Blog / Agile

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Digital Customer Programme: Show & Tell #12 with Newham Council
January 17, 2017
Here we are - Show & Tell #12 with Digital Team, and the first of 2017. With a room full of refreshed attendees from the festive break, it’s time to see what’s been happening across the lastest sprint of the Digital Customer Programme with New...
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The five day design sprint with Guy’s & St. Thomas’ NHS Foundation ...
January 11, 2017
At Unboxed, we are constantly running various workshops. But that doesn’t mean we know everything. We are always up for trying something a bit different if this will ultimately allow us to serve our customers better, so we never stop reading or ex...
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Bridging the gap between Discovery and Alpha: Show & Tell #11 with ...
December 20, 2016
The first Show & Tell since the completion of the initial Discovery Phase, and the final of 2016, with the Digital Team at Newham Council. With the Digital Customer Programme now entering into the Alpha Phase, it’s a very exciting for the tea...
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Digital Customer Programme Discovery Phase: Show & Tell #10 with Ne...
November 25, 2016
The Digital Team have reached a milestone Show & Tell in their Digital Customer Programme Discovery Phase with Newham Council - Sprint 10. With a buzz across the room, spirits are high as it reaches 11am – the time for the Show & Tell kick...
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Digital Customer Programme Discovery Phase: Show & Tell #7 with New...
November 9, 2016
It’s been two weeks since I attended Show & Tell #5 at Newham Council, so back along I came for the next weekly session to see the progress the Digital Team have made across Sprint Seven of their 10-week Digital Customer Programme Discovery Ph...
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Digital Customer Programme Discovery Phase: Show & Tell #5 with New...
November 2, 2016
Another sprint down, and the next weekly Show & Tell with the Digital Team in our 10-week Digital Customer Programme Discovery Phase with Newham Council. I headed to meet the team on Wednesday morning to see what they have been up to across Sp...
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Digital Customer Programme Discovery Phase: Show & Tell #3 with New...
October 26, 2016
With a couple of sprints under their belts since last there, I went along to Newham Council a few weeks ago to attend the Digital Team’s third Show & Tell. This is the third installment of what’s been happening during the council’s 10-week Dis...
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Digital Customer Programme Discovery Phase: Show & Tell #1 with New...
October 11, 2016
I spent Wednesday morning visiting the Digital Team at Newham Council, to attend the first Show & Tell of their 10-week Digital Customer Programme Discovery Phase. Over the last week, a small Unboxed team have been working alongside the Dig...
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Event: Agile Pilot - How to deliver "stuck" digital products and en...
September 19, 2016
Complex portfolios of digital products can stall in development. It’s a fact of life. The vision gets clouded, deployment slows down, your team becomes demotivated and progress halts. You’ve stopped delivering. Or even worse, you can’t quite seem ...
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Re-addressing the challenges to children’s allergy healthcare with ...
September 14, 2016
I spent Monday afternoon visiting the Health Foundry healthcare startup space to expand my horizons on what steps are being taken within service transformation in the NHS. The Health Foundry is a brand new collaborative workspace for people usi...
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Shaking up early product development, part 2: The Minimum Viable Pr...
May 4, 2016
An MVP is a Minimum Viable Product. This is the smallest possible thing that delivers value and you can learn from. Your MVP can usually be thought of as your initial product; the first thing you try to sell to your customer. But your MVP can help...
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Shaking up early product development, part 1: Using journey mapping...
April 27, 2016
We’re all trying to create a product or service that is valuable to our users. So it’s important to remember that the only people who can really think like our users are our users. Looking at our product or service through the eyes of our us...
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Spanning the rift: Beginning your first agile project in a waterfal...
April 21, 2016
One of the first mistakes you could make is thinking that the transition from waterfall to agile as being simply a process change – a change from one set of processes and practices to another. It’s much more about your culture and behaviour. In t...
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4 reasons why it’s wise to bring your developers along to business ...
April 14, 2016
Traditionally, the waterfall process excludes developers from being involved in “non-development” meetings. This is for a number of reasons. Primarily it was seen as “not a developer’s responsibility”, where business analysts/lead designers/...
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Event: Digitalising Local Government Services
March 18, 2016
With ongoing spending cuts and budgets getting tighter and tighter, it’s becoming more costly for local councils to maintain their services as they currently work. Shifting these services to digital reduces running costs, increases accessibility a...
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Guest post: Learning in Local Government - Part 2
January 18, 2016
Following on from part one in our ‘Learning in Local Government through Discovery’ series, part two is a guest post by Helen Gracie, a Business Improvement Advisor for Buckinghamshire County Council. We’re currently working alongside B...
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Learning in Local Government through Discovery
January 11, 2016
There’s a lot of content available online about doing agile with local councils - talks, conferences, case studies, white papers, etc. A lot of content guiding us to knowing what this should look like. But what does this really look like in practi...
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Event: The £50k Springboard
December 7, 2015
How to use the first £50k of a digital product to build the business case for the next £500k You’ve been given the first initial budget for a new digital product idea (or to overhaul an existing one). That digital product is going to be the one t...
Product Management versus Product Ownership
October 12, 2015

We talk a lot about ownership at Unboxed. We feel it really encapsulates the combination of empowerment and responsibility that makes people effective and happy. So how does this work in a product team with both a Product Owner and a Product Manag...

Agile pon de Beach 2015 - #AgileOTB
September 9, 2015

The conference: Agile On The Beach 2015 The dates: Thursday 2nd & Friday 3rd September The attendees: Claire, Jack, Martyn, Ben and Graeme (+200 others, but we don’t have caricatures for them) 2 days. 50 speakers. 40 sessions. 1 beac...

Planting the seeds for successful KPI trees
August 20, 2015

KPIs (Key Performance Indicators) and KPI trees were at the root of Wednesday’s Masterclass, hosted by Richard Stobart. A blend of senior digital stakeholders, product owners and digital creatives attended this one-off session to explore the answ...

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What is the definition of ‘done’?
August 4, 2015
If you’re breaking your project up into features, then make sure you define what ‘done’ means for a feature. Consider ‘done’ in terms of: Functionally Operationally Being able to be tested automatically Automated deployments Features need t...
Why should you have a zero-defect strategy?
July 28, 2015

Part of the logic of a zero-defect strategy is about psychology: specifically, the psychology of the developer working on code that they know is flawed. The other part of it is just good business practice… We’ve all heard many times that t...

Are you managing the right risks?
July 13, 2015

I was talking to a very good Project Manager the other day. We were talking about the risks that a Project Manager manages in the delivery of software. In a traditional project, the risks managed are often not actually the biggest risks that proj...

Why a UX-er and a Developer trumps System and Business Analysts
July 6, 2015

An empowered Product Owner (who cares passionately about their product) coupled with a UXer (a User Experience designer) and a full-stack developer (who can knock up some prototypes very quickly) trumps a couple of system analysts and business ana...

Webinar: Speed up problem and customer validation
July 2, 2015

Martyn Evans hosted the second in our SpeedAgile webinar series: Speed up problem and customer validation. In this session, Martyn explored how to unlock development by quickly and deeply understand: 1. The real problem that your digital product ...

10 things that make a great Product Owner
July 1, 2015

A good Product Owner is key in success, making a huge difference in terms of drive and enthusiasm. Here (in no particular order) we’ve pulled out 10 attributes believed to make a great Product Owner (with much insight provided by Alan). ...

Webinar: Speed up stakeholder communication and sign off
June 25, 2015

Richard Stobart kicked off our SpeedAgile webinar series, with the first session: ‘Speed up stakeholder communication and sign off’. In this 30-minute webinar, Richard explored: Rapidly engaging and building confidence with your stakeholders Cr...

How does the Product Owner role change everything in software deliv...
June 22, 2015

I was having a conversation with one of our Agile coaches, who has a long history of project management delivery. We were discussing: Who owns the successful delivery of value of the features in a traditional project approach? I think the ans...

Feature-based Benefits
June 15, 2015

Imagine you have several projects, which you’re trying to get a delivery team to deliver. Those projects are really important and there is a lot to be delivered, but they are also competing with each other for scarce resources. Typically, in a tr...

The Sausage Machine
June 4, 2015

We often talk about “the most important thing for a delivery team to do is…” and “what a delivery team manager should focus on is…”. Let’s get clear on who is responsible for what. If you imagine you’re trying to deliver high value, high q...

10 Attributes that make a great product owner
May 29, 2015

I’ve been working for Unboxed Consulting since 2008 on a large number of projects and over the years I have worked with quite a few different Product Owners. Some have been great, others not so good. On a recent project I worked on, I was lucky e...

Roundtable: Leading the transition to Agile in established media co...
May 21, 2015

10 attendees (see who attended) 3 lightning talks 4 discussions Wednesday 20th May saw us pull up a chair to our first media roundtable discussion session. From publishers to TV and from music to education, traditional media companies have cha...

Unstick your digital products
May 12, 2015

Stalled products in your product portfolio, a situation which is ultimately frustrating. So how do you rapidly progress these products through the pipeline, and towards the glowing light at the other end? Following on from our #StuckPipeline even...

Event: Kicking the cobwebs out of your stuck digital product pipeline
March 30, 2015

Four insightful speakers and a fantastic audience – Wednesday 25th March was our ‘Unstick your digital products’ event, in Central London. This energetic three-hour session was attended by heads of industry and explored the techniques to: • Acce...

Webinar: Offshoring Agile: Make it work in practice
March 19, 2015

Carlo Kruger hosted the final webinar in the #StrongerAgile series, titled ‘Offshoring Agile: Make it work in practice’, live from our Cape Town office. Despite the belief that Agile can’t work offshore, this webinar explains how it can flourish w...

Webinar: Why & how to include developers in business & design meeti...
March 6, 2015

Andrew White hosted the third webinar in the #StrongerAgile series, titled ‘Take developers up the foodchain: Why and how to include developers in business and design meetings for better ideation’. The full audio of the session: Topics covere...

Webinar: Spanning the rift - Advice for waterfall organisations run...
March 2, 2015

Steve Lennon hosted the next webinar in the #StrongerAgile series, titled ‘Spanning the rift: Advice for waterfall organisations running Agile projects’. The full audio of the session: Topics covered included: • The role of culture and beha...

Roundtable: Digital Healthcare
February 26, 2015

Wednesday 18th February saw the Digital Healthcare Roundtable Session take place at Unboxed Consulting. The session brought together a handpicked and diverse group of healthcare experts and leaders, with the aim to start a revolution in digita...

Deciding how to deliver your prioritised project portfolio
February 11, 2015

Once you’ve prioritised your project portfolio using the t-shirt sizing matrix, you’ll need to take some strategic decisions to unstick progress… Making decisions about Work In Progress (WIP) The theory says you should limit your work in...

Webinar: 90 days to transform a ‘stuck’ digital product that HAS to...
January 27, 2015

Richard Stobart held the first in a new webinar series, titled ‘90 days to transform a ‘stuck’ digital product that HAS to succeed…’: Topics covered included: • Roadmapping • What not to do and how to untie your hands so you’re doing...

How to prioritise a blocked portfolio of digital products
January 20, 2015

If you’re managing a pipeline of digital products and struggling to get traction on any or all of them, this exercise can help you quickly sift and prioritise what to do next – and engage your stakeholders in this decision making at the same time....

Being lean in the NHS
December 16, 2014

At LeanConf in Manchester last month, there was much talk of how one should apply Lean Startup principles and processes (with passion!), both in startups and in the enterprise, but less evidence of people actually doing it. With this in mind we&r...

Webinar: Getting to Beta
December 5, 2014

Richard Stobart held the final in the current Digital Leaders Webinar series on Wednesday titled ‘Getting to Beta: taking ‘stubborn’ products to beta in 8 weeks’. Topics covered included: Understanding Beta, knowing what you’re tr...

Webinar: Communication Ceremonies
November 24, 2014

Richard Stobart held the second instalment of our current Digital Webinar Series, titled: ‘Communication Ceremonies: why, what and how to communicate to increase the pace at early stage digital product development’. Topics covered include...

Event: What is there to know about outsourcing?
November 18, 2014

At our recent event, we discovered the ‘new rules’ of outsourcing. I opened the floor to our attendees, finding out what they really wanted to know about outsourced agile teams: When does outsourcing work really well? What are your to...

Event: Digital leaders discover the 'new rules' of outsourcing - Ag...
October 27, 2014

October saw our ‘New Rules of Outsourcing’ event take place at Skills Matter in Central London, to answer the question that was on all of our minds: 'What are the new rules of outsourcing?’ Unboxed Friends and Family, as wel...

Tactile agile for Introverts
October 22, 2014

I have been a part of Unboxed Consulting since it was just a twinkle in Richard’s eye. The times that I have been absent are directly related to family matters and there has never been a company that has attracted my attention enough to distract m...

Cognitive Bias, Product Management and you
October 13, 2014

Intro This all started for me sometime back in the late 90s. I was having a conversation with a friend that ran something like this: “I get evolution. I really do, I can see how it has worked by looking at the various species. What I don&rs...

The Outsourcing Dilemma
September 12, 2014

We asked 100 CIOs to give the first words that came into their head when they hear “outsourced development”. The top two? Fail Expensive This is predictable but problematic given that most organisations don’t have the full complement of the s...

People Matter Most!
September 9, 2014

I am not quite sure where it came from, but this is what I think happened….. One day someone in Falmouth was mulling over an SDLC exam question and thought: “I like people. I want other people to like and recognise people for what t...

The Agile LEGO village
August 12, 2014

Last week, a small team of us took part in the Introduction to Agile course, right here at Unboxed Consulting HQ. Alex Bobin, Charlie Egan, Paula Stepinska, Oskar Pearson and myself (Graeme McCubbin) all spent the day taking this internal versi...

Is agile testing worth it?
June 13, 2014

It seems there is a lot of talk about agile testing circulating, but is it really worth it? Agile testing is a mindset. We all know mindsets can be a challenge to change, and this is no different. But what are the benefits of moving to an agile te...

Dever say Dever again
June 3, 2014
How dot voting can reveal the unexpected
January 31, 2014

While facilitating a stakeholder workshop recently, I ran two rounds of grouping and ordering. One I used dot voting, one didn’t. On reflection I was surprised with the results. The question asked during these processes following a pattern of, wh...

Why failure isn’t bad, as long as you learn
December 19, 2013

Failure is sometimes seen as a bad word. When you discuss this with people, you discover it carries baggage, often from an identifiable incident where their failure was criticised by someone of influence. They are right in some ways though that fa...

Bootstrap, skepticism and a git tool
December 6, 2013
The Not As Short As Some and Not Late At All One
November 29, 2013
Dev News for Friday
November 22, 2013
November Newsletter
November 15, 2013
The short and late one
November 11, 2013
Post Halloween Developer Newsletter - 4th October
November 4, 2013
How do you like them links?!
October 25, 2013
The blog post title!
October 18, 2013
The best dev newsletter you will read today
October 11, 2013
Developer Newsletter, 4th October
October 4, 2013
Dev Newsletter: 27th September
September 27, 2013
Developer Newsletter, 20th September
September 20, 2013
Programmers' day newsletter
September 13, 2013
Developer Newsletter, 6th September
September 6, 2013
On the 29th anniversary of Space Shuttle Discovery's maiden flight
August 30, 2013
Belated Newsletter
August 23, 2013
Dev Newsletter, 9th August
August 9, 2013
By George! A newsletter! What-ho!
July 26, 2013
Happy Ashes!
July 19, 2013
Must Read Dev Newsletter
July 12, 2013
Happy Friday!
July 5, 2013
All of the new shiny code
June 28, 2013
All this has happened before, and all this will happen again
June 21, 2013
Something wicked this way comes
June 17, 2013
Pre Summer Dev Newsletter (2 weeks to go)
June 7, 2013
The Week In Which Arrested Development Came Back
May 31, 2013
Agile metrics
May 10, 2013

I have been asked recently about what metrics we would use to measure an organisation’s key delivery metrics. Several PMOs are keen on metrics and measures - it gives them a reason to exist. When we deliver training or try to explain Agile...

Five facilitation techniques for promoting Agile for government
March 12, 2013

Although private software developers have long been fans, Agile in the public sector is only just starting to gain momentum – and it’s proving well worth the effort. Here are five tips for running fun, productive workshops. National government ma...

Five Cardinal Sins of Agile that the public sector can learn from
February 28, 2013

Agile for government can be a very different kettle of fish than Agile in the private sector. It’s an alien context, it’s resistant to change and it’s used to playing by different rules. All the same, Agile offers fantastic opportunities for gover...

Five myths about SMEs and public sector procurement
February 18, 2013

Far from being a bad fit for the public sector, SMEs hold the key to key to innovation and can bring jaw-dropping cost savings. Civil servants have often been wary about working with smaller companies, especially when it comes to high-profile are...

Three common misconceptions about Agile in the public sector
February 6, 2013

Agile methodology has its enthusiastic followers in the private sector, but many civil servants are wary about adopting it in the context of government software development and other public sector procurement – usually without good cause. Whilst ...

Agile Newsletter - 30 Oct
October 30, 2012
How do I make my Agile Team more self-organising?
March 2, 2012

@sleepyfox asks: “I’m having trouble with my Agile team, how do I make them more self-organising?” Dear sleepyfox, You will struggle to “make” a self organising Team due to the very nature of the dynamic- how...

Agile Answers
February 22, 2012

About a week ago, I was chatting to one of my friends about his new job. He seemed to be happy, he has a great Team, a friendly and supportive manager, a nice office - overall he was very positive, with the exception of one little niggle. When he ...

Scrum not only in projects
December 5, 2011

When you work for one of London’s leading Agile companies it is hard not to get inspired by the scrum processes. Inspired or brainwashed your choice, but I adopted some of the scrum processes when I was the Office Manager. To have daily sta...

Using baselines for effective planning
August 21, 2011

I remember my first planning game well. I was very excited. Someone had just mentioned the need for a good bassline and I was about to jump up doing some serious air guitar to Deep Purple’s Smoke on the Water, “man this is going to blo...

Pivotal Tracker Workflow
June 24, 2011

We use Pivotal Tracker quite a lot these days and I was looking around on the web for a quick image of the Pivotal Tracker Workflow.  I didn’t find much so I did a quick drawing which I thought I would share.  I might put this into...

Dealing with a moving target
May 13, 2011

We recently launched our first Social Media game, www.pinmeifyoucan.com - for Contiki. It’s a Google maps integration with YouTube, Facebook and Twitter. It was a challenging project on tight timescales which presented some unique problems ...

I'm a ScrumMaster. Huh?
April 15, 2011

  My wife and I had a friend over for dinner last night and during conversation she asked me what it is I do. I replied that I work for a software consultancy and I’m a QA and ScrumMaster. ‘Huh?’ was the reply I got. I kno...

Kanban in the Cape - Part 2
March 23, 2011

In Part One of this blog I discussed how we set up the kanban board and the process we used to try out kanban for the first time on our own internal Timesheets application. Here is what we learned about the process. The first thing I learned, as ...

Kanban in the Cape - Part 1
March 9, 2011

After reading the book ‘Kanban and Scrum - Making the most of both’ (Henrik Kniberg & Mattias Skarin, 2010), I was quite eager to give Kanban a try on a project. All I needed was a project that had fantastic clients that understand...

Production Issues and 3rd Line Support Processes
February 25, 2011

Another perfect release- this is what it’s all about, now time to kick back, cocktail in hand, bathing in the glorious glow of heaped praise as stakeholder after stakeholder thank Goldilocks and the Three Bears for managing to translate thei...

Agile Tools for the Support Team
February 25, 2011

In an ideal world there won’t be any problems in production. In an ideal world there’s a great soundtrack playing while the dev team, PMO and the business high-five one another in slow-mo.  If you’re talking about a complex ...