Is Aiming For Potentially Shippable Good Enough? [Agile Safari]

Agile_Safari_Accidentally_Shippable

What if we used accidentally shippable instead of potentially shippable? Would that help us aim higher?

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I was working with some new agile teams and in the process of explaining potentially shippable, I said that it should be okay if it accidentally ships. That seemed to freak some people out. I guess using ‘accidentally’ is not a word people tend to like to see. The term seems to get people’s attention as I’ve continued to use it.

So who is right?  Is the pig right? Are we aiming for only “potentially” shippable? Or is the rabbit? Should completed work actually be ready to ship, even “accidentally?” [Read more…]

The future of agile: changing the world of work

I gave a presentation at the Scrum Gathering in Phoenix AZ about the historic context of Agile and Scrum, and where we are headed next. While agile practices like Scrum and XP are fairly mainstream in software companies, Agile as a mindset is still in the early adopter phase in the business world at large. What can we do to help it “cross the chasm” to broader adoption?

Below are the slides and the talk track. The presentation was in Pecha Kucha format – 20 slides, 20 seconds each on an auto-advance timer, which was a fun challenge to put together!

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Laloux Cultural Model and Agile Adoption

Laloux and Agile Adoption

My Story

I had invested years of my life in a ground up, large-scale agile adoption. The early years of the adoption seemed to go at breakneck speed. Teams were adopting scrum with great success. People were feeling more engaged, products were getting better, and the company was benefiting. And then it felt like we hit a wall. Despite what felt to me like a groundswell of support from teams, managers, and directors, we were struggling to make the leap to real organizational agility.

The Breakthrough

While reviewing a draft of a good friend’s upcoming book, a single reference leaped off the page:

“There is … evidence that the developmental stage of the CEO determines the success of large-scale transformation programs.” (Tolbert, cited by Laloux, 2014)

I immediately bought and read Frederic Laloux’s book Reinventing Organizations, which provides a comprehensive overview of how humans have organized in groups over the centuries. The prevailing perspective today (what Laloux labels “orange”) seemed to describe my organization in an almost clairvoyant way. It helped me make sense of what my organization valued the most, how I could continue to be effective in my role as agile transformation leader, and what was likely possible given our cultural values. Keep reading to learn more…

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MHA 2015 Slides: Resistance to Change Doesn’t Exist

Thanks to everyone who attended my Mile High Agile 2015 session, “Resistance to Change Doesn’t Exist.” Here are the slides and handouts:

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MHA15-Resistance-to-Change-Handouts-tn

If you missed the session, you can catch it again at Humanizing Work 2015, our alumni conference, along with lots of other great advanced content.

The Power of 3 Words

love-in-a-book-agileSome of the most significant messages people deliver to one another often come in just three words. When spoken or conveyed, those statements have the power to forge new friendships, deepen old ones and restore relationships that have cooled.

Yes, this stuff can even have value in corporate work… you’d be amazed at what I’ve seen in terms of organizations and companies that need healing… but it all begins with people, people caring about other people. That, is how powerful services and software begin.

The following three word phrases can enrich every relationship:

I’LL BE THERE – Being there for another person is the greatest gift we can give. When we are truly present for other people, important things happen to them and to us. We are renewed in love and friendship. We are restored emotionally and spiritually. ‘Being there’ is at the very, very core of civility.

I RESPECT YOU – Respect is another way of showing love. Respect conveys the feeling that another person is a true equal. It is a powerful way to affirm the importance of a relationship.

MAYBE YOU’RE RIGHT – This phrase is highly effective in diffusing an argument and restoring frayed emotions. The flip side of “maybe you’re right” is the humility of admitting “maybe I’m wrong.”

PLEASE FORGIVE ME – Many broken relationships could be restored and healed if people would admit their mistakes and ask for forgiveness. All of us are vulnerable to faults, foibles and failures. A man or woman should never be ashamed to own up to he/she has been in the wrong, which is by saying, in other words, that he/she is wiser today than he/she was yesterday. [Read more…]

20 Common Logical Fallacies – Don’t Be a Victim!

The 20 Most Common Logical Fallacies

  1. Appeal to ignorance – Thinking a claim is true (or false) because it can’t be proven true (or false).
  2. Ad hominem – Making a personal attack against the person saying the argument, rather than directly addressing the issue.
  3. Strawman fallacy – Misrepresenting or exaggerating another person’s argument to make it easier to attack.
  4. Bandwagon fallacy – Thinking an argument must be true because it’s popular.
  5. Naturalistic fallacy – Believing something is good or beneficial just because it’s natural.
  6. Cherry picking – Only choosing a few examples that support your argument, rather than looking at the full picture.
  7. False dilemma – Thinking there are only two possibilities when there may be other alternatives you haven’t considered.
  8. Begging the question – Making an argument that something is true by repeating the same thing in different words.
  9. Appeal to tradition – Believing something is right just because it’s been done around for a really long time.
  10. Appeal to emotions – Trying to persuade someone by manipulating their emotions – such as fear, anger, or ridicule – rather than making a rational case.
  11. Shifting the burden of proof – Thinking instead of proving your claim is true, the other person has to prove it’s false.
  12. Appeal to authority – Believing just because an authority or “expert” believes something than it must be true.
  13. Red herring – When you change the subject to a topic that’s easier to attack.
  14. Slippery slope – Taking an argument to an exaggerated extreme. “If we let A happen, then Z will happen.”
  15. Correlation proves causation – Believing that just because two things happen at the same time, that one must have caused the other.
  16. Anecdotal evidence – Thinking that just because something applies toyou that it must be true for most people.
  17. Equivocation – Using two different meanings of a word to prove your argument.
  18. Non sequitur – Implying a logical connection between two things that doesn’t exist. “It doesn’t follow…”
  19. Ecological fallacy – Making an assumption about a specific person based on general tendencies within a group they belong to.
  20. Fallacy fallacy – Thinking just because a claim follows a logical fallacy that it must be false.

[Read more…]

Agile For All adds three new members to the team

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Peter playing his trumpet!

In case you missed the press release, Peter Green, Adobe Systems Agile Transformation Leader, will join our Agile For All team on March 16th. I am personally excited about Peter’s amazing contributions to the Agile community and his enterprise level experience. I’m also excited to say that Peter isn’t the only one joining the team! See below for more details on all of the exciting news.

For those of you that don’t know him, Peter led a grass roots Agile transformation at Adobe from 2005 to 2015, starting with his own team, Adobe Audition. His influence includes the teams behind such software flagships as Photoshop, Acrobat [Read more…]

Be an Expert in a Year – Growing the Agile Way

The guys over at Expert Table Tennis had a great idea. What would it take to become an expert?

Dedication? Heart? Perseverance?

The Expert in a Year Challenge took part during 2014 and followed the progress of novice table tennis player Sam Priestley, as he attempted to go from beginner to expert in just one year and break into the top 250 players in England.

Sam (the subject of the experiment) has been playing recreational ‘ping-pong’ in his kitchen with his flatmates for a few months. He then decided to buy himself a table tennis robot to practice with. He then, with the help of his friend Ben Larcombe, started a challenge…

You can find the whole story here.

What I find most fascinating about this story is the fact that there is almost a universal truth in all of this: As we increase investment in experience, we will become (over time) more productive and efficient. 

This is at the heart of what we do here at Agile for All.

Agile for All Consulting Philosophy

  • Training – to start the agile adoption by setting up the framework which will be used. We like to teach Scrum as the basis, but we include many ideas from other agile processes and lean thinking.
  • Coaching – to cement the training into a permanently changed way of thinking and doing things.
  • Practice – continuously reinforcing the training with correct practices which lead to high quality results.
  • Patience – remembering that change takes time and also requires a settling of ideas into solid and repeatable patterns for the organization.

The practice and patience is where the organization is taking on all of the “hard work” in the sense that they must invest time in experience “being Agile” rather than just “doing Agile.”

I find, that one of the most powerful conversations I often have with people from all levels of an organization is around the art of possibility. Vision casting the (very much real) potential of the company to do great and extraordinary things.

It takes time, dedication, perseverance, and heart. The heart… that’s where we start.

Agile and Scrum training the Agile For All way

Take a moment to consider the last time you were in any sort of training environment. Were the tables set up “classroom style” so everyone faced forward in rows? Did the instructor read a lot of PowerPoint slides? Perhaps the room was even dark so everyone could see the PowerPoint better. Maybe you were lucky and you even had a workbook that was 500 pages long to go along with the training! <please feel free to gag at this point> Yes, we’ve all been there, and it’s horrible. It is one reason why many adults avoid any sort of educational opportunities – it’s just too horrible to ponder going through that again!

Well, people in our courses experience something completely different from what happens in a normal classroom. That didn’t happen by accident. [Read more…]

Life Change Starts with Clarity

Clarity starts with understanding YOU first... then the problem.

Clarity starts with understanding YOU first… then the problem.

There are moments where each one of us have wished for significant life change – this could be related to our current circumstances, our jobs, our vocations, our relationships, and even something about ourselves.

Our constant desire for improvement and life change is a natural consequence of being human as all of us desperately want to see forward momentum and progress. We want to see that “breakthrough” because there’s something within all of us that speaks to us deeply about how things today are not as good as they possibly could be.

As a result we’re willing to put ourselves at risk, to try new things and new relationships for the hope and the chance of obtaining that which we do not have yet but believe that we can have soon. That’s why the “self-help” and “self-improvement” industry is a billion dollar industry – in 2008 it was estimate that it would scale beyond $11 billion (and that was 4 years ago)!

Despite the changing economic tidal waves which we’ve all experienced the market is continuing to expand and grow. Although I’m not a fan of everything that I see sitting out on the shelves at your local Barnes and Noble I do encounter occasional gems that remind me why I love the industry that I’m a part of.

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