What makes a good coach?

Agile coaching is not for the faint hearted. Don’t get me wrong, it’s very rewarding, but sometimes its difficult when there is a lot of organisational and individual resistance.  A common frustration I hear among my agile coaching peers is that their teams aren’t listening to them. The coach says they have been pretty clear about…

Executive Agility

Many people are starting to recognise that agile has a lot to offer outside software development, but where do you start? Leadership support is critical to the success of agile initiatives, without their support, agile will likely fail [1]. However, many executives have not been schooled in agile frameworks — their education often comes from…

Delivering Policy with Agility

How do you deliver a big policy outcome that normally takes 6 months when you only have weeks? Use Kanban WITH Scrum!

Accelerate Through Retrospectives

I had been sitting in a few team retrospectives and hearing the same old tired pattern of “what went well, what didn’t, what can we improve”. The teams were bored, i was bored, they were just doing mechanical scrum. Retrospectives are such a powerful tool to drive continuous improvement, but what i was seeing was…

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…

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…

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…