Tag Archives: agile project management

Announcing the Agile Advice eBook – Finally Ready!

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Agile Advice Book - coverThanks everyone for feedback, comments and suggestions for my new book, Agile Advice – Creating High Performance Teams In Business Organizations.  It is available for purchase (only $2.99) on lulu.com (that’s where the link goes).  Here is the blurb about the book:

Agile Advice is a collection of brief articles and longer essays about Agile methods and their principles and practices. Agile Advice articles come primarily from the popular AgileAdvice.com blog which has been in the top 50 of Agile blogs since its inception in 2005. The book has three never-before-seen essays including “Agile Mining at a Large Canadian Oil Sands Company”, “Crossing the Knowing-Doing Gap”, and “Becoming a Professional Software Developer”. Agile Advice also has a whole section on choosing an Agile method. The author, Mishkin Berteig, has been working with Agile methods such as Scrum, Kanban, and Extreme Programming since 1996.

Once you have read it, I would love to hear your feedback and reviews here.  I will try to publish updates quarterly over the next year to make it even better!  Thanks again for your support.

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Facing the facts early on. Risk Mitigation can be a powerful motivator.

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Recently, I was able to witness a remarkable event in a company that is relatively new to Agile. They have several teams at about Sprint 12, with several new teams just starting up. Many of their processes are waterfall based.

A failed waterfall project was moved to an existing Agile Team.

In the second Sprint, the Team (feeling trust in the organization and the process), came to the Scrum Master and said, “We’d like you to talk to management. We are not sure this project should be using the platform we develop on. We think another team’s platform may be more appropriate”.

The company had spent time developing a “specification document” for this “project” before Agile was introduced. There were detailed specifications as to how the product was to be created and which platform to use. NONE of this was done with the benefit of asking those that would actually be doing the work.

The project was initiated before learning about applying Agile. One developer was tasked with following the specification. After 2-3 months of frustration, the developer left. This left the company in a bad position. Not only was the project incomplete, but there was also no knowledge transfer. The project was basically stopped.

As Agile was now the new target way of doing things, the project (and new developer hired through the previous process) were added to an existing SCRUM team. The team is using one week Sprints.

After only two Sprints (two weeks), the team had recognized the futility of the approach that was “specified” and took this to management.

Traditionally, large organizations staff for projects. In an environment such as this, how could team members be expected to be truthful and honest about the state of affairs? It would mean the end of their jobs or contracts.

The key here is to allow teams to stick together. Not only will you avoid losing all the efficiency the team has built up, but you will also allow them to be truthful about their situation.

If you are a manager reading this, ask yourself. “Do I want to know that things will go wrong at the beginning of the project or wait until 5 months have gone by to be told, ‘We knew it would never work””. Or even worse… “We knew the product owner was asking for ridiculous features that had no Return on Investment for the company, but hey, you hired us for this contract. We just follow instructions”.

As it turned out, the project did continue with the current team, but with some changes to the specification. The parts of the system that were going to be problems in 5 months were re-evaluated and were removed as they really did not have any real value to the company. It was then decided to stick with the same platform.

Discussions did occur regarding moving to the alternate platform, but were deemed unnecessary after open discussion between the teams and the managers involved. Realistic expectations were set based on value to the company.

Sometimes features are absolutely mandatory for the product. This cannot and should not be taken away from the process. What we gain here is that we are able to have a discussion about necessity. In the end, the business has to decide what is valuable, not the development team.

In a case like this, ask yourself, “If my team is very against this, maybe I should at least think about it”.

The company is working in a very short iterative environment, they quickly recognized a flaw in the system design and dealt with it after only 2 weeks into a several month project.

Working incrementally allows the company to “Inspect and Adapt” on a regular basis. This has to include the question, “Does this still make sense?”. If you need to go backwards, let it be to reverse one or two Sprints of work, not months, or even years.

Fortunately, for the company, the product will come out on time, with appropriate technology based on Return on Investment, and likely with significant cost savings over the initial design. This will also allow the team to get started on other high value projects. Talk about win-win.

This project could have gone to another team. It would not have been negative for the first team. The next project would have just come down the pipe for them.

The early signs helped adjust the “expectations” and everyone is moving forward with a clear understanding that they are on a more appropriate path going forward.

For those of you out there trying to convince companies (or yourselves) that Agile is an effective framework, don’t be afraid to talk about “RISK MITIGATION“.

Think about it this way; The company wants to know early on that there will be a problem, not near the end of the project. This is part of the purposeful transparency of any Agile framework.

Mike Caspar
Mike Caspar’s Blog

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Agile Project Management + Certified ScrumMaster (CSM) + Certified OpenAgile Team Member (Level 2) + Kanban – Halifax December 14-16, 2011!!

Learn more about transforming people, process and culture with the Real Agility Program

Last 3-Day Intensive Training of 2011!

Don’t miss out on this unique seminar, where Berteig Consulting  will be offering a practical view of three important Agile methods.  The training includes both theory and hands-on training!

OpenAgile – used for general agile project management and agile teamwork including projects and organizations doing any kind of work

Scrum – used for software new product development and IT project management

Kanban – used for teams doing operational work

This seminar contributes towards three certification programs: the Scrum Alliance’s Certified ScrumMaster program, the OpenAgile Team Member level and the IPMA/PMAC Agile Project Management certification.


This course is for team leads, project managers, functional managers, and anyone who is interested in improving the performance of their teams and organization.

Click here more information!

Register Now!!







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Agile Job Opportunity in the UK !

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Agile Thought Leader

HP Enterprise Services – UK; Various locations (Newcastle upon Tyne, United Kingdom)

Job Description

HP is seeking Agile Thought Leaders to provide:

Mentoring, Coaching, Training and Assessment internally and to customers.

Our Agile Leadership:

  • Supports organisations in exploring, adopting and optimising Agile habits, based on the foundation of Agile principles and values.
  • Assesses, trains, coaches and mentors Agile Teams, and the leaders of the organisations in which Agile methods are being adopted.
  • Helps organisations develop and sustain a simple measurement system for the Team performance.
  • Helps Teams and stakeholders to define and experiment with various countermeasures to the impediments uncovered in the work process.
  • Develops and delivers customised training
  • Acts as a change agent in collaboratively creating a continuous improvement culture
  • Grows next generation Agile leaders

Desired Skills & Experience

Attributes of an AgileCoach:

  • People focus
  • Flexibility
  • Personal Mastery

Company Description

For clients with large, complex operating environments, HP Enterprise Services provides end-to-end IT services in applications, business process, and infrastructure technology outsourcing for increased productivity, innovation, and security so businesses can plan for future growth and governments can efficiently deliver citizen services.

Additional Information

November 8, 2011
Mid-Senior level
Project Management, Information Technology 
Information Technology and Services 

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Half-price Certified ScrumMaster Training ends Sept 21

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The summer is quickly coming to an end, and with it will end our summer special of 50% off Certified ScrumMaster training or only $995.00 CAD.  Our special offer is still available for the next 25 people to register and pay, but that offer ends on September 21.  Check out our course listing page – every CSM course we have scheduled in Canada is available at this fantastic price (Toronto, Edmonton, Ottawa).

Even without the discount, our course is a better value than many out there.  It’s a three day course instead of the normal two.  This gives you a chance to really dig into the concepts and practices of Scrum and Agile Project Management.  Our course is especially designed for project managers, team leads and aspiring leaders.  This course is a perfect way to help you expand your knowledge and skills in a practical and effective way.

Our list of scheduled courses is here.  Do not miss this great deal.

We’ve been asked, why don’t we bounce around offering courses in other cities like other Scrum Trainers? The simple answer is because we live here in Canada, and we offer courses in locations where we can support you and your organization after the training course is over. Trainers who parachute in from south of the border don’t do that. We are committed to helping you get the most out of Agile in your organization. Give Berteig Consulting a call and let us show you the quality consulting and coaching services we provide.

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Scrum Study Guide updated with tools for new ScrumMasters

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We’ve updated the Scrum Study Guide and lowered the price!  The Scrum Study Guide is an editable tool for helping ScrumMasters do their jobs.  It is like a personal assistant that helps you:

  • Keep track of the rules of Scrum
  • Find tons of concise how-to guides for common steps and activities in doing Scrum
  • Keep structured notes or a journal on your job as the ScrumMaster
  • Maintain a list of online reference material
  • Assess the progress of your team
  • Organize the obstacles you are working on
  • Modify and update the Scrum reference material based on how you are actually doing Scrum
  • Look up answers to the problems you’re having with your organization
  • Plus, every time we update content, pictures, tools, and best practices, you get the updates for free for the rest of your life!


    Are you one of the many satisfied Scrum Study Guide customers?  Tell us how it is working for you.

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    Certified Scrum Product Owner training – New Seminar

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    We are pleased to announce a new seminar: CSPO – Certified Scrum Product Owner.  We have found in our coaching assignments with our various customers that they were struggling to find qualified and well trained Product Owners.  Therefore we are offering this new seminar.  During this seminar we will train the participant how to do the fundamental tasks of the Product Owner in the Scrum environment.  The attendees will learn how to develop a comprehensive Product Backlog, competently add value to the Scrum team during the Sprint, fully understand how Scrum works and their role within it.  With a maximum class size of five people, this seminar is designed to allow participants to dig deep into the role of the Product Owner.  The first day will be an introduction to Scrum slanted towards the role of the Product Owner.  The second day will be an in-depth look at this role.  Our first CSPO seminar will take place soon.  Please refer to our website http://www.berteigconsulting.com/CSPOCourseDescription to reserve space for yourself or others on your team.

    We look forward to adding value to your team!

    Upcoming Certified Scrum Product Owner training seminars:
    April 23 – 24, 2009 in Newmarket (Berteig Consulting Office)
    June 25 – 26, 2009 in Newmarket (Berteig Consulting Office)
    July 23 – 24, 2009 in Newmarket (Berteig Consulting Office)
    August 20 – 21, 2009 in Newmarket (Berteig Consulting Office)
    September 17 – 18, 2009 in Newmarket (Berteig Consulting Office)

    If you would like more information contact us at sales@berteigconsulting.com

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