April 19, 2014

All Posts Tagged With: Learning with Agile

Agile Coaching Blog

Agile Coaching Tip: Top 11 Books, Videos and Conferences for 2011

I had one of those great, intellectually charged conversations the other day with a colleague and friend, one of those discussions that leaves your mind abuzz. One nugget that came out of it was what books I had read this last year that have had the biggest impact on me as an agile coach and trainer. Here’s the list I shared with him, along with some other tops for 2011:

Must Read
Switch – How to Change When Change is Hard – A great read with lots of science and stories behind how and why people and groups change. Provides a structure to follow in leading change. A must-read for coaches and those leading change efforts.
The Lean Start-up – Eric’s book provides the framework, reasoning and experience on how to swiftly determine the product to build. More than that, Eric provides pragmatic understanding of why traditional businesses and management behave the way they do, and how to deliver measurable, actionable way to change that. A must-read for anyone in IT, product development, management or executive leadership (so, everyone).
Getting Naked – Shedding the Three Fears that Sabotage Client Loyalty – Patrick Lencioni shares what makes real consultants (and consulting) awesome, versus those traditional consulting companies that we all love to hate. A must-read for anyone in consulting or in other ways provides professional services.
I would add The Goal by Goldratt because I loved the use of a fictional story to learn about lean and the theory of constraints, but it hasn’t had the practical impact that the other books above did. Also, I found Mindset – The New Psychology of Success insightful (for clients, myself and even my kids). This book was the core material behind one of the most inspirational talks (a keynote y Linda Rising) at Agile 2011.

Validated Learning in Agile Projects

A recent question about sprint goals got me thinking about the lean startup concept known as “validated learning” and how something like this applies to agile projects. Eric Ries describes the concept of validated learning as:


“not after-the-fact rationalization or a good story designed to hide failure. It is a rigorous method for demonstrating progress when one is embedded in the soil of extreme uncertainty in which startups grow. Validated learning is the process of demonstrating empirically that a team has discovered valuable truths about a startup’s present and future business prospects.”
Ries, Eric (2011-09-13). The Lean Startup (p. 38). Random House, Inc.. Kindle Edition.

At first blush it seems this concept is just made to be utilized by teams working in an iterative manner. They can define sprints, validate learning, and adjust course. The challenge is that validated learning is more than just conjecture or forecasts, this means we must align the product of sprints with empirical, measurable goals. Enter the sprint goal.

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