June 17, 2020

Does Agile mean Scrum?

In talking about Agile with a colleague a bit ago, he said “I’ve never seen a person or team do Agile projects without using Scrum”.  It’s likely true that most software development projects use Scrum because it gives a framework, but Scrum doesn’t have to be used to be Agile.

Agile and Scrum are popular terms in the software development world. So - are they the same? Different?

Agile showed up as an “official” term in 2001. It represents a way to think about working – agilely, as in being able to adapt quickly. Going along with this are corresponding values and principles, such as collaboration is more important than contracts. For more info, the Agile Alliance’s website is valuable. 

The definition of Scrum, from Scrum.org, is

Scrum: a framework to support teams in complex product development. Scrum consists of Scrum Teams and their associated roles, events, artifacts, and rules, as defined in the Scrum Guide™.

Scrum is based on Agile principles. So, if you use the Scrum framework, you’re being Agile. But you can work agilely without using the Scrum framework. I'm taking a course that considers its development agile, and I'm pretty sure the developers didn't think of using Scrum.

Thanks for reading. As always, I’d be happy to discuss. Brenda


Brenda’s company, BrenDaniel Productions Corp., works with organizations to deliver their products and services successfully through project work. BrenDaniel’s products and services include training, coaching and support, in traditional project management, Agile and Scrum.

Contact Brenda at brenda@brendaniel.com

June 12, 2020

Be Agile - Try New Ideas

With what’s happening in the world these days re COVID-19, many of us have been forced to change how we work. A lot of us are working from home – as I am.

The environment has caused us to adapt. 

We don’t know what is going to happen in the fall – will there be a second wave? Will things go back to somewhat how they were?

Here is a thought from the software development world for dealing with uncertainty: be agile. According to the Agile Alliance, Agile is the ability to create and respond to change. It is a way of dealing with, and ultimately succeeding in, an uncertain and turbulent environment.

Sounds like it might be useful in the world today.

As the Alliance says, being agile is about looking at what’s going on in our environment, identifying what uncertainty we’re facing, and figuring out how to adapt. When facing the unknown, we might try something we think could work, get feedback, and adjust accordingly.

Be courageous and committed (to shorter-term) goals! Good luck with the new ideas you're working on in this unusual time.

I’ll be publishing short articles on Agile topics every week. If you’d like to contribute, please email me at brenda@brendaniel.com.

June 05, 2020

Can I qualify for the PMI-ACP? A Few Quick Tips

This article has a few quick tips for those who have thought of applying for the Project Management Institute’s Agile Certified Practitioner (PMI-ACP) certification - but aren’t sure if they have the right Agile experience. I recently earned my PMI-ACP and the learning involved has been valuable.

The requirements for getting this certification include eight months of agile project experience in the last three years. (There are additional requirements for education and experience.)

When considering my application, I wondered if I could use projects where I hadn’t used the words “Scrum” or “Agile” in them.

The short answer is yes.

I knew I had been using an agile approach for many years in my work.  Largely I develop courses and deliver them. If you’ve ever given a course that spans a few months or more, you know there are many iterations of making updates to the material to keep it relevant as you deliver.

So - my projects were iterative and incremental, which fits with Agile. (Tip: think how you repeat portions of your work as you go along and build on that work.)

I’d recommend looking at the PMI-ACP Examination Content Outline when filling out your application. As you go through the Domains and Tasks, you will hopefully see a lot of familiar things you’ve done.

Read the Agile Manifesto – if you follow the principles, you’ve got the basis of Agile.

By the way, I did write the exam and passed - it was even an enjoyable experience! Of course, my idea of fun is taking tests…


If you have thoughts on this article, I’d be happy to hear them at brenda@brendaniel.com.

We are offering an online Agile 101 course. Let me know if you’d like more information.

Until next time, Brenda

April 09, 2019

Risk Analysis Doesn't Have to Be Scary

I'm working on a project and we're having an important phone meeting on Friday. The Project Manager (my friend) was talking with me about some things that could go wrong. What if the clients postpone the call (again)? What if they don't like who we're proposing to do the work? What if the partner on the call goes off on a different agenda that doesn't further the purpose?

My friend was spit-balling ideas and worries. "No problem," I said. "You're doing a risk analysis and that's the perfect thing to do at this time." I suggested we talk about the very worst case scenario that could happen – just to get that out of the way. My friend laughed.

We realized that even if the worst happened, we could deal with it. Even thinking about the worst possible thing happening was balancing. What if these things did happen? Would we survive? (Of course!) Would the world fall apart? (Well, no.)

Doing a risk analysis in a project involves a few more steps but this is a good start. It's also a great way to get perspective on a project and deal with what could go wrong... or very right!

March 23, 2018

Is It You or Is it Me?

This week, I was feeling out of sorts with no evident reason why - until Thursday morning. That's when I got back into my meditation routine. My Muse device told me I hadn't meditated in four days!

When I started meditating daily six years ago, I saw remarkable changes in my life. Good things started coming to me out of the blue. Things which used to drive me bananas didn't phase me anymore. I had changed and life around me changed.

Is meditating the answer to world peace? Maybe. I do know it helps with my corner of the world.

February 09, 2018

Free Funding for IT Startups in Nova Scotia

Innovacorp has announced that it is offering up to $5,000 in funding for training for IT startups in Nova Scotia. The training needs to be incurred by March 31, 2018.

If you are interested, check out this link: innovacorp.ca/acceleration-initiatives/training-funds-it-start-ups.

January 12, 2018

Is It Clear?

Last week my daughter Shannon and I went for a walk around the local pond. As we came around the corner, the garbage can caught us by surprise. It said:


“What?!” we said to each other.

We decided to take a closer look. The can actually said:


A little misplacement of the sign, whether on purpose or not, gave a totally different message.

I guess we can forgive a garbage can for its miscommunications. In the garbage goes...

December 14, 2017

New Ways for Canadian Government Projects

If you're interested in agile, change and projects, the CBC has an excellent article on these topics: Canadian Digital Service takes startup approach to building better IT for government.

If you have two minutes to spare, take a look at the video "Shopify's lessons for the public service" in the article. Hint: failure is not a bad word.

November 22, 2017

Statistics on Project Failure

Most Common Causes of Project Failure:

  • Changing priorities within organization – 40%
  • Inaccurate requirements – 38%
  • Change in project objectives – 35%
  • Undefined risks/opportunities – 30%
  • Poor communication – 30%
  • Undefined project goals – 30%
  • Inadequate sponsor support – 29%
  • Inadequate cost estimates – 29%
  • Inaccurate task time estimate – 27%
  • Resource dependency – 25%
  • Poor change management – 25%
  • Inadequate resource forecasting – 23%
  • Inexperienced project manager – 20%
  • Limited resources – 20%
  • Procrastination within team – 13%
  • Task dependency – 11%
  • Other – 9%

source: Project Management Institute: Pulse of the Profession 2015: Capturing the Value of Project Management 2015

November 16, 2017

Controlling Project Stakeholders

Can we? Probably not.

As PMI says in its latest edition of the PMBOK:

"Because project managers rarely, if ever, have the ability to control stakeholders, Control Stakeholder Engagement was renamed to Monitor Stakeholder Engagement." (page 650, PMBOK)