Understanding Lean Metrics

Today, I was faced with the unfortunate task of renewing my driver’s license. It’s been 10 years since the last renewal and I remember the last time I was at the Maryland MVA (Motor Vehicle Administration) office, I waited for what seemed to be an hour.  We all know how painful the experience is.  You stand in line, you get to the front of the line, they tell you to go fill out some...

An Introduction to Cost of Delay

I was recently watching an episode of Shark Tank. I loved the unfiltered statement from Kevin O’Leary (Mr. Wonderful) toward an entrepreneur seeking an investor in his company. I’m here to make money! If you’re a fan of Shark Tank, you’ll...

Release Planes versus Release Trains

There is a lot of talk these days about SAFe.  I have a lot of respect for what Dean Leffingwell has done but there is a minor use of language that has been bugging me in recent days. Just as I disagree in using farm animals to describe people on a Scrum team,...

Barriers to Agile Adoption

We’ve all seen it happen. Though we try to show organizations the benefits of using a mature agile delivery framework, we still run into roadblocks.  Though the status quo is killing their organization, some barriers to further Agile adoption happen way...

Cheat Sheet for Backlog Refinement

What is it? The purpose of backlog refinement (grooming) is to make improvements to the product backlog.  Though there is no official ceremony detailed in the Scrum Guide, the activity of refining the Backlog is. Who does it? Backlog Refinement is a collaborative...

We Need a Shared Understanding

Earlier this week, I facilitated a backlog refinement meeting.  In the past, the team was used to the analysts to complete all of the requirements in advance. The delivery team would then execute on those requirements. The problem, of course, was no shared understanding. We...

Getting Teams to Deliver Predictably

queue size compared to utilization As recently as this week, I’ve been involved in conversations with customers about how we can help make their teams deliver more predictably.  How can they meet commitments on all levels of the organization, including project,...

My Perspective on Remote Work

The proclamation by Marissa Mayer last month, informing Yahoo employees that working from home is no longer an option, really seemed to bring an important conversation front and center. The memo that started this firestorm stated in part - “To become the...

Your Team Is New To Scrum

If your team is new to Scrum, they don’t have the advantage of looking at their previous velocity before making commitments to the business A while ago, I published a post titled: Simple Cheat Sheet to Sprint Planning Meeting.  Though I understand every...

My Current Top 10 Favorite Quotes

There isn’t a week that goes by that I don’t hear some awesome quote or analogy.  I put as many as I can into my mental back pocket, hoping for an opportunity to pull one out at a moments notice.  When you’re stuck for a quote or analogy, to...

What is a Qualified User Story?

Regardless of the client I work with, the teams seem to initially struggle with understanding how big (or small) a User Story is, relative to Epics, Features, and Tasks.  It doesn’t help when they first ask how big user stories are and my first response...

Product Owner Zero Cost Effect

Have you ever had a stakeholder who wanted to change work priorities mid-project, mid-release, or mid-sprint?  Certainly, one of the reasons we choose to use agile practices as a delivery mechanism is that it gives us the flexibility to change priorities. So,...


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What People Say

“Kelly is an Agile heavy-weight. He came in to assess my multi-million $ Agile development program which wasn’t delivering the right throughput. He interviewed most of the team and made some key recommendations that, when implemented, showed immediate results. I couldn’t ask for more than that except he’s a really nice guy as well.”

DAN PULHAM, DIGITAL DIRECTOR
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