Better Agile Meetings Through Questions

If you happen to be in a meeting with a written objective and agenda, the agenda will have items like “review the plan”. It sounds reasonable. But it is, in fact, very likely to waste your time. Why? Simply, there is no definition of success, so you could talk about the plan for hours and

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

All About Agile: Giora Morein’s Interview with Money For Lunch

Earlier this month, I was interviewed by internet radio show, Money for Lunch. The program introduces leaders, authors and innovators to a business-minded audience focused on business and financial news. I spoke with Bert Martinez regarding the topic of agile. We went over some of the basics, such as: What is agile and Scrum? What

What Big User Stories Could be Telling You

User stories are intended to be a high level description of some functionality. It is, however, common to find user stories growing into specs or large use cases that resemble whatever the organization used to do, back when they did large requirements documents. Comments like “The stories are not detailed enough to start development” or

Scrum Meeting Success for Distributed Teams

In a previous blog, I discussed ways to make distributed daily scrum meetings more effective. This blog reinforces those ideas and provides additional tips to run successful scrum meetings with geographically distributed teams. Productive, timely, 15-minute Daily Scrum meetings, remain a challenge. As many practitioners will attest, co-located Daily Scrum meetings are nearly as challenging