Try the Veal, and Other Agile Coaching Tips

Imagine that you have a favorite restaurant and that you go there all the time. The restaurant's specialty is the veal chop. You love the restaurant and the veal and you recommend it to everyone.  You have a good friend who visits your restaurant based on your recommendation. But rather than getting the veal, she orders the spaghetti and meatballs. Her husband orders the vegan burger, which... Read Full Post

Why 'Being Agile' Scares People

I work with a lot of teams and help them to adopt Agile thinking and methods.  While I am pretty passionate about Agile and many of the team members are as well, I work with many team members who are afraid of Agile.  Why would people fear Agile if it is such a great thing?  Perhaps it isn't viewed as such a great thing by everyone.  Here are some reasons why they might fear agile and 'being... Read Full Post

Succeed with Scrum; Don't Break these 7 Rules

Is your organization undermining the benefits of Scrum without even knowing it? As an agile coach, I find that many of my clients today are trying to improve on their use of Scrum. Scrum is a simple agile framework that can be difficult to implement. For some, it is difficult because people continue to do things the same way with Scrum as they had done previously. Or they misunderstand or... Read Full Post

Scrum Teams Aren't Chickens and Pigs

People don't use the pigs and chicken metaphor in Scrum much anymore. I tend to agree with the reasons for avoiding it - it tends to create an Us vs. Them mentality. 

Us is the Scrum Team, or the pigs. The "committed" individuals who are responsible for delivering the... Read Full Post

Creating Conditions Favorable to High-Performing Agile Teams

In my previous post on High-Performance Teams, I shared a framework for team maturity from the Jon Katzenbach book, The Wisdom of Teams.  That post outlined 5 levels of team maturity and performance, with High-Performance... Read Full Post

Tips for an Effective Daily Scrum Meeting

I am working closely with some distributed Scrum Teams and seeing some challenges with the daily Scrum Meeting.  They are probably typical challenges for all new Scrum teams and include some habits developed over years of using other processes.  These habits are harder to break because these teams are distributed and reliant on phones or Skype to communicate.

The key person to help the... Read Full Post

Fear Has to Go for Agile Teams To Succeed

How pervasive is fear in our workplaces? Take a moment and think about your own company. Are people mostly fear free, or mostly fearful?

I ran into fear recently when working with a client new to Agile. We were talking about how Agile worked with teams. A team member asked a simple question that provided some insights into their thinking. He asked what was the punishment for teams that... Read Full Post

On The Benefits of Long-Standing Teams

If your goal was to create a high-performance team, would you keep changing the team members or would you keep the team members stable?

Most organizations take the former approach. They move people around from one team to another without much consideration for the impact on team performance. Or they assign the same person to multiple teams. They don't treat teams as more than the sum of... Read Full Post

Hey Mersino, You're Not Their Jira Lackey!

A few years back my son was playing as the catcher for his high school baseball team. There had just been a close play at first base, and my son was picking up the bat for the opposing team and returning it to their dugout. It seemed like a nice thing to do, so I was surprised and won't soon forget when his coach yelled out "Hey Mersino, you're not their bat boy".  The coaches... Read Full Post

What is the "Exit Criteria" for Agile Coaching?

This question about exit criteria for Agile coaching came up in a recent Agile Meetup. Participants wanted to know how to determine when coaching is no longer needed. I flippantly responded with “when the budget runs out”, because that seems to be when most organizations stopped coaching.

One Meetup participant (who I previously coached) responded that the need for coaches is ongoing.... Read Full Post