Please choose from the following free downloadable files developed by Three Beacons focused on agile methods and related topics.

Click on the text links below to begin the download process.

  • Distributed Agile Best Practices
    This is a list of “best practices” for Agile when using distributed teams, organized by People, Process, and Product. The intent is to help you achieve high-levels of Agility when using remote teams.

  • Architecture in Agile
    How does software architecture work in an Agile team? We still build it all up front – right?

    This presentation covers the concept of “emergent architecture”, along with the roles and responsibilities of a new player on the Agile team – the Agile Architect. Traditional architecture is compared and contrasted to Agile architecture. A case study is used to show a real-world example of architecture that emerges as the coding commences. The presentation concludes with a view of a fully integrated Agile Architecture approach.

  • Agile Methods Beyond Scrum!
    This list covers the practices of the major Agile Methods other than Scrum, such as Extreme Programming, Lean, Kanban, FDD, DSDM, ASD, and Crystal. This list can be used as a guide to allow the Scrum team to consider augmenting their existing software development methodology with additional lightweight techniques from the world of Agile beyond Scrum.

  • Extreme Programming Checklist
    Extreme Programming is an excellent way to increase your development team’s capability to develop high-quality software. This list covers the values, principles, primary practices, and corollary practices of Extreme Programming. This list can be used as a guide to allow the Agile team to self-check their current development ecosystem against the XP guidelines.

  • Product Owner Responsibilities
    The Product Owner role is the most challenging role in Scrum. This list is intended to be a comprehensive view into the myriad of Product Owner responsibilities, organized into categories such as leading the project, imparting vision, interfacing with the customer, managing requirements, managing the product backlog, release management, and participation in Scrum meetings.

  • Seminar - Performance Evaluation for Agile Team Members
    One of the most controversial topics in Agile is how to measure performance. Since Agile is all about the “team”, the corporate HR performance evaluation system should be restructured around team performance. The continued use of traditional performance evaluations focused solely on individual performance creates a controversial “chasm” of disconnect for Agile team members. This seminar discusses 6 tangible techniques for performance evaluation of Agile teams and team members. Included in these techniques is the “annual agile performance review”. These techniques can be easily integrated into your existing environment in order to emphasize the expected behaviors of an Agile team based on the fundamental Agile principles.

  • Product Owner Checklist
    The Product Owner role is newly defined in Scrum and is totally different than the classic PM role! It requires a tremendous variety of skills such as leadership, customer relations, motivation, servanthood, and handling the backlog details. This checklist is intended to help you organize the myriad of responsibilities and day-to-day activities required of the Scrum Product Owner.

  • Seminar – User Design Studio
    This agile technique addresses the need to quickly design a preliminary product User Interface. Many agile teams use it to mock up their initial UI in a single day! User Design Studio uses the metaphor of an art studio displaying new art work. People view the art and give feedback – both positive and constructive. Agile teams can use this technique to generate new ideas for the UI and build consensus around the “wisdom of the crowd”.

  • Seminar – ScrumBut
    Scrum is a flexible product development framework with several fundamental tenets. ScrumBut is anything that goes against a fundamental tenet of Scrum. Most companies have some level of ScrumBut as they evolve their development practices for more agility and efficiency. This presentation reviews the fundamental tenets of Scrum and introduces the audience to the concept of ScrumBut.

  • Seminar – High Quality User Stories
    User Stories are a well known agile technique for discovering and eliciting requirements. But, just being “agile” does not necessarily guarantee high quality. This presentation discusses what constitutes a good user story and how to identify those that need improvement. Guidelines, practices, and hints are discussed to help the team member improve the quality of the project user stories.

  • Seminar – Software Engineering Best Practices
    This seminar covers 15 “best practices” for software engineering within the broad spectrum of the entire software lifecycle. While there is no single exhaustive list available, it is always beneficial to consider a general consensus list of the best practices used in software development today. Following these engineering practices can help you develop higher quality software.

  • Managing Technical Debt With Agile
    Technical debt is the consequence of choosing a software design or construction approach that is expedient but increases complexity and future costs. It can impede the team's ability to add new features, quickly fix bugs, and evolve the software product. From a business perspective, technical debt can keep a company from remaining competitive in today's dynamic marketplace. This paper explores 3 main topics: (1) Types of technical debt, (2) How to manage existing technical debt using Agile, and (3) How to use Agile to develop new software while avoiding technical debt.

  • Agile Methods Beyond Scrum - Practices
    Scrum is an excellent delivery vehicle, but it does not say a lot about daily software engineering practices. When considering how to develop high-quality software, it is best to augment Scrum with proven techniques and practices from the other agile methods. This single page summarizes the practices of agile methods such as Extreme Programming, Lean, Kanban, FDD, DSDM, ASD, and Crystal.

  • Scrum Tenets Checklist
    When discussing ScrumBut, it is always a good idea to understand the fundamental tenets of Scrum. Otherwise, identifying ScrumBut in your organization can be haphazard. This checklist summarizes the fundamental tenets of Scrum on a single page. You can use it as a reference summary for understanding Scrum, or as a cross-check list for help in identifying ScrumBut within your organization.

  • High Quality User Story Checklist
    User Stories in Agile represent requirements. There is a right way and a wrong way to develop User Stories. This 1-page description includes a checklist of popular practices providing guidance when developing User Stories. By following the checklist, anyone involved in User Stories can help insure that they are of very high quality.

  • ScrumMaster Checklist
    The ScrumMaster is one of - if not the most - challenging roles in agile software development. It requires a tremendous variety of skills including technical, social, political, organizational, and visionary leadership. This checklist is intended to help you organize the myriad of responsibilities and day-to-day activities required of the ScrumMaster.

  • Webinar: Agile for Mobile App Development
    Smartphones are quickly becoming the compute platform of choice. With all the rich capabilities available in mobile platforms like iPhone and Android, new and innovative software applications are being developed every day. In addition, various existing enterprise applications are making available mobile client interfaces. While common principles of Agile development are fully applicable to mobile application development, there are some additional techniques which are particularly more powerful for teams doing mobile application development. In this Webinar, we discuss three Agile techniques specific to developing mobile application software: (1) Hyper-Prototyping has similar goals as rapid prototyping, but is characterized with much faster development cycles, shorter feedback loops, and heavy collaboration. Hyper-Prototyping can result in numerous development cycles every day. In effect, it is rapid prototyping on steroids. (2) Community Code Scrounging is the discovery and use of source code snippets and examples available on the internet from the software community at large. In effect, it becomes a new agile development paradigm but not without a few warnings! (3) User Design Studio is a new agile technique which addresses the challenge of quickly designing a product user interface (UI) under the constraints of compressed schedules and short iterations. Imagine collaboratively developing the best UI design possible in a single day!

  • Webinar: Emerging Agile Techniques
    In this Webinar, we discuss three new emerging agile techniques: User Design Studio, Pomodoro, and Done-Done Ceremony. (1) User Design Studio is a new agile technique which addresses the challenge of quickly designing a product user interface (UI) under the constraints of compressed schedules and short iterations. Imagine collaboratively developing the best UI design possible in a single day! (2) Effective software development requires long, thoughtful periods of effort. The Pomodoro Technique is gaining fast traction as an excellent and lightweight personal time management technique for software developers. It includes a built-in strategy for task switching and managing interruptions. In effect, it is a microcosm of all good things from agile! (3) "Done-done" means completing a user story or task while faithfully adhering to your definition of done. Done-done is a significant accomplishment and deserves to be celebrated. This new agile technique describes how to hold an informal done-done ceremony and its many intangible benefits.

  • Webinar: QA Role in Agile Teams
    The Quality Assurance role is fundamentally different in an Agile team. This webinar presentation compares and contrasts the traditional QA role in a waterfall organization with the new emerging QA role in an Agile team. The Agile QA team member responsibiltiies are discussed in detail, such as participation in release planning, iteration planning, developing user stories, writing acceptance test cases, recommending items for the product backlog, adding tasks to the iteration backlog, developing a strong "definition of done", functional slice testing, test case automation, release testing, regression testing, continuous feedback, and team-based approach to quality. The presentation ends with a discussion of some common mistakes and how to avoid them.

  • Dual-shore Agile Outsourcing - Challenges and Best Practices
    As dual-shore (offshore) outsourcing of software development projects matures, companies are attempting to combine Agile Methods with offshoring to achieve even greater business value. However, team distribution is somewhat contradictory to the use of Agile Methods and presents some unique challenges. This paper describes these challenges in terms of people, information sharing, and project organization. To provide solutions for the challenges, a set of comprehensive "best practices" are described and organized in areas such as preparing for, executing, and ending the project. Finally, the emerging business case for Dual-shore Agile is presented.

  • Webinar: Distributed/Dual-Shore Agile Software Development - Is It Effective?
    The business case for Dual-Shore development is solid. The business case for Agile Methods is solid. But, what happens when you combine these two approaches? What are the challenges and best practices of Dual-Shore Agile? In addition to presenting the business case, this webinar presentation details the "best practices" for preparing, executing, and ending a Dual-Shore Agile project.

  • Mobile Device Platforms
    This is a presentation I gave recently to Samsung. It covers the major mobile device platforms currently in the market, including Apple iPhone, Google Android, Windows Mobile, RIM Blackberry, LiMo, Moblin, Symbian, and others. It concludes with a prediction on who will survive and who will not.

  • The Business Case for Agile
    Agile Methods are increasing in popularity worldwide as a better way to build software. We now have empirical evidence showing how Agile Methods affect business factors in a positive way. This paper covers five individual case studies and the recent collective findings of QSM Associates evaluating Agile development projects against plan-based / waterfall counterparts.

  • The Three Beacons of Software Project Success
    Your software development team's ability to build high-quality working software rapidly will impact your business bottom line from a time-to-market and customer perception perspective. This paper proposes three main guiding lights (beacons) of software development: agile methods, rigorous quality plans, and trust. Shifting over or providing more attention to these areas will improve your team's ability to deliver.