A couple of weeks ago I was sorting through some books left to me by an uncle in the early '90s when I came across a copy of The U.S. Armed Forces Survival Manual, published in 1980. Leafing through I found all sorts of advice such as how to build a shelter, find direction, trap and prepare food, and how to protect yourself from natural hazards. It was this last topic that caught my attention, particularly the section about poisonous snakes of the world. Who knew there were so many ways to die?...Read More
Notes from the field...
I coach my Product Owners to ruthlessly refine their Product Backlog to prevent onset of an Agile death march. A lack of proper attention to Product Backlog Refinement can lead to product decay, premature end of product life, and demotivation of the Development Team.
In light of these risks, it's important to get Product Backlog Refinement right...Read More
Agile initiatives can have a surprisingly short run. At first everything seems rosy, but as soon as the going gets tough, the experiment is history. In "Unintended Consequences -- the Agile death march" I told the sad story of a team demoralized and stricken with "delight withdrawal". It got so bad that team members were resigning. The abandonment of Agile by the organization was the next likely step. But did it need to be so? What might have been done differently to avoid such a messy outcome?...Read More
In project management, the phrase "death march" refers to the demoralizing experience people assigned to a doomed project have just prior to and during its death throes. Agile teams generally avoid this type of death march by surfacing risk early and appropriately adjusting course. However, there is another type of death march that Agile teams can experience, and this Agile death march can prove equally if not more damaging to the organization than the type experienced by non-Agile teams...Read More
When I tell someone I am an agile coach, I sometimes receive a puzzled response.
"Oh? What sport?"... or
"Is that the thing where you train a dog to run an obstacle course?"
When I explain that I coach people and teams that create innovative products and services, they get even more confused.
"Why do they need a coach? Aren't they professionals? Don't they know their stuff? Shouldn't we reasonably expect that they can get the job done?"...Read More