So You Want to Be a Coach?

Last year, I was asked to record some video segments capturing my thoughts and advice for aspiring Agile Coaches. Here are three of the clips I recorded…

1. How will I know I’m ready to be a coach?
2. What am I trying to accomplish?
3. What methodology should I promote?
4. What kind of background should I have?

Tens, Romans & Lettermen – Part 2


Far be it from me to leave well enough alone. Let’s amp this discussion up to the next level. **

Part 2 – Advancing the Discussion

In Part 1 of this topic, we demonstrated why multi-tasking is bad for productivity. Some of you will be just fine with that conclusion. You probably are perfectly comfortable waiting for all three columns of the grid to be generated in sequence, and then just accepting the end result.

But what if there was a reason not to be so comfortable with that result? If that were the case, this discussion could get pretty interesting.

Note: If you haven’t read Part 1 yet, you should go back and do that first.

Continue reading “Tens, Romans & Lettermen – Part 2”

Tens, Romans & Lettermen – Part 1

A simple game to illustrate the cost of task-switching *

The title of this post is a terrible play on words. Every time I think about it, I’m reminded of the opening lines of Mark Antony’s funeral oration. It’s cool if you don’t agree with the title. Lend me your ears anyway…

Multi-tasking via Task-Switching is a costly practice. This game can be used to illustrate this point with things you can probably find readily available in your desk or office-supply closet. The material is presented in 2 parts. Part 1 reveals the exercise in its most basic form. Part 2 expands on the original premise to learn even more…

Continue reading “Tens, Romans & Lettermen – Part 1”

Having a Ball – Introduction

There is a simulation I build into my Agile training curriculum. It is based on a very old game that has been used for ages. I’m not the inventor of the game, but I am a very strong adapter of it. Here I examine the core game followed by variations I have used…

Continue reading “Having a Ball – Introduction”

If I Had a Tractor – Introduction

Here the metaphor of lawn care serves as a gateway into a discussion of defining and estimating work in a manner similar to what new agile teams are first called upon to learn. We then build on those concepts to demonstrate the rationale for maintaining cross-functional teams. And finally how to budget for these activities.

Continue reading “If I Had a Tractor – Introduction”

Are We There Yet?

A friend of mine was once put in charge of the Innovation group at the company where we worked.  Whenever we would talk about the state of Innovation, he always seemed preoccupied with creating an “innovation organization”.  But the conversation never seemed to get far beyond that point.
Continue reading “Are We There Yet?”

When things get hard…

“We practice when things are easy so we can use it when they get hard.”

The phone in the dining room rang, the caller id showed my parent’s number.  My wife looked at the phone, then up at the clock, then at me.  Somehow, we instinctively knew what was coming.  I pushed the speakerphone button, and I heard my mother’s voice, quiet and wracked with grief. “I’m all alone.” Continue reading “When things get hard…”

Instilling a Sense of Urgency

The team just isn’t demonstrating a sense of urgency.

The manager looked earnestly at me across the table.

I took a deep breath.  “If I may clarify.  Is your wish that the team understands the urgency of the situation, or that they demonstrate a sense of … panic?” Continue reading “Instilling a Sense of Urgency”