Category Archives: Agile Coaching

Penitence For The 7 Agile Sins

Penitence
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Half a year ago I wrote a blog post about 7 Agile Sins. As I’m sure, that I’m not the only one who is guilty for one or more of these sins, I collected a list of possible ways to show penitence and to do it better next time :) So here is my list of the sins and their appropriate penitence.

Stop learning

The first way for showing penitence is to help to create a learning environment in your company. One possibility to do this is to introduce so called brown bags. This is at least one corner stone to foster learning and bring new ideas in your working environment.

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Food for Thought #9 – Be honest

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Are you honest? Every time? To every one? In every situation?

Oh, come on, be honest! Most of us aren’t honest every time, everywhere and in every situation. And, to be honest, this isn`t implicitly bad. There may be situations were the truth isn’t appropriate (at least for the moment). But most of the time it is and the only thing that stops us, is our comfort zone. Unfortunately, the truth is not always positive; otherwise, it would be easy to tell. And so it is often a matter of leaving our comfort zone.

My wife is one of the honest persons I know. In the beginning of our relationship, it wasn’t easy for me all the time. I had to learn to cope with her straight honesty. But now I really love it. Most of the time I know the score, and that’s a great thing. What if everybody would be more honest? Wouldn’t this be great?

I bet every one of us knows a scene in a movie, where the main actor has to confess something, but he didn’t do it. In the end, everything escalated, just because he didn’t confess right at the beginning (OK, I know the movie will be crap if he does ;)). But I’m sure if you think for a second, you’ll find similar situations in your life. For me honesty is also quite important in agile teams. Without honesty in your team, you won’t be able to benefit from Scrum, XP or any other agile toolkit.

Honesty is also important for your self development. The first step is to be honest to yourself. But to be able to evolve positively,  you need the honest feedback from other people around you. Without their help, you’ll fail. But it is also important to be honest to others. If they ask you for your honest feedback, give it to them. Stop beating around the bush even if it unpleasant some times. Most people will be thankful for this. And if you aren’t asked for feedback, give them uncalled feedback.

And now give me some honest feedback, because I want to improve my blog posts. Thank you!

My wife is one of the honest persons I know. In the beginning of our relationship, it wasn’t easy for me all the time. I had to learn to cope with her straight honesty. But now I really love it. Most of the time I know the score, and that’s a great thing. What if everybody would be more honest? Wouldn’t this be great? 

I bet every one of us knows a scene in a movie, where the main actor has to confess something, but he didn’t do it. In the end, everything escalated, just because he didn’t confess right at the beginning (OK, I know the movie will be crap if he does ;)). But I’m sure if you think for a second, you’ll find similar situations in your life. Honesty isn’t for nothing one of the core values of Scrum. Without honesty in your team, you won’t be able to benefit from Scrum, XP or any other agile toolkit.

Honesty is also important for your self development. The first step is to be honest to yourself. But to be able to evolve positively,  you need the honest feedback from other people around you. Without their help, you’ll fail. But it is also important to be honest to others. If they ask you for your honest feedback, give it to them. Stop beating around the bush even if it unpleasant some times. Most people will be thankful for this. And if you aren’t asked for feedback, give them

7 Agile Sins

Sin
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There are still a lot of people out there who believe, that agile methods are the silver bullet to all their problems. This leads us to the 7 agile sins, that I collected in this post. Let’s have a look at the 7 agile sins (I’m sure you’ll be able to add some more in the comments).

1. Stop learning

You think you know what Scrum is and how it works. That’s why you think you can stop learning new things, am I right? Wrong! Learning is an integral element of agile methods. If you’re open for it, you’ll learn something new every day. The inspect and adapt cycles are not for nothing. If you don’t learn from your experience, every agile implementation will fail.

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How to defend against the 10 things that drive your ScrumMaster crazy

During my time as ScrumMaster I collected an interesting list of bad behavior in Scrum teams called the “10 things that drive ScrumMasters crazy”. At the same time I started thinking about what I could do about it and how to stop the dysfunctional behavior in my team. I searched for the causes of the different behaviors and I found a lot. But what you tend to see at first is only the surface and not the real reason. That’s why I began to dig deeper to find the real cause. In the end I found out that everything can be condensed to four root causes. I call them “The four evil root causes from hell”:

  • Ignorance
  • Fear
  • Indolence
  • Apathy

Ignorance

I met teams were the only Scrum training they got was the link to the Scrum article on wikipedia.org. It’s no wonder that they don’t know how to implement Scrum if there’s nobody to train or coach them.

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What`s your favorite Agile Game?

gameI recently attended the Agile Coach Gathering UK in Bletchley Park near London. I met a lot of interesting people, had some great talks and discussion and learned a ton. As the gathering was an open space conference I also proposed a session with the topic “What’s your favorite Agile Game?”. The goal was to collect some great games I could play in my next Scrum or Kanban trainings. A fun fact of this session was that everybody found out that we knew more games than we expected before. We came up with the following list of games.

P&Q

P&Q is not really a game but a collaborative process. The P&Q is a simple process which makes just two things; “P’s” and “Q’s.”  The objective of the exercise is to make a decision as to how to best maximize the profit of this process. A more precise description can be found here.

The XP Game

The XP Game if one of the oldest and most known games in the agile community.

The XP Game is a playful way to familiarize the players with some of the more difficult concepts of the XP Planning Game, like velocity, story estimation, yesterday’s weather and the cycle of life.

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