I’m learning by example – bad example – my own!
The holiday season here in North America is a pretty slow time. Sorry for the lack of interesting entries! I want to remind people that there is a 10% discount if you register or save a spot in one of the classes offered by Berteig Consulting Inc. The trick is, the discount is only available for another five days! Save yourself a spot even if you don’t pay now: Agile Training and Workshops.
I am planning a training course on Agile Project Management / ScrumMaster Certification in Chennai (Madras), India early in the new year (hopefully the second half of February). At this point, dates are tentative, but I would love to hear from readers who would be interested. As well, if you know others who would also be interested, please let me know. I will be firming up numbers and dates early in January as well as making the final go/no-go decision at that time. Please contact me either by email (email@example.com) or by phone +1 905 841 1196 if you are interested.
Some details about the course: it will be a 3 day course rather than the usual 2-days that is taken by the ScrumMaster Certification. I have not yet finalized a price but it will likely be a small amount lower than my regular ScrumMaster course price (which is CA$1200.00). There is the opportunity for me to run an in-house private class while I am there if your organization can send enough people (contact me for details).
I hope that I can meet some of my readers in the new year!
Agile Methods as a Replacement for Fossil Fuels – great post about old vs. new ways of managing knowledge workers.
Last night I was thinking more about the analogy of technical debt. In this analogy, design and quality flaws in a team’s work become a “debt” that must eventually be paid back. This analogy is fantastic because it can be taken just a little bit further to understand just how bad defects are…
It occurred to me to ask: If the “invisible hand” in the free markets of capitalism is making for efficient markets, efficient work… then why is there some much room for improvement when we start using non-competitive, collaborative techniques such as lean and agile?
And if these collaborative techniques work on a small scale to improve efficiency, does this mean that we could do this across organizations as a “replacement” for capitalism somehow?
In agile methods, we “assume positive intent” on the part of individuals. What if we could do this across organizations? I’m not living in a dream world yet, but I think I have an inkling of what it might look like: Toyota and its collaborative, leaned-out supply chain.
Andrey V Khavryuchenko has written an interesting article on goal setting called Well Formed Outcome. Andrey describes the six criteria for setting an achievable goal. Interestingly, these are similar in some respects to the conditions necessary for testability.
I have finished a first draft of a short book (60 pages) to be published online on the topic of Agile Work. It is all about applying agile methods to non-software environments. I am looking for two or three people who would be willing to review the draft. If you are interested, you need to be able to commit the time for this week to read it and provide feedback. You should also have tried applying agile methods in a non-software environment (anything will do). Please email me at mishkin at berteig consulting dot com if you are interested in doing this.
Here are eight tips for making a great team room.
Light, Air, Nature
An appropriate amount of natural light, air circulation and live plants are excellent ways to make a space suitable for human occupation. The lack of these things can subtly but surely slow down and demoralize a team.
People need to be able to face each other and work beside each other. They also need a semi-private space to have discussions or make phone calls. The walls of the space need to have large areas that can be used for whiteboards.
It’s just not worth it to have a high-performance team hampered by a poor workstation setup. Good chairs, tables at an appropriate height, and the flexibility to allow individual ergonomic needs to be accommodated all help.
Every member of the team needs to be able to get away for short amounts of time. Some organizations provide separate mini conference rooms or “hoteling” spaces. Others allow staff to keep a private cubicle away from the team room.
The area of space that a person occupies needs to be flexible and personalized. People need pictures, toys, plants, and other incidentals to help them make a space their own. For this, elbow room is important!
Visibility to Outsiders
Other people in the organization need to be able to walk by to see and hear what is going on with the Agile Work team. Open doors, windows or a “bullpen” formation of cubicles all allow this.
The space must be located so that washrooms, coffee, printers and other common services are easily accessible. It should not be set off and isolated far away from everything else.
The team will be noisy. Make sure that other people outside the team room are far enough away or isolated in some way from the noise. It can be hard to balance this with convenience and visibility.
I’m starting an email group to discuss the ideas of Agile Work. I think that there are enough differences in practice, emphasis and theory from the other agile methods, that it is probably reasonable to start some more discussion about Agile Work as a separate thing.
In particular, I am interested in promoting the application of these ideas far beyond the bounds of just software development. How does this method apply to families? Communities? Organizations? Artistic and creative work? Research? Experimentation? Rote work? Where is it being practiced? What problems do people have applying it? What theoretical considerations are you puzzling over? Do you think its a load of crap or the answer to all our problems? Please join this group so that this can become a discussion instead of just a platform for me to write at you.
Agile Work is for people, not robots.
Take advantage of the 10% discount on agile training and certification courses offered by Berteig Consulting Inc. to Agile Advice readers. This discount is only available until Dec. 31st! If you don’t know 100% if you can attend, consider using the “Save a Spot” feature to register while you firm up your schedule or get approval for the training.
There are quite a number of agile methods that are being used around the world in many different types of environments. This glossary provides a quick-reference translation between the various terms used in these methods. I have also included terms that may come from other non-agile disciplines that are strongly related.
If you are using terminology in an agile environment that is different from the terms listed here, please add your comment and I will update this list. In particular, I am looking for people with practical experience with DSDM and FDD to contribute their expertise.
A reader has asked:
I was wondering if you have any white papers or best practices on how to implement the agile methodology in a â€œproductâ€ company where we do more implementation of our product , not really new development. We have some development phases where we customize our product but we donâ€™t necessarily do â€˜pure software developmentâ€ like Greenfield projectsâ€¦.
Here are my thoughts…
As I continue my enthralled read through “The Wisdom of Teams: Creating the High-Performance Organization” I am moved to share another core concept that deserves to be considered essential for Agile Work:
The Performance Goal