Author: Diana Larsen Comments: 0 Filed Under: Agile

It's Thanksgiving Day in the U.S.; a time that reminds me to appreciate my world.

I appreciate you, my colleagues and friends, for supporting me and challenging me. I appreciate my fellow Scrum Masters (of whatever gender) in Boulder for playing along in Open Space with me. I appreciate my family for their love and encouragement. I appreciate my sisters of the moon and the wheel for keeping me focused on what's important.

I am grateful to this planet for its beauty. After several sunny days in Portland, today the clouds have rolled in. I am grateful for the...

HTML blues

Author: Diana Larsen Comments: 1 Filed Under: Agile

Sigh. I learn a little html and think I'm a programmer. So, just to keep me humble, the universe turns half of my latest blog posting green. The price of chutzpah. Sigh.


Author: Diana Larsen Comments: 1 Filed Under: Agile

After a leisurely lunchtime walk through grounds of The Alamo, I’ve rejoined a gathering about Open Space in San Antonio, TX. The participants have gathered here because we want a deeper exploration of the issues and opportunities related to using Open Space Technology (OST) in American organizations and communities. Hence, Open Space on Open Space in US. (OsonOSinUS)

The morning started with a robust discussion of using wikis to capture the proceedings from the multiplicity of sessions that occur in Open Space. Ted mentioned Ward Cunningham as he was describing wikis to the rest of the group....

Interdependent Work

Author: Diana Larsen Comments: 0 Filed Under: Agile

This week I’m working in Minneapolis with Esther Derby. We’re pair writing a book on retrospectives. Working on the book has me thinking about teams—the two-person team of Esther and me and the teams that benefit from retrospectives—and my October 11 list of criteria for being a team.

Interdependent work (the second criterion for “team” on my October 11 list) underscores team members’ need to work together to get their jobs done. When work is interdependent, team members rely on the contribution (skills, knowledge, talents, interaction) of others. They can’t do their part alone. Interdependent work requires rich communication, frequent...

The Return of Retrospectives

Author: Diana Larsen Comments: 1 Filed Under: Agile

Today I read a blog by Daragh Farrell at Thoughtworks. Daragh tells the story of a team that had returned to holding retrospectives and expresses amazement at the positive effect of the ritual on team development. Retrospective boosters (like me) tend to stress the role of retrospectives in process improvement and product quality because those have a more direct impact on ROI. I'm glad to be reminded of the more subtle contribution of retrospectives to accelerating team development. High performing, self-organizing teams also contribute to the bottom line through increased productivity, innovative thinking and lower absenteeism and...


Author: Diana Larsen Comments: 0 Filed Under: Agile

This week I'm engaged and enlightened at the Consultants' Retreat and Network, held in Newport, Oregon, on the beautiful central Oregon coast. An impressive cast of consultants and brilliant significant others have gathered to discuss consulting in all its aspects. We use an Open Space format so that every session on our agenda holds compelling and current interest for a subset of us. So far our sessions have ranged from writing books to meditation to Agile artifacts to understanding the consulting context and more, with more to come. We're having a lot of fun. Wish you were here.


Author: Diana Larsen Comments: 0 Filed Under: Agile

“I don’t want her/him/them to make the same mistakes I made!” “I hope you learn from my experience!” “See what happened to him/them?!” “If you knew what I’ve been through, you wouldn’t do that!” “We tried that once and it didn’t work.” Sound familiar?

When this sage advice is unappreciated or ignored, it’s followed closely by, “I guess everyone has to make his/her own mistakes.” Or the dreaded rebuke,“I told you so!”

Trying to save others from the discomfort we’ve experienced is a worthy impulse. When the pain we are trying to help them avoid is embarrassment, physical harm, disappointment or...


Author: Diana Larsen Comments: 2 Filed Under: Agile

Lately, I've been thinking about the importance of striking a balance--finding a way to accommodate seemingly contradictory conditions--and how frequently that can make or break an interaction or relationship. High performing individuals, leaders and teams constantly acknowledge and embrace the paradoxes that come from successful balance.

When in balance, we show our strengths and disclose our vulnerabilities. Teams in balance enjoy the sweetness of harmony, yet work through conflict to achieve creativity and innovation. Most of us appreciate the opportunity to give support to others, and, in order for support to occur, someone has to be willing to ask for...

Teams and Shared Goals

Author: Diana Larsen Comments: 0 Filed Under: Agile

The word “team” gets tossed about with startling abandon. I’ve heard upper level managers refer to a division or department as a “team.” (An even more egregious error occurs when the same group is referred to as a “family.” But I digress.) What is a team really? In my last posting, I asserted six conditions for “team-ness.” They are a good jumping off point for more blog posts, so I intend to work my way through the list. ( Click here for the complete list. )

The first condition: Shared Goals for results/outcomes/deliverables

I’m going to state it as bald...

Overheard at PNSQC

Author: Diana Larsen Comments: 0 Filed Under: Agile

I’m writing my first official blog entry ever from the Pacific Northwest Software Quality Conference (PNSQC). It’s a great little conference in its 23rd year of focus on Testing, QA and generally improving the quality of the software we deliver.

Yesterday, I presented two tutorials with my friend and colleague, Esther Derby—a workshop about retrospectives and another that was an overview of agile methods. Both were lively and fun. No electronic equipment involved in either session, just people to people interactions with a few flip charts and index cards thrown in for good measure. I continued my low-tech experience...