User Story Mapping Backlog

A common question that I face when introducing agility in an organization is the question of how to create the product backlog. Indeed, a client of mine looked in dismay at the scrum flow diagram and asked the musical question, “I get that. But where does the backlog come from?”

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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.
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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”

Give a Boy a Hammer…

“If you give a boy a hammer, he will suddenly find that everything looks like a nail.”

In some ways, this is how Agile is being applied in the industry today. It doesn’t matter what problem you need to solve, hit that nail with a Hammer. You want to get better predictability? Hammer. Quicker time to market? Hammer. You want to improve employee morale? Hammer. Continue reading “Give a Boy a Hammer…”

Agile vs. Waterfall – Improved Performance is NOT Guaranteed

I am frequently asked to give a brief overview of Scrum to people who are unfamiliar with Agile concepts. In the course of giving those lessons, I almost always see a look of shock at the almost cavalier way that we agilists claim that Agile methods will give a better result than traditional methods. I like the look of shock. It shows that they’re paying attention. Continue reading “Agile vs. Waterfall – Improved Performance is NOT Guaranteed”