Values and Beliefs

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Earlier this week, Bob Marshall (@flowchainsensei) retweeted an article by Dan McCarthy on The Meaning of Respect, where he discussed respect as a value. I then saw a blog post from Seth Godin entitled "Seven Questions for Leaders" where he asks if you would walk away from a client or employee whose values don't match yours. This weekend, at Agile and Beyond, I got into a conversation with several others about company values and walking away from clients when there is a mis-match. At LeanDog, we proudly display our company values and we often refer to the XP values of Simplicity, Communication, Feedback, Respect, and Courage.

I've long held the perspective that shared values is an insufficient basis for determining if two parties are compatible. In fact, it can be downright misleading.

Our beliefs are a better test, but often more difficult to identify.

Stabilizing Velocity

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Have you ever been on a team where your velocity suffered wild variances? Maybe you ended up using a running average instead of yesterday's weather?
Have you heard phrases like, "Well, our velocity last iteration was 3, but our average is still 22"?

Have you ever heard the phrase, "Dude, we need to get this velocity stable."

Have you worked on teams where they took partial credit for done at the end of the iteration? Where maybe you'd split a card strictly on points and award some apportion to the current iteration and assign the remainder of the card to the next iteration.

Velocity should stabilize

It seems much of what we read tells us that velocity will do two things; stabilize and improve. According to the VersionOne Agile 101, we can expect that velocity will stabilize within three to six months. The Agile Sherpa tells us it usually takes 3-4 iterations for velocity to stabilize at a consistent level. James Shore's "The Art of Agile" tells us to give it three or four iterations to stabilize.

But what if velocity doesn't stabilize?

First, take a deep breath; and then repeat after me: