Psych Safety and Team EI: The Antidote to the Five Dysfunctions of a Team

December 2nd, 2021|

Photo by Joshua Hoehne on Unsplash My students are my best teachers. In a recent High-Performance Team Building™ class, my students asked some great questions. I had to pause, ponder, learn something new, [...]

Aligning for Success: Getting the Universe to Help You Pay Attention to What You Want

April 26th, 2018|

The Italian Job* My colleague mentioned, “By the way, I was thinking of Sicily, for the September conference.” Me: “Mmm… Where?” Colleague: “Southern island of Italy. Nice climate for the time of year, and I [...]

When and How to Pass – An Essential Protocol for Great Teams

February 20th, 2018|

Being part of a great team doesn’t mean showing up and being awesome about everything, every second of every day. Great teams aren’t formed from robotic supermen and women who never have conflicts, contradictions, or [...]

Origin of the Core Protocols – Inspiring High-performance Teams

January 17th, 2018|

My work with teams builds upon a body of knowledge developed across decades, applying the latest thinking to fundamental and well-tested theories of human behavior within groups. Repeatedly, and in many different settings and industries, [...]

Google Says Psychological Safety Is the Key to High Performance

November 29th, 2017|

Have you heard? Psychological safety is the key to high-performance teams at Google. Google is full of high-performers, both individuals and teams. Some teams at Google really stand out—they are the highest of the high-performing [...]

Building Great Teams with the Core Protocols, the Tuckman Model, and Google’s Psychological Safety

April 14th, 2016|

I’ve been on tour, sharing my Building Great Teams with the Core Protocols class and talk all over North America and in London. And I’m honored and grateful for the positive reviews, reflections, and [...]

How to Facilitate a Great Sprint Planning Session (Scrum Master skills series)

March 7th, 2014|

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, [...]

Business Transformation Coach, Agile Coach, and Open Space Facilitator

July 22nd, 2013|

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 [...]

Don’t suck at meetings

January 31st, 2012|

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 [...]

Dear Future Product Owner

August 23rd, 2011|

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. [...]

Stop wasting your time: use Agile

August 16th, 2011|

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 [...]

Low tech andon: it’s all green

May 11th, 2011|

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. [...]

People need mastery and purpose, not bonuses

June 29th, 2010|

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 [...]

Sprint length: it’s all about batch size

June 17th, 2010|

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 [...]

If You’re Not Done, You’re Not Agile

June 10th, 2010|

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’re a loser. Get a job! (Part 3 of 3)

May 18th, 2010|

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 [...]

You’re a loser. Get a job! (Part 2 of 3)

May 11th, 2010|

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’re a loser. Get a job! (Part 1 of 3)

April 27th, 2010|

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 [...]

How to be a great tech leader

April 1st, 2010|

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 [...]

How many registered Certified Scrum people?

January 19th, 2010|

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 If I count correctly, these are the numbers, [...]

Scrum Guide

January 12th, 2010|

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 under [...]

How’s your Scrum?

December 17th, 2009|

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 [...]

Ken Schwaber’s Flacid Scrum

June 19th, 2009|

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 [...]

Learning Agile via Agile Games

May 29th, 2009|

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 [...]

Acceptance criteria template

May 25th, 2009|

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 [...]

Scrum reference card

May 4th, 2009|

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

March 25th, 2009|

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 [...]

Mobile success factors: how to succeed, how to fail

March 24th, 2009|

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 [...]

Is It Done?

March 9th, 2009|

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 [...]

Why there should be a “release backlog”

February 16th, 2009|

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 [...]

Release backlog

February 9th, 2009|

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 [...]

Certified ScrumMaster

January 26th, 2009|

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 [...]

Meetings suck

December 17th, 2008|

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 [...]

Stink test

August 20th, 2008|

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 [...]

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