About Bob Hartman

Bob is founder of Agile For All and an agile trainer and coach. He never leaves home without his "NO" button.

Looking Back at the Past Two Years

Eric Engelmann of GeonetricI want to start this post by thanking Eric Englemann (yes, that is him on the right!), the CEO of one of our awesome clients, Geonetric. Almost two years ago he took a huge risk and completely changed their corporate structure. But he didn’t stop there, he committed to letting the world know how they were doing along the way. He and others in his company have been extremely open about their results, including how they were doing one year after the big change and again last month.

Well, two years ago Agile For All underwent a big change as well. It went from a single-member LLC where I was the founder, owner, only member and everything else. In other words I was on my own. Two years ago I merged Agile For All with Richard Lawrence’s company, Humanizing Work. We had worked together for several years prior to the merger, but actually merging our companies was a huge, risky step for both of us. How are we doing today? Read on!

The Agile For All Christmas Party & Four Charities We’re Fired Up About This Christmas

In November, we asked our wives, Dawn Lawrence and Carol Hartman (whom many of you met at the conference), to plan a unique company Christmas party and surprise us with it. They delivered! We were suprised and pleased with yesterday’s party.

Dawn and Carol asked for a larger budget than we expected. We couldn’t figure out what they were going to do with it. Maybe a fancy meal or outing. Then, they started making food for the party, and we were really puzzled. [Read more...]

Humanizing Work 2013 Conference Recap

Humanizing Work 2013 Conference LogoLast month’s Humanizing Work Conference was organized around one big hypothesis: that it was possible to do to a conference what we’d done to our classes—to take all the standard features and replace them with more interactive, brain-friendly ones. Well, it worked…beyond our expectations. [Read more...]

With apologies to Bill Engvall, ScrumMasters, here’s your sign!

Have you ever had one of those days when you wondered if your ScrumMaster was on crack? Or maybe you’re the ScrumMaster and the you wonder why you are doing what you’re doing! I think we’ve all been there, so this post is for when you are having one of those days. A little bit of humor to brighten things up (while also being somewhat serious at the same time).

Bill Engvall is one of my favorite comedians. The guy just cracks me up every time I watch or listen to him. His most famous line is “Here’s your sign.” So here are a few “sign” stories for you to ponder.

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Agile Practitioners Aren’t Supposed to Use Flamethrowers – Are They?

Have you ever been in a flamethrower war? I sincerely hope you have never been in one like the picture, but if you have been there serving for the US armed forces, then thank you for what you did for our country! Most of us have not been in a literal flamethrower war, but some of us have been in our share of them in the virtual world. I may be showing my age, but we used to have a phrase for arguments on message boards: flame wars or flaming. They were all the rage when a social network was really a Usenet newsgroup. Now we’ve grown up to using fancy mailing lists from Google and Yahoo and we still have the same core issues around disagreements. People will make statements in a message that they would never make in a face-to-face environment.

There were arguments about agile even before the Manifesto for Agile Software Development was created in 2001 by 17 brave individuals (some of whom I’m honored to be able to call friends). Lately, I’ve come to realize that the world of arguing around agile hasn’t changed in the past 10+ years at all. The players have changed, but not the fact that we can’t all get along. In the past year I’ve seen “discuss-ments” (give me credit if you use my made up word!) around all of the following issues: [Read more...]

As a ScrumMaster silence can be golden!

Silence is GoldenI love it when someone who was in one of my workshops sends me a message saying something from the workshop worked well for them. Recently I have started telling people in my Certified ScrumMaster training workshops that far too many ScrumMasters talk too much. I tell them they need to learn a new skill – being silent! The graphic makes the point perfectly. In fact, it adds that if you can’t stay quiet, buy some duct tape!

Below is a message from a recent workshop attendee that really hit home and made me realize adding this little segment to the CSM workshop was well worth it! He had the patience required of a good ScrumMaster and the result was worthwhile. [Read more...]

An Agile Merry Christmas 2010!

Are you feeling the Christmas spirit yet?  I know not everyone celebrates Christmas, so if that isn’t the holiday for you, think about your equivalent, or just think about going to your personal happy place.  Are you feeling it yet?  I know I’m in the Christmas spirit.  I can see it in the eyes of my children as we spend this week in a beachfront condo in Florida.  I think it is pretty funny to see people bundled up in scarves and parkas when the temperature hits 55 degrees, but it also reminds me that it really is Christmas time.  On to the point of this blog post… [Read more...]

Overdue Agile and Scrum Thanks

Last year around this time I wrote a blog entry “New to agile? Give thanks!”  That was written from the perspective of an agile team member.  This year I want to get a little more personal and give thanks to the people who have helped me get to where I am today in the Agile and Scrum communities.  So, to everyone listed below, thank you from the bottom of my heart.  You have each helped me become who I am and I am grateful for the help and inspiration you gave me along the way.  In no particular order I want to send that message to:

Richard Lawrence – Richard has been a great friend and colleague.  We have worked together at many clients over the past couple of years.  Richard continually keeps me on my toes, challenges my assumptions, and flat out makes me better every time I interact with him.  I hope to continue working with him for many years to come.  Without Richard I probably would not have started down the path to become a Certified Scrum Coach and later a Certified Scrum Trainer.

Cindi Taylor – Over the past 2+ years Cindi has become a friend more than a client.  Her company was one of the very first to use me as an agile trainer and coach.  It took a lot on her part to hire me over many others trying to get their business.  I have always appreciated that trust.  Over time her organization has been my largest client and I believe we are both very happy with the results we see. [Read more...]

In defense of the Scrum Alliance

Have you ever felt really let down by someone you respect?  I guess the way the world is today we can all cite a long list of people that are famous and respected who let us down (as a golfer, the picture to the left is one that comes to mind for me) so maybe the question was kind of stupid.  But the point isn’t.  We’ve all been there.  Last week I experienced it yet again.  Tobias Mayer is someone who I have respected as a person and as an amazing Scrum Trainer for a long time.  He is rather unique, interesting, creative and spontaneous.  He’s also very intelligent.  I’m pretty sure those qualities are things the Scrum Alliance considered when they hired him earlier this year as Creative Director.  Unfortunately, he is also a bit too idealistic sometimes. That doesn’t usually bother me, but right now it does. [Read more...]

Your Agile isn’t my Agile!

Have you ever had the feeling someone REALLY didn’t get it?  I had that feeling recently when reading this article about the supposed weaknesses of agile.  Some of the 10 points make a bit of sense, but what seems to be missing is what happens in a non-agile scenario with the same limitations?  I decided to write this blog entry to show what I think would occur and to do a bit of a bake-off between agile and non-agile teams for each point raised by the writer of the article.  So, without further ado – drum roll please – welcome to… Your Agile Isn’t My Agile. [Read more...]