Influential Agile Leader, Boston and London, 2016

Is your agile transition proceeding well? Or, is it stuck in places—maybe the teams aren’t improving, maybe the people are multitasking, maybe you are tired and don’t know how you’ll find the energy to continue. You are the kind of person who would benefit from the Influential Agile Leader event in Boston, April 6-7, and in London, May 4-5, 2016. Gil Broza and I co-facilitate. It’s experiential, so you learn by doing. You practice your coaching and influence in the mornings. You’ll have a chance to map your organizational dynamics to see where to put your energy. You’ll split into smaller sessions in the afternoon, focusing on your business challenges. If you would like to bring your agile transition to the next level, or, at the very least, unstick it, please join us. Super early bird registration ends January 31 for London. Our super early bird for Boston is sold out, and the early bird registration is still a steal. If you have questions, please post a comment or email me. Hope to work with you there. (See the servant leadership tag for the Pragmatic Manager  and the leadership tag on this blog to see relevant articles I’ve written...

Public Workshops in 2016

I have several public workshops this year. I’m offering the Influential Agile Leader with Gil Broza April 6-7, 2016 in Boston and May 4-5, 2016 London. If you have not read some of my writing about leadership, take a look at these previous newsletters: ▪ Lead Your Agile Transition Through Influence ▪ Creating an Environment of Leadership ▪ Discovering Your Leadership Early bird registration for Influential Agile Leader ends Feb 29, 2016. In addition, I am offering these online workshops in March: * Practical Product Ownership * Writing Non-Fiction Workshop 1 Super early bird registration ends January 15, 2016. I hope you decide to join me and we can learn...

How Do You Serve Your Organization?

A recent coaching client was concerned about the progress his team was making—or really, the lack of progress his team was making. We spoke about the obstacles he had noticed. “The team doesn’t have time to write automated tests. As soon as they finish developing or testing a feature, people get yanked to another project.” “Are people, developers and testers, working together on features?” I wanted to know. “No, first a developer works on a feature for a few days, then a tester takes it. We don’t have enough testers to pair them with developers. What would a tester do for three or four days, while a developer worked on a story?” “So, to your managers, it looks as if the testers are hanging around, waiting on developers, right?” I wanted to make sure I understood at least one of his problems. “Yes, that’s exactly the problem! But the testers aren’t hanging around. They’re still working on test automation for stories we said were done. We have more technical debt than ever.” He actually moaned. “Would you like some ideas? It sounds as if you are out of ideas here.” I checked with him. “Yes, I would!” He sounded grateful. These were the ideas I suggested: Don’t mark stories as done, unless they really are done, including all the automated tests. You might need a kanban board instead of a Scrum board, to show your workflow to yourselves, inside the team. Work as developer-tester pairs, or even better, developer-developer-tester triads. Or, add even more developers, so you have enough developers to complete a story in a day or so. When the developers...

Who Removes Your Obstacles?

In self-organizing teams, teams remove their own obstacles. It’s a good idea. It can be difficult in practice. In Scrum, the Scrum Master is supposed to facilitate removing the team’s obstacles that the team can’t remove. It’s a good idea. It can be difficult in practice. And, what if you aren’t doing Scrum, or you’re transitioning to agile and you don’t yet have a self-organizing team? Maybe you have an agile project manager. Maybe you have a team facilitator. Not every team needs a titled manager-type, you know. (Even I don’t think that, and I come from project management.) Maybe the team bumps up against an obstacle they can’t remove, even if they try. Why? Because the obstacles the team can’t remove tend to fall in these categories: Cross-functional problems across several teams or across the organization Problems up the hierarchy in the organization Problems that occur both places, as in over there in another department and higher up in the hierarchy Oh boy. Someone who either used to be technical or used to be a first-line manager is supposed to talk to a VP of Support or Sales or the CIO or the CTO or “the Founder of the Company” and ask for help removing an impediment. Unless the entire organization is already agile, can you see that this is a problem or a potential problem? Chances are good that during an organization’s transition to agile, the team’s facilitator (regardless of the title) will need help from a more senior manager to remove obstacles. Not for the team. For the rest of the organization. Now, I would love...

Podcast with Cesar Abeid Posted

Cesar Abeid interviewed me, Project Management for You with Johanna Rothman. We talked about my tools for project management, whether you are managing a project for yourself or managing projects for others. We talked about how to use timeboxes in the large and small, project charters, influence, servant leadership, a whole ton of topics. I hope you listen. Also, check out Cesar’s kickstarter campaign, Project Management for...