agile transition


The Subtle Difference Between ‘Doing’ and ‘Being’ Agile


I recently caught up with an old friend for a quick drink. A quick drink turned into a quick few more — then a quick few more, more! But who’s counting?

I digress — back to the story.

After a couple of drinks my friend started opening up about some personal stuff happening in his life. He was unhappy at work because he felt underpaid and overworked. And on top of that, things weren’t going too well in his marriage; in fact, they were rapidly going from bad to worser (his word, not mine).

After spending some time off-loading the things that were making him unhappy, with some strategically placed questions, I finally got him to start focusing on potential solutions to some of the perceived problems he was facing.

(That’s not to say his problems weren’t real – they were; at least from his perspective. But I’m a firm believer that what we focus on expands; and problems are only problems when we perceive them as such. Hence why Einstein said:

The significant problems we face cannot be solved at the same level of thinking we were at when we created them.”)

As far as my friend was concerned, the solutions were simple; if his wife was less argumentative, his boss wasn’t such a jerk and his company paid him more, everything would be fine; and he’d be much happier.

Listening to him talk, reminded me of the opening chapter of Steven Covey’s international best seller ‘The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People’ where Steven draws the reader’s attention to two concepts he calls the ‘Circle of Concern’ and the ‘Circle of Influence’.

According to Steven, when operating from the Circle of Concern, we tend to think and speak in terms of achieving an end goal as a direct result of something else (usually outside our control) happening first. For example: Read more


What was he thinking?

What Was He Thinking?

agile doghouseJust as I was opening a bottle of wine, the phone rang.

“Hello” I answered.

“Hey Ade,” a voice responded at the other end, “How’s it going?” It was my friend Geoff.

“Not bad thanks Geoff” I replied, grabbing two wine glasses. “The boys are in bed, and I’m about to enjoy a well deserved glass of wine and film with my wife. What are you up to?”

“Not much…” Geoff responded.

“Really — I thought you and Angela were going on a ‘date night’ tonight?” I asked as I passed a glass of wine to my beautiful wife.

“We were…” Geoff replied. He didn’t sound his usual bubbly self.

“Is everything ok?” I asked, flicking through the movies channel to see when the next showing of “Dallas Buyers Club” was scheduled to start.

“Not really…” Geoff said hesitantly.

He had my full attention now. “What’s wrong?” I asked with concern, putting the cable remote down.

“Well…you know how Angela’s always telling me to be more open and honest with her?” Geoff said.

“Yeah…” I replied uneasily Read more


How Company Cultures Impact Agile Transition

A few years ago I was working with a client on an agile transition project. The company was relatively new to agile, but because they had a genuine desire to cut costs and produce higher quality products, they welcomed the opportunity for change.

The development team were a good bunch too and had a cross-functional set of skills well suited to the desired project outcomes.

Sounds like an ideal environment for a smooth agile transition, right?

Well it would have been – except (in my opinion) for the fact that this company had a bonus culture which rewarded quantity and not quality.

For example, because the development team received bonuses for the number of stories delivered (with no emphasis on quality), the team started cutting corners and creating short term solutions that often didn’t meet the customer’s acceptance criteria.

And if that wasn’t bad enough, in order to increase the number of user stories in the ‘Done’ column, some team members even went as far as moving stories straight from ‘Development’ to ‘Done’ without testing the story first.

The result? Read more


Ten Management Objections to Agile

If you’re struggling (or have ever struggled) to overcome senior management objections or resistance to agile, you might find this useful:

The Case Against Agile: Ten Perennial Management Objections

Objections 2, 3 and 7 are common ones I hear all the time.

How about you?


Proof Agile Doesn’t Work…

canstock12611275-proof-blueWhilst recently attending a networking event, I was asked what I do, to which I replied I’m an Agile & Lean consultant.

Being this was not a software development related event, my response was met by blank faces; until one of the group I was speaking to (who I’ll call ‘John’ for the purpose of this post) commented that “agile is a project management methodology used in software development.”

Feeling this was not the time to be pedantic, I agreed that agiles’ roots can be traced back to software development – adding that agility has since become a strategic approach for cutting costs, getting an earlier return on investment and gaining a competitive advantage, widely used across many industries.

John then asked if we could catch up later to talk ‘agile’ as his organisation was considering adopting it.

“Sure” I said, “Let’s do that.” Read more


The Mysterious Case of the ‘Agile’ Duck

Baby-DuckMy son will be 3 next month.

And he’s currently at the stage of language development where he generalises.

Which makes for some very interesting — sometimes embarrassing — moments.

For example, whilst walking down the street the other day we saw an elderly man. And being the friendly type he is, my son waved to him and said “Hello Grandad” — even though the man was a complete stranger and definitely not one of his granddads.

But my son’s current level of logical thinking led him to generalise that since both his grandad’s are elderly, then all elderly men must be ‘Grandads’ too.

Now here’s the thing…

…although such generalisations made by toddlers developing language skills might be acceptable (even laughable), the same cannot always be said when illogical conclusions are drawn by adults — especially those expected to know better.

Let’s take Agile implementation for example… Read more


The Problem With ScrumMasters…

For a while now something has been bugging me…

Something to do with Scrum…

The “ScrumMaster” role to be exact.

But the problem I have is not with the role itself – having fulfilled it myself, I understand it’s intended value to the scrum process.

My problem is with the title.

And here’s why…

Although the word ‘master’ in ScrumMaster is intended to convey expertise in/authority over the scrum process, the word also has a relative meaning that implies the existence of a subordinate.

And that (in my opinion) is where the danger lies.

Because as you already know, where there is ambiguity, there is also room for misunderstanding. Read more