Governance – Friend or Foe?

We’re designing a session about governance in an agile world that will explore a contrarian view of what agile governance can be. It’s called: Governance – Friend or Foe? Basically… Is governance focused on the right things? Set up to manage risks, resources, and productivity, governance operates to assure programs get delivered to realize promised benefits. What if customers don’t...

Lost without a goal

I can’t operate effectively without some kind of goal. Let me clarify that. Without some kind of goal I am directionless. I’m easily distracted from any focus I might have started with by other things that crop up. I end up flitting from one thing to another,...

Emotion creates the common language

The challenge when dealing with people from different backgrounds, with different experiences, qualifications, roles and domain knowledge is speaking the same language. When we face together a problem or opportunity, or given a certain need, we talk about what...

Organization complexity is a waste farm

When people are pooled in specialized silos more process is required to get things done. Responsibility gets diffused and transaction and coordination costs go up because there are more handovers and sign-offs as work is passed around; more meetings are needed...

Pursuing features increases total cost of ownership

I suspect lots of decisions are made because they bring short-term benefits despite there being long-term risks. I’ve seen agile teams pushed for feature after feature with the business owner citing business value prioritization. Certainly there is commercial...

Managing costs provides a false sense of security

In the software world, budgets are mostly about headcount and capital expenditure. Headcount is managed by cost per unit, where a unit is a person considered to be more or less a uniform resource capable of producing fixed output. On a cost per unit basis maybe...

State of Agile survey for 2011 tells a familiar story

One particular chart in the State of Agile survey for 2011 tells a familiar story. Have a look. First up, C - Unit Testing at 70%. That’s reassuring. And unit testing is and should be distinct from L - Test-Driven Development. Test-driven development is...

Positive emotions and purpose

This post is really a sidebar to my musings about purpose and vision. It’s reference information rather than any real thoughts of my own, which I’ve pulled together because I wanted to touch on the theories behind the positive feelings we experience...

Too busy chopping wood to sharpen the axe

The prevailing management (and financial) mindset in companies today is focused on efficiency, productivity, and costs. The primary concern is to maximize all assets and capabilities so that nothing sits idle. What this really means is keeping people working at...

Systems are seductive

We leap into solving problems with a system of our own design because we convince ourselves they do the job faster, better, and more easily than we can do it.From the moment we set up a system, it will demand our attention. It will grow and spread and encroach....

Beware the Coefficient of Fiction

There’s a saying: “If it isn’t official, it hasn’t happened”.RAG reports spring to mind. I’ve seen too many RAG reports that have not reflected reality to respect them as a means to report status. Usually, a project stays green until almost the end...

The (un)ethics of Big Vendor contracts with cost-driven companies

Consider a company looking to procure external software services. This is a company that manages by objectives and spends time and effort micromanaging costs. In a typical procurement situation, probably a tender for services, their fixation on cost pushes them...

Showcase rehearsal

Showcases are great PR opportunities with the customer and friends (other stakeholders). We want the showcase to be meaningful for the customer and we want the customer to be engaged. So we rehearse a few times to come up with the smoothest running order and an...


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