trying to implement dramatic changes.  Or trying to fix something that is not broken.   Agile requires that developers, managers and users alike must change the way they work and think – when I’ve found that people resist change – especially change that they don’t understand.

XP practices is an example of this:  where pair programming, test-first design, continuous integration, and an on-site customer can seem like almost impossible changes to implement.

So is there another way to become Agile?

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Glossary of Agile Terms

I found an excellent glossary of Words and Terms common to Agile that is very helpful.  Thanks goes out to DAVISBASE for providing this to ASPE.


.Terms like:

  • Burn Down Chart
  • Burn Up Chart
  • Velocity
  • Story Points
  • Cadence
  • Persona
  • and much more….

Click here to VIEW Glossary


Lean/Agile project controls for Project Managers

Every project manager can successfully integrate agile in a waterfall environment to improve project predictability, cost effectiveness and ultimately project and professional success.


Agile was once considered a fad
by project management professionals.

In the 10 years since the agile manifesto was written agile has matured; it has moved from being a core methodology and from small software companies to the point where it is used, to some extent, in a majority of enterprise organizations today. Agile isn’t a silver bullet for every context though and agile methods need to adapt to the changing contexts of the enterprise.

This webinar will examine how project managers can successfully apply Agile to their projects in an enterprise context.


  • Why we struggle Agile in an Enterprise
  • Mapping project controls to agile project metrics for improved project control and reporting than on plan driven projects: Scope, Schedule and Budget.
  • Three approaches to creating a Gantt chart for an agile project
  • How to handle external dependencies
  • Nine principles for bringing a little bit of agile into any project

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