hi everyone it’s the Agile Awards again soon and I am happy to say that i have been nominated for ‘most valued agile professional (UK)’ if I or my blog have helped you or your company at some point, can you take a few seconds to vote for me? https://www.theagileportal.com/awards/voting/most_value_uk i’d really appreciate that :) many […]
TL;DR Peer Recruiting is the new hiring: In the near future, all creative, technology-based organizations will need to abandon the command & control structures that served the industrial world of the 20th century so well. Instead, they will reorganize themselves around autonomous teams to deal with the complexity and pace of innovation of the 21st … Continue reading Peer Recruiting: How to Hire a Scrum Master in Agile Times
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Learn more about transforming people, process and culture with the Real Agility Program “Start executing and worry less about planning.” QA Consultant This statement appeared on a recent feedback form after a BERTEIG learning event. It summarized a Quality Assurance Consultant’s learning from the CSM training they attended. This statement so accurately summarizes one of the … Continue reading Agile Advice: Start Executing With Little Planning →
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Building a new team can be challenging. People have to learn and get to know each other, and agree upon how they will be collaborating as a team. Retrospective exercises can be used for chartering teams, to define shared goals, agree upon the way of working, and start off properly. Continue reading →
Learn more about transforming people, process and culture with the Real Agility ProgramDozens of individuals receive training to become Certified Scrum Product Owners at our public learning events in Toronto, Ontario. What is a Product Owner? And how do they create a product vision in alignment with the team they work with? Xi Zeng, over … Continue reading Link: How Will a Product Vision Help You Succeed? →
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Learn more about transforming people, process and culture with the Real Agility Program Have you ever wanted to run an agile project? Or maybe you are a leader in an organization who has had an agile coach approach you requesting to run an agile project? This light & comical sketch depicts the often humorous interactions … Continue reading Some Light Agile Humour Puts Things Into Perspective →
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Many of you have all heard of the Tuckman model of team dynamics (Forming, Storming, Norming, Performing). It was created in 1966 and has become the most popular model for describing team behavior. Is it time to level up in your mental mode...
Becoming agile can help to achieve organizational goals. But setting agile as a goal for an organization does not work. The goal for a software organization should be to achieve results by delivering valuable products and services, not to become agile. Hence my question: do you know why do you want to become agile? Continue reading →
hi all, if you’d like to see someone recognised for the great work they’ve done, why not nominate them for the UK agile awards. Lots of categories to choose from! View categories and nominate here Kelly.
Age of Product’s Food for Thought of July 25th, 2016—shared with 3,558 peers—offers a rich summer buffet of topics: Spotify wants to be good at failing, or—one of my favs in this issue—how to apply Scrum to relationships. (Better start stocking Post-Its…) And you should consider joining the revolution and kill backlogs and roadmaps, or … Continue reading Food For Thought #51: Scrum in Relationships, Kill Backlogs, Customer Centricity
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Defining and building a good minimum viable product is much harder than it sounds. Finding that “one thing” you can do, which people want, is really about a lot more than picking one thing. It is a combination of solving the minimum valuable problem and all of the other things that go with it. Solving for both the … Continue reading Minimum Valuable Problem →
I was perplexed in the difference between the velocities of the two Agile (Scrum) teams. When I examined the metrics of two different Scrum teams, I noticed they produced wildly different outputs. The first, let’s call them Team Alpha, produced excellent work. Always completing on time and meeting their targets. The other, Team Beta, was […]
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This article is part of our Team Dynamics series. Admit it. You don’t always run ineffective meetings. But when you do, you make sure they last an eternity, have pointless agendas, and cause participants to run and hide each time you call one! Yes…we’ve all been there. But you’re also aware that meetings are...
I’ve never attempted to try the trapeze. I have friends that do it and love it, but I’m not so sure it’s for me. I’m pretty adventurous about many things, but flying around at what seems like 100ft seems to be a little risky. Trying new things can be scary and flying around on some […]
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Learn more about transforming people, process and culture with the Real Agility ProgramIn an out-dated model of work environments, there are clear “rights” and clear “wrongs.” Usually, the management or leadership determines this and they call it “Policies and Procedures” or “Mandates” or simple “Rules.” There are usually severe consequences for not following these, intentionally … Continue reading Article Review: Agile Teams Bend But They Don’t Break →
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Over 80% of software projects in the world today are run using the Scrum framework. Big companies sometimes offer their own training programmes, but often Agile Scrum Masters take courses from one of a growing number of registered training companies. Every now and then I am asked to look at online training for Scrum and recently I had […]
Learn more about transforming people, process and culture with the Real Agility ProgramThe Hunt for Better Retrospectives The rumours had started to spread, retrospectives at our organization were flat, stale and stuck in a rut. The prevailing thought was that this was stalling the pace of continuous improvement across our teams. In truth, I wasn’t … Continue reading The Retro Game →
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In many different projects and organisations, I’ve seen people struggle with techniques on how to solve issues without creating huge issue registers that weigh down the project and takes an inordinate amount of time to manage, resulting in the actual problems often not getting the attention they deserve. There are lots of agile techniques for […]
Learn more about transforming people, process and culture with the Real Agility ProgramA common challenge faced by inexperienced Scrum teams is related to splitting Product Backlog Items (PBI) so that they are granular enough for development. The INVEST model is a good way to test whether Product Backlog Items are well-written. I – Independent N … Continue reading Splitting User Stories →
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This article is part of our Team Dynamics series – all you need to know about how to make high performing teams. In our previous article from Team Dynamics series, we emphasized the importance of culture fit over skill fit when selecting the right people for your team. If you haven’t read it, find it at...
Teams are cross-functional - containing all skills necessary to define,
build and ship the new features. The teams are aligned to producing value
to the business rather than to the abstract purposes of providing
excellence within a functional silo. This not only gives the team a
laser-focus on adding value to the business.
Your organization has decided to become more “Agile.” Why? As we learned in a previous blog post, “Because Our Competitors Are” is not a valid – or sensible – reason. Before embarking on a change, adoption, or improvement program, you need to know the rationale behind that decision. So… why Agile? A traditional approach to answering this question might see the executive team going off-site for two to three days and holding a workshop where they decide why they should be Agile, then design an adoption strategy, and then summarize the whole thing in a few sentences to be sent out in a memo. Typically, large-scale change initiatives have a lot more ceremony, more meetings, and more setup than this. However, there are several key failings, including that they involve only a select few executives in the envisioning and decision-making process, and they attempt to plan for the long haul. There are dozens of examples in our industry of failed change efforts that have cost billions of dollars and proved that this approach doesn’t work. At Nokia, Stephen Elop issued the famous ‘burning platform’ memo in 2011, and yet two years later the company was sold to Microsoft. In 2013 Avon had to write off $125 million of work that built an enterprise software implementation which drove representatives away. This was change that failed to help the very people it was intended for. These and other failures involve some combination of the following: Why – The “Why” isn’t understood by most of the victims of change. Strategy – The “Strategy” created by the executive group doesn’t make sense to all of the people doing the work. Ownership – People at the edges of the system (who do most of the work) feel no ownership of the change. Connection – The strategy doesn’t appear connected to the problems that the people at the edges of the system are experiencing. Improvement -The strategy appears to improve the lot of the executives, but not of the doers. Culture – The change doesn’t fit the organization culture. Leadership – Top level is asking for change but doesn’t appear to be involved in making it happen. To be effective, Agile organizational change needs to… well, involve the Organization! Not just the executives who have made the decree, often without fully understanding what the goals of the change are. This shouldn’t be a quick decision made at a two-day corporate retreat. It needs to be an ongoing effort to figure out the “why” collaboratively and share it effectively, being mindful of some essential ingredients. We will address those ingredients in the next several blog posts. Avon’s Failed SAP Implementation A Perfect Example Of The Enterprise IT Revolution – Ben Kepes: http://www.forbes.com/sites/benkepes/2013/12/17/avons-failed-sap-implementation-a-perfect-example-of-enterprise-it-revolution Image attribution: http://photodune.net/
Learn more about transforming people, process and culture with the Real Agility ProgramI believe in refactoring. The Agile Manifesto holds that The best architectures, requirements and designs emerge from self-organizing teams. The quality of our software systems depends on refactoring. In fact, I believe that the only way that an organization can avoid refactoring is … Continue reading Refactoring: 4 Key Principles →
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In 201x, the global financial markets collapsed. Reason: mortgages were given to people who couldn’t afford them. This debt was then repackaged and sold to banks and other institutions as good debt. (“The Big Short” by Michael Lewis is an excellent indictment of this time). However, the bigger question remained. Why didn’t the financial regulator system catch the problem early, while it was still small? The answer? Complexity. In “The Dog and the Frisbee” (pdf), Andrew Haldane, Executive Director Financial Stability at the Bank of England, explains all the things a dog would have to know and understand to catch a Frisbee: wind speed and direction, rotational velocity of the Frisbee, atmospheric conditions, and gravitation. It might require a degree in physics to know how to express the control problem involved in catching the Frisbee. Yet dogs, without physics degrees, do this everyday. They obey a simple rule/heuristic: “run at a speed so that the angle of the gaze to the frisbee remains constant”. Empiricism and Simplicity. Agile works because it is an Empirical process using constant feedback to update both the work itself and the way we work. Haldane goes on to show that the financial regulatory system evolved from something simple that many people at a bank could understand, to something only a few people could understand. Eventually it became so complex that no one person understood the system as a whole. The earlier regulatory frameworks worked well in part because many people understood, and therefore many people could spot problems early, before they got too complicated and large to resolve. As we deal with ever-larger organizations, it’s tempting to say that this increase in complexity is okay because we’re larger. But if financial crisis taught us anything, the answer should be no. The bigger the system, the more important it is to use simple control mechanisms, simple feedback loops, and simple measures that can be understood by all. Decreasing complexity – not increasing it – has to be at the heart of all of our decisions. And coupled with that has to be the ability to respond quickly and change appropriately. Image attribution: damedeeso, via photodune
Jason Yip has overhauled his definitive article on running stand-up
meetings. The update incorporates his latest understanding on what separates a
valuable meeting from a waste of time, emphasizing the "walk-the-board" style of