Agile and The Chasm

Someone posed the question:  Has Agile Crossed the Chasm?, a reference to Moore’s work on marketing. Agile is no longer the prevue of pioneers and visionaries.  Agile shows up in the popular business press. PMI is all over it.   The big accounting/consulting firms are marketing agile. Clearly (at least the term) agile is reaching…

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The Elements of Improvement

Improvement requires three factors: Information. People need information about the context and how their work fits into the big picture. They need information from the work so they can self-correct. Without this information, systematic improvement is impossible. A desire to improve. Most people want to do their best and learn to do better–until that impulse…

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New Roles for Managers: Interview with Lean Magazine

I recently did an interview with the nice folks at Softhouse.se for their Lean Magazine. The interview was a lot of fun, and made me think (which is fun). The full interview will be in their special anniversary edition, schedule to be out by Christmas.  (Information on obtaining the magazine here.)  In the meanwhile, some…

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Metrics for Agile

“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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Still No Silver Bullets

Not so very long ago, I made my living writing code. My colleagues and I did our best to understand what our customers needed, and to write code that was easy for other programmers to understand, solid, defect free.  When our managers asked us how long it would take to create a new feature or…

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Shifting Organizational Patterns

I’ve been talking about (and using) Human Systems Dynamics tools lately–Rally Success Tour, OTUG, Practical Agility and Retrospective Workshops in Stockholm. I find Containers, Differences, Exchanges offers my clients (and me) a useful way to see past events and see structures. Working at the level of structures gives both insights and opens up opportunities for…

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Changing to Agile, in an Agile Manner

A while back I was contacted by a potential client who wanted to “go agile.”  But they wanted to do it in a deterministic manner.  They wanted a plan, complete with milestones and dates–mostly indicating that other people had changed their behavior as dictated by management. Sigh. One could make a plan for mass training…

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4 Tips for Getting Your Ideas Accepted

A good idea is a valuable asset, and a lot of good ideas are a treasure trove. But what do you do with those ideas? Here’s a little story about an idea maker who isn’t very good at getting his ideas accepted…and 4 tips to keep your own ideas from withering on the vine. ***…

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Musings on Management: Moving away from Command & Control

When companies decide they want the benefit of the team effect, or adopt agile methods, they (sometimes) realize that they need to update their management style as well.  And too often, they enter an 4-step dance of oscillation. Managers feel overburdened and overwhelmed. Teams are disengaged.  They want teams to take more responsibility, and show…

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Successful Top Down Change Starts with Change at the Top

Most of the time, when I hear about “agile change,” someone in management has decided that Scrum (and maybe XP engineering practices) will improve quality and time to market for the company’s software products. I’ve heard some success stories. And I’ve heard about many failures. Why do these efforts fail? Some people blame the failures…

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