On Medium, I am the Editor and Writer for Serious Scrum and Simply Agile, Writer for The Startup, and a Medium Top Writer in Leadership and Productivity categories. I have written over 90 experience-based articles on Agile, Leadership, Product Management, and Productivity.
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A few weeks back, I had a conversation with a peer coach who was introduced to me. As we chatted, we discussed several aspects of coaching. At one point, he asked me a question that has proven difficult for me to answer.
Well, to clarify, I gave an immediate answer, but I have since changed my mind about it. The question has been weighing heavy on my mind for the past few weeks. I keep coming back to it. …
Who hasn’t fantasized about being an archaeologist? Since a young age, I have dreamt of going on an adventure in a far-away land, finding a dig site, and unearthing history. The lure and mystery of the unknown are intoxicating.
But life goes on. You go to school, start a career, and before long, you forget about your childhood dreams of adventure. You get stuck in the rhythms of life. Curiosity fades.
In many ways, this happens to Scrum Teams, too. Scrum Teams form, go through training, and get into a Sprint rhythm. Before long, they are stuck on repeat. …
I am stunned when hear a product group is using the Scaled Agile Framework (SAFe) to improve their Agile game. Not only does this reveal a misunderstanding of Agile, but it shows a retreat from Agile to tools, process, and big batch planning.
Product groups often bring me in as an Agile coach to coach them on their SAFe journey. They ask me to assess and tune up Agile fundamentals. On occasion, I come into a program who is preparing for their first Program Increment (PI) Planning¹ event.
The typical course of action sends the entire program (in many cases…
Cool…that was Miles.
Miles Davis was an innovator, a rule breaker. He was never satisfied with whatever heights he had achieved. And his curiosity kept him starving for what was next, playing with new sounds and genres until his death.
Kind of Blue was his breakthrough album, and most would agree it redefined Jazz forever. This album was like nothing before it, unique, edgy, and fearless.
Go ahead and give it a listen below as you read this post. Get lost in the rich, moving soundscape as his trumpet both soothes and energizes your mind. …
Managers can find an important place in Scrum and Agile.
But you would not know it by reading The Scrum Guide or the Agile Manifesto. Neither mentions “manager” even once. And if you expand your search, you will not find much help — we have left managers behind when it comes to Scrum and Agile.
Without any guidance to follow, managers hold tight to what they know. And what they know is often rooted in traditional behaviors of predictive control. Their reliance on plans, status, standards, and control cripple the Agile mindset.
What often results is the “frozen middle.” Middle…
I recently received this inquiry: “What value have you provided as our Agile coach? How many teams have you touched?” My first reaction was, “…[gulp]…” A clear answer was not forthcoming.
I had been deep into coaching a product area for five months. In this time, I focused on three Scrum teams and a management team in their Agile journey.
There were at least thirty teams on the coaching backlog across the organization. Looking at the small number of teams I had coached so far, my value was negligible if looking only at the numbers. Ten percent progress falls flat.
Can the Scrum Master accountability be any more misguided, misinterpreted, and misapplied?
“We have to get our points.”
“That’s not what the Scrum Guide says. See, it’s called the Daily Scrum, not a standup.”
“We have no choice; we’re part of the system. It’s the way we do things here.”
“Team, you need to have a stretch goal this Sprint.”
“I don’t know what the team is working on.”
“We need to get good at output before we focus on outcome.”
“Even though the developers are not speaking up, I can speak for them. They can do it. …
With all the misguided attempts at Agile and Scrum flying around, it’s easy to fall into the same common traps.
To capture true value from Scrum, you must modify your organization to fit Scrum rather than modify Scrum to fit your organization. Read that again. Most do the latter and wonder why Scrum doesn’t work.
If you are an Agile Leader, you must support your teams. To do this, you will need to change long-held beliefs in your organization running contrary to the Agile mindset. And trust me here, you will find many of these.
Watered-down Scrum results by not…
I hear many reasons for not facing change head-on.
But every once in a while there is a bright spot. Out of the blue, someone asks for help in taking a vulnerable step into the unknown. One recent example stands out.
To me, a director said, “We would like to build safety for our teams to feel comfortable raising problems. Can you help us with this?”
In my mind, I thought, “What? Wow! Did you say what I thought you said?” With enthusiasm, I replied, “Yes, I can. When do you want to start?”
I’m sure you have heard how…