Book Cover

We will begin the re-read of L. David Marquet’s Turn the Ship Around! next week and I am stoked. Buy your copy and listen to the interview I did with Mr. Marquet (SPaMCAST 202) to get involved in the re-read.  I am going to lead the re-read from my copy from 2012 (7th printing).  The book has 29 chapters, not including the forward, a cast of characters, index, afterword, and a glossary. The book is an easy read because Marquet is such an excellent communicator.  My intent is to knock out the preface material next week and then begin delivering 2 chapters per week. If my estimating ability holds true, we will complete our re-read in 18 weeks.  I expect to miss two weeks due to travel.

I was introduced originally to David Marquet’s remarkable book by Bill Fox (Bill’s website is  Container 13.  Captain Marquet’s ideas of leadership have had and continue to have a major impact on how I lead and interact with everyone in my life.  Before we begin I want to say thanks to Bill for the introduction and thank you to David. If you have not read this book please buy a copy and dive in. I would also suggest checking out David’s Intent Based Leadership YouTube channel, Leadership Nudge, to reinforce the ideas in the book and to see the evolution of the ideas from Turn the Ship Around


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SPaMCAST 485 features essay titled “A Simple Checklist for Choosing a Mentor.” Everyone needs a mentor, but they are hard to find, and even when you find someone willing they might not be the right person!  Enter: a checklist!

Blog entries (in case you would rather read the entries) in our recent coaching/mentor theme include:

In the second spot this week, Jeremy Berriault will bring his QA Corner to the cast. We will discuss trusting your team. Trust is a huge deal, and unless it goes both ways it is not really trust.  FYI – Jeremy has recently moved the QA Corner to

Rounding out the cast, Kim Pries, the Software Sensei will return with the second part of his essay titled “Muddling Through.” The essay is based on the article, “The Science of “Muddling Through” by Charles E. Lindblom.  The article was originally published in 1959, but it still has an important message that resonates now.  Part One was originally published in SPaMCAST 477

Re-Read Saturday News

Before we wrap up our re-read of Daniel S. Vacanti’s Actionable Agile Metrics for Predictability: An Introduction (buy a copy today) remember that we will begin our re-read of Turn the Ship Around by L. David Marquet next week!  Buy your copy and listen to the interview I did with Mr. Marquet (SPaMCAST 202). If you want to get ahead, the book after that will be The Checklist Manifesto by Atul Gawande (I recently bought a copy and want to share what I have gotten out of it). Now on with the main attraction! (more…)

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SPaMCAST 469 features our essay on consensus decision-making.  Consensus decision-making is one of the most prevalent decision-making tools in organizations today. But, consensus decision-making has it plusses and minuses. We came to a consensus and decided to discuss the topic.

Our second column this week is from Kim Pries (The Software Sensei).  Kim revisits the topic of cognitive biases.  Biases can blind us unless we are vigilant. Kim’s advice is to ask for data rather than just allowing our biases to decide for us.

Our third column is via Steve Tendon, who will bring us part 2 (2 of 3) of our discussion of chapter 20 of Tame The Flow: Hyper-Productive Knowledge-Work Performance, The TameFlow Approach and Its Application to Scrum and Kanban  (buy a copy here).

Upcoming Appearances

Metricas 2017

I will be keynoting on Agile leadership and delivering one my favorite presentations, Function Points and Pokémon Go
29 November 2017
Sao Paulo, Brazil


e-Read Saturday News

This week we re-read Chapter 5 of Actionable Agile Metrics for Predictability: An Introduction by Daniel S. Vacanti. Chapter 5 is titled, Flow Metrics and CFDs. The chapter puts the ideas of flow metrics and the power of cumulative flow diagrams together to provide a boatload of information..  Buy your copy today and read along!

Previous Installments

Introduction and Game Plan

Week 2: Flow, Flow Metrics, and Predictability

Week 3: The Basics of Flow Metrics

Week 4: An Introduction to Little’s Law

Week 5: Introduction to CFDs

Week 6: Flow Metrics and CFDs

Dead Tree Book


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A Call To Action

I am looking for leaders of Agile PMOs for a special podcast and for background interviews.  Please contact me to discuss the topic at or


SPaMCAST 470 features the return of Ben Linders. Ben and I discussed his new book, What Drives Quality.  We explored the definition of quality, who owns quality and what teams can do to deliver quality.  If you are into excellence in value delivery, this interview will inform and delight you..  

Shameless Ad for my book!

Mastering Software Project Management: Best Practices, Tools and Techniques co-authored by Murali Chematuri and myself and published by J. Ross Publishing. We have received unsolicited reviews like the following: “This book will prove that software projects should not be a tedious process, for you or your team.” Support SPaMCAST by buying the book here. Available in English and Chinese.

You can’t make a consensus decision by yourself.

Consensus decision-making is occasionally viewed as a panacea; however, there are several potential shortcomings. Like most situations, knowing an issue is a major step to resolving the issue. (more…)

How to decide?

Consensus decision making requires a number of prerequisites to be effective.  The prerequisites include a common goal, trust, commitment, participation, facilitation and a decision-making process.  There are numerous documented processes for making consensus decisions, each tailored to a specific set of circumstances.

Clear Process

A clear process makes consensus decision making easier because the process ensures that all viewpoints have time to be examined.  Following a defined process tends to be most impactful when the team is new, membership is dynamic or the group is large.  In all of these cases, a process helps to control potential chaos. The following process flow is a synthesis of a number of methods for team level consensus decision-making. (more…)

So the answer is . . .

Consensus decision-making may be one of the most prevalent decision-making tools in organizations today.  Simply walk around and ask the denizens of cube farms and team spaces how they make decisions. My perception is that the increase in the prevalence of using consensus as a decision tool has paralleled with an increase in the use of Agile and teams as a significant tool to deliver value. Defining consensus decision-making is a critical first step in understanding how to harness the power of the technique. (more…)

There are four leadership concepts that can double the chances that your Agile transformation will be effective and stay that way! These four concepts are not new, but they require a degree of passion and constancy of purpose that are often missing. The idea of constancy of purpose was the first point in W. Edward Deming’s 14 points for management (Out of The Crisis – 1982 MIT Press) that has rewritten management and leadership philosophy across the globe. Deming’s philosophies form the bedrock for the Agile and lean revolution in which we are currently engulfed, so we ignore Deming at our own peril. Agile delivers great benefits, but those benefits require leadership and vision to provide motivation and constancy of purpose. The four cornerstones that define Agile leadership are:

  • A focus on behavior;
  • setting the bar high;
  • developing self-awareness; and
  • deploying measurement.