Agile Homeschool Update

Last year, I wrote about how we use an agile approach for homeschool.

Since then, we’ve refined our approach. This school year, we updated our board to reflect some of those changes. [Read more…]

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!

Cynefin and Story Splitting

Cynefin as of June 2014 - From Dave Snowden, released under CC BY 3.0

Cynefin as of June 2014 – From Dave Snowden, released under CC BY 3.0

As I was preparing for my Agile Denver session on Unscaling, which leaned heavily on the Cynefin Framework, I reread Liz Keogh’s excellent post, “Cynefin for Devs.” I realized that I use my story splitting patterns in a few different ways depending on the domain, and I’ve never been explicit about this (which probably confuses people I’m coaching). [Read more…]

Agile Denver Session Notes: Unscaling

For those who attended last night’s Agile Denver meetup, here are the slides and some additional resources for you… [Read more…]

Scrum Basics: When Should We Schedule Sprint Transitions?

We’re often asked which day or days are best for scheduling the Sprint Planning, Review, and Retrospective meetings. [Read more…]

Org Structure, Software Architecture, and Cross-functional Teams

Just as people often look like their pets...

Just as people often look like their pets…

Some 46 years ago, Melvin Conway wrote, “Any organization that designs a system (defined broadly) will produce a design whose structure is a copy of the organization’s communication structure.”

This idea is known as “Conway’s Law,” and the converse is known as “Reverse Conway’s Law.” It’s as true today as it was a half century ago.

The basic idea is this: Your organizational structure drives a particular software architecture. And your software architecture drives a particular organizational structure. People who work closely together and communicate frequently will create software that reflects this and vice versa.

The Reinforcing Loop of Org Structure and Software Architecture

This dynamic leads to one of the major points of friction for established organizations trying to become agile: [Read more…]

MHA 2014 Session Notes: Models for Support

For those who attended my Mile High Agile 2014 session, Models for Support, here are the photos of the flip charts (with a little explanatory text around them):

MHA14 Models for Support Thumbnail

Were you there? Share your biggest takeaways from the session in the comments.

Taking Agile Beyond Software

Two years ago, when Bob and I merged our companies into today’s Agile For All, we wrote out a vision statement for the company that began, “For software organizations and the people who work with them…” We knew how to help software organizations become successful. Since we teach our clients to focus on a well-defined target customer, it was logical for us to focus on software development.

As is often the case, though, serving one target market well often leads to the actual market growing well beyond that target. As we focused on helping software teams succeed, other parts of their organizations noticed…and they wanted the same results. Our work thus naturally expanded beyond software development (thereby growing into our name).

Now that we’ve worked with a handful of non-software organizations, from sales and marketing to education, we’re seeing the patterns that make an agile approach work outside of software, and we’re experiencing a wave of interest from a variety of companies, so we’re taking what we’ve learned public. This March, we’re offering a public “Intro to Agile Beyond Software” class in Cedar Rapids, Iowa, the home of one of our most successful “agile beyond software” clients, Geonetric. You can read more about the class and get signed up on the Eventbrite registration page. Discounted early bird registration ends February 5th.

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…]

3 Ways to Handle End-of-the-Year Holidays on Your Agile Team

The period from mid-December to early-January can be disruptive for an agile team. You’re used to working on a regular cadence, maybe in 2-week iterations. Suddenly, there’s an avalanche of company holidays and vacation time that throws off your velocity and cadence. Here are 3 ways you can make the end of the year a useful and productive time rather than a few weeks of frustration and waste. [Read more…]