Wednesday, December 21, 2016

Agile Christmas inspiration -Have a very Merry ‘Agile’ Christmas!

We love Christmas and few of us like to recommend, celebrate the Christmas or even work the Christmas in the agile way.
So , here are some nice agile stories inspired by Christmas collected around the web …from an agile holiday mindset , to an office state of Christmas; Some Christmas inspirations over agile techniques,  Agile Santa stories.. and some post it Christmas ideas. . . Mary Agile Christmas!

Friday, December 9, 2016

Setting your new year's resolution with agile - Happy Agile New Year!! 2017

Tuesday, December 6, 2016

#Noprojects - "The Problem with Projects and some ideas on what to do about it"

"Modern trends in software development are making project thinking more dangerous still. The large batch size nature of projects is increasingly in conflict with continuous delivery, hypothesis testing and small batch releases. This conflict increases risk and reduces benefits."

Thursday, October 13, 2016

Daily Scrum with remote teams

Holding team meetings where the team members are not in the same place is not fun, and it becomes less fun the more distributed the team becomes. Combine inefficient communication channels with conducting a meeting with members who are in different countries and the inherent difficulties can cause the daily scrum heartbeat to become irregular and impact the health of the team and the entire delivery. Here's some tips and tricks...

Why remote engineering teams needs scrum?

Distributed teams are today’s reality. Of course, working with people in one office is ‘easier ’it feels more 'natural', but for many companies 'natural' equal to distributed or remote teams format. Remote teams can be managed more effectively with a strong process. I found Scrum to be by far the best process to manage distributed software projects.
There are many reasons why scrum is the best solution to manage distributed work. And these reasons hold true for any type of work. Let’s look at them:

Wednesday, October 12, 2016

How to apply #Agile methodologies Indian culture?

Millions of developer's code away daily in Indian organizations. More than sixty percent of Indian software industry is still service industry to the west. The major reason why organizations have problems with adopting Agile methods is the cultural change. We must understand and Address the cultural differences, sensitize them and train on the different cultures and communication etiquette, and evolve processes and practices that avoid ambiguity in decisions. But, sometimes what we call "Indian culture" is actually a problem faced everywhere where a hierarchical model is followed.

Sunday, October 9, 2016

How to Run a Remote Team Retrospective?

Having distributed team members is always a challenge  in many aspects in a scrum team. One of the challenges is performing a meaningful effective and with good results retrospective.  This collection will provide some insights on the subject.

Saturday, October 8, 2016

Team Exercises for Remote/ Virtual / Dispersed Teams

Sunday, October 2, 2016

Agile Testing Basics 101

Tuesday, September 27, 2016

Critical thinking and Agile

Everyone knows that if we could teach people to think more deeply, solve problems better, communicate, collaborate and innovate more effectively, our companies would run a lot better. Improving the workforce’s critical thinking skills is one of the most obvious and valuable things companies can do to improve their bottom line.

Root Cause Analysis 101

Root cause analysis is about digging beneath the surface of a problem. We are not looking only for a singular “root cause,” we also reveal a system of causes.  Root Cause Analysis enables prevention of problems. It can be applied on any problem case; like major defects, project disturbances, or findings from assessments.

Friday, September 9, 2016

Your process is agile…Why isn’t your data?

Using an agile data infrastructure, organizations can conquer Big Data challenges with a level of ease, flexibility and performance.

Sunday, September 4, 2016

Assumption map as a tool to helps better align what product is expected to do.

Assumption mapping helps you prioritize & focus on what assumptions to test/validate next. i.e. What to learn next, in the sense of Lean Startup’s
“Build, Measure, Learn” cycle. What do we need to learn next? What do we need to measure to learn it? What do we need to build to measure it?
This map helps product owners and their stakeholders better align their assumptions about what their product is expected to do and the people they believe will use their product. This creates a repository of assumptions that can be explored and validated before committing time and money to experimenting, desig...

Tuesday, August 30, 2016

Teaching Agile with Minecraft (A great Computer game) #gamification #minecraft

Mincraft, one of the greatest computer gamest can become easly a platform and tool to re-imagine how to teach agile and project management. Here's how.

Saturday, August 27, 2016

Games for learning agile specuification

Saturday, August 13, 2016

Can Maintenance Become Agile?

A recurring topic when discussing software projects is the issue of system maintenance, which is always seen as the poor cousin of development methodologies or processes. The same techniques and methods applied to new projects can certainly be applied to maintenance as well, but there are specific aspects that can be better explored if we understand the nature of maintenance.

Tuesday, August 2, 2016

How to deal with agile contracts in IT outsourcing?

Agile software development methodologies are hardly new. But figuring out a way to adequately contract for them in IT outsourcing deal is.

Saturday, July 23, 2016

How a Flow Manager Helps Teams Deliver, Fast and Smoothly?

With talented developers, quality advocates and user-experience designers, our teams know how to deliver valuable software. But as we improve service delivery using kanban, who manages flow?There is the need for someone from within the team to take charge for the implementation to stick. The role has some similarities to a Scrum Master role, once removed from the project management aspects it often is loaded with. The purpose of the flow manager is to make the team reflect and act: follows the policies it has created, create new ones when needed, discuss and act on exceptions (issues and oppor...

How to establish a product Discovery Journey?

Most of us are working on solving some pretty hard problems, and it usually ends up taking some fairly complex systems in order to power these solutions. Product Discovery defines what should be built – and why.  Collaboration Is Key.  We are in a big hurry to push something out there in order to learn what works and what doesn’t; yet we don’t want to release something that’s not ready for prime time, and risk hurting our customers and damaging our brand. we need to simultaneously learn fast and also release with confidence. How?

Friday, July 22, 2016

Hiring a product owner? Here are some things you want to know.

Saturday, July 16, 2016

What is ' #Agile #Coaching Retreat' ?

"Coaching Retreats provide any current or aspiring Agile coaches the opportunity to engage purposefully with their peers, dive deeply into their practices, enhance their skills, and broaden their perspectives to better serve their client organizations. The word "retreat" was specifically chosen to represent a time away for deep connection, learning, and growth." (

Friday, July 8, 2016

How Do I Do #DevOps at Scale?

At scale ,DevOps is an entirely different story. Scale introduces additional complexities that can make adopting DevOps a challenge. 

Friday, July 1, 2016

Why is #visibility so important in #scrum or in any #agile team?

The ability to react to a fast and ever-changing environment, deliver ongoing changes to high quality working software is not only about having the right tools or establishing the right process. It is also crucial to  establish the right mindset or culture, no matter what tool or processes we employ.
Visibility is only one of those mindset tools we need to esquire. However Visibility is a powerful tool. Correct usage of visibility can create the expected behavior. We expect everything that can point us in the right direction or provide early feedback to be plainly visible.

Thursday, June 30, 2016

Visibility - A powerfull #agile mindset tool

The ability to react to a fast and ever-changing environment, deliver ongoing changes to high quality working software is not only about having the right tools or establishing the right process. It is also crucial to  establish the right mindset or culture, no matter what tool or processes we employ

Visibility is only one of those mindset tools we need to esquire. However Visibility is a powerful tool. Correct usage of visibility can create the expected behavior. We expect everything that can point us in the right direction or provide early feedback to be plainly visible.

Let’s illustrate the value of visibility with an example: Pretend that in your town, there’s a problem of speeding drivers. And as you are a responsible driver yourself, you know that’s dangerous.

To solve the problem, police set up hidden speed cameras in strategic locations. According to them, this is meant to catch dangerous drivers who exceed the speed limit, and so reduce the number of accidents. But as it turned out, drivers didn’t actually drive any slower, as they didn’t see any visible deterrent (hidden speed cameras, remember?)

So was there any value in setting up the cameras? Apparently not. Our taxpayer money was spent on buying and installing them, but the actual driving speed didn’t go down. So there was a challenge (speeding drivers) and a quick reaction (hidden cameras), which didn’t actually produce any value.

But was there ANOTHER value in setting up the cameras?

Yes, and you can probably guess what it was. With the hidden cameras in place, the police department (and the town council) made buckets of money from collecting fines.
The problem, of course, is that’s not what we were looking for. We wanted to reduce the number of accidents by making people drive slower. THAT was the intended value.
When the hidden cameras were taken down, and VISIBLE cameras were set up, people started slowing down. And that reduced the number of accidents.
See? Value, and the value we were looking for.

The following is an example of changing driving speed by means of clear visualization:

The following is an easy way to control large crowds:

Control your inventory easily:

Control your child?

And here is how it looks like when you deal with DevOps. Everything is visible, and the relevant information that needs to change is presented:

Wednesday, June 29, 2016

Why estimations are always wrong?

There are a lot of discussions around estimation in software development, about how to make it simple yet still effective to help the whole team including customer achieve the most. 
Bad estimates are one of the most persistent problems facing managers everywhere. Project and task estimates tend to be off. - always! Estimates are not created by machines. They are made by people with human foibles. Politics, pressure and optimism all come into play when it comes to estimating. Here's where they can go wrong and why.

Thursday, June 23, 2016

Practical techniques of getting things done using “Shrinking” steps.

Everyone is talking about how taking small steps is better than planning gigantic
goals and failing completely. Okay, but how? What is to be done, in practice? 

Coaching with Practical Small Incremental Changes , taken from The Coaching Booster book.

“It is better to take many small steps in the right direction than to make a great leap forward only to stumble backward.” Proverb A lot has already been written about making big changes which will be most effective by taking small steps. Let’s talk a bit about the concept of shrinking things down (meaning breaking them into small steps).

For example, nowadays it’s commonly accepted that achieving big physical accomplishments starts with very small actions. Let’s say we want to do 100 pushups, it’s recommended to start with 2–4 a day and add only a few more each day. Accumulatively. till we reach our goal of being able to perform 100 pushups in one set. Same rules apply to getting things done and achieving other goals…accumulating small steps, thinking and acting towards the goal as a set of small actions instead of a one-off revolutionary act… We prefer to address change as a process, as something that happens over time.

What then is the value derived from small steps?

1. Small steps = Easy to start, easy to grasp, easy to understand. It looks achievable and is therefore worth the risk of trying.

2. “Small” builds momentum = quick wins. When we take a small action towards our goals, now that we have defined our actual starting point, succeeding in this small step makes it easier to take the next one. After all, we have already started, succeeded and are on our way, why not continue?

3. Fail small = Easy to fail. Even if we fail, it is probably easier to understand, easier to grasp, easier to correct and it’s a lot safer then failing completely. It’s just a small step that can be corrected or revised.

4. Fail small = Easy to correct

5. Fail small = Easy to change and restart all over (and fail again if needed).

6. Accumulating small actions into big ones = Achieving big results.

But how? What can be the practical, small steps that will keep us focused on the goal? In addition, in this rapidly changing reality, full of information and feedback, which we wish to change – how do we realize we need to change our goals or actions and react well to this constantly evolving. Should we just keep changing and hanging taking small steps one after another? environment? After all taking small steps will not be enough if we steer off track while doing so.

Here’s where PDCA and Kaizen enter the picture.

Plan, Do, Check, Act

These techniques allow us not only to define small steps, but also to take action, change, react to the feedback we receive, change again if needed and refine our goals if needed. It’s like constantly being able to adjust our sights.

One (of many) neat tools taken from the Lean world is called PDCA (Plan, Do, Check, Act). PDCA is a Kaizen approach. We discussed this Lean philosophy as one of the coaching booster principles – continuous improvement. True PDCA is all about the ability to respond to change, constantly improve, gain a sense of capability, change and grow while making forward progress. It is a practical way to respond to change.

How can we use it to our coachee’s benefit? Let’s look at children and the gaming world for minute.
Gaming is an excellent example of what PDCA (Plan, Do, Check, Act) is all about.
Remeber Shirly’s kids who play lots of video games. Let’s elaborate a bit more about that example.
Her kids are now old enough to play video games and start being engaged in the gaming world. This has, of course, got her wondering about the benefits of playing those games, if there are even any benefits. Well, they have some benefits. One of them is related to our ability to fail, when you fail, or experience success, or need to get things done to win the game, you learn. Check out this blog post by Mike Langlois, Failing Better “There is another aspect of failing in video games that I think we need to pay attention to, and that is the role of autonomy. […] The reality is that mastering challenges and fun failure creates a feeling of optimism, which neurologically and emotionally improves our ability to learn in the future. If we think we are capable of solving a problem, we will keep at it. Therefore, we need to foster a sense of autonomy in learning. The minute we start talking about ‘my special needs child,’ we are taking away their autonomy. […]The less we stigmatize failure, the more we encourage autonomy and optimism. Autonomy and optimism make you a better learner, a better collaborator, and a better worker. Personally I think the world could use
a lot more of that.” Mike Langlois.

Looking at it from the Agile point of view, there is an additional point. These games allow the
kids to fail over and over again, forcing them to re-plan their steps and try again using small
focused steps.
The players gain more experience and try yet again. Failing again and again just means that you learn how to do it better next time. It also means that you retry again and again. And each time you re-start the level, you gain abilities, or power, or wealth. You start from a relatively easy stage and advance to harder and harder stages, journeying through a series of failures, successes and learning.
And you do it in small steps.

Thinking of gaming experience, we think it’s an excellent example of what a PDCA (Plan, Do, Check, Act) attitude is all about. The ability to constantly improve, gain a sense of ability, change and grow while making forward progress.

Understanding PDCA

Now let’s leave the kids playing their video games, and learn a bit about PDCA, and how we can use it in coaching sessions.

The PDCA cycle is part of what we call Kaizen continues improvement tools: you’ll see it’s very much similar to the personal discovery process we just did (and no wonder, it’s all Lean): forming our goals, setting the path and building blocks and understanding our bumps and capabilities. Now, what is left to do is to act upon it.

PDCA and Kaizen may look like this:

• Set goals and create a short brief about the required relevant information.
• Understand where you are and where you want to be.
• Choose a small(!) item for improvement.
• Act upon improvements.
• Review and change as necessary.

• Review results again and see if any action should be retaken.

In practical terms it is called PDCA PDCA (plan–do–check–act or plan–do–check–adjust) “is
a four–step model for carrying out change. Just as a circle has no end, the PDCA cycle should be repeated again and again for continuous improvement.” ASQ It’s commonly used as a business management technique for control and continuous improvement of processes and products, sales and other areas.

** Baby steps in PDCA. Each step does not bear a huge or even large or medium change, it’s small, tiny changes taking place and crawling forward using this model.

Plan to do something)Do it)Check and see how it went, change whatever you think is necessary and) Act accordingly to the changes. Then do it again.

When we start using PDCA more and more, it becomes second nature to us. Just like a child playing a video game, failing and checking our steps is something that comes without thinking.

It’s a continuous improvement mindset. When done right, PDCA keeps us in a “capable” mode. It challenges us to solve problems in relatively small portions, allowing us to experience small failures and enjoy the success of change. “Success”, of course, is a great feeling – and we can leverage this sensation when we make small changes. We don’t need to wait for the big bang process to be completed.

PDCA, when done right, helps us experience controlled success and failures, and most
importantly, helps us feel capable, driven from our experience and the effort we put into ‘doing’. This fuels us to continue, to try to solve and change and grow. Of course, just as anything else that is unfamiliar, the theory looks very strict. We just need to experience it, adapt it to fit our needs and improve on it.

The right mindset for Kaizen and PDCA

So, what is the best way to get into a Kaizen continuous improvement frame of mind using PDCA? You can use the existing task board or create an individual PDCA cycle focused on a specific issue. Obviously as a coach you already possess communication tools that allow you to identify problems, options and directions .

1. First of all, don’t forget to have fun while changing. “Fun” usually comes last in our checklists. Not this time. Having fun helps us fail well and increases our ability to solve problems now and in the future.

2. When something is interesting it’s also easier to solve. PDCA is like a puzzle, so treat it as such. It should be interesting and related to what we want to do. Similarly to a puzzle, sometimes we need to try a few times before we figure it out. It is also important, as part of our Lean approach to focus on a valuable item.

3. Encourage Autonomy. In a video game, you start from the easy stuff. You gain experience by failing and retrying (Do-check), you learn from your mistakes and try again. Sometimes (most of the times!!!) you become better… even awesome in what you do. But the player manages to do it since he can use the autonomy of the game. This is a very important step in PDCA. Have the autonomy to change, learn and adapt. No change will happen if you aren’t allowed to think by yourself, fail, make mistakes and try again. So encourage your client to think for himself even if it means he’ll fail and get hurt … it’s okay.

4. Welcome failure as a step toward success. Don’t expect to succeed from step one. Encourage them to check things out and try again and again.

5. Deal with small steps, one thing at a time. There’s no need to plan, do, check and act over massive projects. It doesn’t need to be a long cycle. It can be a daily process of planning, doing, checking and acting. Divide big changes into smaller practical tasks. Choose one at a time and go with it.

6. Check –- means communicate, talk it over, discuss. Ask what went well and what we can do differently. You can use the daily meeting for that.

7. Ease yourself out of your comfort zone. Do one small thing each day to challenge yourself. Feel uncomfortable once a day, check it out, learn and adapt the next day.

8. Learning is a curve. We learn better from experience.

9. Appreciate the effort of doing. It is highly important, especially when you don’t succeed.

10. Visualize. As always, when you can see the change, it increases the probability of changing and doing. By the way, to visualize, I take a small enough task, using sticky notes, place them on the board, run them visually into the PDCA process, mark the change visually on the board, and repeat until the process is so innate people don’t even see it anymore.

11. Courage – Oh …, one more thing: what if we want to create a big step forward… leap over a big chasm… Then what? What if we wish to move to the big city, for example? 
Former British Prime Minister David Lloyd George once said:

“The most dangerous thing in the world is to try to leap a chasm in two jumps: […] Anything can be achieved in small, deliberate steps. But there are times you need the courage to take a great leap”  

The answer to these questions is: With courage, and lots of it, but also with the ability to synthesize the smallest, most valuable big leap towards our goal and go for it. E.g.: talk to people who’ve been there, read about it, go for the weekend, get to know the surroundings, and more … . You don’t need to take a giant leap into a complete unknown, there is always some smaller step you can take and still achieve your goal fast.

References and further reading:

• ISO 9001 Quality Management Systems – Requirements. ISO.2008. pp. vi.
Fear of Failing? The Many Meanings of Difficulty in Video Games

Chapter 1, Team-Based Problem Solving and Learning for Continuous Improvement

Saturday, June 18, 2016

Steve Denning on #Agile -All about Leadership, innovation, management and business narrative

His most recent books are the Leader's Guide to Radical Management (2010), The Leader's Guide to Storytelling (2nd ed, 2011) and The Secret Language of Leadership (2007). I consult with organizations around the world on leadership, innovation, management and business narrative. At the World Bank, I held many management positions, including director of knowledge management (1996-2000). I am currently a director of the Scrum Alliance, an Amazon Affiliate and a fellow of the Lean Software Society. You can follow me on Twitter at @stevedenning. My website is at

Thursday, June 9, 2016

How to use #Kanban for #UX ?

Wednesday, June 8, 2016

How to do UI Design and Agile Devlopment?

As more organizations adopt Agile development practices, usability practitioners want to ensure that the resulting products are still designed with users in min, needs to change as well. How?

Saturday, June 4, 2016

Why Is It Time for Agile Marketing? - Reading List

Marketing has become increasingly challenging today. In today’s fast-paced world, marketers no longer have the luxury of spending months on crafting large projects. "Gone are the days of old school marketing, as traditional, fixed “annual marketing plans” are quickly dying out and replaced by more flexible, adaptable approaches that reflect today’s rapidly evolving marketing landscape." Agile marketing drives long-term marketing strategies with customer-focused, short term iterative projects which improve both relevance and responsiveness. It enables faster and better results with smarter impr...

Saturday, May 21, 2016

If you're not getting what you want from Agile, these signs might explain why.

Agility is the ability for development teams to respond quickly, deliver value sooner, and change your product along with changing customer needs and market opportunities. But, it is not always easy; in fact it’s hard to get out of agile what you want. Successful Agile implementation requires many different things coming together at the same time. If you're not getting what you want from Agile, these signs might explain why.

Thursday, May 12, 2016

Storyboarding - Would you be willing to be this collaborative when creating your backlog?

A storyboard is a sketch of how to organize a story and a list of its contents. Storyboard provides an ideal platform to create user stories and spark conversation in a format that is much less taxing than a wall of text. Use it when creating your backlog.

What Should I Use? Scrum Or kanban?

Which agile software development methodology is better suited for my own situation?
It is import to assess your current context, decide what outcomes you are trying to achieve, and make an informed decision of how you are going to design your initial Agile Operating Model (AOM).

Thursday, May 5, 2016

MVP is not a BETA - MVP vs BETA

A lot of people misuse the term “MVP” or Minimum Viable Product. To be clear an MVP is not a beta. 

Experience shows that early product releases can be a smart move when doing innovation. What used to be called betas or even alphas is nowadays often referred to as an MVP (Minimum Viable Product).A lot of people are however substituting the word “beta” with “MVP” these days, although there are some significant differences. 

Friday, April 29, 2016

Why Do Some (Developers & Managers) Hate Agile?

Agile development. Love it or hate it, there’s no doubt that it’s here to stay. We’ve enjoyed a great deal of success thanks to agile software development and agile project management methods. We can look as an example the firms with “names like pieces of fruit” . They are not “$30 billion firms.” In fact some of them are now much larger than the old traditional management 20th Century “giants.” Apple for instance is now more than four times the size of IBM. , but not everyone like agile. Why?

Monday, April 25, 2016

How to build great agile teams?

Building successful teams is a key factor in making a success of your Agile transformation. In fact, Agile transformation will not succeed without teams that collaborate effectively and efficiently.  building agile teams But building an Agile team requires a lot more than defining your Agile team roles and finding warm bodies to fill them. Agile visionaries believed that teamwork is essential to delivering great software and that great agile teams embody "we" rather than “I." Nothing is more rewarding than sharing the adventure of building something that truly matters with engaged teammates.

Sunday, April 24, 2016

Why Self-Selecting Teams is such a great concept? Sandy Mamoli (@smamol ), Nomad8 & David Mole

Self-selection is a facilitated process of letting people self-organise into small, cross-functional teams. We think it is the fastest and most efficient way to form stable teams, based on the belief that people are at their happiest and most productive if they can choose what they work on and who they work with.

Wednesday, April 20, 2016

Why is it crucial to Understand the system and system dynamics in any adoption of lean and agile principles?Systems Thinking

Why is the behavior of a large development group (a system) not understood or guided skillfully? 
A development or product organization for example is a system of people and policies with subtle feedback loops and unintended consequences, they have complex positive and negative feedback loops and nonlinear behavior. The behavior of these systems defies our gut instinct. And then there is the minor issue of people .
Understanding the system and system dynamics is crucial for any adoption of lean and agile principles.

Tuesday, March 29, 2016

Dealing with geographically distributed agile teams

The world is going global, so geographically distributed agile teams are here to stay. What are the challenges and how can we make this happen?

Sunday, March 27, 2016

Scrum roles exercises

What's your role activities? 1:1 session example. #scrum

2-3 hour, that can be divided it to 2 sessions if needed .

You can use this with any role..

The goals of this session is to actively discuss the activities and the responsibilities  of the current scrum role throughout the scrum framework in an intimate 1:1 session.
I usually use this type of activity when we are dealing with an organization that the scrum framework is already implemented and also has some unique organization tips and activities into it. For this case we need to fine-tune specific personal to the scrum role activities and responsibilities , train, teach and coaches them to the way they are expected to perform and of course get their feedback.
Its also a great opportunity to collect some process pains and deepen our view over the scrum transition in this organization.

1/ explain the meeting purpose

2/ (10 minutes)
Ask the trainee to draw on the board his/ hers understanding of the flow/process of his/her work inside the scrum framework in the organization.

3/ once the drawing is created look carefully on the board, and share your reflections with your trainee.
For example, a product owner that draw the "sprint' area with no details or no ceremonies: wjat does it mean to you as a coach and to this product owner perception of her/hos role ? You may ask about it.
Write note to where you would like to put and emphases later on in your conversation.

4/ (10 minutes) explain the next steps of the exercise, but just before executing the next step take one example and use it to explain the next step.

For example : "Next . We will take some time and some sticky notes to write down our role activities and responsibilities in each and every step of this flow. You will stick those notes on the board while doing so."  "As an example lets take the "pre-planning" session. Write down your expected role activities and responsibilities….." once  she/he are done "Lets talk about it."

5/ (10 minutes)  Now, ask the trainee to take some time and some sticky notes to write down your role activities and responsibilities in each and every step of this flow. Ask the trainee to stick those notes on the board while doing so.

6/ 60 min - go over the drawing , an talk about each point of the flow..

** If not existing make sure to add to the flow other points of discussion such as : relation to other roles , specific organization role activities and more…