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Agile Process Improvement: IDEAL

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The Ideal Tacos

The world’s economy is suffering a tremendous shock. Every other email that pops into my email box screams crisis. Businesses are experiencing a crisis of cost containment driven by falling revenues coupled with a looming debt crisis. Gallup Research is sponsoring a webinar on May 7th to talk about the problems being caused by rising health care costs. The bottom line, every budget manager is going to be pushed very hard to manage their budget closely, spend as judiciously as possible, and deliver the most value possible. The noise level about cost issues in the computing media, suggests a strong need for integrating lean concepts into agile approaches. Many organizations falsely believe that they are less sensitive to cost considerations. The IDEAL model provides a useful framework for finding ways to generate more value and to prove it.  A quick definition of IDEAL:

Initiate is the starting point for the process. Define the goals, scope of improvements, and the definition of done. Most (should be all) agile teams will be performing some form of process improvement based on outcomes of their retrospectives. This is wonderful but rarely sufficient, true change often needs to involve several teams linked in a value stream.

Diagnose is fairly self-explanatory. The goal of this step is to identify and qualify potential improvement opportunities. Establishing what is wrong with any flow of work is often fraught with anxiety. The process requires assessment and benchmarking. In low trust or high-risk scenarios, formal approaches that are externally facilitated should be considered. The Diagnose step builds a backlog.

Establish a plan to implement the improvement opportunities defined in the previous step. Simply put, pull an opportunity from the prioritized backlog, determine how to break the work down and define an approach to solving the problem. Repeat based on capacity. For large scale changes, this step can leverage ideas from the Scaled Agile Framework’s PI planning event. In more nimble organizations while other organizations might use a Kaizen event or lean canvas to plan improvements. 

Action, like diagnose, is easily defined. Based on the approach established, fix the plan.  Note that continuous or periodic retrospection is an invaluable tool to make sure the improvement being delivered stays on track and meets the needs in the real world.

Learn from what has and has not been accomplished. Feedback from evaluating a change qualitatively and through collaborative retrospection is a powerful tool for improving the improvement process.  

The IDEAL model is a structure for approaching process improvement across teams in an integrated manner. This frightens some and can elicit the cry of “not agile.” In the next few entries, we will review approaches to each step to “agilify” IDEAL.

Remember, we are planning

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By: tcagley
Title: Agile Process Improvement: IDEAL
Sourced From: tcagley.wordpress.com/2020/05/05/agile-process-improvement-ideal/
Published Date: Tue, 05 May 2020 23:55:19 +0000

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Alleged NVIDIA GeForce RTX 3090 Enthusiast Ampere Gaming Graphics Card PCB Pictured – Triple 8-Pin Connectors, Tons of Next-Gen G6 Memory

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An alleged pictured of NVIDIA’s GeForce RTX 3090 graphics card’s PCB has leaked over at the NVIDIA subreddit (Via @harukaze5719). The GeForce RTX 3090 is rumored to be flagship offering in the Enthusiast Ampere gaming graphics card lineup which will be unveiled on the 1st of September during a digital event hosted by NVIDIA’s CEO, Jensen Huang.

NVIDIA GeForce RTX 3090 Graphics Card’s PCB Leaks Out – Dual-Sided Next-Gen G6 Memory, Triple 8-Pin Connectors & A Secondary Chip

The leaker reports that the PCB is from a non-reference board by Colorful which would serve as its flagship iGame GeForce RTX 3090 Vulcan-X series graphics card. The leaker has blurred out lots of PCB area as he mentions that some of the details of the PCB are classified & cannot be mentioned by him.

With that said, there’s a lot to talk about so let’s start. Just looking at the PCB, we can see that we’re looking at the backside of the board. The graphics card is powered by three 8-pin connectors which will supply power to all of the components on the PCB. This confirms that at least the custom cards won’t be featuring the rumored 12-pin power connector that was reported a while back as it could just be a Founders Edition only design choice (that also hasn’t been confirmed yet).

Looking at the card itself, there are at least 11 memory modules on the backside which seems to indicate dual-sided memory. Historically, cards with dual-sided memory chips feature the same amount of dies on either side so this would indicate 22 memory modules on the card. Considering these are 1 GB modules, the card could end up with 22 GB of VRAM across a 352-bit bus

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By: Hassan Mujtaba
Title: Alleged NVIDIA GeForce RTX 3090 Enthusiast Ampere Gaming Graphics Card PCB Pictured – Triple 8-Pin Connectors, Tons of Next-Gen G6 Memory
Sourced From: wccftech.com/nvidia-geforce-rtx-3090-ampere-gaming-graphics-card-pcb-pictured/
Published Date: Fri, 14 Aug 2020 08:12:44 +0000

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Agile Teams In A Waterfall Environment: Steps Away From Fixed Everything Work

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A waterfall precedes and follows rapids

In Agile Teams In A Waterfall Environment: Fixed Budget, Fixed Scope, Fixed DateI talked about a panel discussion that I participated in that was asked: 

“We have been presented with a project with a fixed budget, fixed scope, and fixed date — can we use agile to deliver this project?” 

Interpreting the question as can we “be” agile, the answer is no (heck no if you want to be emphatic).  However, does that mean we need to take our ball and march off the field — never to be or do agile? Again, the answer is also heck no. There are several strategies that a team or even an organization can take to make progress toward a better way of working. 

Walled Garden, which is adopting agile values and techniques at a team level and then constructing approaches to interface with entities outside the bubble you create.   This is the most extreme approach, but it is a way to explore and exhibit agile values. At a team level, a leader or manager often has a substantial amount of leeway to affect how work is done. Everything outside of the team is outside of the leader’s sphere of control, therefore handoffs and data sharing arrangements must be negotiated. The walled garden can be dangerous if the team does not control how they work and if experimentation is acceptable behavior. In the real world walled gardens are often used for experiments but if left to run too long they can cause a team or team of teams to be cut off from the rest of the organization.

Shift Left moves the involvement of engineering employees to the front end of work entry. An example of this type of behavior would be to include a person that will be involved in doing the work in the sales process. Work entry problems will mess up the best-laid plans whether agile or plan-based approaches are used. The acceptance of work into the queue is a sales exercise whether you are dealing with cash-carrying, external customers, or taking orders from internal stakeholders. Determining what is needed, whether it can be done, when it will be done, and how much it will cost are all subject to negotiation (that is what sales is all about). Involve current engineers in the process. The term current is used purposefully, don’t assume that since you coded or tested a few years ago that you understand the nuances of the profession today. Involving a sales engineer will help shape the buying or ordering process so that it is based more on technical information and rational analysis and less on saying anything to get the order. Making work entry more purposeful will reduce the number of fixed everything projects. 

Hybridize your approach to building and managing work.  Visualize your flow and adopt a kanban”y” version of Scrumban. Most kanban methods can be overlaid on any process and do not require you to change how you are working. Once you have visualized

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By: tcagley
Title: Agile Teams In A Waterfall Environment: Steps Away From Fixed Everything Work
Sourced From: tcagley.wordpress.com/2020/08/13/agile-teams-in-a-waterfall-environment-steps-away-from-fixed-everything-work/
Published Date: Thu, 13 Aug 2020 23:55:49 +0000

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Intel Confirms Sapphire Rapids Processors In 2021 With DDR5, PCIe 5.0 And CXL 1.1

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At their Architecture Day 2020, Intel also confirmed the launch of its upcoming Sapphire Rapids CPU platform in 2021. Sapphire Rapids will feature support for DDR5 memory and PCIe 5.0 and will truly be a “next-generation” data center chip with the addition of the CXL 1.1 interconnect. The company has also plans to release the OneAPI (going gold) later this year which should tie up their master plan of a unified datacenter ecosystem quite nicely.

Intel Sapphire Rapids, Alder Lake and 144 Layer QLC confirmed at Intel Architecture Day 2020

While the company did not reveal the exact process Saphire Rapids is based on, we can infer that it will likely be based on the company’s 10nm SuperFin Enhanced process because it succeeds Ice Lake processors (which are based on vanilla 10nm) and because it uses TME. Total Memory Encryption is an architectural design that encrypts the memory completely so even if someone dumps the RAM – they would just get garbage data. This feature is also present in Tiger Lake – which is based on 10nm SuperFin – which lends credence to Sapphire Rapids being based on the same (or more advanced) process as well.

The company also confirmed that they will be shipping a new 144 layer QLC later in 2020 which should be higher than the industry average and offers a 50% density increase over the third generation QLC that Intel produced. This is something that once again ties in with their datacenter unification efforts. The entire platform would be competing against AMD’s Zen 4 based EPYC Genoa lineup which would also be moving to a newer platform known as SP5.

AMD has promised new memory along with new capabilities for the Genoa lineup which would include support for DDR5, PCIe 5.0,

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By: Usman Pirzada
Title: Intel Confirms Sapphire Rapids Processors In 2021 With DDR5, PCIe 5.0 And CXL 1.1
Sourced From: wccftech.com/intel-confirms-sapphire-rapids-processors-in-2021-with-ddr5-pcie-5-0-and-cxl-1-1/
Published Date: Thu, 13 Aug 2020 13:41:10 +0000

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