SPaMCAST 728 features a discussion with Anjali Leon and Nadezhda Belousova. We discussed their new model, Product Leadership Stances. One of my takeaways was how powerful the model was in helping to develop an understanding of product leadership and then highlighting gaps in how the role is practiced in organizations. 

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In SPaMCAST 726 Mr. Allan Kelly returns! We discussed the fact that backlogs often become dumping grounds. Allan suggested an energetic solution. We also discussed OKRs and whether they are related to backlogs. Are OKRs the chicken or the egg?

Allan Kelly advises and mentors managers and teams in using agile approaches and OKRs to accelerate delivery, meet deadlines, and execute against strategy. He believes these approaches benefit businesses and create more fulfilling work environments.

Allan is a keynote conference speaker and author of several books including “Succeeding with OKRs in Agile”, “The Art of Agile Product Ownership” and “Business Patterns for Software Developers”. He blogs at allankelly.net and can be contacted there or on Linkedin, https://www.linkedin.com/in/allankellynet/

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One of the most common problems teams face is starting more work than they complete. Neglected WIP is the gap between all the work you say you are working on and the stuff you are doing. The natural vagaries of office life can cause an item to get stuck due to someone being out sick or because your co-worker hit the lottery – stuff happens. A little might be ok, but more is bad. When neglected WIP passes that hurdle, real flow time will increase and velocity will slow. The combination of getting less work done and taking longer at it is a prescription for your stakeholders to start looking for torches and pitchforks.   

We also have a visit from Jeremy Berriault who brings his QA Corner to the podcast. In this installment, we discussed the QA Lead’s role in agile teams. So just what does a QA Lead do in an agile team . . . Jeremy has some ideas.

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SPaMCAST 723 features our essay on neglected WIP. Work that has been started and is now just sitting around is neglected. Running a team or organization above their natural level WIP for any length of time causes flow velocity (throughput) to slow and flow time (cycle time) to increase. When there is too much work, people try all sorts of techniques to get work done. Multitasking is the grandfather of them all and we all know how that turns out (need a hint – badly). In the end, all approaches to trying to do too many ends up with some things being juggled and ignored. That is neglected WIP.

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We are back with new content this week! The bears did not eat us as we trekked in three national parks. We did see bears but kept a respectable distance from them. Today the SPaMCAST 722 features an interview with Scott Showalter, Agile Career Accelerator. We discussed the definition of an agile coach. Building on that definition we wrestled with how to scale the business of agile coaching. 

Note – I mispronounced Scott’s name at the beginning of the interview, rather than re-record the faux pax, it triggered a great story so I left it in.

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The SPaMCAST is on a three-week hiatus. We will be back with new programming on September 25. In the interim, I asked the SPaMCAST columnists (Jeremy, Jon, Susan, and Tony) for a couple of favorite columns they delivered.  Today we have:

Jeremy Berriault from SPaMCAST 571 Jiu-Jitsu and Teams, Want to listen to the full podcast? http://bit.ly/2pCtlHI

Susan Parente from SPaMCAST 556 Agile In Name Only, Want to listen to the full podcast? http://bit.ly/2JRGTFk 

Tony TImbol from SPaMCAST 692  Agile Requirements, Want to listen to the full podcast?  https://bit.ly/3hng3WY

Enjoy!

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The SPaMCAST is on a three-week hiatus. We will be back with new programming on September 25. In the interim, I asked the SPaMCAST columnists (Jeremy, Jon, Susan, and Tony) for a couple of favorite columns they delivered.  Today we have:

Jeremy Berriault – Your Scrum Master Is Not Yout Team Admin from SPaMCAST 705 Want to listen to the full podcast?   https://bit.ly/3wXIguD

Tony Timbol – Agile Requirement Lifecycle from SPaMCAST 709 – Want to listen to the full podcast?  https://bit.ly/3OnjHyJ

Susan Parente – Virtual Agile from SPaMCAST 589 – Want to listen to the full podcast?  http://bit.ly/2PVUP59

Enjoy!

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Earlier this year I attended Agile 2022; It was a fantastic conference. One of the undercurrent themes was the use of OKRs (objectives and key results for the uninitiated) to enable agility, align organizations, and cure Covid. There is no such thing as a silver bullet, especially with the wide range of interpretations of what an OKR is and how to apply them. Luis Gonçalves retunes to the podcast to set us straight.  

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This week, Chapter 7 of Coaching Agile Teams by Lyssa Adkins. While observing and facilitating might be the most prolific coach activities, at times teaching takes front and center. As an experienced coach, I find myself slipping between different roles based on context. Teaching encompasses a wide range of behaviors, but the goal is always the same – to elevate the person or team you are teaching. Teachers are there to help PEOPLE to become better at something. My piano teacher in Waterloo, Iowa existed in my life to make me a better piano player, not a better dog walker or Agile Coach. In my role as coach-teacher, I have had to learn to focus on the immediate goal rather than possible knock-on effects. I recently sat in on conversations between two coaches that had been hired to a team test-driven development (TDD). Their sponsor wanted them to teach the team to have a more agile mindset under the guise of TDD. The goals are conflicting. To paraphrase a quote from Harry Potter, “they need to sort out their priorities.” In all teaching scenarios, clear and transparent priorities are critical to both building trust and success.

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Is the difference merely perspective?

Jeremy Willets and I recently facilitated a workshop titled, Managing Work Entry: How the Mushy Middle is Killing Your Agility (Path to Agility). Work entry is how work gets to an organization or team…not the sexiest topic in agile but it’s impactful. In the run-up to the conference, we previewed a version with a group of trusted colleagues and friends. Amongst the feedback was a comment, “don’t you mean work intake?” The short answer is no yet the path to that simple answer is a bit longer. Understanding why no is the right answer is important to foster understanding for anyone who wants to embrace agile or lean principles.

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