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Essential Practices

A collection of Essence Activity Space Cards

The Activity Spaces are an often-overlooked aspect of Essence. These 15 descriptions of types of common activities that all software development teams will do are often overshadowed by the specific activities from Practices. But as this article shows they have value in their own right and can be a powerful tool to help teams improve.

Image of the Scrum Practice Sprint Review card. Pulled from the Scrum Essentials Practice developed in conjunction with Scrum Inc.

Scrum and its hybrids are the dominant approaches used by Agile teams today. However, despite Scrum being a seemingly simple framework, many teams struggle to apply Scrum well and fail to achieve the faster delivery of higher value products that are promised. Playing the Practice Spotlight game is a simple way to improve any team's understanding and application of Scrum.

Image showing a fan of some Essence based Spotify Essentials Practice Cards.  Use to teach people about the spotify software development approach.

If you try find a definitive description of ‘The Spotify Model’ you will most likely end up frustrated. There are some old videos and blog posts, and lots of internet articles claiming that it isn’t a ‘proper’ framework and that even Spotify doesn’t use it. Yet, it is reported as the fourth most popular scaled agile framework according to the 15th State of Agile Report and there are thousands of companies claiming to be using it.  So, what is it? And if you want to adopt it, where do you start?

scaled agile portfolio epic lifecycle and epic states

Epics have a lifecycle, they don’t magically appear fully formed. There is work to be done to progressively elaborate a business case and if the Epic is approved then there is further work to progress the Epic through implementation. This post explores the Lifecycle of an Epic and the states it progresses through in that Lifecycle.

24 Questions - why Essence is not just another method white paper

Written by Dr. Ivar Jacobson, Paul E. McMahon and Roland Racko Over the years, collective experience of the authors has revealed many questions on the SEMAT and Essence initiative. To bring clarity of the initiative to our readers, the authors have answered 24 of the most common questions.

In part three of this blog series, Brian and Ian review how a team played the Practice Patience game. They had been a Scrum team for over 6 months and were used to holding more traditional open ‘brainstorming’ style of retrospectives. The article reviews their experience with the cards guiding them to improve their application of Scrum, including some quotes from their Scrum Master.

Scrum Essential Learning - Learn Scrum with Essence Cards and Coaching

In part three of this blog series, Brian Kerr and Ian Spence review how a team played the Practice Patience game. They had been a Scrum team for over 6 months and were used to holding more traditional open ‘brainstorming’ style of retrospectives. The article reviews their experience with the cards guiding them to improve their application of Scrum, including some quotes from their Scrum Master.

ABC of Essentialization

To be agile as teams, we need to adjust our approach to meet our immediate challenges and needs. To be agile as an organization, we need to learn collectively and evolve our approach over time to support our evolving mission, so that we continue to excel in an ever-changing environment. We would not call a TV set “adaptive” if, in order to adjust the volume, we had to throw it away and replace it with a model with a different volume setting. So why are we prepared to accept process frameworks that leave us in a similar predicament every time we want to improve our product development performance as an organization?

Agile at Scale Essentials Cards and Games for Software Teams

A modularized set of interchangeable practices that enable organizations to scale agile smoothly as part of a tailored transformation program that delivers value early and often, and builds a flexible and long-lasting library of practices, able to flex and grow over time in response to changing technology and business challenges.

Agile Essentials Cards and Games for Software Teams

The Agile Essentials practices provide a basic starter kit toolbox that covers all the common and critical aspects of team-based development. Each practice contains a small number of cards that provide useful, structured advice on how to successfully adopt and apply each practice.

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