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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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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With SPaMCAST 701 we go back to basics. Whether you call that quick meeting to coordinate the day the Daily Scrum, Stand-up, or a huddle is not material. Daily coordination is phenomenally powerful and useful unless it isn’t.  Just making teams meet without benefit is a really bad idea.  What else can be done?

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This week Susan Parente and I had an extraordinary conversation about team leads in agile and leadership. In some cases, the role of a team leader is treated as if it were superfluous to requirements in other cases it is a tool to delegate work to people in an effort to subvert self-organization and when organizations get it right the role is a vehicle to unlocking the capabilities of teams.

Contact Susan at parente.s3@gmail.com or on LinkedIn at linkedin.com/in/susanparente

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This week we talked to Julianna Lamb, co-founder and CTO at Stytch about agile in start-ups, hybrid working, how to keep a product backlog under control, grow a business in the early 2020’s, and more. 

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Organizational design often collides with getting work done; generating friction that causes all manner of problems. No one goes out of their way to make things difficult, however poor operating metaphors and one size fits all solutions are never optimal. There is a way for agile and team leaders to coexist, but can you take that path?

Also this week, Jon M Quigley and his Alpha and Omega of Product Development column make time for the cast. In this installment, we talk about time (including a few time-related puns).

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In SPaMCAST 692 we discuss Process Improvement as a phrase or perhaps even a mantra. Uttering the phrase evokes all sorts of baggage and cognitive biases that affect behaviors, not always for the better. What are the listeners of the Software Process and Measurement Cast to do?  

We also have a visit from Tony TImbol who brings his “To Tell A Story” column to the Podcast. We dive headlong into the tangled world of user stories and agile requirements.  Tony also announces his new ebook on agile requirements.

Get your own copy!  https://bit.ly/3plyiAu 

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When I originally picked this book for the Re-read Saturday feature, I had not read it. However, I am now completing my second time through the book.  One of my reflections is that when I went through the book the first time, the Commitment Conversion was the most important conversation in the book. During my second run-through, I have actually used the Trust Conversation ideas more. I think this points to the fact that with books that you find useful the context or the timeframe or the environment that you’re in will directly influence what you pull out of the book. I think I’ve seen this a number of times when doing past rereads. We are relatively close to the end of this book and need to start deciding on what the next book in the series will be. Are there suggestions for which books should be in the next poll? 

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Chapter 4 of Agile Conversations by Douglas Squirrel and Jeffrey Fredrick tackles the fear conversation. Fears have a significant impact on what we think and how we behave. The changes that fear drives don’t stop at individuals, rather the behavior changes ripple through organizations. For example, fear is a major contributor to hybridizing frameworks (Fear Driven Agile Hybrids).

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Today we begin Year 16 with an interview, discussion, conversation — call it what you like — with Martin Foster.  We covered a ton of ground, including whether the goal of any organization should be to be more agile and the 2021 Business Agility Report. During one segment we discussed the statement, “the impediments are the path.” A wonderful and thought-provoking start to Year 16!  

ANNOUNCING: 

The Open Transformation Playbooks: https://transformationplaybooks.org/   

A (very new) initiative to build an open, remixable, body of knowledge for agile organizational transformation.  To accompany this episode Martin and TeamForm have launched the first tranche of content. 

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