agile

How Can You Tell?

If you work anywhere near software development, I can bet your organisation is Agile. Well, unless you live under the rock, work in some government institution, or your business is driven by grants. Still, monstrosities aside, nobody wants to admit working the old waterfall way. It is almost as cool as showing up in a car concourse in Skoda. Which, for those of you without a drop of gasoline in your blood, means utterly uncool. Agile has been the dogmatic new black for quite a few years now. Rest assured, I have no problem with that. In theory, it makes all the sense in the world.

Which is why I want you to ask yourself – how can you tell your organisation is Agile? What are the symptoms? What is the reason you want to give the only cool answer?Read More »How Can You Tell?

Always Be Closing – or Not

It is relatively easy to sell a product. You may make a profit or not, depending on variety of factors, but the approach is pretty straightforward. All it takes is to find a pain, figure out a way to make it go away and then see whether you were right in both of these. Market will mercilessly validate all the factors you accounted for, how you did it, and what you missed. It was the same for IT world, with only minor changes being the projects, resulting in approach that could get the catchy name of “product development as a service”.

Then, the Agile came – and things started to change.Read More »Always Be Closing – or Not

End the Menace of Two Days

I am close to openly disdain the idea of sending people to few-day long courses and expecting them to perform some complicated duties. Hell, even the learning process is often corrupted to the bone. Think of trainers who do nothing but training, full-time, with hardly any exposure to actual business. Think of certificates achieved upon completion of simple web-based tests. Think of generic courses, in no way adjusted to what people actually need. And all these flaws produce hundreds and thousands of scrum masters, project managers, product owners, and all other roles possible.

Then, these people get back to work and are expected to ‘perform’. Because they’re ‘qualified’. God Almighty…Read More »End the Menace of Two Days

Focusing Agile Transformation

I remember the first of my employers going Agile. These were fun days. Virtually all project managers, along with some upwards-mobile candidates, were sent to an expensive (more than half of my monthly salary back then) two-day long course. Then, we were all sent link to some website test somewhere. The fact that we all passed should’ve lit some warning lights for me. Back then, it didn’t. As soon as the certificate arrived in my email inbox, I did the obvious thing. I updated my LinkedIn profile. We all did. Officially, we became Scrum masters – hence, by association, the company became Agile.

Damn, I was stupid back then.Read More »Focusing Agile Transformation

Personality Trait to Enable Agility and Leadership

Just previous weekend, I had the opportunity to share my thoughts on “that whole Agile thing” on a conference in Cracow, the capital of Poland for majority of its known history. While explaining the Agile onion concept, origins of which I couldn’t find (though I would love to buy whoever thought it out a beer or two), I made a comment that the single personality trait that makes the actual agility possible was humility. Which, contrary to what you might think, is nothing about religion and is not, in any way, related to modesty. Especially the popular, false one. Coincidentally, I have a strong belief and evidence that humility also enables one to be the proper leader.

Isn’t that what we all want? Agility, leadership – widespread, across our workplaces? Now, that would make sense, wouldn’t it?
Read More »Personality Trait to Enable Agility and Leadership

The Framework Menace

Old times were simpler. When running a project, you just drew a Gantt chart. Then prayed. When motivating (which, as we are now, is not possible), you gave people more money. Or less. When scaling, you made your pyramid bigger, one level at a time. It’s all more complicated now. With projects, you have plethora of options to choose from, from hardcore (and boring) established methodologies like PMI or PRINCE2 to hippie lightweight approaches allowing you to think you’re cool, or a master of something – think Scrum and Kanban. With motivation, well, there’s the Management 3.0, Simon Sinek’s idea of Why and a ton of voodoo conveniently called leadership. Scaling, especially when you’re all cool and Agile, gives you an option of LeSS (that, some say, works), SAFe (that sells brilliantly, as it addresses all insecurities of old school managers in a perfectly engineered way) and Nexus (which is vague and esoteric enough to feel like a futile attempt to join the scaling bandwagon). It’s not easy to pick the right framework these days, especially considering each one is a viable and useful option.

Then, making this choice altogether might be a mistake.Read More »The Framework Menace

Fake Agile

With what I do in my life, I visit quite many software development companies. From multinational corporations, via overgrown start-ups, to small ones, with just a dozen of employees. They’re all different, no story is ever the same. They aim at various markets, work using plethora of technologies, display all possible buzzwords of the last decade or so. There’s a common denominator though, which is Agile. Whoever works in software, for whatever reason, wherever in the world – they’re all the same at this one. It seems almost disgraceful to admit to work in some other way – that would be so 20th century! And whenever I ask them to show me their Agile, it’s always the same. Kanban boards. Magnets with photos. Burndown charts. Burnup charts. Software to streamline all these. And, inevitably, heaps and heaps of post-it notes, in every possible color of the RGB universe.

It’s so easy to fake Agile.Read More »Fake Agile

Forget Managing Your Products

There’s a cliché (and unfair) saying, that traditional project management was focused on just what it said – managing a project. That all the efforts, were aimed at the single goal of delivering the negotiated scope, within budget and on time. Some years ago, with advent of the new black (all things Agile), another statement was coined.

“Don’t manage projects! Manage products!”Read More »Forget Managing Your Products

13 Ways to Make Your Agile Fail

There are things you can do right about ‘going Agile’ with your organization. And there are countless blogs, articles and books pushing Agile folk wisdom into minds of the wandering ones. That’s fine. We all need someone to tell us how to do the right thing. But what if your goal is… different?

After all, this whole ‘Agile thing’ is likely to be the new black. You’ve seen it all before, right? You’re too tired of all these Communist-style manifesto things, right? Hacker’s manifesto, Cyberpunk manifesto, Agile manifesto… They’re all the same, a lunacy to lure the young minds, to give them hope, to let them dream of fulfilled life.

Damn hippies, you’ll get neither.Read More »13 Ways to Make Your Agile Fail