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SPaMCAST 520 features our interview with Doc Norton. We talked about his new book Escape Velocity, measurement, and why velocity isn’t generally a good measure for teams. By the time teams get to a point where story point velocity is consistent and predictable, they will have better tools that have fewer negative side effects.

Doc’s Bio

Doc Norton is passionate about working with teams to improve delivery and building great organizations. Once a dedicated code slinger, Doc has turned his energy toward helping teams, departments, and companies work better together in the pursuit of better software. Working with a wide range of companies such as Groupon, Nationwide Insurance, Belly, and JaTango, Doc has applied tenants of agile, lean, systems thinking, and servant leadership to develop highly effective cultures and drastically improve their ability to deliver valuable software and products.

A Pluralsight Author, Clean Coders contributor, frequent blogger, international keynote speaker and coach, in his spare time, Doc has been working on his latest book, Escape Velocity: Better Metrics for Agile Teams. You can find his book on LeanPub at www.leanpub.com/EscapeVelocity

Twitter: @DocOnDev

Web: http://docondev.com/

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Re-Read Saturday News
This week we continue on our journey through Bad Blood, Secrets and Lies in a Silicon Valley Startup by John Carreyrou (published by Alfred A. Knopf, 2018 – Buy a copy and read along!) Today we tackle a single chapter.  Chapter 6, titled Sunny, introduces Ramesh “Sunny” Balwani to the story. Sunny, Holmes’ live-in boyfriend (the stress on the live-in part is to shine a light on just how close Holmes was to Sunny), adds another layer of toxicity to the Theranos story. The toxicity feels extraordinary but is not that uncommon when teams break down.  

Current Entry:

Week 5 — Sunnyhttps://bit.ly/2AZ5tRq (more…)

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SPaMCAST 506 – Distributed Agile Teams, an Interview With Mark KilbySPaMCAST 506 features our interview with Mark Kilby.  Mark and I explored distributed agile teams. Agile in distributed environments is doable, but it isn’t easy. Mark provides guidance and advice. Mark recently co-authored From Chaos to Successful Distributed Agile Teams with Johanna Rothman (LeanPub).

Mark’s bio and contact information:

MARK KILBY has cultivated more distributed, dispersed, and virtual teams than colocated teams for more than two decades. Currently, Mark serves as an agile coach with Sonatype, a “remote first” software development company focusing on automation of software supply chains. Previously, Mark led agile transformations, from startups to Fortune 500 companies. Mark also cultivates dispersed communities, such as Agile Orlando, Agile Florida, VirtualTeamTalk.com, and the Agile Alliance Community Group Support initiative.  Mark’s book, From Chaos to Successful Distributed Agile Teams, is co-authored with Johanna Rothman and is available now via http://markkilby.com  and https://leanpub.com/geographicallydistributedagileteams

Twitter: @mkilby

Linked In: linkedin.com/in/mkilby

Re-Read Saturday News

Week 2 of our re-read of The Checklist Manifesto by Atul Gawande (use the link and buy a copy so you can read along). Chapter 1 builds the case that the world we live in and the work that we do is very complex. Complexity creates the possibility for errors. Checklists are a tool to help avoid errors in complicated and complex environments.  

Current Installment:

Week 2 – The Problem With Extreme Complexity – https://bit.ly/2AGZQZX  (more…)

Consensus Decision Making Forever – Sometimes

Consensus decision making is a useful decision making framework, however, it is not the best way to make a decision in every scenario. The factors of decision making that impact use of the consensus approach making include: the requirement for speed, how frequently the decision is made, the potential impact of a decision, and information availability for a decision. Each of these factors can be used to determine when consensus decision making is most effective. (more…)

Shu Ha Ri


I spend several hours every week running – on purpose. I don’t run very fast, which means when I have the occasional fall because my mind wanders, I inflict very little damage to the ground. This is a preamble to letting you know that I have lots of time to think when I run (which is the reason the ground occasionally gets in my way). Recently I have been thinking about just how rigorously practitioners need to follow processes, methods, and frameworks and when it makes sense to tweak processes to fit the culture. (more…)


You Are NOT Alone!


Change is never easy when there is fear, the end state is unclear or the change threatens what made you successful in the first place.  Change is hard even now, when we are well into the agile age, with any number of second and third generation transformations going on.  However, many people are still being left behind because of the mistaken assumption that each agile framework is all or nothing.  In the first article in this theme, we postulated that five major categories are held up as no-go zones for agile.  Mainframe projects are one of the areas that have that have been held up as problem areas. (more…)


You have to measure to improve!

The nine most commonly cited reasons for an agile transformation range from coldly tangible to ethereal.  As we have noted, each of the reasons can berestated as a question(s) that can be answered quantitatively.  How the question(s) is stated provides clarity to the organization’s goal.  This is no different than the way acceptance criteria and test cases define the nuances and provide clarity to user stories.  Today, I’m presenting an example of how data can be used as a feedback loop to highlight misinterpretation of intent and provide an impetus for behavior change. (more…)

Picture of a two signs one pointing in one directions and the other . . . the other direction.

Which way to a good mentor?


A mentor is defined by the online version of Merriam-Webster as “a trusted counselor or guide.” As we noted in the article Coaching versus Mentoring, a mentor plays a fundamentally different role than a coach.  A mentor helps the mentee to grow and develop by transferring their experience over a relatively long period of time. A mentor can have an enormous impact on the trajectory of a person’s career. Even though mentors and mentees tend to have long-term relationships, those relationships will not be forever. Most professionals will have to establish relationships with several mentors over their career.  Understanding what makes a good mentor is an important piece of career knowledge.

Good mentors: (more…)

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