Creating Transparency with an Agile Project Dashboard

We do a lot of Agile software development work for clients. Small teams. Big teams. .NET. Python. Java. Ruby. Lots of tooling. Minimal tooling. Startups. Large enterprises. One consistent challenge we’ve faced, especially in larger projects with big teams, is making sure everyone involved has accurate context and awareness about the state of the project as a whole. Getting everybody “on the same page” helps people recognize issues, communicate better, and make better tactical and strategic decisions. When people aren’t on the same page, they get surprised — and not in a “hey, surprise, it’s a birthday party for you” kind of way. These surprises cause confusion, stress, more work, and loss of confidence. No fun.

To avoid those unwanted surprises, we need context and transparency into different aspects of a project. And for context and transparency, my “go to” solution is the dashboard.
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Using a New IT Provider: Are You Really Doing It Wrong?

A friend of mine in a professional group we’re in together asked me a question recently. He’s not in the IT field so he has a perspective I really appreciate. He gave voice to what a lot of companies out there might be thinking, “Why does every new IT provider I use tell me our old IT provider did it all wrong?” As someone leading a company that does various kinds of IT assessments, this was an eye-opener for me. Knowing my friend’s perspective, maybe we can be a little more sensitive to it in the future when we’re doing an assessment for a new client. Let me give some reasons why my friend might have this perspective.
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The DevOps Audit Defense Toolkit: Helping IT and Audit Work Better Together

Many organizations want to adopt DevOps practices to get the benefits associated with it: faster time to market, increased stability and quality, and more time to build stuff that’s valuable to the bottom line. But they often get tripped up by audits and compliance checks to make sure the organization is adequately addressing risk. DevOps practices don’t align well with traditional audit practices. So these organizations are often left asking themselves, “How do I position my organization for an audit when I’m using DevOps practices?” Until recently, there hasn’t been a really good answer.

But that’s changing.
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5 Nuggets for Managing Big IT Changes

I’ve gleaned a lot of “nuggets” of wisdom about how I think IT should be done from my professional experiences over the years. These nuggets range over a variety of topics — people, communication, approaches, strategy, tactics. They never have anything to do with a specific technology or technique. Many nuggets have been picked up because I’ve observed things that worked. Many others have been picked up because I’ve observed things that haven’t.

Here are five of the nuggets I’ve found really helpful to managing IT, particularly when you’re doing something meaningful (a.k.a, hard, complex, big, visible, strategic). But first, two quick caveats. One, these nuggets have nuances. They aren’t meant to be applied in every situation or even the same way in different situations. Their usefulness is in provoking questions. Second, common sense applies. I’m not dogmatic with these and I don’t expect anyone else to be, either. If they help you in certain situations, great. If they don’t, then don’t use them. In all cases, use your big, powerful brain.
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