Clean Language – Know What Brings You Joy Richard Kasperowski interviews Andrea Chiou, an Agile coach based in Reston, VA. Andrea shares her thoughts on Clean Language and Systemic Modeling, knowing what brings you joy, and the strength that arises from our diversity. Connect with Andrea on Twitter and on her [...]
Steve Denning: Courage to Ignore Limits Richard Kasperowski interviews Steve Denning, author of The Age of Agile and contributor to Forbes.com. Steve talks about courage, openness to diverse viewpoints, and ignoring limits – working around the team’s constraints. Contact Steve at stevedenning.com, and check out his book, The Age of Agile, at kspr.co/theageofagile. [...]
Complementary Skills & Work Styles Richard Kasperowski interviews Wendy Wong, Senior Director of Product Management at Constant Contact. Wendy discusses opt-in team formation, complementary skills and work styles, and the right number of people on a team. Connect with Wendy at firstname.lastname@example.org. Join hundreds of high-performers and subscribe to Richard’s newsletter at [...]
Richard Kasperowski interviews Eugene Krylov, VP of Engineering at HealthEdge. Eugene discusses learning, short feedback cycles, and inviting your actual customers to your sprint reviews. Connect with Eugene at www.linkedin.com/in/ekrylov, visit HealthEdge at www.healthedge.com, and listen to HealthEdge’s CEO’s podcast. To support this podcast, sign up for my newsletter at kasperowski.com. [...]
Safe to Fail, Learn, and Grow Richard Kasperowski interviews Julie Bright. Julie is an Agile coach at Capital One. She introduces the concept of “going slow to go fast”. Julie and I chat about her experience with fostering an environment where it’s safe to fail, where it's safe to learn and grow [...]
When You Listen Better, Your Teammates Think Better Richard Kasperowski interviews Judy Rees. Judy is an author and an expert on Clean Language and distributed teams. Judy and I chat about attentive listening as the most important element of her best team ever. If you enjoy this conversation with Judy, be sure [...]
Love the Work You Do, Do the Work You Love: an interview with Sateesh Kamisetti Richard Kasperowski interviews Sateesh Kamisetti, a young team leader and Scrum Master. Sateesh’s personal vision is to continuously explore, improve, and see life with a new lens every day. He shares thoughts on individual and team growth, [...]
Jim and Michele McCarthy share the origins of the Core Protocols. The Core Protocols describe the behaviors of the best teams in the world. Jim and Michele observed teams in their lab and in industry until they understand the common behaviors that the best teams shared. The documented these behaviors and [...]
People on high-performance teams act like they’re in love with each other. Given the building blocks of high-performance teams, add the behavior patterns of connection, productivity, and error handling. Put it all together with behaviors from previous episodes, and you have the recipe for love (or friendship if you’re not allowed to [...]
Self-aware individuals are the building blocks of high-performance teams. This episode is a segment of Richard’s talk at Craft 2017 in Budapest. Self-aware individuals are the building blocks of high-performance teams. Richard shares information and activities to help you build self-awareness within yourself. View the session sides at www.slideshare.net/rkasper/highper…-core-protocols. [...]
Positive bias and freedom/autonomy are the foundations of high-performance teams. This episode is a segment of Richard’s talk at Craft 2017 in Budapest. Positive bias and freedom are the foundations of high-performance teams. Richard shares information and activities to help you embody these foundations with your team. View the session sides at [...]
An introduction to the science and research on high-performance teams This episode is a segment of Richard’s talk at Craft 2017 in Budapest. Remember what it felt like to be on the best team you were ever on in your life? Want to be able to do that again, on purpose, and [...]
How to build awesome relationships using the Core Protocols This is a workshop Richard facilitated at Heartspace Teachings in San Jose, CA, in July 2017. View the workshop slides at www.slideshare.net/rkasper/somethi…-fueled-by-love.
On May 1, 2015, a group of 16 people gathered at Crystal Lake near Seattle, Washington. We announced to the world that we feel. That we suffer and that we are responsible. That we want a world filled with abundant love and greatness. That we have been "booted" running a new operating system, the [...]
Here’s a great Scrum scaling pattern based on the pattern that one of my clients uses. They use this pattern to scale their 500 people into a very successfully business unit of a huge technology company. For each Product Backlog, there is one Product Owner (PO), one Scrum Master (SM), and up to four [...]
Are your Sprint Planning meetings painful? Are your Sprint outcomes always as great as you want? Have you ever held a Sprint Retrospective and decided to get your Product Backlog truly Ready? Here’s an outline of a Product Backlog Refinement Workshop I use with teams I manage and coach: Goals The goals [...]
Hi there! I'm so glad you visited! This blog focuses on learning activities that work in physical space. Want 15+ amazingly fun learning activities that work online? Then take a look at this article, Your Remote Team Actually Can Be Awesome. Enjoy! I love using games and interactive activities when I share Scrum and [...]
Welcome back to the Scrum Master Skills Series! In part 1, I shared my notes on how to facilitate a great Sprint Planning session. Here, in part 2, I share my notes on ho to facilitate a great Daily Scrum. Enjoy! INTRO Facilitate: to make facile, to make easy. That’s your job as facilitator. [...]
Which is better, Open Space Technology or Lean Coffee? We explored Open Space and Lean Coffee at QCon London 2014. We put 15 facilitated peer sharing sessions on the program. We thought we would hold a series of 15 short Open Spaces, each one focused on a different conference track, staggered throughout the day. The conference was three days long, [...]
Hi there! I'm so glad you visited! After you read this article, check out my courses, latest book, podcast, and other blog articles. Enjoy! Welcome to the Scrum Masters Skills Series! In part 1, I share my notes on how to facilitate a great Sprint Planning session. Enjoy! INTRO Facilitate: to make [...]
What is the manager’s role in an Agile team? In the typical Agile training class, we learn about Scrum’s three roles: Product Owner, Development Team member, and Scrum Master. Where do managers fit in? Should managers be afraid that their job title isn’t part of Scrum? What is a manager, anyway? In industrial management [...]
This is a transcript of the pecha kucha I shared at Give Thanks for Scrum 2013 in November. My slides are here. I’m Richard Kasperowski. I’m an independent Agile coach and Open Space facilitator. I wasn’t sure what to say today, so I followed the advice on page 11 of the Scrum Guide and held a retrospective. I used [...]
I've been thinking about "the good life" a lot lately, inspired by reading John H. Bodley's textbook, Cultural Anthropology: Tribes, States, and the Global System. Bodley uses the term summum bonum in his discussion on the good life. He definessummum bonum as, "the maximum human good … as culturally defined". Bodley writes: ... in addition [...]
Who am I? I do great things with great people. I am a Business Transformation Coach, Agile Coach, and Open Space Facilitator. I help people, teams, and organizations understand what they have, discover and align around what they want, and transform from what they have to what they want. What is a coach? A coach [...]
What is the perfect job? I'm playing Perfection Game with myself. If I were to give my job a perfection rating, the criteria would be: I do great things with great people--my personal vision. I'm not doing mediocre things, and I'm not doing things with mediocre people. Everything else derives from this vision. (My vision [...]
Cancel your sprint. You'll be glad you did. I cancelled a sprint this week. We had begun building a new software increment, and we were on track to get it done. During the sprint, we discovered the limits of our approach, and shared what we learned with our customer. Our customer shared with their [...]
If my mom asked me, "What's Scrum?," what would I tell her? Here's my answer.Scrum is a way to take great ideas, turn them into a great product, and end up with happy people. Imagine a group of people doing something cool together, maybe inventing new tech product, or something else innovative that no one's [...]
Hi there! I'm so glad you visited! After you read this article, check out my courses, latest book, podcast, and other blog articles. Enjoy! Self-management and self-organization, or command-and-control: it's a deliberate choice for you and your team, not a default that you blindly accept. But what if your team [...]
Thanks to everyone who attended my session, "Radical Innovation: The Six Week Open Space Experiment," at Scrum Gathering Barcelona 2012 this week. My slides are here. My hope: each of you will hold Open Space when you return home. Will you email or tweet me your experience?
If you could only read one book on Agile, which would it be? What about two books? Three or more? Here is the Official Agile Reading List, the full list of recommended reading to get you Agile: Manifesto for Agile Software Development. Start here. Everything else derives from this. The Scrum Guide by Ken Schwaber and [...]
I build great software with great people. We need a great space in which to do it. For the last year, we’ve been experimenting with an open plan collaboration space. Instead of working as individuals in cubicles, we work together in a space with no walls between us. For the first six months, [...]
Perfection Ping Pong is derived from the Perfection Game, one of the McCarthy Technologies Core Protocols, and inspired by TDD Ping Pong. This game will support you in your desire to aggregate the best ideas with people who are available only via communication channels such as email and IM. Source: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Ping-Pong_2.jpg Player A and Player [...]
The Agile Games conference is great. I have the privilege of participating in this year’s conference as a facilitator. On Friday, April 20, I will lead a game session called “Self Management: 5 Games with Motion.” We’ll play kinesthetic games that explore command-and-control versus self management. These are some of the most outrageously fun games you’ll ever [...]
You opt in and show up at a meeting. You type an email to your boss. Or maybe you IM someone in another building. Sometimes you tweet something or send a text message. Would you do that if you were having dinner with a close friend? Would you act like your friend isn’t worthy of [...]
Six weeks of Open Space—it’s a new world record! I facilitated a six-week-long Open Space with my software development team. As far as we know, this is a unique experience: we are the only people in the world to have held an Open Space for such a long time. We pushed the limits of Open Space [...]
Want to kill your high performance agile dev team? Make it hard for them to deploy to Production. Set up a bureaucracy of approval gates, review boards, committees, and meetings. Make sure they miss their deadlines and disappoint their customers. Control them until they can't get anything done. Don’t let them [...]
My Product Owner is my business owner. He deserves all the credit when we succeed, and all the blame when we fail. He has the most important role in my Agile team. He should be the highest paid, because he takes the greatest risk: if he fails, he’s fired. So says Mike Dwyer, and I agree. [...]
Once upon a time, the team was having trouble getting things Done. We asked why, five times. We found a root cause: we struggle to get backlog items Done because we aren't Ready on sprint planning day. So we brainstormed a Definition of Ready. We use it as a checklist to ensure we understand each backlog item well [...]
Dear Future Product Owner, Congratulations on your new job. I want you to play a strong Product Owner role. I am excited about this. We haven’t had a strong Product Owner. The backlog is yours. You define it: you tell us what you want, and you understand what our customers want. You prioritize it: you [...]
A colleague writes: Is Information Overload Wasting 40% of Your Time? In general, multiple studies have indicated that >50% of people feel like they are experiencing "Information Overload”. At the more detailed level, Basex (a consulting firm that focuses on this area) derived the following from a survey intended to determine “How does a typical [...]
Playing well together is important: communicating, learning, sharing, getting things done. Our native culture shapes how we think, how we behave, and how we perceive our coworkers. Geert Hofstede is a master of understanding culture. In his book, Culture’s Consequences, 2nd ed., he shares the data and analysis of many years of research on national cultures. [...]
Happiness is important.Happiness is a leading indicator of your team’s success. Many economists think a happiness metric is more important than GDP and other metrics. Want to knew whether your team is happy--whether your team is trending toward success? Play this game, and find out. Rock-paper-scissors Happiness In this game, team [...]
High tech andon lights are great. Your build breaks, your tests don’t pass, a server goes down, and the bright red light goes on. The team swarms, someone fixes the build, and the light goes green. It’s all good. But it takes some technical effort to set up that magic red/green light. Why not go low [...]
Lean optimization: a case study (Alternate title: Lean optimization of the home brewery) Subtitle: Why does my back hurt? (Alternate subtitle: How to convince my wife I need a kegerator) Beer is good. Homebrew is better. I don’t brew often enough, but when I do, my back hurts the next day. I must be [...]
Here are some highlights from the amazing Agile Games 2011 conference . First, my major themes from the event: Learn Fast, not Fail Fast Teach People Early, not Disappoint People Early Luke Hohmann of Innovation Games gave a rousing inspirational keynoteabout how awesome it is to work on software. One key problem he noted is that we don’t talk to our customers [...]
I’ll be dead soon. I’ve been out in the cold rain for three hours. Hypothermia is setting in. You try to sell me a mansion. You show me the plot plan and the floor plan; you did a lot of planning up front. You brag about the foundation, firm and solid, ready to last [...]
led two sessions at this year’s Mobile Camp Boston on February 19: one on mobile consumer identity, and the other on agile software development. Give them what they want: mobile consumer identity We talked about knowing your mobile customers. The most important question for you to ask your customers is, would [...]
We do a series of sprints to build our product, then we do 4-8 weeks of hardening sprints to really test our code and get the bugs out before we deploy it in production. Guess what? You’re not Agile, and you’re not doing Scrum. You are using the jargon, maybe because it’s fashionable, or [...]
The programmers write new code so fast, the testers can’t keep up. It’s like shooting a fire hose into a straw. It doesn’t matter how fast the programmers shoot new code out of the fire hose, because the testers have to get it all through the straw before we can say it’s Done and deploy [...]
Pay people enough that they don't have to worry about money, and they'll perform well. Don't bother with monetary incentives beyond that. Want people to perform better? Establish an environment that encourages masteryand purpose. That's the essence of this great video from the nice people at the RSA.Thanks to Jeff Sutherland for the pointer.
What is the ideal sprint length? I've been thinking about this a couple of ways. First, what is your definition of Done? For my teams, Done means, concisely, it can be deployed in production, and people can use it world-wide. Then, think about your minimum batch size. How much work do you have to do [...]
Done is the crux of doing Agile well. You can do all the Agile activities--the iteration planning, the daily standup, the burndown--and still suck. But if you focus on getting things Done, two things happen. First, you start to actually get stuff done, and you can recognize your success. Second, when you don't get stuff done, [...]
At the Scrum Gathering in Orlando, we talked about company management as an impediment to the adoption of Agile and Scrum within organizations. Within the Scrum/Agile community, we are all believers and advocates. We network within our community. We publish data that support the adoption of Agile and Scrum, and we trust the data because [...]
Don't change In parts one and two of this three part series, I explored that you need to be prepared and that finding a job is your job. Before you needed a job, you were doing a lot of things right. Why stop now? Keep doing the things that made you successful in the past, and you’ll be [...]
Finding a job is your job In part one of this three part series, we explored that you need to be prepared. Part two is about the fact that finding a job is your job. Don't act like you don't have a job, because you do. You don't get a paycheck for it at the end of the [...]
Motivation I am a loser, a good for nothing jobless scum.Not really, but that’s how I sometimes felt when I was looking for a job. Are you looking for work? Are you good at it? How long will it take for you to find a job?I left a job I loved to join a small promising [...]
Your dev team sucks. Use Agile software development for mobile, and be awesome. That was my pitch Saturday morning at MobileCampBoston3. I led a session later that day, titled "Agile for Mobile." I introduced Agile, explained some of its rationale, and identified some of the Agile frameworks. I talked a lot about Scrum and a little about XP. I [...]
I am now officially a Certified Scrum Practitioner. So what? So it signifies that my peers recognize that I understand Scrum pretty well. The certification shows I have actually applied Scrum for real, on a real project, in a real organization, for real stakeholders. It's not a big deal, really. It's just a token from an independent [...]
Anyone can write code, but how do you effectively lead a team building an excellent software product? To guide your team to greatness, you have to be a great technical leader. A great tech leader does three things: know what to build, help the team build it, and help the team continuously improve. [...]
am doing two presentations today at the Scrum Gathering: Sneaky Scrum, a way to sneak Scrum into your organization From AnyCo to AwesomeCo: A Case Study in Scrum Transformation Enjoy!
I will be presenting at this year's Scrum Gathering in Orlando, March 8-10. My first presentation is Sneaky Scrum, a Pecha-Kucha, on March 9 at 8:00 in Sanibel 1 & 2: Does your organization resist Scrum? Is your boss afraid of Scrum because of the strange jargon and lack of big up front planning? Do your developers [...]
Every wonder how many Certified Scrum people there are? The Scrum Alliance web site has the answer. Scrum Alliance lists the names of all the registered certificate holders at http://www.scrumalliance.org/training. If I count correctly, these are the numbers, as of January 13, 2010: CSM CSPO CSP CSC CST Registered practitioners 53,990 3,558 908 23 105 There is [...]
The Scrum Guide is the definitive guide to Scrum. It precisely summarizes and hones the canonical sources from earlier this decade: Ken Schwaber's books, Agile Software Development with Scrum and Agile Project Management with Scrum (affiliate links). The Scrum Guide is hosted at scrum.org under the aegis of Ken Schwaber and Jeff Sutherland.
Are you doing Scrum, or are you doing Scrum-But? Many teams use the Nokia Test to evaluate their Scrumness. Bas Vodde presented the original Nokia Test in 2006; he used it as a simple way to evaluate the Agileness of development teams at Nokia. In 2007, Jeff Sutherland adapted the Nokia Test to Scrum. Ken Schwaber recently developed a more comprehensive Scrum assessment. [...]
Nokia has a great reputation in the Agile community. Why can't we be as good as Nokia? It turns out we can. Here's my presentation from the Nokia Agile Community Autumn Meet 2010 conference in Helsinki, held on December 7. Use the Nokia Test, a simple value stream map, and Theory of Constraints, and you can transform your dev team from [...]
I presented Winning Clients with Scrum and Agile last night at ICCA Boston. Thanks to Norm for inviting me.
Ken Schwaber presented "Flacid Scrum--A New Pandemic?" last night at the Agile Bazaar. Ken's talk was a one hour overview of Scrum, with the point that if it's ScrumBut, then it's not Scrum. Scrum works because it exposes organizational impediments to success, not despite exposing impediments. Don't adapt Scrum to your organization's dysfunctions; correct them!
Michael de la Maza presented "Learning Agile via Agile Games" at Wednesday night's Agile Boston meeting. We played some fun games that would have been impossible to win if they weren't fun and if we didn't communicate with each other face to face. One of the games was a brief Planning Poker exercise. Michael's point was that one of [...]
When is it Done? How do you know? Does your Product Owner agree? Does your customer agree? When we estimate user story size and sprint task effort, we ask ourselves how we will know when a task or a story is done. We make a list of doneness tests, and we call them acceptance criteria. In the spirit of Mike Cohn's user story template, we use [...]
Michael James of Danube recently published the Scrum cheat sheet on Refcardz. Download it, read it, and live it--it's good!
Agile for mobile These are my notes from a presentation I gave Saturday at MobiCamp Boston 2. The pitch ... or maybe it's in the product development, too Software engineering is where you spend most of your effort, time, and money when you build your mobile app Scrum can help control your software engineering effort/time/expense [...]
These are my notes from a presentation I gave Saturday at MobiCamp Boston 2. The pitch You are building a mobile app You want it to be successful How do you do that? Is there something in product development that you can control? Of course, but we all know how to build a great app, so [...]
Donald Sull recently discussed three styles of management, with management by commitments as the winner, and management by process the runner up. I agree: these are key aspects of Scrum, and two of the reasons Scrum works. Sull's first style management is managing by power hierarchy. This is the old command-and-control style of management. This [...]
The question is a cliche among agile teams: what does Done mean? I recently heard a number of responses from two teams: It works so well we are willing to give it to the customer. I like this definition. These team members are proud of their work and are focused on pleasing the customer. The pilot has landed the airplane [...]
Mike Cohn writes that there should not be a release backlog. He has impeccable timing, given my recent post defining the term Release Backlog . I disagree with Mike. Release Backlog is a useful tool for my teams. I won't argue with Mike point by point because Mike's context is different from mine. He suggests that the context of [...]
Two team members asked, "What does 'release backlog' mean?" I drew this Venn diagram, and they both understood: Everything: The universe contains all possible product requirements. Most of them will not be included in our product. Product backlog: The product backlog contains the subset of all possible product requirements that we agree could be included in our [...]
I am now officially a Certified ScrumMaster, registered with the Scrum Alliance.
I spent two days last week at Jeff Sutherland's Certified ScrumMaster class. Jeff is one of the creators of Scrum. He is an excellent teacher with high caliber experience, not just applying Scrum, but applying Scrum well. I highly recommend Jeff's class to everyone interested in doing software development well.
First he butters me up: "As one of my best managers, I thought I'd get some advice..." Then he makes a genuine request for help: "... on how perhaps my company should structure one of their processes... in particular, team meetings" I offer a snarky response: "Meetings suck. Avoid them." And then I get interrupted [...]
Is the milk in your refrigerator safe to drink, or is it rotten? Open the bottle and take a sniff. If it stinks, it's probably rotten. You don't have to taste it. You don't have to drink a pint of it and see whether you get sick. You know immediately that it's no good. Throw [...]