Help Employees Create Knowledge — Not Just Share It

Many leaders see organizational learning simply as sharing existing knowledge. This isn’t surprising given that this is the primary focus of educational institutions, training programs, and leadership development courses. It’s the “sage on the stage” model, in which an expert shares what they know with those who are assumed not to know it. These “best practices” are presumed to work in a variety of different contexts and situations. Continue reading “Help Employees Create Knowledge — Not Just Share It”

6 Crucial Things to Do in Your First 100 Days in a New Leadership Role

The rate of change in technology is unmatched. Companies are constantly being funded, getting acquired and, unfortunately, going out of business. These dynamic conditions create both challenges and opportunities for leaders. Changing roles is becoming more frequent across industries. Being able to successfully transition into a new leadership position is a must-have skill for entrepreneurs and company leaders. Continue reading “6 Crucial Things to Do in Your First 100 Days in a New Leadership Role”

Revamping SAFe’s Program Level PI Metrics Part 1/6 – Overview

Whilst the Scaled Agile Framework (SAFe) has evolved significantly over the years since inception, one area that has lagged is that of metrics. Since the Agile Release Train (ART) is the key value-producing vehicle in SAFe, I have a particular interest in Program Metrics – especially those produced on the PI boundaries. Continue reading “Revamping SAFe’s Program Level PI Metrics Part 1/6 – Overview”

You Can’t Have a True DevOps Culture Without Effective Release Management

While the DevOps movement and associated technologies have garnered much attention and fanfare, few have addressed the core issue—the handoff from development to operations. This blog post explains why release management is the bridge between development and operations, and how you can strengthen that bridge with the right approach, tools, teams, and processes. Continue reading “You Can’t Have a True DevOps Culture Without Effective Release Management”

What Can a 1,800-Year-Old Book Teach You About Leadership? Turns Out, A Lot

Marcus Aurelius was the emperor of Rome from 161 AD to 180 AD. During his time as the leader of Rome, he was the most powerful person in the world. Though massive power corrupted many leaders throughout history, Marcus is widely documented as being a noble leader with strong moral character.

His book, Meditations, has been read by countless leaders spanning over centuries. He documented parts of his life and how he worked to manage his emotions and perceptions of the world around him. His personal growth throughout the book is paralleled by his growth as a leader. Aurelius never intended for his writing to be released, giving it a sense of purity throughout the pages. It’s stoicism at its finest. Continue reading “What Can a 1,800-Year-Old Book Teach You About Leadership? Turns Out, A Lot”

How No-Code, Low-Code Tools Will Strengthen- and Disrupt- Enterprise App Development

No-code, low-code tools for helping people without a technical background write mobile apps are proliferating in enterprises, leading to the rise of so-called “citizen developers” – business analysts and domain experts who develop mobile apps without the help of IT. The tools have helped businesses roll out mobile apps quickly, cut costs, and ensure that the apps are useful to the greatest number of users. Continue reading “How No-Code, Low-Code Tools Will Strengthen- and Disrupt- Enterprise App Development”

Do Product Owners Need Technical Skills?

How can you tell if you would benefit from having technical skills as a product owner? To answer this question, I find it helpful to look at how the role is applied. If you manage a digital product that end users employ, such as a web or mobile app, then you usually do not require in-depth technical skills, such as, being able to program in Java, write SQL code, or know which machine learning frameworks there are and if, say, TensorFlow is the right choice for your product. Continue reading “Do Product Owners Need Technical Skills?”

4 steps to agile success

There’s a noticeable shift toward agile development taking place within the federal government. Driven by a need for accelerated application development and meeting internal customers’ needs on the very first attempt, agencies like the General Services Administration and Department of Homeland Security have begun to move away from traditional waterfall project management frameworks and toward iterative, agile frameworks like scrum. Continue reading “4 steps to agile success”

Agile Can’t Succeed as an Island

More development teams have adopted agile and lean ways of working to deliver better quality products faster. Despite their efforts, they’re still missing deadlines and churning out buggy software. Most of these teams are expected to solve business problems, but their work doesn’t align with business objectives. In fact, there’s a huge disconnect between development teams and the organizations they serve. Continue reading “Agile Can’t Succeed as an Island”

“As a User” Needs to Stop

Sing it with me… “As a _user_ I want to _perform an action_ so I can _achieve an end result_.” This is great in theory, but writing good user stories is harder than it sounds. I’ve seen well-meaning product, design, and engineering folks take this approach to user stories and interpret them as magic words. Somehow, as long as we begin our task statement by uttering the “as a user” mantra, we’re magically taking a user-centered approach. Continue reading ““As a User” Needs to Stop”

When to Solve Your Team’s Problems, and When to Let Them Sort It Out

After careful review of her harried work life, Charla, an IT manager, discovered that 20% of her time over the previous two months was spent managing escalations. It seemed that each interaction with her team ended with her feeling a need to exercise her authority to rescue them from a crisis. Continue reading “When to Solve Your Team’s Problems, and When to Let Them Sort It Out”

Agile and DevOps are failing in Fortune 500 companies. It should be a wake-up call to all of us.

Mistruths promoting the cure-all, Agile and DevOps, hurt everyone seeking a truly better way to deliver software. ING begun its agile transformation in 2010 with just three teams practicing agile. After seeing the success of those first three teams, ING transformed its entire development organization to Agile in 2011. While the transformation was deemed a success, ING found it wasn’t making much difference to the business, so it began forming its first DevOps teams. By 2014 ING executives felt that they weren’t receiving the benefits from Agile and DevOps for which they had hoped. Continue reading “Agile and DevOps are failing in Fortune 500 companies. It should be a wake-up call to all of us.”

The Best Way to Establish a Baseline when Playing Planning Poker

Planning Poker relies on relative estimating, in which the item being estimated is compared to one or more previously estimated items. It is the ratio between items that is important. An item estimated as 10 units of work (generally, story points) is estimated to take twice as long to complete as an item estimated as five units of work. Continue reading “The Best Way to Establish a Baseline when Playing Planning Poker”

Connecting People to Company Purpose and Values with Micro-Habits

Purpose, values and habits: they’re the three pillars of workplace culture. They’re what keep your people engaged and connected with their work. Purpose and values exist to inspire and guide your people. But they alone don’t determine what your employees do in a given situation. Your people’s personal and professional habits are the best indicator of the actions they’ll take and the choices they’ll make on any given day. Continue reading “Connecting People to Company Purpose and Values with Micro-Habits”

Kaizen Is The Work Philosophy Of Continuous Improvement

Let’s say you’re working on a greeting card assembly line. First you stamp down the puppy cartoon on the outside, then you flip it over and stamp the punchline on the inside. Then you flip it over again, fold it, and call it done. But wait…you’re flipping the paper over twice. That’s a step you don’t have to take. When you cut it out, you make the whole process a tiny bit more efficient. This is kaizen, an incremental self-improvement philosophy that makes you better bit by bit. Continue reading “Kaizen Is The Work Philosophy Of Continuous Improvement”

Pattern of the Month: Kanban Sandwich

One recurring pattern of Agile practice, which many can expect to run into at some point in their careers, is that of using Scrum for “project type” work and Kanban for “business as usual.” The rationale for doing so can be understood in terms of risk management. A good Scrum Sprint will be conducted in order to achieve a Sprint Goal. Each goal will allow a significant risk to be mitigated by delivering an increment of value to a regular Sprint cadence. The goal will make the selection of work during that Sprint coherent in terms of challenging a greater concern. Continue reading “Pattern of the Month: Kanban Sandwich”