Enabling Cross-­Organizational Learning Through Communities of Practice

Becoming an agile organization and continuing to improve over time is best supported by cross­organizational learning. People share their successes and failures and help each other get better. Communities of practice, created and managed by peers, with a focus on particular topic of shared interest are a powerful tool for getting this going. The Challenge

Why Busyness Is A Problem and Throughput Is Important

Throughput is the rate at which an organization realizes its goals – sales, client retention, employee engagement or learning outcomes. Something only counts toward your throughput rate when it’s in a client’s hands and you are getting the benefit (e.g. revenue). Many organizations suffer from the illusion that busyness results in better throughput, but that

My Minimal Viable Meal (Or The Value of a Minimal Viable Product)

Many years ago my wife and I had a nice dinner at Petrossian in Manhattan, so when I got in my mind to have a nice dinner a few weeks ago I decided to go back. “Sir”, I said to the waiter, after reviewing the menu, “Can I please have an appetizer of your Royal

The Risk of Writing Too Many User Stories Too Early

I’ve often seen new teams try to write detailed user stories for every feature in a release before it really makes sense. The reason you adopt agile is that you expect to learn through experience. When you write all your user stories up front, you may have stories that need to be discarded because new

Paying Attention: A Critical Capability for Organizational Agility

An agile organization is able to rapidly notice and effectively respond to extreme change while shaping the future in the midst of that extreme change. Without that capability an organization is like a swimmer caught in a raging river, unable to control where they going, flailing their arms to avoid crashing against the endless parade

Postcard From the Field: “It’s beautiful. Wish You Were Here to Share Our Agile Success!”

Over the course of the last couple of months, I’ve been working with a client who is interested in changing their approach on how to handle what they term as “Big Rocks” in IT for planning, execution, and delivery.  We had our first demo and retrospective yesterday, and I felt a tear of joy in

The Dangers of The “All or Nothing” Plan

There is a pattern seen in the business world and especially in the requests that come into IT departments. Customers, stakeholders and product management provide a list of features. The list is “all or nothing.” If the product doesn’t have all of the features it will have zero value. People with such plans will also have

The Release Plan: The Who, What, When, Why and How

The release plan is the team’s current understanding of what features are going into the next release of software, how many effective developers are deployed on it, and the current status of the development effort. But how do you go about planning that release, especially if you don’t know your velocity? In this video I’ll

Why Continuous Delivery is the Goal

When I ask Delivery Teams and their Product Owners what the goal for their release is, they tend to tell me things like “we need to get stories x, y, and z into production.”  Or, “we need to get the new features for our call center live on date abc.”  And so on.  Notice the