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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 the teams will deliver finished ...

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Estimation, planning, teams and money, some data

When I deliver Agile training for teams I run an exercise called “The Extended XP Game”. It is based on the old “XP Game” but over the years I’ve enhanced it and added to it. We have a lot of fun, people are laughing and they still talk about it years later. The game illustrates a lot of agile concepts: iteration, business ...

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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 sometimes hear. The team works ...

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Product Leadership in Scrum

Product owners can take on too many responsibilities, become too tactical and inward-focused, and lose sight of their main job: maximising the value a product creates. Instead of managing the team or establishing the right process, product owner should manage the product and exercise product leadership, as I explain in this article. Three Types of Leadership Scrum is a simple ...

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The Product Owner refactored: the SPO/TPO model

Surprisingly I’ve never blogged about the Strategic Product Owner / Tactical Product Owner model, this is surprising because it is a model I both find again and again and advocate again and again. I find lots of companies who have a version of this model in place, they have created the model to deal with their own situation. But few ...

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Are we shifting left or in a continuous loop?

I just read a refreshing point of view on a subject I love, from one of my testing heroes, Janet Gregory. Before proceeding, please take your time to read her point of view. I use it I have been using the Shift Left and even Shift Right terminology, as we say in Dublin, for donkeys years. I am not sure ...

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The Manager’s Role in an Agile Transformation

Agile transformations are tough. That’s because wherever you start, the agile transformation creates culture clashes. Often, teams start with agile approaches. Teams discover the agile approach and practices that work for that team. Then, as the team gains experience, they refine their approach and practices. That’s the external part of what we see in an agile transformation.     However, ...

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The Product Owner is dead, long live the Product Owner!

For years I have been using this picture to describe the Product Owner role. For years I have been saying: “The title Product Owner is really an alias. Nobody should have Product Owner on their business cards. Product Owner is a Scrum defined role which is usually filled by a Product Manager or Business Analyst, sometimes it is filled by ...

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