Visualize Your Constraints

As I work with people to use agile approaches, I see many organizational constraints. I’ve been trying to find a visualization for what I see. I don’t know if I’ve got it yet, but here is my sum-of-the-parts image. The organization’s culture drives decisions (or not!)  about the strategy. Strategy, with any luck, creates clarity …

Frequent Releasing Can Lead to Short and Frequent Planning

Agile approaches can help a team release more often. When a team releases more often, the product people can replan the product roadmaps. The project portfolio people can replan the project portfolio. Not every team releases often enough to take advantage of replanning small and often. Everyone falls prey to “too much” thinking. The product …

Leaders Manage Uncertainty

One of the problems I see in projects and organizations is when people wish for certainty. Too many agile project managers and Scrum Masters want a known velocity. They don’t realize that velocity is a relative capacity measurement, not a guarantee. Product managers, the people who manage the project portfolio, all seem to want certainty …

Knowing When You Release Value

Sometimes, teams have trouble releasing their work, showing the value of the work they’ve completed. There are many possible reasons for this release problem: The team doesn’t have sufficient working agreements about what “done” means. I’ve written about frictionless releasing. In Create Your Successful Agile Project, I wrote about the done, done-done, and done-done-done words we …

Early Version of Distributed Agile Teams Book is Available

Mark Kilby and I have finished the first four chapters of  From Chaos to Successful Distributed Agile Teams: Collaborate to Deliver. We thought we had five finished chapters. Then we realized how much more work we had, to move from Google docs to Markdown. Sigh. We have four finished chapters 🙂 And, we know how to collaborate in …

When Teams Don’t Finish Work in a Sprint: 3 Tips to Seeing and Finishing Work

Sprints, by definition, are a timebox. You’re supposed to say, “Pencils down!” at the end of the sprint, show your work and reflect. One of the big problems with new-to-agile teams is their inability to finish work inside a sprint. Each team is unique. However, I’ve seen these causes most often: Team members multitask, so …

Questions to Ask Before Estimating an Agile Program Posted

My most recent article on projectmanagement.com is 3 Questions to Ask Before Estimating an Agile Program. In both Create Your Successful Agile Project and Agile and Lean Program Management, I talk about the reality of estimates in most settings. The question is what kind of an estimate does your project or program need? I’m not opposed to …

Agile Practice Guide Interview with Mike Griffiths

Last year, I was part of a geographically distributed team who wrote the Agile Practice Guide. Shane Hastie interviewed us during Agile 2017. His interview (which was a ton of fun!) is here: Johanna Rothman and Mike Griffiths on the Agile Alliance/PMI Agile Practice Guide. I learned a ton from that writing experience: Geographically distributed agile …