Is a self-organising agile team a self-managing agile team?

The Agile Manifesto highlights that “the best architectures, requirements and designs emerge from self-organising teams”.  Scrum also reinforces that the Development Team (the people developing the Increment) are also self-organising: “Self-organizing teams choose how best to accomplish their work, rather than being directed by others outside the team” I’ve heard many Scrum Masters reinforce the…

Estimating without a baseline

Agile Teams tend to use relative estimation rather than creating tasks, estimating hours, and then adding up all the hours. Adding up hours it fundamentally flawed. Relative estimation tends to be much more accurate as teams are instead attempting to compare new work with previous work. Agile Teams will ask questions like: Which item is…

Sizing and Cycle Time

Mike Cohn is quite explicit when he says Story Points reflect the effort required to get a Story to “Done”: In a class a few years back, I was given a wonderful example of this. Suppose a team consists of a little kid and a brain surgeon. Their product backlog includes two items: lick 1,000…

Psychological Safety: Patterns from Child Psychology to Build Safety in Teams

In this presentation, ZXM’s Partner for Agile Enterprise Transformation, Matthew Hodgson, looks at psychological safety through the lens of a psychological, research-based approach to creating psychological safety – and an example of its use to deal with Agile team dysfunction, strengthen trust and help build a learning culture in teams. Click to view Matthew’s presentation…

Why Spotify’s agile patterns work and why you shouldn’t copy them

There is no Spotify agile model. But lots of people from Spotify keep talking about how their system of people and processes operates. It all sounds very good. It’s like showing people a chocolate cake, telling them how good it is to eat, and then saying “don’t eat chocolate cake”. There’s a very good reason…

Better together: Agile + Lean UX

I’ve always liked Dave Landis’s diagram on how design thinking, Lean UX and agile go together. Something, however, always felt a little off that these elements still seemed separate over being integrated. It took me til I went to Jeff Patton’s Passionate Product Owner course (CSPO) that I began to know what I didn’t know…

PRINCE2 processes vs Agile development frameworks

UPDATED: 27/05/2017 PRINCE2 has been the gold standard for project management certification for over a decade. It’s commonly a prerequisite for project managers and is recognised as being essential for keeping projects “in control” particularly in the public sector in Australia where Zen Ex Machina does a lot of its work. I think it is with…

Becoming agile with Zen Ex Machina

Zen Ex Machina has been helping people and organisations to be agile. Digital transformation isn’t a one-size-fits-all. It requires an understanding of context, customers and the vision if products and services and how they align to the outcomes an organisation feels is of value. This publication details how: Zen Ex Machina has helped a number…

Backlog Refinement Patterns: Ying and Yang

The Scrum Guide is a great, simple instruction book that reminds people that to get the best out of Scrum. Remember, the Scrum Guide is only 13 pages long, so don’t over complicate things. The devil is in the detail, though. While it reads very black and white, knowing how to accomplish things like Backlog…