Category Archives: Agile

Musings about “Hard-coded” Frameworks

Estimated Reading Time: 2 minutes

A recent discussion on the Scrum Alliance Linkedin group was around Mike Beedle’s claim that “Hard-coded Frameworks are neither Agile or Frameworks” which is clearly aimed primarily at SAFe.  

I admit to thinking something similar before really getting to know SAFe in depth. Over time I realized SAFe isn’t one size fits all. Far from it. 

It has many configurations and options. Do we need the Value Stream level? a System Team? at which level? How many ARTs? Component teams or Feature teams? Which metrics? Which ART to start with? Even if you don’t follow my Invitation-based SAFe implementation approach that is now a formal SAFe guidance article, you still have a lot of options at all levels and it is hardly a hard-coded methodology. Yes, not all practitioners understand this. But that’s a familiar problem from the Scrum space isn’t it. “Though shall do tasks”. “Though shall estimate in story points using planning poker”. “Though shall stand up in the Daily Scrum”.

Scrum was and is a powerful tool. SAFe, Enterprise Scrum, Nexus, LeSS, Kanban and others are powerful tools as well. A powerful tool is typically also dangerous at the wrong hands or the unexperienced hands without good guidance.

Besides – it IS funny to hear about the danger of force-fitting a hard-coded framework from leaders in the scrum community that have been telling us about SHU and following practices and the danger of scrum-but all along. And rightly so! Sometimes you do need to insist on a practice/change even if it feels hard! Agile IS about challenging your comfort zone.

Can we all agree that the real art/expertise is to figure out the right set of practices that is the goldilock between too much force-fitting and too-easy “common sense that is somehow too close to the status quo”?

(Updated) Oh – and also can we also agree there’s a huge difference between force- fitting practices to challenge your comfort zone (which is healthy change management done right) and forcing people to do something vs inviting them to consider trying it? 
 

Using the Spotify Squad Health Check beyond the Squad

Estimated Reading Time: 5 minutes

Just in time tribute…

I’m on my way from Boston to Manhattan. Tomorrow I’m facilitating an executive workshop for a client with the goal of kicking off the next level of agility. Before that I’m meeting some of the Spotify Agile Coaches/Company Operations people in the NYC Office. I thought this would be a good opportunity to write about a Spotify Squad-level tool I started using in Executive/Management workshops as well as all-hands QuickStarts/QuickBoosts in the last couple of months.

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Agile Testing FAQs and Mythbuster – Software Testing Atlanta Conference 2015

Estimated Reading Time: 1 minute

Here is my slide deck from my talk at the Software Testers Atlanta Conference. It was lots of fun to deliver it. Full, engaged, room (even though it was on of those dreaded post-lunch slots!), good questions, good laughs. It was also refreshing to do a US conference without checking into an hotel not to say a 12+ hours flight… (One of the advantages of living in Boston …)

Thank you for the conference team for inviting me! always fun to visit Atlanta (and have some BBQ on the way back to the airport…)

Interesting Trends surfacing at Agile Israel 2015

Estimated Reading Time: 3 minutes

My “Trends Keynote” is becoming a repeating feature of the Agile Israel conference. This year I chose to involve the audience by using a Kahoot survey combined with some insights that we (AgileSparks) have seen throughout the year.

First of all it was very cool to see more than 300 participants in the survey (out of ~600 in the audience). Kudos to Kahoot as well as the Israeli 3G network for surviving this onslaught 🙂

Some interesting patterns/trends that are worth sharing: Continue reading

A Minimally Valuable Agile Mindset (a.k.a Agile Mindset is more than one thing…)

Estimated Reading Time: 2 minutes

Stickiness comes with Mindset

Today in our morning call the AgileSparks coaching team discussed what are some indications that a company/group has reached a stable level that they will continue to at least sustain and ideally improve from (which means we can sleep well at night knowing our mutual efforts are not going down the drain)

One of the indicators raised by my fellows was that everybody in the organization and especially the leaders are not just operating mechanically but also have an agile mindset and their de-facto decisions/actions show it. Examples that came up included “Letting Go/Stepping Back”, “Trusting the Team to pull”.

An Iterative/agile approach towards an Agile Mindset – It is NOT All or nothing

This brought up a discussion where I played the Devil’s advocate (Oh well, I didn’t play it) – saying it was a problematic indicator. Why? Isn’t agile mindset great? Yes it is. And examples such as the ones raised as well as “Fail Fast”, “Inspect and Adapt”, “Iterate”, “Accept incomplete information”, “Stop Starting Start Finishing”, “Treat inventory as waste”, “We can improve/grow” (a.k.a the agile/growth mindset) can all drive great decisions/actions. Continue reading