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Why OKRs aren’t enough on their own: Goals and Standards

Objectives and Key Results – OKRs – are a well known goal-setting technique; there’s a wealth of great content that explains what they are. This post is about OKRs as part of the ble…

Creating Alignment and Autonomy

We know from Dan Pink’s work that high levels of autonomy are a powerful contributor to motivation. For start-ups and small, independent teams this can be straightforward to create. But it presents …

There Are Sabre-Toothed Tigers in Your Office

An ancient part of our brains that existed to keep us alive in a world of danger has evolved. But rather than evolving by toning down its power to cope with the much safer world of today, it has found…

The SCARF Model – How it affects agile teams

In the post ‘There Are Sabre-Toothed Tigers In Your Office‘, we discussed how our brains have evolved, and that the primal response that helped protect us from sabre-toothed tigers had cha…

Agile Coaching Capability

I’m a bit of a rugby fan and often find myself wanting to run out with the lads, moving through the field like a wrecking ball and scoring the winning try as the opposition lies in my wake, sobbing …

Innovation versus Protectionism

The last time we suffered a global pandemic that brought the world to its knees was in 1918. A little over a century ago. The Spanish Flu collided with a transitional world that had just been through …

I’m in a Theory X Team, Get Me Out Of Here!

For 20 years, ITV’s “I’m a Celebrity, Get Me Out of Here” has been a staple of the UK pre-Christmas entertainment schedules. A group of celebrities are isolated from society, originally in the…

ORCA – A powerful feedback model

Ken Blanchard described it as “the breakfast of champions”; Bill Gates said “We all need people who will give us feedback. That’s how we improve”; and Jim Yong Kim said that “the most fund…

Where did you get that hat?

In my previous blog post “Where are all the managers in Agile?”, I discussed why agile doesn’t need the kinds of management that is often present in organisations and suggested some alternatives…

Where are all the managers in Agile?

The heart of agile is described in the few words of the Agile Manifesto and its accompanying principles; the dominant agile framework is Scrum and its derivatives. Yet, amongst those core references, …

Bring rigour to your thinking

“Belief is so often the death of reason” – Lord Varys, Master of Whisperers – Game of Thrones The Agile Manifesto, created in Snowbird Utah (2001), is a work of Genius inspired by a team o…

Genesis: Levels of Agile Capability and Competence

Once upon a time, circa May 2016, the world was a comparatively predictable place. For the most part, square pegs fit into square holes, and we moved from point A to point D in a seemingly logical, se…

Covid Hack – Intention Versus Strategy

Small, cross-functional teams working closely together to frequently and consistently deliver features that delight customers are a cornerstone foundation of Agile. For some, a question arises as to h…

The History of Hierarchies

For 95 percent of the 200,000 years modern humans have walked the earth, there was no such thing as hierarchy. We lived in small bands of hunter-gatherers consisting of a few dozen people at most, The…

Covid Hack – Resilient versus Robust

Many of the corporations we work with are inherently designed to be robust. A concept that permeates every element of that business, from the processes that dictate workflow in each department through…

Covid Hack – Technical Debt

We’ve all experienced massive disruption, complexity and ambiguity in the face of Covid-19 hitting the fan. It’s caused mayhem in many companies, and as people adapt to the new and foreseeable nor…

Facilitate rapid and effective decision-making

Value Stream Mapping (VSM) is a collaborative, coaching-style workshop that brings together the teams who do the work and the leadership teams that support and facilitate the work. Making the value st…

Covid Hacks – Hiring

In a recent Zoom session with Laura Howie, CEO of Reel Media Africa, we chatted about the importance of having the right skills, the right mindset, and a culture that embraces excellence. Sometimes yo…

Management versus Leadership

5 Weeks ago, our revenue streams dried up, literally overnight. The Covid-19 fairy waltzed in the front door, waved her magic wand, and *poof* our lives were irrevocably changed in a matter of hours. …

The Coaching Imposter #2

When I last posted something, before life changed significantly for all of us, I was coming to terms with the so-called Imposter Syndrome, but 5 months on from the inception of my Agile Coaching role,…

Customers and Developers in the same room. WTF?

At the turn of the 20th Century, the father of modern Business Management – Frederick Winslow Taylor – discovered that he could significantly increase production output and decrease labour…

The Business Agility Canvas

True success in large-scale change initiatives is a rare thing. A McKinsey study found that over 70 percent of such initiatives fail to achieve their stated goals. My sense is that when it comes to …

Assessing Scrum Masters with our Capability Model

In the past year, we’ve left the EU, stared down a legislative dismantling of the independent contractor and flexible workforce, and we’re in the crucible of a global pandemic that has shut our do…

First they ignore you

‘How do I get the senior leadership team to buy into Agile?’ is a question I’m often asked. It’s a great question if the leadership team value the principles and values upon which Agile is bui…

Stealth Agile

I recently connected with Tyrrell Basson from the University of Manchester in one of my ‘Ask me Anything’ one-to-one video conversations. Like most organisations, they are dealing with disruption …

We didn’t do anything wrong

‘We didn’t do anything wrong, but somehow, we lost.’ – CEO of Nokia There’s a moment where the CEO of Nokia, Stephen Elop, ends a press conference in tears. He’s gutted. ‘We didn’t do …

We didn’t have time for Governance!

Many Agile coaches and trainers often speak about the unicorns of Agile. Spotify. Netflix. Amazon. Agility is spoken of in the past tense. The idea that this happened a while ago, and we need to look …

Building bridges amidst disruption

The Case for Business Agility As an Agile coach, consultant and trainer, I pretty much live in a world of disruption, uncertainty and volatility. It’s par for the course. That said. If you’d asked…

Coronavirus and The Corner Shop – A Portrait of Agility?

If ever one wanted the ultimate portrait of a VUCA world – volatile, uncertain, complex, and ambiguous – the current crazy time through which we are living is it. The novel coronavirus, kn…

The Coaching Imposter

Agile Coaching? Hmm, yes I know what you’re thinking, “what does that mean and how is that an actual job?” Well, I’ve had a very broad variety of comments (my wife included) ranging from ‘I …

Virtual Certified Scrum Training

Virtual Certified Scrum Training Owing to the coronavirus outbreak and subsequent restrictions, many have been prevented from travelling and attending in-person training. In response to these unpreced…

Exploring & Exploiting: Striking the Right Balance

In 1913, Henry Ford implemented one of the greatest innovations ever seen in manufacturing: the moving production line. Before this change, workers would move from car to car within Ford’s factory, …

Agile Bootcamp #4 – Using Story Mapping to Teach Agile

User Story Mapping is a great technique to help teams explore their product scope and plan how they can deliver value to their customers as quickly as possible. Even for large and complex problems, te…

Agile Bootcamp #3 – Scrum Simulation with the Inception Deck

There are lots of ways to help introduce the concepts of Scrum to teams and to give them a chance to put their new knowledge into practice. I wanted to try something a little different. I wanted it to…

Agile Bootcamp #2 – Behind The Scenes at an Agile Bootcamp

The bootcamp is planned, the travel arrangements made and suitcases packed. Now, the hard work starts! After a long day travelling and a chunky time-shift, we arrived at our accommodation well into th…

Agile Bootcamp #1 – To Fail To Plan is to Plan To Fail

When we were asked if we could help another organisation start on their journey to agile, I was keen to get involved. Partly because I thought it would be interesting to get to know a new organisation…

The opportunity of IR35 for organisations and start-ups

The recent announcement from HMRC that IR35 and Off-Payroll Tax would come into effect on the 6th of April 2020 as a means to combat ‘disguised employment’ presents a significant threat to compani…

Meteors, VUCA, and Business Agility

Once upon a time, two-ton wombats lumbered across the Australian Outback. Around the same time, sabre-toothed cats and woolly mammoths roamed freely across Europe and North America. Millions of years …

Predict Success by Finding Problems

Agile was supposed to make things easier. It was supposed to fix the problems of large projects with big, up-front planning ending up delivering solutions that didn’t meet the customer need. Its foc…