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5 tips for using Retrospectives as a tool for dissent

I recently shared this article on twitter from HBR, True Leaders Believe Dissent is an Obligation – the spirit of which I wholeheartedly agree. Effective leaders should not be surrounding themselves with yes-people because you need a diverse set of opinions, perspectives, skills and experiences to effectively problem solve. You can read more about How Diversity Makes Us Smarter, Research ...

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Tips on When Product Backlog Grooming should Take Place

Option 1: In the Sprint Review Meeting Your first option is to work on the product backlog in the sprint review meeting. Assuming that the development has developed a “done” product increment and the right people are present, you can use the attendee’s feedback to make the relevant product decisions and update the backlog, as the Scrum Guide suggests and the following picture shows.   ...

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What’s Minimum: Thinking About Minimum Viable Experiments

When I talk about Minimum Viable Products or Minimum Viable Experiments, people often tell me that their minimum is several weeks (or months) long. They can’t possibly release anything without doing a ton of work. I ask them questions, to see if they are talking about a Minimum Indispensable Feature Set or a Minimum Adoptable Feature Set instead of an ...

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Agile Coaches, Scrum Masters, Delivery Managers

​From time to time questions show up in my mailbox from people asking questions. I like to post the questions and answers here in the hope that others might benefit. I’ve done this a few times before (“Agile Clinic: problem with our agile…”) I’m always glad to help but it can be hard to find time, plus, not everyone wants ...

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A sad Cobol story

This isn’t a happy story, it has no happy ending, I suffered personally, its personal but I want to share. Its about trying to solve a problem with the fashionable solution rather than rolling back the last fashionable solution you applied which created the problem to start with… A long time ago, well, the best part of 10 years ago, ...

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Project vs product teams

One of the hardest things for companies trying to be agile is how to structure teams. Back in the bad-old days, teams would form around a project. Then six months later, everyone would dissipate and go onto new teams. By the time a team has formed and become effective it is ripped apart again. You get no sense of ownership, ...

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Cross-functional teams

Cross-functional teams aren’t a new idea. And yet, somehow, we still don’t seem to have got the memo. I was listening to the excellent Scott Hanselman’s podcast “Hanselminutes” last week, he had Angie Jones on to talk about automation. Among all the great advice around ensuring that automation is a first-class citizen in your development process one thing stood out ...

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How Much Do You Love Conflict?

Conflict is what progress is made of. A professional and well-managed team loves conflicts and creates them on a daily basis. A professional project manager provokes conflicts and makes sure none of them end in a consensus. Does that sound strange? It’s not sarcasm. Read on.                 Have you ever heard the term ...

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Consider Rolling Wave Roadmap and Backlog Planning

Many agile teams attempt to plan for an entire quarter at a time. Sometimes, that works quite well. You have deliverables, and everyone understands the order in which you need to deliver them. You use agile because you can receive feedback about the work as you proceed. You might make small adjustments, and you manage to stay on track with ...

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