Linking The Pipes

How work comes to a team and the decision process deciding which work to start is the definition of work entry. Every team has a work entry process. Work entry ranges from highly controlled (Scrum for example) to everyone for themselves. The term, work entry, doesn’t have the fuzziest, user-friendly feel to it, however, you ignore this process at your own peril.  It is the single most important determinant of whether an organization, team, or individual is going to embrace the ideals of the agile mindset. Understanding work entry requires grasping four concepts:

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Cue the music . . . Happy Birthday, Software Process and Measurement Cast!  Today we begin year 15 with a visit from Johanna Rothman.  We talked about her THREE new books:

Practical Ways to Manage Yourself: Modern Management Made Easy, Book 1 https://amzn.to/2LXKkiQ

Practical Ways to Lead & Serve (Manage) Others: Modern Management Made Easy, Book 2 – https://amzn.to/39Viwnj 

Practical Ways to Lead an Innovative Organization: Modern Management Made Easy, Book 3 – https://amzn.to/3qS90Z3 

We of course covered more ground.  For example about 2/3rds of the way through we talked about why the word experiment is a dirty word in most organizations. This is a longer interview, but when I grow up I want to be just like Johanna (I am serious).  Here is her bio:

Johanna Rothman, known as the “Pragmatic Manager,” offers frank advice for your tough problems. She helps leaders and teams do reasonable things that work. Equipped with that knowledge, they can decide how to adapt their product development.

With her trademark practicality and humor, Johanna is the author of 18 books about many aspects of product development. Her most recent books are the Modern Management Made Easy series, From Chaos to Successful Distributed Agile Teams (with Mark Kilby) and Create Your Successful Agile Project: Collaborate, Measure, Estimate, Deliver.

See all her books, blog, and other resources at jrothman.com and createadaptablelife.com.

The Software Process and Measurement Cast is a proud media sponsor of the DevOps Online Summit. 

Not to put too fine a point on it, one of the best ways to get your message heard is to speak.  The crew at the DevOps Online Summit provides a phenomenal platform to network with fellow practitioners from all over the world. Start the journey to speaking at the DevOps Online Summit 2021 by submitting at https://bit.ly/3syp2c5

Re-Read Saturday News 

Today we take on Chapter 7 of Great Big Agile, An OS for Agile Leaders by Jeff Dalton. In three more weeks, we will begin Fixing Your Scrum: Practical Solutions to Common Scrum Problems (it is time to buy a copy).

Remember, buy a copy and read along. 

This week’s installment can be found at http://www.tomcagley.com/blog

Previous installments:

Week 1: Re-read Logistics and Front Mattershttps://bit.ly/3mgz9P6 

Week 2: The API Is Brokenhttps://bit.ly/2JGpe7l

Week 3: Performance Circle: Leadinghttps://bit.ly/2K3poWy 

Week 4: Performance Circle: Providinghttp://bit.ly/3mNJJN7 

Week 5: Performance Circle: Envisioninghttps://bit.ly/2JEVXdt 

Week 6: Performance Circle: Craftinghttps://bit.ly/3ntsX69 

Week 7: Performance Circle: Affirminghttp://bit.ly/35OvFgC 

Week 8: Performance Circle: Teaminghttp://bit.ly/366CYk0 

Next SPaMCAST

User Stories and Tony Timbol will take center stage. User stories are ubiquitous in agile.  Getting them right is really important. Tony gives us some ideas to move the ball forward. 

Work-in-progress, work entry and “no” are highly interrelated. Not saying no generates a cascade failure that reduces efficiency, quality, and value, while at the same time increasing cost, time-to-market, and turnover.  Any way you slice an organization not judiciously saying no is a prescription for disaster. In the essay, Why Work Entry Is Important In Agile, we discussed the serious disruptions that occur when a team can’t or won’t control the flow of work to the team.  The uncontrolled flow of work causes: (more…)

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SPaMCAST 544 features our interview with Jeppe Hedaa.  Mr. Hedaa and I discuss his new book, Nucleon: The Missing Formula That Measures Your IT Development Team’s Performance. Our discussion centers on the book but also touches on meritocracy and why you want top performers on a team. This is a wide-ranging interview with thought-provoking ideas as we talk about Nucleon!

Jeppe’s bio:

Jeppe Hedaa has been working with complex systems development for more than 30 years, serving the largest IT development departments. He is the CEO and owner of 7N, who is an agent for top 3% IT specialists. 7N has departments in the US, Switzerland, Finland, Sweden, Norway, Poland, India and Denmark. In September 2018 he published the book “Nucleon: The missing formula that measures your IT department’s performance”, where he describes how to calculate a hard number for an IT team’s performance that could best be compared to that of horsepower in a car. In the book, he also measures the factors that hold back an organization’s delivery and identifies the most impactful areas for improvement.

Our review of Nucleon: http://bit.ly/2XQvB9T (more…)

Nucleon by Jeppe Hedaa is a short and concise book that is rich in thought-provoking ideas. To give you a sense of scope, the subtitle, “The Missing Formula That Measures Your IT Development Team’s Performance” speaks volumes. The book weighs in at 119 pages with front matter (always read the front matter), six chapters and eight pages of endnotes. I will admit that I am a sucker for grand unifying theories. I am still rooting for Stephen Hawking to posthumously pull a rabbit out of the hat (I sure hope someone is looking through Hawking’s personal papers). Mr. Hedaa, founder and CEO of 7N, developed the theory that team effectivity is a function of the sum of each person’s effectivity (the ability to be effective). Effectivity is a function of people, organizational, and complexity factors. Arguably the idea that people, organizational, and complexity factors influence effectivity is not controversial.  But, these factors can be consistently measured and then used in a deterministic manner to predict performance is controversial. Mr. Hedaa spends the six chapters of the book developing a logical argument based on experience and data for the premise that there are ways to measure the factors that matter and that knowing the answer matters to leaders that want to get the maximum value from the money they spend on software development (the broad definition that includes development, enhancement, and maintenance). The Nucleon formula is: (more…)

Book Cover

Today we begin the re-read of Thinking, Fast and Slow by Daniel Kahneman.  Not counting the endnotes, my copy has 448 pages and is comprised of an introduction, 39 chapters in five parts, and two appendices — if this were a blog the book would be approximately 41 separate entries, which is my current approach to the re-read (plus one week for a recap).  The chapters are, on average, relatively short, however, I am reticent to suggest out of the box that I will combine chapters during this re-read. Therefore, I am planning that this re-read to take 42 weeks. Kahneman’s writing, while engaging, is FULL over ideas that are useful for anyone that thinks of him or herself as a leader and change agent. As I noted last week, I will need your help calling out the parts of the book that resonates with you. If you do not have a favorite, dog-eared copy please buy a copy.  Use the links in this blog to books help to support the blog and its alter-ego, The Software Process and Measurement Cast. Buy a copy on Amazon. Now it is time to get reading!   (more…)

A diagnosis or patch?
A diagnosis or patch?

The majority of work entry problems are caused by eight problems. The eight problems often occur in clusters and are a reflection of organizational culture.  Knowing that there are eight problems is useful when they can be recognized. Unless people wear their motivations on signs hung around their neck, recognition requires conversation and observation.  Hints for recognizing the top eight work entry problems are:

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Work entry is a door into the inner temple!

The majority of work entry problems are caused by eight problems. The eight problems often occur in clusters and are a reflection of organization culture.  The eight are: (more…)


I have been vacillating between an intense discussion of Bad Blood and a terse and blunt statement about Theranos.  In the end, I took a middle path. If you want to dive into the detail again, grab the book and the follow our re-read through it.  If you want the later,  the bottom line is — sleazy company, bad board and sociopathic people at the top.  Now the middle path. (more…)

Rip Currents Are Complex!

We have been using the metaphors of heat death (controlling how people work to reduce variability to a negligible level) and gray goo (little or no control leading to process anarchy) to illustrate the impact of process control strategies. Neither extreme is a good idea. In most circumstances, every organization and team needs to find their own equilibrium spot. VUCA, an acronym for the attributes volatility, uncertainty, complexity, and ambiguity, describes four of the factors that define why organizations vary between strict control and laissez-faire approaches. (more…)