Could You Win a Nobel Prize for Slacking Off?

  Before it was an app, “slack” was already a useful word. As a verb, it meant to take things easy and even be a bit lazy, but the noun hints at its more exciting possibilities: an empty piece of time or space where unknown things can occur. A bit of surplus time in your [...]

By |2021-07-11T15:57:11-04:00July 13th, 2021|Uncategorized|0 Comments

What Does It Take to Have a Great Agile Team?

An interview with Richard Kasperowski on High-Performance TeamsStephen Harrison: Let me introduce Richard Kasperowski. Richard and I worked together a while back and have been friends ever since. Along the way, Richard has become a recognized expert in an interesting and relevant field. SH: Richard, welcome. Thanks for taking time to chat. Richard Kasperowski: Thank [...]

By |2021-04-14T17:49:02-04:00April 15th, 2021|Uncategorized|0 Comments

Want to Know More About High-Performance Teams?

Want to Know More About High-Performance Teams? Hi, friends! We did a webinar on high-performance teams a while back. In case you missed it, here are the video and slides: I wanted to make sure we answered everyone’s questions, so here we [...]

By |2021-01-12T08:20:18-05:00January 12th, 2021|Uncategorized|0 Comments

Your Remote Team Actually Can Be Awesome

Cue the piano: If you don't want to see me... I did a full one-eighty, crazy Thinking ‘bout the way I was - from Dua Lipa’s “Don’t Start Now” I did a full one-eighty in my teaching, coaching, and consulting work. As recently as March, I advised clients that if they care about the product [...]

By |2021-05-17T20:43:36-04:00December 3rd, 2020|Uncategorized|0 Comments

Wicked Problems, Wicked Opportunities: Mindset and Perspective

Joanne Stone and I recently had a great conversation about wicked problems. I love the word wicked. It’s a wonderfully positive word in my native New England vernacular. We use it to amplify or express the superlative of an idea: a wicked good movie, wicked awesome lobster dinner, a wicked nice day at the beach. [...]

By |2020-10-16T18:08:32-04:00October 13th, 2020|Uncategorized|0 Comments

Collaborate Better and Save the World

Team Communication in Times of Crisis Once upon a time, a very long time ago—also known as “February 2020”—my personal and professional life consisted of being together and communicating with other people face to face. I gave talks at conferences, business coaching sessions in my clients’ offices, and professional training in their classrooms and in [...]

By |2020-08-14T22:04:51-04:00August 18th, 2020|Uncategorized|0 Comments

Continuous Integration of People: Teamwork Is The Work

Photo by Helena Lopes on Unsplash Continuous Integration of People: a how-to guide Share emotional connection continuously. On a regular cadence: Do an emotion check-in with your teammates on a regular rhythm. Check-in with each other at least once every 24 hours. Try more frequent check-ins, like every half-day, or even every hour. [...]

By |2020-05-10T15:17:40-04:00May 11th, 2020|Uncategorized|0 Comments

Stay Amazing Together When Life Is Hard

Photo by Aziz Acharki on Unsplash Core Protocols for Remote Teams Check In frequently. Stay connected with each other emotionally. Explicitly Pass on an activity by typing or saying, “I pass.” Explicitly Check Out by typing or saying, “I’m checking out.” Manage your apps’ alerts and notifications appropriately. Ask for Help early and often. Use [...]

By |2020-04-20T19:15:56-04:00April 10th, 2020|Uncategorized|0 Comments

I Feel Unsafe Here! How to Embrace Conflict

“I feel unsafe here!” Photo by Frank Busch on Unsplash Millennials get a bad rap for snowflake-like sensitivity and delicacy. It’s impossible to criticize anything a Millenial says or does – so the story goes. They’ll call you out on it and accuse you of creating an unsafe space. Millennial or not, sometimes [...]

By |2020-02-24T09:14:52-05:00February 17th, 2020|Uncategorized|0 Comments

I Lived with the Monkeys for Three Months

Cuando era un bebé, viví con las monas durante tres meses. When I was a baby, I lived with the monkeys for three months. Photo by Tj Kolesnik on Unsplash My Spanish teacher tilted her head sideways like a puppy trying to understand the world through new eyes. My words were correct. My [...]

By |2020-01-14T11:43:58-05:00January 13th, 2020|Uncategorized|0 Comments

Team Transformation Canvas

Want an easy tool to help you start building the best team of your life? That’s what the Team Transformation Canvas is: a practical worksheet to help you and your teammates discover the best in each other and put it into action. The canvas facilitates individual self-awareness of your current emotional state and desired [...]

By |2020-12-09T08:10:14-05:00November 21st, 2019|Uncategorized|0 Comments

I Will Never Do Anything Dumb On Purpose

The more things change, the more they stay the same. This includes the fundamentals of human nature: what motivates us, how we work together in groups, how we collaborate and communicate. The essential truths are unchanged — from the earliest human tribes just trying to survive, to the high-performance teams of today. The Core Protocols—derived [...]

By |2019-10-23T10:21:29-04:00October 23rd, 2019|Uncategorized|0 Comments

Engagement Is About Me (And You)

Photo by You X Ventures on Unsplash Real-world cases and challenges—this is the exciting part of my work in high-performing teams. Real people have complicated and unpredictable lives and behaviors. This is where ideas get tested. For example, I recently got involved in a discussion about showing up at meetings. A team leader [...]

By |2019-08-27T17:14:46-04:00August 27th, 2019|Uncategorized|0 Comments

A Great Team in One Day

Photo by Thomas Drouault on Unsplash Like every good citizen, I was glad to do my civic duty. Juror service never comes at the most convenient of times, but it’s a responsibility that’s part of our social contract. When I got the call, I was happy to answer. The empaneling process was interesting, [...]

By |2019-08-20T19:56:36-04:00July 17th, 2019|Uncategorized|0 Comments

When’s the last time you got good feedback?

Original photo by Jon Tyson on Unsplash When’s the last time you got good feedback? Not pat-on-the-back, puts-a-smile-on-your-face feedback. I mean effective feedback, feedback that helped you make a positive change in yourself. Whether from a manager responsible for reviewing your performance, a peer evaluation system, or a 360-degree exercise, giving and receiving [...]

By |2019-08-20T20:06:02-04:00May 22nd, 2019|Uncategorized|0 Comments

Can You Be More Intentional About Meetings?

Photo by Mimi Thian on Unsplash Hands up, who loves work meetings? Stupid question? You’re probably rolling your eyes, not raising your hand in affirmation. A slew of workplace memes and Dilbert cartoons mock the stereotype of compulsory, oppressive, time-wasting endurance sessions. Everyone hates meetings. There’s definitely a problem here. According to research [...]

By |2019-03-29T18:04:33-04:00March 13th, 2019|Uncategorized|0 Comments

Great Learning Is All About Love

One looks back with appreciation to the brilliant teachers, but with gratitude to those who touched our human feelings. The curriculum is so much necessary raw material, but warmth is the vital element for the growing plant and for the soul of the child. - Carl Jung Learning to play the pututu in Peru [...]

By |2019-02-16T10:27:02-05:00February 14th, 2019|Uncategorized|0 Comments

Want your team to be great? Seduce them with questions.

Photo by Mimi Thian on Unsplash Conversation is a big part of human dynamics. How we talk, how we listen, how we communicate our intent: our interactions affect the emotional state of the people around us. During their initial work defining the Core Protocols, Jim and Michele McCarthy focused on work teams. They [...]

By |2019-08-20T20:17:27-04:00January 18th, 2019|Uncategorized|0 Comments

With Love from Your Awesome Future Self

The end of the year is a great time to reflect on what the last twelve months have brought you and what you’ve learned or done—and to look ahead to the promise of the coming year. It’s a blank page on which you can write whatever future you desire for yourself. A blank page can [...]

By |2018-12-21T00:11:16-05:00December 19th, 2018|Uncategorized|0 Comments

Love, Friendship, and High-Performance Teams

What is love? Many great writers, artists, and philosophers have tried to define love over the years. They’ve all approached it from different perspectives and produced some interesting answers. I won’t compete with the romantics here. My interest is in workplace relationships and teams. After working for so long with the Core Protocols and observing teams that have high [...]

By |2018-10-26T11:36:05-04:00November 1st, 2018|Uncategorized|0 Comments

Ask For Help: The Devil Is in the Detail

Photo by Henri Pham on Unsplash In last month’s blog, we looked at some of the reasons we find it difficult to ask that simple question, “will you help me?” I wanted to come back to Ask For Help again because despite being one of the simplest team behaviors to explain or describe, it seems [...]

By |2018-09-25T17:45:27-04:00September 19th, 2018|Uncategorized|0 Comments

I Get By with a Little Help from My Team

Photo by Rémi Walle on Unsplash I get by with a little help from my team… Or I could have called this, Help, I need somebody, not just anybody There are lots of song lyrics and literature references about asking for help and looking for the support of others. And also about how [...]

By |2018-10-13T15:08:10-04:00August 15th, 2018|Uncategorized|0 Comments

Meditate and Motivate: Shared Success at Work

I’ve been reflecting on some recent research into workplace motivation published in the journal Organizational Behavior and Human Decision Processes (and reported in The New York Times) by Kathleen D. Vohs and Andrew C. Hafenbrack, which concluded that meditation was not a good thing for workplace productivity.This was surprising to me, given all the evidence about intrinsic motivation and [...]

By |2018-08-27T11:18:01-04:00July 20th, 2018|Uncategorized|0 Comments

High Performance and Productivity at Tesla

Credit: jurvetson@Flickr 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!  Most people don’t want internal memos leaked and made public, but if you are the iconic figurehead of a ground-breaking innovator like Tesla, you probably expect to [...]

By |2020-01-18T13:30:11-05:00May 23rd, 2018|Uncategorized|0 Comments

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

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 heard about a great new venue there. If you agree I’ll check it out and get back to you.” “Sure, [...]

By |2018-04-27T14:59:01-04:00April 26th, 2018|Uncategorized|0 Comments

Checking In and Out: What’s That All About?

Last month we had a look at the ‘Pass/unpass’ core protocol, used to indicate whether you are actively engaged with your teammates in an activity. Today let’s go a bit deeper into what being actively engaged when you’re part of a high-performing team means by examining two more protocols: Check In and Check Out. They are related, but [...]

By |2020-01-20T13:44:06-05:00March 28th, 2018|Uncategorized|0 Comments

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

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 confusion – or who’ve never had a bad moment. They’re made up of everyday people who bring their whole selves [...]

By |2020-01-20T13:48:02-05:00February 20th, 2018|Uncategorized|0 Comments

Origin of the Core Protocols – Inspiring High-performance Teams

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, the correlation plays out:  High-performing teams require psychological safety. Psychological safety requires emotional intelligence at a team level. And understanding and applying [...]

By |2018-02-16T01:45:54-05:00January 17th, 2018|Uncategorized|0 Comments

Emotional Intelligence at Work: A Case Study

Many manufacturing businesses follow a predictable rhythm of activities based on a production and distribution cycle. And Santa’s North Pole-based outfit is an excellent example. Everything builds to a single tight annual shipping window, and to ensure customer satisfaction, it’s vital that the entire team is performing at an optimal level — particularly during the run-up to [...]

By |2017-12-19T01:56:56-05:00December 21st, 2017|Uncategorized|0 Comments

Google Says Psychological Safety Is the Key to High Performance

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 teams. At Google, they want all the teams to be the highest of the high-performing, so they spun up a [...]

By |2017-12-25T11:55:30-05:00November 29th, 2017|Uncategorized|0 Comments

What is a High-performance Team?

A team is a group of two or more people aligned with a common goal. A high-performance team is a team that is objectively better than other teams doing similar work (or with a similar goal, if it’s not a work team). Objectively better means that we can measure teams and compare them to each other. Aim for objective metrics that someone outside [...]

By |2017-12-25T11:56:31-05:00November 1st, 2017|Uncategorized|0 Comments

Tandem Cycling for Shared Vision

Have you ever tandem-bicycled? Molly and I cycled across Upper Austria on a tandem this summer. We enjoyed the vistas of the Danube River with its lush green hills, medieval towns and castles, and vineyards. Tandem cycling is an incredible team experience. Being on one bike together brings us into a state of high "teamness." [...]

By |2017-11-21T10:31:19-05:00September 19th, 2017|Uncategorized|0 Comments

Positive Bias: the Foundation for High-performance Teams

It seems like everyone has high-performance teams on their mind. Just this morning, I had a great conversation with a young army veteran who had led teams. He said he experienced some incredibly bad teams during his stint in the army. The teams were toxic. They were run by bullying and negativity. His team leaders complained about everything that [...]

By |2017-11-21T13:59:25-05:00June 19th, 2017|Uncategorized|0 Comments

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

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 connections to other people’s work. Hannes Horn writes about his experience in my half-day class on Medium . He describes [...]

By |2017-08-04T12:47:14-04:00April 14th, 2016|Uncategorized|0 Comments

Experience Agile

Want your students or clients to really learn Agile? Then get them to teach Agile to themselves. Experience Agile is the activity I use to close my two-day Agile class. Students learn Agile by doing Agile and by teaching Agile to each other. The assignment: Design, implement, and deliver a product that teaches you everything [...]

By |2020-02-25T15:02:39-05:00August 4th, 2015|Uncategorized|0 Comments

The Core Protocols: A Guide to Greatness

Introducing my book, The Core Protocols: A Guide to Greatness. Here’s the blurb: Want to live in greatness? This book is your guide. The Core Protocols show you how to discover and obtain what you want, on your own, with your friends and family, and with the people you work with. Follow [...]

By |2017-07-27T14:56:32-04:00July 21st, 2015|Uncategorized|0 Comments

How to: A Great Product Backlog Refinement Workshop

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 [...]

By |2019-09-02T08:55:52-04:00May 20th, 2015|Uncategorized|0 Comments

Great Games for Scrum and Agile Learning

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 [...]

By |2020-12-08T13:47:54-05:00September 3rd, 2014|Uncategorized|0 Comments

How to Facilitate a Great Daily Scrum (Scrum Master skills series)

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. [...]

By |2017-08-03T13:07:41-04:00May 22nd, 2014|Uncategorized|0 Comments

Open Space Technology and Lean Coffee

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, [...]

By |2017-07-28T13:23:08-04:00March 25th, 2014|Uncategorized|0 Comments

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

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 [...]

By |2020-01-18T13:31:17-05:00March 7th, 2014|Uncategorized|0 Comments

The Manager’s Role in Agile

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 [...]

By |2017-07-28T13:28:30-04:00February 19th, 2014|Uncategorized|0 Comments

Find Your Good Life

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 [...]

By |2020-11-20T13:58:42-05:00September 12th, 2013|Uncategorized|0 Comments

Business Transformation Coach, Agile Coach, and Open Space Facilitator

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 [...]

By |2017-07-28T13:58:15-04:00July 22nd, 2013|Uncategorized|0 Comments

The Diamond Age: Or, A Young Rebel’s Illustrated Primer

This is an edited transcript of my presentation at Rebel Jam, a global 24-hour long conference on positively changing business, government, education, healthcare, and the world itself. You can find my slides here. I do great things with great people I’m Richard Kasperowski. My vision is that I do great things with great people. Everything [...]

By |2018-02-25T17:02:02-05:00May 30th, 2013|Uncategorized|0 Comments

No, YOUR mom does Scrum!

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 [...]

By |2020-10-22T15:35:22-04:00January 28th, 2013|Uncategorized|0 Comments

Self-management and self-organization: Agile games with motion

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 [...]

By |2020-02-04T15:38:46-05:00October 29th, 2012|Uncategorized|0 Comments

Radical Innovation: The Six Week Open Space Experiment

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?  

By |2019-04-14T11:13:40-04:00October 9th, 2012|Uncategorized|0 Comments

The Official Agile Reading List

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 [...]

By |2017-08-03T14:23:19-04:00May 29th, 2012|Uncategorized|0 Comments

The best of the best: family-size team in a family-size space

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, [...]

By |2017-08-03T15:10:03-04:00March 27th, 2012|Uncategorized|0 Comments

Perfection Ping Pong

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: Player A and Player [...]

By |2017-08-03T15:14:39-04:00March 20th, 2012|Uncategorized|0 Comments

Agile Games 2012: Open Space and Games with Motion

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 [...]

By |2017-08-03T15:18:00-04:00March 13th, 2012|Uncategorized|0 Comments

Don’t suck at meetings

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 [...]

By |2017-08-03T15:20:27-04:00January 31st, 2012|Uncategorized|0 Comments

Open Space Technology: Pushing the Limits

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 [...]

By |2019-11-06T14:01:56-05:00January 3rd, 2012|Uncategorized|0 Comments

My Product Owner will kick ass

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. [...]

By |2017-08-04T08:24:23-04:00November 30th, 2011|Uncategorized|0 Comments

Get Ready to Get Done: Definition of Ready

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 [...]

By |2017-08-03T15:33:03-04:00October 13th, 2011|Uncategorized|0 Comments

Dear Future Product Owner

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 [...]

By |2017-08-03T15:36:49-04:00August 23rd, 2011|Uncategorized|0 Comments

Stop wasting your time: use Agile

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 [...]

By |2017-08-03T15:40:22-04:00August 16th, 2011|Uncategorized|0 Comments

National cultures: know your team, know yourself

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. [...]

By |2017-08-03T15:48:12-04:00June 28th, 2011|Uncategorized|0 Comments

Rock-paper-scissors Happiness!

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 [...]

By |2017-08-03T15:56:32-04:00June 7th, 2011|Uncategorized|0 Comments

Low tech andon: it’s all green

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 [...]

By |2017-08-04T07:33:13-04:00May 11th, 2011|Uncategorized|0 Comments

Lean optimization of the home brewery

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 [...]

By |2017-08-04T07:29:45-04:00May 11th, 2011|Uncategorized|0 Comments

Highlights from Agile Games 2011

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 [...]

By |2017-08-04T07:40:14-04:00April 29th, 2011|Uncategorized|0 Comments

Hardening Sprints? Sorry, You’re Not Agile.

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 [...]

By |2021-02-07T08:34:01-05:00September 28th, 2010|Uncategorized|0 Comments

A fire hose of programmers, a straw of testers

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 [...]

By |2017-08-04T08:37:03-04:00August 24th, 2010|Uncategorized|0 Comments

People need mastery and purpose, not bonuses

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.

By |2017-08-04T08:39:03-04:00June 29th, 2010|Uncategorized|0 Comments

Sprint length: it’s all about batch size

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 [...]

By |2017-08-04T08:41:25-04:00June 17th, 2010|Uncategorized|0 Comments

If You’re Not Done, You’re Not Agile

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, [...]

By |2021-02-07T08:30:09-05:00June 10th, 2010|Uncategorized|0 Comments

Scrum and Agile lack credibility outside our community

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 [...]

By |2017-08-04T08:53:06-04:00June 1st, 2010|Uncategorized|0 Comments

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

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 [...]

By |2017-08-04T09:10:10-04:00May 18th, 2010|Uncategorized|0 Comments

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

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 [...]

By |2017-08-04T09:11:52-04:00May 11th, 2010|Uncategorized|0 Comments

You’re a loser. Get a job! (Part 1 of 3)

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 [...]

By |2017-08-04T09:13:45-04:00April 27th, 2010|Uncategorized|0 Comments

Use Agile for mobile, and be awesome

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 [...]

By |2017-08-04T09:21:45-04:00April 6th, 2010|Uncategorized|0 Comments

Certified Scrum Practitioner

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 [...]

By |2017-08-04T09:44:17-04:00April 3rd, 2010|Uncategorized|0 Comments

How to be a great tech leader

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. [...]

By |2017-08-04T09:29:23-04:00April 1st, 2010|Uncategorized|0 Comments

See Richard at Scrum Gathering 2010

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 [...]

By |2017-08-04T09:50:00-04:00February 23rd, 2010|Uncategorized|0 Comments

How many registered Certified Scrum people?

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, as of January 13, 2010: CSM CSPO CSP CSC CST Registered practitioners 53,990 3,558 908 23 105   There is [...]

By |2017-08-04T10:04:42-04:00January 19th, 2010|Uncategorized|0 Comments

Scrum Guide

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 the aegis of Ken Schwaber and Jeff Sutherland.

By |2017-08-04T10:07:48-04:00January 12th, 2010|Uncategorized|0 Comments

How’s your Scrum?

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. [...]

By |2017-08-04T10:10:36-04:00December 17th, 2009|Uncategorized|0 Comments

Why can’t we be as good as Nokia?

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 [...]

By |2017-08-04T10:14:48-04:00December 9th, 2009|Uncategorized|0 Comments

Ken Schwaber’s Flacid Scrum

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!

By |2017-08-04T10:26:01-04:00June 19th, 2009|Uncategorized|0 Comments

Learning Agile via Agile Games

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 [...]

By |2017-08-04T10:33:58-04:00May 29th, 2009|Uncategorized|0 Comments

Acceptance criteria template

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 [...]

By |2017-08-04T10:41:07-04:00May 25th, 2009|Uncategorized|0 Comments

Agile for mobile

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 [...]

By |2017-08-04T12:22:09-04:00March 25th, 2009|Uncategorized|0 Comments

Manage by commitment + manage by process == manage by Scrum

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 [...]

By |2017-08-04T12:31:36-04:00March 16th, 2009|Uncategorized|0 Comments

Is it done?

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 [...]

By |2017-08-04T12:36:36-04:00March 9th, 2009|Uncategorized|0 Comments

Why there should be a “release backlog”

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 [...]

By |2017-08-04T10:53:40-04:00February 16th, 2009|Uncategorized|0 Comments

Release backlog

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 [...]

By |2017-08-04T10:56:59-04:00February 9th, 2009|Uncategorized|0 Comments

Certified ScrumMaster

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.

By |2017-08-04T12:06:09-04:00January 26th, 2009|Uncategorized|0 Comments

Meetings suck

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 [...]

By |2017-08-04T12:10:54-04:00December 17th, 2008|Uncategorized|0 Comments

Stink test

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 [...]

By |2017-08-04T12:14:46-04:00August 20th, 2008|Uncategorized|0 Comments
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