Slack and the Agile Manager’s Role: Be the Slack

In his book “Slack: Getting Past Burnout, Busywork, and the Myth of Total Efficiency”, Tom DeMarco makes the point is that you can’t be creative when you are overworked or overburdened. Stress kills innovation as does busyness. Little slack leads to little time to look around leads to little improvement. To be creative, your mind needs to feel free and unallocated, uncluttered...

Always Looking Ahead

I’m always looking ahead to the next planning or the next estimating meeting. I teach this behavior to my clients whenever I’m coaching a new ScrumMaster or Product Owner. I start off by involving them in what I’m doing, showing what needs...

Story Splitting: Where Do I Start?

I don’t always follow the same story splitting approach when I need to split a story. It has become intuitive for me so I might not be able to write about everything I do or what goes through my mind or how I know. But I can put here what comes to mind at...

Don’t Estimate Stories In Sprint Planning

This is part three in a series on estimating. Part one was “Don’t Estimate Software Defects” and Part two was “Don’t Estimate Spikes”. I don’t estimate stories in sprint planning. Nor do I re-estimate stories in sprint planning....

Bottom-Up Implementation & Top-Down Intent

A good strategy that I have used for dealing with complex agile transformations in large enterprises has two parts: bottom-up implementation and top-down intent. As Mike puts it, this is “where leadership sets the direction and establishes constraints, but with...

Lack of Predictability: Your Biggest Problem

What I’m seeing at many of my clients is an inability to know what will be completed in the next release. This shows up as missed dates and frustration over broken commitments and “unreliable teams”. When the executives inquire, they get finger pointing...

Agile Health Metrics for Predictability

LeadingAgile uses Agile Health Metrics to demonstrate the results of our process improvement efforts and to identify areas that need further improvement. We have many internal documents describing our approach that we share with our clients, but to my surprise,...

Use Feature Teams. Yes, Use Component Teams

This is a follow-on to my post on starting an agile transformation with Structure 1st and to Mike Cottmeyer’s great article on feature teams and component teams and is based on some discussions I’ve had with Dennis Stevens. In fact, I stole some of this text...

Structure 1st: Why You Should Not Start With Practices

Starting your agile transformation with a focus on practices is not an entirely bad idea, but with the wrong culture and structure, agile practices will be superficial. People will go through the motions. People will do agile things like have standups, demos, and...