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Author Archives: Allan Kelly

Allan Kelly inspires, educates and advises teams and executives creating digital products. He helps businesses improve their use of Agile methods and serve their customers better

Words I avoid using: should, empower, commitment

For the record, there are a few words I avoid using if I can. Should: “we should feed the starving millions”, “we should create world peace.” Should is useless. It is also a declaration of what should be but also an admission of defeat, we give up immediately, we don’t even try. Empower and empowerment: “I will empower the team” ...

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The “people problem” problem and the great agile divide

“Its always a people problem.” Gerry Weinberg, The Secrets of Consulting, 1985 The great, unspoken, divide in agile is between those who believe the individual is all powerful and the centre of everything, and those who believe the individual is the product of the system. Weinberg’s “law” is taken as unquestionable truth by most people in the agile community. Whatever ...

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The future of office working

The lockdown hasn’t effected my work environment that much. This is a picture of my home office, my garden office, my “man cave.” I am very lucky. When I’m not on site with clients I spend most of my time working here. Still, I miss visiting clients and conferences – although I did squeeze in Agile on the Beach New ...

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Coaching conflicts

Last year I was coaching a team. One of the big problems the team faced was excessive work in progress – and tendency for developers to start new work when they hit a blockage. Eventually, with the help of the Product Owner who saw the problem too, we starved the work pipeline. The team actually ran out of work. We ...

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Why does AOTB have its own submission system?

Anyone who has submitted to Agile on the Beach in the last few years will have used our submission system: Mimas. Like so many other conference we, or rather I, created our own system. “Why does AOTB have its own submission system?” Flippant but true answer: because nobody else (yet) has decided to share out system. I’m more than happy ...

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In defence of hierarchy

Hierarchy, it is one of those topics which provokes a reaction. There are many in the agile community who believe hierarchy is a bad thing. Teams – and whole organizations are better off without hierarchy. It is simply(!) a case of finding better ways of organizing which don’t involve hierarchy. Then there are those who acknowledge that hierarchy has been ...

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Plan less, do more

“Planning has rapidly diminishing returns: plan less, do more, learn more, redesign governance to kill early and often.” Happy new year! – There is always a special responsibility that comes with the first blog post of a new year. Fortunately Tom Cagley of SpamCast fame asked me a fantasy question: If there is one piece of advice you would give ...

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The Agile virus

The thing we call Agile is a virus. It gets into organizations and disrupts the normal course of business. In the early days, say before 2010, the corporate anti-bodies could be counted on to root out and destroy the virus before too much damage was done. But sometimes the anti-bodies didn’t work. As the old maxim says “that which doesn’t ...

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