Much has been written on the distinction of being agile versus doing agile. The crux of being agile is embracing the values and principles that underpin agile. Those values and principles are compiled in the Agile Manifesto and have been tweaked and restated many times, but they boil down to the same basic ideas. Organizations that cherry-pick or decide that culture that is inferred by the values and principles are only for parts of the organization will not get the value they are looking for. That is a failure in adoption not a failure of agile culture. Helping an agile team interface with a waterfall organization is the same as asking can we be agile when everyone around us is doing something different. The answer is sort of.  So far in this theme, we have explored two potential changes within the team’s span of control that can “help.” (more…)

Book cover: Tame your Work Flow

Tame your Work Flow

Self-knowledge is valuable to keep yourself reigned in, I really think Little’s Law is important. This week I needed to make sure I did not go overboard in discussing the ramifications of the theorem (I will include links at the end of this week’s re-read for those who want to go into depth). Chapter 3 of Tame your Work Flow is incredibly important for understanding the overall book. In your re-read spend the time needed understanding how the themes noted in the chapter title Flow Efficiency, Little’s Law and Economic Impact inter-relate. (more…)

Blackwater Falls

A waterfall precedes and follows rapids

Agile teams living in a waterfall organization can have a tough road to travel. The degree of difficulty is often a reflection of the team’s sphere of control.  As noted in An Agile Team In A Waterfall World,  there are four areas that need to be addressed if an Agile team is going to thrive in a waterfall environment.  They are:

  1. Prioritizing Work Entry (discussed in An Agile Team In A Waterfall World)
  2. Postponing Commitment
  3. Engaging Executives On Agile Values
  4. Value Chain Analysis


Book cover: Tame your Work Flow

Tame your Work Flow

Re-read Saturday, Tame you Work Flow Week 3:  Chapter 2—Postpone Commitment and Limit Work in Process

Today we tackle Chapter 2 in our re-read of Tame your Work Flow by Steve Tendon and Daniel Doiron. The chapter is titled Postpone Commitment and Limit Work in Process. Last we mentioned multitasking, this week we make a full assault on the topic. (more…)

Book cover: Tame your Work Flow

Tame your Work Flow

Today we tackle Chapter 1 in our re-read of Tame your Work Flow by Steve Tendon and Daniel Doiron. Chapter 1 lays out the four flows which the book explores in detail and begins a deep dive into the power of mental models. The Chapter also touches on one of the great evils of modern times — multitasking (I say that with no attempt at hyperbole).   (more…)

In celebration of blowing past my 100-mile running goal this month (I ran and hiked 200+ miles) taking the day off and organizing my desk. A quick reminder, we are in the middle of polling to determine the next book in the Re-Read Saturday Feature.  The four books we are trying to narrow down are:

  • Tame Your Workflow (Tendon and Doiron)
  • Great Big Agile (Dalton) 
  • Fixing Your Scrum (Ripley and Miller)
  • The Lean Startup (Ries)

Of the four, I have interviewed the authors of three of the books recently. If you need a bit more information before voting use the links at the end of this post to listen to the podcasts and then vote.  Otherwise, vote now!

The poll will be open until May 8th.  You may vote once a day if you really want to put your thumb on the scale.   (more…)

My bar for reviewing and recommending any book is brutally high.  I judge non-fiction books based on whether I can apply the ideas and concepts in real-life situations I face in my practice.  While I read a large number of books, very few make it to the blog or podcast (I do have a list though). Tame Your Work Flow hurdles the bar I have set up.  The book is very useful. What do I mean by useful? In this case, just this week I have used ideas from my notes I took while reading the book to help craft experiments to improve the flow of work for a client.  Two of the multiple powerful takeaways I have absorbed from Tame You Work Flow are: (more…)

Christmas Lights

Not everything is linear

Value Stream Mapping originated in manufacturing. The diagrams we all know love can be traced back to Charles Knoeppel’s book Installing Efficiency Methods (1918). The problem of lifting this technique directly from manufacturing is that in knowledge work there are more shared people and resources, variability in processing time and path, and changing requirements. Mapping this morass gets messy and often frustrating. Strategies for addressing two common issues, shared people and resources and variability in processing time, are described below: (more…)

River with old mill stones in it

Too much detail might like having a mill stone around your neck!

Value streams are an important tool for process change. Value streams present the big picture, they are a system thinking tool. There are several ways practitioners mess up the big picture and therefore lose value when generating value streams. Two of the most common are: (more…)

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SPaMCAST 565 tackles three ways to mess up sprint goals. Sprint goals are a statement of the value that teams strive to deliver.  It is possible to complete all of the stories or work items only to realize that the team has lost sight of the goal. Alternately, it is possible to meet the goal and not complete all of the stories. 

We also have a promo for the Agile Online Summit This year’s summit will be held October 7 – 11th — EVERYWHERE, it’s a virtual conference.  Visit the website to sign-up. The basic conference is FREE.

Rounding out the cast, we have a visit from Jon M Quigley with an installment of The Alpha and Omega of Product Development.  Jon talks about his two new books and product roadmaps.

Re-Read Saturday News (more…)