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In SPaMCAST 560 we complete our wide-ranging interview with Al Shalloway.  We continue our conversations about the troubles dogging classic agile, the Agile Industrial Complex, using a scientific approach to change, and FLEX.  I recommend that you listen to SPaMCAST 559 before listening to this week’s podcast.  (more…)

They that control work entry, control the world!  While the statement is a bit grandiose, controlling work entry has a huge impact on both the value a team delivers as well as its physiological health.  Not allowing overt control of work entry though saying yes or no (or their alter egos, now and later) turns teams into liars. Yes stops being an affirmation or decision to proceed with any alacrity.  Three non-yes yeses are: (more…)

The Scrum Guide states the Daily Scrum is an event which the Development Team plans work for the next 24 hours.  Far too often teams are working on a mixture of items that are not related to each other or are assigned to team members which locks in boundaries between people.  The day-to-day microplanning envisioned by the authors of the Scrum Guide slip through the team’s fingers and land directly on sharing status especially when driven by the classic three questions: (more…)

Sometimes doing what book says is out of the question!

When a Daily Scrum or daily stand-up are not used for micro-planning and collaborating to achieve the team’s goal, they are occurring for a reason.  Those meetings are scratching some other itch than planning, an itch that however unagile is often defended. When the goal of a daily meeting is something other than group planning there are more efficient and less expensive approaches even for highly agile teams to address status and have a social event. (more…)

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SPaMCAST 558 features our essay Story Points – Leave Them, Don’t Love Them.  Story Points are not evil and they may be useful in some circumstances. But like most tools, at some point, they lose focus. They have outlived their usefulness, therefore, I will leave them when at all possible.  

This week, Jeremy Berriault brings his QA Corner to the podcast.  We talked about focus. How much focus is enough and how much is too much? Mr. Berriault has an opinion and stories to back his opinion up.  (more…)

Book Cover


In Chapter 15 of Thinking, Fast and Slow we explore two types of fallacies. Logical and conjunction fallacies can impact any process improvement effort, typically in a manner that does not benefit change. 

The central plot device in this chapter is an experiment performed by Kahneman and Tversky that asked sets of respondents to rank attributes by representativeness and another group to rank by probability. The experiment begins with a description of the person, Linda,  (similar to the experiment at the center of Chapter 14). A set of statements about Linda’s potential profession is then listed. In this case (as compared to the experiment in Chapter 14), there are items in the list that require the application of logic to judge. For example, one item is “Linda is a bank teller” and a second is “Linda is a bank teller and is active in the feminist movement”. The lightbulb moment from the experiment was when there are two items that have a logical relationship, respondents distinguished between the two based on the story System 1 constructs.  (more…)

Every Day?


Daily Scrums or stand-ups are a fixture of teams, agile or not, whether they are fulfilling goal identified in the Scrum Guide or not. The Scrum Guide identifies the Daily Scrum (often colloquially known as a stand-up) as one the key events in Scrum.  The purpose of the event is to plan work for the next 24 hours. The meeting are short, approximately 15 minutes, therefore don’t feel like a huge investment of time and money. Wrong!  An agile coaching colleague, Anthony Mersino points out that the Daily Scrum has a cost.  His estimate of $60,000 – 110,000 annually for a typical Scrum team is probably conservative if you factor in the impact of gathering time and getting coffee afterward. Done well there is an offset to the cost.  The value of the meeting comes from micro-planning and collaboration that occurs during the stand-up. The issue is that Daily Scrums or stand-ups don’t always make sense, at least the daily part. Don’t spend the money for a daily stand-up meeting when: (more…)