Don’t Worry About Process Waste; Worry About Delays & Output Waste

Errors are going to happen. Trying to prevent them is helpful, but it is often more effective to minimize the impact they have by detecting them quickly.

In software development, waste can be thought of as “unplanned work caused by errors which are usually exacerbated by delays in feedback.” It can come from several sources. Continue reading “Don’t Worry About Process Waste; Worry About Delays & Output Waste”

Test-Driven Development is not Merely “Test-First”

Test-first yields analysis, it helps us determine what is clear, what is unclear or missing, and ferrets out misunderstandings. Unit tests are unforgiving, they don’t let you get away with anything.

But Test-Driven Development also creates better design. Bad design is hard to test, and so moving tests into a primary position reveals the pain of a bad design very early, before much commitment has been made to it.

Write your tests first, but learn how to listen to what they tell you about your product design.

The Effective Organization of the Future

The future is here today for a select group of companies.  It’s no longer a question of what to do, it’s a question of getting there. By looking at the characteristics of these select organizations we can gain insights into what we have to do to help our own organizations. One thing is clear however, we cannot try to do what other companies have done. No great organization was ever made by following another. However, there are ways of helping foster innovation, alignment, teamwork and strategic clarity. So the goal is not to copy another company that leads their field, but to learn from what they’ve done to get there.


This article describes the goals and characteristics of the effective enterprise of the future. It then describes what is required to achieve these goals and offers some helpful resources. Continue reading “The Effective Organization of the Future”

What is the Most Important Question to Ask a Potential Trainer Teaching Anything But an Introductory Workshop (e.g. CSM)?

“Were you directly involved in the creation of the materials for your workshop?”

This is important because it guarantees the trainer will understand the materials. And because you know they are prepared to handle skepticism met during the presentation.

Here is what trainers know. Creating course materials deepens your knowledge of the materials. You can question the assertions being made. You understand the order, and the reason for that particular order. You can anticipate questions that will be asked and the students’ skepticism. You are prepared to teach… and not simply to convey information.

A recent trend for certifying bodies is to bring in outside trainers to create materials for them. In many ways, this is good. However it means that these bodies are becoming somewhat more focused on marketing than on creating new concepts. They are taking other peoples’ work and putting it into their marketing and delivery channels. And they have trainers deliver courses who haven’t developed experience through build the materials.

They lack the deeper knowledge to help their students.

Improve Your Scrum by Using Flow Thinking

Scrum is based on empirical process control, the pillars of which are transparency, inspection, and adaptation. This mostly means that instead of following a plan we observe how things are going and adjust accordingly. But this doesn’t mean that we can’t use theory. It’s just that when we do use theory we must verify it worked. Continue reading “Improve Your Scrum by Using Flow Thinking”

Nice to See Scrum Catching Up (or Trying To)

Recently, Scrum.org announced the integration of Kanban practices into Scrum and that “Observe Orient Decide Act (OODA) is the mindset of Scrum. This comes on top of the announcement of Scrum team training a few years ago. These are all good things. It’s nice to see the Scrum community trying to catch up to the many non-certifying consultants who’ve been doing these things for 5-10 before. Continue reading “Nice to See Scrum Catching Up (or Trying To)”

How Design Patterns Give Insights Into Process Patterns

Design patterns are often described as “solutions to recurring problems within a context.”But the real power of patterns is to see the forces that each pattern resolves. They should be used as a way to help analyze what’s needed to create a quality design. That is the goal.

Given a situation where, say, the Strategy Pattern was not quite present but its concepts could be used, no one who understood patterns would criticize the solution by saying ,“Well, that’s not a Strategy Pattern!” So why do we hear these sorts of critiques in the process world? Let’s think about it. Continue reading “How Design Patterns Give Insights Into Process Patterns”

Agile is Here to Stay (Or at Least the Being of It)

The most important words of the Agile Manifesto are, “We are uncovering better ways …” This should continue to be true.

Agile is often thought of as a way of being. But getting people to “be” Agile is hard. And it’s not clear what “doing Agile” is. Being” is good. But getting there is another issue. It requires us to continue to be “uncovering better ways.” Continue reading “Agile is Here to Stay (Or at Least the Being of It)”

Something has Happened to Me (Not My Normal Rant)

I’ve been having a very interesting two weeks. I would like to say that whenever I go into a client, I am always on, and always get my clients to see new opportunities. But I’d be lying.

However, for the last two weeks, that’s been what’s been happening… with five clients. While I feel I’ve been “on” and empathetic, that only explains half of it. Something else has been going on.

Here is what I think has been happening. In all of the cases, I started out with:

  • Depicting a value stream representing what they’d like to happen
  • Adding their team names, relating this to what people were doing now (making it less theoretical)
  • Identifying the client’s problems in this ideal flow

At this point, they started asking how to solve their problems. Often, they are stumped about how to work with non-Agile teams or how to create predictability. They would ask, “How can you do this in Agile?” “What do you think about LeSS?” Essentially they were taking solutions they knew, or had heard of, and were trying them on.

It’s like shopping for clothes. Every company is shaped differently. There may be lots of clothes (solutions) out there that don’t always fit. That’s when you want to learn to be a tailor.

This is the first of a series on the implications of these insights.