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Definitions provide several benefits. The first is that once a definition for an object or concept is agreed upon, it is far easier to have a discussion without getting confused. A second and equally important benefit is that definitions provide a platform for establishing attributes that can be used to describe the object or idea. Attributes are critical because even with a definition we need to communicate and measure nuances. Just think if you only had one word to describe rain or hot; a lot would be lost. Today we identify four basic attributes of flow. 

We will also have a visit from Tony Timbol who brings his “To Tell A Story” column to the podcast. In this installment, Tony and I talk about agile requirements. They really exist…really!

Re-read Saturday  News

This week we began our re-read of Coaching Agile Teams by Lyssa Adkins (SPaMCAST Amazon affiliate line https://amzn.to/38G0ZD3 buy a copy). I am re-reading my Kindle version of the book.  The front matter includes Forwards by Mike Cohn, Jim Highsmith, Acknowledgments, Introduction, and a section titled, About the Author. The main body of the book is in three parts comprised of 13 chapters. It is indexed — useful for reference books! I estimate 16 or 17 weeks to complete the re-read depending on my travel. Note: The Kindle edition of the book has not been updated and will not run on the Paperwhite Version 10 models, so we will re-read it on the iPhone and Laptop — I did not have a happy chat with Kindle support on this issue.  Wake up, Addison Wesley!

Read all of Week 1’s Entry https://bit.ly/3A1aNTe and next week we will cover Part 1, Chapter 1: Will I Be A Good Coach.  

Remember to buy a copy of Coaching Agile Teams by Lyssa Adkins and read along.

If you are still catching up on the re-read of Why Limit WIP are are all of the links”:

Week 1: Preface, Foreword, Introduction, and Logisticshttps://bit.ly/3iDezbp

Week 2: Processing and Memoryhttps://bit.ly/3qYR4yg 

Week 3: Completionhttps://bit.ly/3usMiLm

Week 4: Multitaskinghttps://bit.ly/37hUh5z 

Week 5: Context Switchinghttps://bit.ly/3K8KADF 

Week 6: Creating An Economy –  https://bit.ly/3F1XKkZ 

Week 7: Healthy Constraints – https://bit.ly/3kM8xqh 

Week 8: Focushttps://bit.ly/3PkE0hg 

Week 9: Awarenesshttps://bit.ly/3LBZfIl 

Week 10: Communicationhttps://bit.ly/39Tji7Q 

Week 11: Learninghttps://bit.ly/38HQNtJ 

Week 12: Epilogue and Final Noteshttps://bit.ly/3y3LH4M 

Next SPaMCAST 

Daniel Dorion returns to the podcast next week to talk about his new book, Throughput Accounting – Seeing Money Clearly. Daniel begins the Prologue of his new book with the statement “My aim is to have you think differently and lose your reflexes and cognitive biases that are the fabric of society.” You will have a lot to think about after you listen!

This week we began our re-read of Coaching Agile Teams by Lyssa Adkins (SPaMCAST Amazon affiliate line https://amzn.to/38G0ZD3 buy a copy).  The entire title is Coaching Agile Teams; A Companion for ScrumMasters, Agile Coaches, and Project Managers in Transition published by Addison-Wesley Signature Series copyright 2010. I am re-reading my Kindle version of the book. The front matter includes Forwards by Mike Cohn, Jim Highsmith, Acknowledgments, Introduction, and a section titled, About the Author. The main body of the book is in three parts comprised of 13 chapters. It is indexed — useful for reference books! I estimate 16 or 17 weeks to complete the re-read depending on my travel. Note: The Kindle edition of the book has not been updated and will not run on the Paperwhite Version 10 models, so we will re-read it on the iPhone and Laptop — I did not have a happy chat with Kindle support on this issue.  Wake up, Addison-Wesley!

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Focus On Flow

Definitions provide several benefits. The first is that once a definition for an object or concept is agreed upon, it is far easier to have a discussion without getting confused. A second and equally important benefit is that definitions provide a platform for establishing attributes that can be used to describe the object or idea. For example, if we were describing a flow of water, we could use direction, speed, and volume to describe and measure the flow. If we use Daniel Vacanti’s definition of the flow of software development and maintenance, “the movement and delivery of customer value through a process,” we can identify a common set of attributes that can be used to describe flow. Attributes are critical because even with a definition we need to communicate and measure nuances. Just think if you only had one word to describe rain or hot;, a lot would be lost.

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107 podcasts ago (just a little over two years ago) on SPAMCAST 601 I interviewed Brian Weaver of Torch.AI about leadership. Lots of things have happened since then, a pandemic, Europe in flames again and Torch.AI thriving.  It was great to touch base with Brian to talk about how his perspective as a leader has changed.  While not needed for this interview, I highly recommend listening to SPaMCAST 601 either before or after.  

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Completing a re-read is always bittersweet. Today we say goodbye to a friend, Why Limit WIP: We Are Drowning In Work. The final chapter is the Epilogue and interwoven are our final notes.  Next week we lay out the logistics for our next re-read of Coaching Agile Teams by Lyssa Arkins https://amzn.to/38G0ZD3

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SPaMCAST 707

In SPaMCAST 707 Susan Parente and I discuss the difference between leadership and management in her Not A Scrumdamentalist column. These two concepts are related but not the same. 

The votes are in!  The next three books for Re-read Saturday are:

Coaching Agile Teams by Lyssa Arkins https://amzn.to/38G0ZD3 

Extraordinarily Badass Agile Coaching by Bob Galen https://amzn.to/3wJsbtS 

Team Topologies by Matthew Skelton, Manuel Pais, and Ruth Malan https://amzn.to/3yXINzo 

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The votes are in!  The next three books for Re-read Saturday are:

Coaching Agile Teams by Lyssa Arkins https://amzn.to/38G0ZD3 

Extraordinarily Badass Agile Coaching by Bob Galen https://amzn.to/3wJsbtS 

Team Topologies by Matthew Skelton, Manuel Pais, and Ruth Malan https://amzn.to/3yXINzo 

While Bob Galen’s book topped the poll, we will re-read it after Coaching Agile Teams so that I have a chance to read it first (so I can actually call it a re-read).  Thanks to everyone who participated in the selection process.

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SPaMCAST 706 features a conversation with Tom Henricksen. Tom makes a strong case that ignoring soft skills will limit your ability to deliver real value. Tom says, “Humans Are Hard, Code Is Easy.”

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The bottom line to chapter 10 of Why Limit WIP: We Are Drowning In Work is simple (assuming you have been re-reading along); too much WIP interferes with learning. Without the time or inclination to experiment, the best scenario is learning by accident.  In Chapter 10, the author discusses how knowledge workers learn. The model is:

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Perpetuating the Metaphor

Flow is one of the most used words in agile and lean (and there are a lot of overused words in the field). Even though the word is used by nearly every practitioner multiple times a day there are very few solid definitions. Instead of definitions, most practitioners have a notional understanding of what the word means in software and software-related disciplines but often revert to metaphors when challenged. If I had a dollar for every reference to a river or traffic I would be able to outbid Elon Musk for Twitter. The term is used as a noun, verb, and adjective (I am sure someone has an example of flow used as an adverb but I have to hear it yet).

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