Archive for the ‘Blog’ Category

Peck, peck, peck

October 26th, 2011

A participant in one of my workshops of my workshops declared that in every team there is pecking order….and every one knows what the order is from one to n.  Since this is the case, he reasoned, it follows that ranking people in organizations is a reasonable management practice. This is not the first time

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Why not velocity as an agile metric?

October 18th, 2011

In response to my recent post on Agile Metrics, a reader asked, “Why did you leave out Velocity?” Even though it’s not perfect, velocity is the best way we have to understand the capacity of teams. It’s the best way we have to bring some reality to planning for releases.  Watching velocity over time and

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Metrics for Agile

October 11th, 2011

“How can we tell how far along we are with our agile adoption?” I heard this question again the other day. Usually, the person who asks the question starts to answer it: Number of teams using agile Number of people trained in agile Number of projects using agile Number of certified coaches. Metrics like these

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Real Coaches or Hierarchical Control in Coaches Clothing

September 29th, 2011

I recently met with a group of managers who work in organizations adopting agile methods. Several of them asked whether functional managers should become ScrumMasters or coaches. That’s a risky road. One manager was adamant. In his view, making managers ScrumMasters was the best course of action. According to this fellow, managers already know people’s

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Essential Readings for Managers I: Pay & Evaluation

September 15th, 2011

I used to make my living writing code.  I was good at it. I was really good at figuring out the problem when the symptom and causes weren’t close together. So they promoted me to manager. As a new manager, I was sent to a two-day Basic Management Orientation, where they taught me to how

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Solving Symptoms

August 22nd, 2011

Recently, I attended two retrospectives.  Different teams, different states, different facilitators. I’m usually on the other side, leading retrospectives. Both retrospectives followed the “make lists” pattern.  One made two lists  “What worked well” and “What didn’t work well.”  The other made three lists “What worked well,” “What didn’t work well,” & “Issues or questions.” Once

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Empowering Leadership II

July 28th, 2011

Every team needs leadership, even self-organizing teams. When I make this statement, some people assume I mean that every team needs a designated leader.  I can’t blame them, most people are accustomed to thinking of leadership residing in a role or a charismatic individual—a “born” leader. On self-organizing teams, there isn’t one leader.  Agile teams

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Misconceptions about Self-Organizing Teams

July 19th, 2011

At a recent conference, I over-heard three managers talking about self-organizing teams. “You can’t just turn people loose and let a team make all the decisions. They’ll mess things up. And with all these ScrumMasters, coaches, and self-organizing teams, sounds like I’m out of a job,” said one with resignation. “This time boxing thing is

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Promoting Double Loop Learning in Retrospectives

June 30th, 2011

“The thinking that got us here isn’t the thinking that’s going to get us where we need to be.”  attributed to Albert Einstein I have  this niggling concern about retrospectives. I have no doubt that retrospectives that are too short, don’t result in action / experiment, or fail to delve beneath the surface are a

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Empowering Leadership

June 17th, 2011

Some pundits proclaim that leadership rests on charisma, the ability to create a vision, or “presence.” Teams do need a vision and a compelling goal.  But do teams need one charismatic leader? No.Teams need leaders of a different sort. Teams need leaders who don’t need to be out in front, who are able to work

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