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Is your Agile getting stale? Take the Mani-fresh-to Challenge today!

TLDR; Everything changed in 2020, even the Scrum Guide got an update, but the Agile Manifesto didn’t. With my good friend Chris, we came up with an idea to re-develop it and in the process, really pic…

On Agile & Mastery

I’m lucky enough to find my job professionally satisfying. That’s because I think that the line of work I’m in actually matters—not just to me, but to anyone who works in teams or with processes that …

Introduction to SAFe

SAFe® is an acronym for Scaled Agile Framework® and was introduced in 2011 by co-creators Dean Leffingwell and Drew Jemilo as an actionable framework for Business Agility, inspired by the Agile Manife…

Leading SAFe with Jon Spruce

SAFe® (Scaled Agile Frameworks for enterprise) is one of the most popular frameworks for large organisations seeking to achieve business agility. A great analogy from a friend of Jon’s was that when l…

Why OKRs aren’t enough on their own: Goals and Standards

Objectives and Key Results – OKRs – are a well known goal-setting technique; there’s a wealth of great content that explains what they are. This post is about OKRs as part of the ble…

Essential Skills – Critical Analysis

In a recent conversation with Tyrrell Basson from Manchester University, we explored the topic of ‘essential skills’ for the future. What skills would be necessary for an organisation to succeed 12 mo…

I’m in a Theory X Team, Get Me Out Of Here!

For 20 years, ITV’s “I’m a Celebrity, Get Me Out of Here” has been a staple of the UK pre-Christmas entertainment schedules. A group of celebrities are isolated from society, originally in the Austral…

Covid Hack – Technical Debt

We’ve all experienced massive disruption, complexity and ambiguity in the face of Covid-19 hitting the fan. It’s caused mayhem in many companies, and as people adapt to the new and foreseeable normal,…

Facilitate rapid and effective decision-making

Value Stream Mapping (VSM) is a collaborative, coaching-style workshop that brings together the teams who do the work and the leadership teams that support and facilitate the work. Making the value st…

Customers and Developers in the same room. WTF?

At the turn of the 20th Century, the father of modern Business Management – Frederick Winslow Taylor – discovered that he could significantly increase production output and decrease labour…

First they ignore you

‘How do I get the senior leadership team to buy into Agile?’ is a question I’m often asked. It’s a great question if the leadership team value the principles and values upon which Agile is built. It’s…

Stealth Agile

I recently connected with Tyrrell Basson from the University of Manchester in one of my ‘Ask me Anything’ one-to-one video conversations. Like most organisations, they are dealing with disruption on a…

Coronavirus and The Corner Shop – A Portrait of Agility?

If ever one wanted the ultimate portrait of a VUCA world – volatile, uncertain, complex, and ambiguous – the current crazy time through which we are living is it. The novel coronavirus, kn…

Agile Bootcamp #4 – Using Story Mapping to Teach Agile

User Story Mapping is a great technique to help teams explore their product scope and plan how they can deliver value to their customers as quickly as possible. Even for large and complex problems, te…

Agile Bootcamp #3 – Scrum Simulation with the Inception Deck

There are lots of ways to help introduce the concepts of Scrum to teams and to give them a chance to put their new knowledge into practice. I wanted to try something a little different. I wanted it to…

Agile Bootcamp #2 – Behind The Scenes at an Agile Bootcamp

The bootcamp is planned, the travel arrangements made and suitcases packed. Now, the hard work starts! After a long day travelling and a chunky time-shift, we arrived at our accommodation well into th…

Predict Success by Finding Problems

Agile was supposed to make things easier. It was supposed to fix the problems of large projects with big, up-front planning ending up delivering solutions that didn’t meet the customer need. Its focus…

Scrum Beyond Scrum

On my professionalisation journey to Scrum Alliance Certified Team Coach, I am collecting badges and certifications like a cub scout at a swimming gala. I am also going to conference presentations, re…

Agile Project Management

To say the words ‘Agile Project Management’ in front of Agile purists falls somewhere in the spectrum between ‘not cricket’ and ‘blasphemy’. Why? Because Agile doesn’t in any way focus on Project Mana…

The Scrum Framework

The Scrum Framework is an Agile framework within which various Agile methodologies can be both employed and deployed. Co-created by Dr. Jeff Sutherland and Ken Schwaber, Scrum serves as a framework fo…

What is Project Management?

Project Management, as both a profession and specialised discipline, is relatively young. From the dawn of time, humans have been pretty good at setting objectives and organising people, skills, tools…

Don’t look back in anger

Continuous improvement is a core agile principle. The retrospective is an important event in all agile methods and an ideal time for teams to identify improvements. Yet too often, retrospectives are i…

Ways for a group to reach a decision

There are always moments in a project when decisions must be made. How those decisions are reached will vary according to circumstance. What is ultimately important, however, is to have the support of…

Personality traits of an excellent Scrum Master

“Bring it to the team” should be the daily motto of an excellent Scrum Master. Nobody can truly fulfil this role without being fully committed to the team. This means that Scrum Masters must be humble…

How Agile benefits Kanban and XP Development Frameworks

Above all, Agile is about focusing on the customer in the most streamlined way possible. Fundamental goals are established at the outset of a project but can be adjusted incrementally as problems or c…

The Origins of Scrum and Agile

As leadership guru Steve Denning has written, Agile is “not about doing more work in less time: it’s about generating more value with less work.” At base, both Agile and Scrum emerged from an imp…

Scrum and the Agile Manifesto

The values and principles of the Agile manifesto are designed to remind you of one thing above all: that whatever you are producing, you are producing it for actual use by actual people in actual situ…

Feedback: it’s not what you get, it’s what you do with it

When teaching Scrum a large part of the information is around feedback: product feedback, process feedback, people feedback. Moreover, it would not make sense to not ask for feedback on us, as trainer…

The Art of the Post-It®

For years I have watched my husband, John, sticking post-its all over the place while working. I never really understood why. I just thought it was one of his (many) quirks! I always thought of post-i…

Show Confidence

We hear a lot about confidence in the contexts of business, personal relationships, and just about every other element of life these days. People are always worried that they lack it, wonder how to ge…

A brief overview of Scrum

In this brief overview of Scrum, we introduce you to the Scrum Framework, roles within the Scrum methodology, and briefly touch on some of the key elements of Scrum. Scrum is a framework within which …

Sprint: the Heartbeat of Scrum

A Sprint, as described in the Scrum Guide, is a time-boxed period of one month or less during which the Development Team works to produce a “Done” product increment — a useable and potentially releasa…

What do Agile and Electricity have in Common?

In February, it will be 17 years since the writing of the Agile Manifesto. Much was, and still is, promised by those who espouse Agile frameworks. There is still a great excitement and appetite for in…

The Responsibility Process® in Action

Recently I was lucky enough to spend a couple of days with Christopher Avery renewing my practice of responsibility. The workshop was on The Responsibility Process and how to lead and coach others in …

Everyone can lead an exceptional life

You may not know who Rick Rubin is but you definitely would have heard of his music. He has been a megastar producer for over 20 years, helping a hugely diverse group of artists along the way: Johnny …

A Simple Method for Breaking down Product Backlog Items into Tasks

During Sprint Planning many teams resist breaking down Product Backlog items selected into tasks, preferring to rely on gut feel and yesterday’s weather to give them confidence in their for…

What Role do Team Members Play in the Scrum Team?

Let’s get to know the different roles and responsibilities of each person in an agile development team. Just as there are several agile approaches such as Scrum, Kanban, XP, etc … Let&#821…

Acceptance Testing

Most Agile frameworks express customer requirements using simple and lightweight methods, such as User Stories. These stories represent features that reflect customer needs and are small enough t…

The Scrum Master beyond Technical Lead

The Scrum Master seeks to ensure that the team respects and follows the values and practices of Scrum. It also protects the development team by making sure that they do not over commit themselves to w…

Sprint burndown charts: Grapes of Progress or Watermelon Surprise?

In a recent discussion with an ‘Argument of Agile Coaches’ (an apt collective noun for a group of coaches), the question was raised: “Do we really need sprint Burndown char…

No Framework Will Save You

It is often said, by those in the personal training industry, that you cannot out-train a bad diet. What is meant by that, is that you could run 10 miles per day, then spend another hour in the gym pu…

What’s in a Name

Over the last few years, Agile has acquired a lot of unwanted baggage. Some of that baggage is as a result of botched transformation attempts. Some is from the pre-existing organisational dysfunctions…

What’s in it for you?

When starting any team, I ask a question that often shocks people in the room: What do you want to get out of this? At first I thought the shock was strange; Surely people are looking to get something…

Setting the agenda

At a client the meetings tend to wander, a habit the developers try to break but drift back into without realising; so when I came across a chapter on agendas in Jean Tabaka’s Collaboration Expl…

A community of thinkers

Saw this in the twittersphere yesterday and it really resonates with what I believe the software development, and IT community as a whole, should strive to attain. We may not all be there yet,  h…

Stop, reflect, resume

Yesterday, during sprint planning one of the team members said he didn’t see the point in sizing stories, particularly small ones that could be done in an hour or so. Instead, he’d rather …

Beware planning poker

Planning poker is the most common sizing tool used within the Scrum community. Straightforward and fairly quickly it can give teams a good idea of what they have in front of them without going too dee…

Understanding the mission

A very American phrase I know; but it hits right at the heart of many of the problems I’ve seen in software development teams, both Agile and waterfall. Put into more understandable terms, it me…