Install SAFe


This is pretty much been true about many scaled approaches to software. It seems like it’s either/or. But there are many ways to approach scaling that do not require heavy process control installations like SAFe.

While heavy marketing of scaled frameworks has become the norm, I’m still a firm believer that custom coaching and consulting to the specific unique culture that your company has is, and will always be, the answer.

Don’t blow up your organization with an out-of-the-box solution. #nobluescreenofdeath

Bob Galen & Richard Khor – Agile Journey from the Trenches

I loved listening to Richard Khor talk about his agile journey… especially when he gave props to Peter Saddington about being an awesome coach who has helped him! 🙂

“I had a really good coach, Peter Saddington. He got me all the things that I needed. In those two days I learned a lot from him. He prepped me for the real world.”

Ok… very much self serving… but it brought joy to my heart that I was a part of someone’s agile journey!

Keep hope alive!

Because They Were Project Managers

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The Road That Dashrath Built

Dashrath Manjhi, was an outcast. He was a simple laborer in India. His wife, Phaguni, died due to lack of medical treatment because the nearest doctor was 44 miles away from his village. He did not want anyone else too suffer the same fate, so he carved through rock that was 120 yards long, 25 feet deep in places and 30 feet wide to form a road through the mountain. He said, “I started this work out of love for my wife, but continued it for my people. If I did not, no one would.” He worked every day and night for 22 years to do this, and reduced the distance between the Atri and Wazirganj areas of the Gaya district from 46.6 miles to 0.6 miles. He rarely slept. He was given national acclaim for this miraculous accomplishment. On August 17, 2007, Dashrath Manjhi, the amazing, dedicated, selfless, determined, and patient man, who had tamed a mountain, lost his battle with cancer.


OMG. So much LOL.

Agile for All Team – The BEST in the Biz #agile2016

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My heart is filled. I absolutely love working with these guys. They are easily some of the best in the business.

It’s a wonderful feeling watching my fellow colleagues speaking at Agile 2016 in Atlanta, GA. Smiling as I watch them, soaking up the knowledge, and watching some of the small banter between all of us during sessions in front of hundreds of people.

I liken it to watching my kids do amazing things, all with a smile on my face. I’m proud. Very proud, of my team.

<3 AFA

Leadership and Data – A Filtered Experience

“As organizations (and societies) grow larger and more complex, the people at the top (whether managers or analysts) depend less and less on firsthand experience, more and more on heavily “processed” data. Before reaching them, the raw data – what actually goes on “out there” – have been sampled, screened, condensed, compiled, coded, expressed in statistical form, spun into generalizations and crystallized into recommendations.” – John W. Gardner in Self Renewal: The Individual and the Innovative Society

It is a characteristic of the information processing system that it systematically filters out certain kinds of data so that these never reach the ones who depend on the system…

Agile is all about transparency. I would, and we constantly suggest to our clients, that we do our very utmost to give unfiltered views of how things are going with development, all facets of development.

This way, leadership can make the best informed decisions they can about what is really happening!

Consider what “filtered” information you’re giving to leadership. Consider how that could be doing more harm than good.

Data is only as valuable as it is “real.”

The Queen of Terrible Robots (She’s Agile)

I think what makes her so fascinating is that she’s “not an engineer” by trade, however, her love for experimenting is infectious.

This is what I tell my clients all the time: The heart of agile is experimentation.

We must continue to experiment and continue to inspect and (change) when we find things can be improved or need to be changed.

Keep on experimenting!

Office Hours and Conformity – No. Delivery is King!


Why is this still a thing? (Unless you actually have a meeting at 9AM… which changes the context)

I find it fascinating that in many corporate contexts that: conformity equates to productiveness (in terms of perception).

This is not true.

In Agile, our most powerful evidence of effort is delivery.

Don’t miss this point. Almost nothing else matters.

  • Progress
  • Status
  • Sign Offs
  • Productivity metrics
  • Performance metrics
  • Trends
  • Graphs
  • Pie charts
  • Reports

I could go on and on… but none of that matters.

Ask yourself a powerful question.

Would you rather tell your leadership/CEO/executive/manager that:

“We are working hard.”


“We have delivered something, would you like to review it?”

Delivery is everything. Progress means nothing. Deliver fast. Validate your assumptions fast.

Solving the Challenge of Overworked Staff

A Gallup poll cited that work stress is the number one reason for employee dissatisfaction. To be honest I’m not sure why this had to be ever polled; I mean, was there ever any doubt?

When working conditions are unsuitable and the job gets overwhelming it challenges not just work satisfaction but also productivity, morale, and eventually profitability if it goes on long enough.

Like all pieces of information these days someone had to go and make an infographic of it all – but this one showcased a few thoughts from the perspective of how a manager and/or organization can spot an over-worked employee.

Take a look and see for yourself (click to enlarge):

Continue reading “Solving the Challenge of Overworked Staff”

Agile Coaches Must Understand Culture!

Here’s the hard truth: You are not as effective as you possibly could be.

Let’s be even more honest for a moment, shall we? As an organizational coach and Agile coach I know first-hand what it’s like going into a company and not having the faintest clue as to what they are really like. Yes, I got the “brief,” I’ve had the meetings, I even had a few 1-on-1’s, but I really haven’t gotten the whole story. Often, it’s 100% my fault too, as I had not set up the engagement to allow me greater time to sit down and more fully understand the culture…

I would venture that you may have experienced something like this as well… You and I both know that it’s really difficult to get a solid pulse on the cultural and team dynamics at play – sometimes we’re simply flying blind.

Agile Coaches are all about helping businesses and teams thrive. The top impediments to doing this are often: Continue reading “Agile Coaches Must Understand Culture!”

ScrumMaster Value

When considering the “value” of a ScrumMaster, there is a clear evidence of the overall value of an effective ScrumMaster.

Here are some extra things to read if you’re considering investing in a great ScrumMaster or Product Owner:

Here are some data points (rounded) from Joe Little:

Team Cost per Year $1,000,000
Ratio of Bus. Value to Cost 3
Curr Bus. Value produced per Year $3,000,000
Cost of Curr ScrumMaster (annual) $125,000
Cost of Better SM $150,000
Net Investment in new SM $25,000
Inc in Bus. Value in first Year 100.00%   beg yr to end-of-year
Assume: This issolely from increase in Team velocity due to removing impediments
Rate of increase in first year steady
Net Increase in First Year $1,500,000
Cost of First Yr Impediment Removal $200,000
TOTAL RETURN (First Yr) $1,500,000
Return %  (Return to Investment) 667% First year

Agile Can Be Difficult to Adopt [Guest Post]

Agile has been all the rage in software development for many years now. Its popularity exists mostly among smaller teams that iterate quickly and release frequently. Agile software development promotes an environment of rapid feedback and continuous improvement. At its core, it helps teams ship fewer high quality features instead of shipping a bunch of features that don’t quite work. In general, agile is highly regarded in the software development word.

But in some larger organizations, agile is often the subject of much criticism and can be found difficult to adopt. After all, how do you get a big, complicated company to adopt a small, simple philosophy? Larger organizations often struggle to make the agile methodology work for a variety of reasons. Here are some of them:

Agile is a Cultural Shift

Moving away from established rules and procedures can be difficult for large organizations. A big change like this might even require a rigorous change management program. Management needs to get comfortable with their teams organizing their own work. Developers, testers, and designers need to get comfortable working side-by-side rather than simply throwing their work “over the wall”. Everyone needs to share responsibility for the quality of the software.

Communication Breakdowns Across Departments

We’ve all heard of the “silo effect”. In larger organizations where silos exist, failure in communication across those silos leads to an organization that is out of sync. With agile, communication is more important than ever. If your teams are out of sync, your company is out of sync and you’re not functioning as effectively or efficiently as you could be. Focus on communication and you’ll have an easier time implementing agile.

Documentation Gets Left Behind

Continue reading “Agile Can Be Difficult to Adopt [Guest Post]”