The Scrum Picture is Wrong (#scrumgathering)

Blogging from the Munich Scrum Gathering, so here’s a rare Scrum-focussed blog, though (of course) there’s a lot here that parallels other thinking in the Agile and Lean world. The Scrum Picture is Wrong: well, not wrong, but incomplete. Misleadingly, dangerously incomplete. It’s easier to say it’s just wrong, and this is why.
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Improv for Agile Coaches - 21 November, London #acguk

As you’ll know if you’re reading here, I’ve become excited by the way theatre Improv can inspire us as agile coaches. One direct result of this is a day-long workshop I’m organising with Mike Sutton through the UK Agile Coaches Gathering, which will be run by Tom Salinsky. We’re working with Tom on structuring the day around ideas and outcomes directly relevant to coaching practice: collaboration, innovation, status and influence. It’s going to be entertaining, fun, inspiring and useful, and it’s a snip at £65.00 for the day. Saturday 21 November, Highgate, London: more details here.

A Tale of Two Kitchens

This year, amongst the places I’ve eaten, two stand out for their kitchens. We’ve the impression - from the occasional glimpse through those swinging doors, or from Gordon Ramsay and his like on TV, that kitchens are noisy, busy, chaotic places, but these two restaurants (and I’m sure many others) prove that it doesn’t have to be so.

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Constructive Conversations About Development Process

What sort of conversations can you have with your organisation about software development practice and process? By which I mean not only – what do you talk about – but just as importantly, what do you bring to the conversation that affects how you frame the discussion, and how do you improve its chances of creating lasting change?
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Intrinsic and Extrinsic Motivation in Agile Development, Adoption

I’m reading - and enjoying - Alfie Kohn’s classic, Punished by Rewards: The Trouble with Gold Stars, Incentive Plans, A, Praise, and Other Bribes. It’s definitely a one-issue book, but that’s not such a bad thing: what’s more, it’s one of those rare works which is both pleasurably readable and impeccably referenced: three hundred pages of text, a hundred of notes and bibliography, so if you want or need to follow up on the research results which inform every argument Kohn makes, you can. [1]
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Lessons from Improv

So, on the way down from the high of the weekend’s (theatre) improvisation workshop at the Spontaneity Shop. Tom Salinsky is a great teacher - experienced, thoughtful, direct, entertaining. It’s a great experience, too, to participate in a group that’s being led so well, and I learned a lot just by watching and listening.

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Coaching agile teams - some reflections (#acguk)

It’s been a few weeks now, but I wanted to finish pulling together my responses to the UK’s first Agile Coaches’ Gathering. I’ve written already about the sessions I led at the Open Space (Appreciative Inquiry, Dilbert Considered Harmful), here I’ll talk about the other sessions I joined, and my feelings on coaching as they’ve developed afterwards.

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Pomodoro Organisation? (#pomodoro)

I’m coming to the end of a small development project with Peter Marks. We’ve been using the Pomodoro technique, individually and as a pair, to pace our work over the course of a day, and have become big fans. We were talking about it: Peter wondered what a Pomodoro organisation might be like, and together we tried to imagine what it would be like to work in one.
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Dilbert considered harmful? (#acguk)

I ran this conversation as a session at the UK Agile Coaches Gathering last week. It was prompted by the common experience of seeing Dilbert cartoons stuck to office walls and partitions. Here’s one of my favourites — as usual, it rings true, and the drawing, writing and setting are spot-on[1]. But wait - did Dilbert just lie to the manager? Is it OK to do that? Maybe it is, and maybe we make ourselves feel superior to the pointy-hairs by doing it.

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CATeams Clinic - Wednesday 20 May, London

All three partners in CATeams (that is, Ben Fuchs, Joseph Pelrine and yours truly) will be in London on 20 May, to kick off what we aim to be a monthly clinic session dealing with Agile adoption, team conflict and organisational dynamics. The premise is simple - mail us to set a time, let us know what’s on your mind, and we’ll arrange a 1-1 conversation with one of us to explore your situation or concerns and suggest some effective interventions. Oh yes - it’s free, too.

If you haven’t come across them yet - Joseph is an Agile pioneer, who’s spent the last fifteen years working at the intersection of agile development, complexity science and social dynamics. Ben is a psychotherapist, international mediator and conflict specialist, who works with some of Europe’s biggest organisations to improve their effectiveness.

More details on the CATeams web site.