Agile & Retrospective

Author: Diana Larsen Comments: 1 Filed Under: Agile Retrospectives

Steve Berczuk writes a short and succinct article on TechWell describing, “Why Agile Retrospectives are Important in Software Development.” I’m looking forward to reading the comments and responses he gets. More and more I think of Agile Retrospectives as an opportunity for the kind of learning that leads to real adaptive action in complex situations.

Teamwork Required

Author: Staff Comments: 0 Filed Under: Agile Teams Developing People Leadership Culture and Change

Our experience thus far has been that while self-organizing teams may enable the organization to operate from day to day without active management, a more integrated organization and more productive teams make the value-add of managers highly transparent and place a premium on specific leadership skills.

From Adam Light, Chris Vike and Diana Larsen. "Teamwork Required: Managing Agile Application Delivery in a Matrix Organization", Cutter Agile Product & Project Management Executive Update, Vol. 12, No. 19. October 2011.

For a free download of the article pdf, register at the Cutter site. You can also order reprints from Cutter to use...

The Art of Managing in an Agile World 2-Day Workshop

Author: Staff Comments: 0 Filed Under: Agile Coaching Events

December 12 & 13 8:30 am – 5:30 pm Hotel Vintage Plaza 422 SW Broadway, Portland, OR 97205

Price: $1750 per participant* Group Rate: Register 3 or more participants at $1550 per person

REGISTER

The workshop is limited to 18 participants, so make sure to reserve your spot soon!

Course Overview Managers have a unique role to fulfill in an Agile world. Whether leading a shift to Agile methods or guiding a newly Agile organization, effective managers join their current skills with strategic tools learned in this course to keep people and teams on track. This course gives you the hands-on experience and builds the...

Recognizing Impediments

Author: Diana Larsen Comments: 6 Filed Under: Agile Teams

Team member: How will we know when we've found an impediment? What do they look like?

Sponsor: How can I know what impediments block our teams' productivity?

Scrum Master: How can I get the team to mention impediments in our daily meeting and retrospectives?

Product Owner: Why is everyone whining about impediments? Why don't we just get the work done?

It's all fine and well to say identify and remove impediments but often we bump up against a stumbling block, find a way around, and make things work anyway without further thought. It's second nature. Moving forward is what's important. And,...

Do Don't Try

Author: Diana Larsen Comments: 0 Filed Under: Agile Teams Retrospectives

Martin Jul writes about a retrospective activity in the post “Retrospectives - Adapting to Reality.” He describes an interesting process for highlighting issues in the Generating Insights part of a retrospective session.

Park Bench

Author: Diana Larsen Comments: 2 Filed Under: Retrospectives

I’ve used “Park Bench” at the end of workshops as a way of reflecting on the day or as a debriefing technique after a training exercise to uncover group discoveries. You may be surprised that I hadn’t thought of it for retrospectives. I was. Luckily, Michael thought of it.

Avoidable Heroism

Author: Diana Larsen Comments: 5 Filed Under: Agile Teams

Today I invented a phrase (at least I think I invented it because I haven't heard anyone else say it): "Avoidable Heroism."

I invented it in response to a question, "Should my team work on the weekend to meet a commitment made under their control?"

Now, I don't know the background behind this question. Maybe it's perfectly reasonable for them to work on the weekend. Maybe they have no agreement about sustainable pace. And, it raises a few questions in my mind. How often does this happen? How far from the commitment are they? When was the first, best opportunity to...

Circles and Soup

Author: Diana Larsen Comments: 4 Filed Under: Retrospectives

Sometimes teams get stuck at the point of “deciding what to do” in retrospectives. Team members may begin to point fingers and describe things that the ubiquitous “they” must do before the team can move forward or make improvements,. This may lead to a team-as-victim, “poor us, we’re stuck” syndrome, or blame and finger-pointing. “It’s their fault we’re in this mess!” Blame kills retrospectives and the perception of persecution stalls any hope of forward motion, so the retrospective leader has to shift this conversation, and fast! Team members also may perceive so much room for improvement they become paralyzed and can’t decide where to start improving their lot.

When victim-talk, blaming or overwhelm surfaces, I reach into my retrospective leaders toolbox and pull out a technique to help teams identify the kinds of action the team can take.

Agile 2010 - Be There

Author: Diana Larsen Comments: 0 Filed Under: Agile Events People & Places

I'm attending Agile 2010. Are you?

If you're serious about adopting, grounding, or extending Agile mental models, values, principles, methods, and practices where you work, you'll find answers to your current concerns, and stimulate new questions to consider, at Agile 2010. With 214 sessions ranging across 5 days and 16 thematic stages, you're sure to find many colleagues who face similar challenges.

In Open Jam, the self-organizing area of the conference, you'll find thought leaders whose deep curiosity and desire to learn leads them to sit with you and explore your situation. You'll also find peers and...

Return on Retrospectives (ROR) = Innovation

Author: Diana Larsen Comments: 0 Filed Under: Retrospectives

In a comment on an article about Pixar in The Economist, Tom Agan from the Nielsen Company, writes:

"At The Nielsen Company we have just completed a study of the major consumer packaged goods (CPG) companies operating in the U.S. and those with standardized post mortems for new products, like Pixar, average almost 100% more revenue from new products compared to those that don't...I think through articles like this and new research that quantifies the impact, we are coming much closer to uncovering the universal truths of innovation."

I'm willing to put up with The Economist (and Pixar)...

LoC & Mary Parker Follet

Author: Diana Larsen Comments: 3 Filed Under: Agile Leadership

While in Washington D.C. last month, for the first time I visited the U.S. Library of Congress. Guided by writer and experienced LoC researcher David Schmaltz, I received a temporary library card to research early management thought.

In the glorious reading room under its amazing dome, I held two precious books. One, an (out of print) copy of Mary Parker Follett’s Creative Experience is so old it didn’t have publication date or place data printed in it. However, a little diligent searching told me the edition I held was published in 1924. The book contains ideas offered...