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Blog Post

The Next Scrum Frontier - Developing the Company as the Product

April 14, 2023
Agile was born in software development and has been widely adopted in IT and Product organizations to the point that there's little argument that product/technology organizations should operate using agility principles. More recently, other functions, such as Marketing, have adopted these agility principles and practices. These are useful stopgap measures on the journey toward real organizational agility. The next frontier in expanding the scope of agility is tackling the complex challenge of developing the company as the Product people use Scrum to manage.
Blog Post

The Future of Agile Roles != The Future of Agility

January 26, 2023
The story of Capital One laying off hundreds of people in Agile roles is making the rounds. I have no direct connection to Capital One, so I can’t comment about what’s going on there. I'll just say that based on what I hear from people who've been involved, the reality is more complex than it seems on the surface. Check out my thoughts about the future of agile roles and agility in general.
Blog Post

Fixing OKR Theater Using Agile/Scrum Principles

November 1, 2022
Many organizations are trying to improve the alignment between strategy and execution with the OKRs framework (Objectives and Key Results). There’s good intent there, but more often than not, looking under the hood, you notice:  OKRs that look more like tasks than strategic objectives – especially by the time they reach working teams OKRs are used to micro-manage teams and individuals rather than empower and enable them.  Too many OKRs are set without any respect/consideration of the ability to deliver them sustainably while dealing with other work in the organization. Defining OKRs and then forgetting about them until it's time to grade them. (Even worse, some organizations don’t even bother with a serious consideration of how they did on their OKRs…)  These are smells of "OKR Theater" or "OKRs in Name Only."
Blog Post

Improving Private Equity Outcomes using Agility / Evidence-based Operating Systems

October 13, 2022
In this article, I’ll explore the need for and the attributes of an agile business operating system related to Private Equity (PE) portfolio companies. It hopefully helps leaders of such companies and PE professionals focused on the operations side expand their perspective on what “Agile” and "Agility" mean in their world and how they can help them improve returns realized in their investments. 
Blog Post

Implementing the Scrum Master Accountability - Organizational design/Leadership Considerations

July 15, 2022
Are Scrum Masters here set up for success? Are they “leaders who serve”? Which of the Professional Scrum Master choices/stances can they choose from? Are they a core aspect of our organization's approach to leadership/management? Are they an afterthought to get a higher score on an agile maturity assessment or some RFP? Are they respected, and appreciated by the people they serve? Are they in high demand? Implementing the Scrum Master accountability effectively is hard. It ties straight into creating a servant leadership and self-managemement/empowering culture in which business agility thrives. These are some of the questions leaders should be asking and thinking about.
Blog Post

Scrum Guide for Leaders - Supporting the Scrum Accountabilities/Roles

October 25, 2021
We started the Scrum Guide for Leaders series with a discussion of what Scrum means for you as a Leader. Next, we discussed the conditions where Scrum's Empiricism, Self-Management, and Continuous Improvement can thrive. We then explored some concrete examples of how adopting the Scrum Values as a Leader can help you create these conditions.
Blog Post

Scrum Values - The Leader's perspective

October 21, 2021
As mentioned earlier, Scrum is founded on empiricism - transparency, inspection, and adaptation. Empiricism is only possible in certain cultures and contexts. Leaders have the role of creating and nurturing the culture and shaping the context.
Blog Post

Advanced Scrum Product Ownership - Riding Dinosaurs

July 2, 2020
I've been using a visualization that people find useful for understanding the relationship between the various Lean/Agile requirement containers. Some people call the full model a dinosaur. Others are reminded of the snake who ate an elephant from "The Little Prince". (I'm sure there is a good connection to elephant carpaccio somewhere in here ...). In this article I'll explore this model and connect it to the stances of the Scrum Product Owner. 
Blog Post

The Kanban Perspective on Teams

April 16, 2019
The comparison between Kanban and Scrum obviously comes up often when we're talking to teams, especially in the context of Professional Scrum with Kanban. While they are more similar than many practitioners realize, one key difference is the perspective on Teams. 
Blog Post

Improving SAFe Through Professional Scrum

November 7, 2018
The Scaled Agile Framework (SAFe™) is one of the most popular approaches to applying agile at scale out there. SAFe's perspective is that "Nothing beats an Agile Team" and it doesn't try to reinvent the wheel or even innovate too much when it comes to the Team level
Blog Post

The Increment Is Dead

October 2, 2018
If you’re a veteran of the software industry, you probably remember those days where we released to production/GA every couple of months. Heck, many of the companies I meet these days still work that way.
Blog Post

Limiting Work in Progress (WIP) in Scrum with Kanban - What / When / Who / How

May 11, 2018
One of the key Kanban practices is Limiting Work in Progress. If you want to be pedantic, actually what this practice aims for is Reducing and stabilizing Work in Progress. This improves flow, provides predictability, and is actually even more important for creating a pull-based Kanban system than visualizing your workflow using a Kanban board. I worked with several clients that limited their WIP but didn't use Kanban boards. One could argue that maybe this practice deserves to be first in the list of Kanban practices, ahead of Visualization.