Agility in Mind’s thoughts and reflective insights into the world of business agility transformation, agile transformation, agile product management, agile coaching and agile training. Return here for our thought leadership agile insights, or sign up to our newsletter for regular updates.
Who should interview a scrum master?
Who should interview a scrum master? I’ve been in a situation a few times where I’ve interviewed a candidate for a role. I’ve matched their CV to a well-prepared job …Read more
I’m a product owner not a feature owner
I came across a rewrite of the product owner’s role definition where references to product had been removed and replaced by the word ‘feature’. This might seem like splitting hairs …Read more
How to visualise an agile programme
Where do I start?
Before you look to visualise an agile programme, there are a few essentials you really need to have in place. These are:
A programme vision
How to start an agile product delivery
Recently we were with a client who had got in to a bit of a muddle with a customer. They were re-negotiating contracts, having crisis meetings and dragging a set …Read more
There’s no big difference between Scrum and Kanban
Don’t say this too loudly around agile conferences, but when it comes to the day-to-day work, Scrum and Kanban are basically the same.
Now, as an attendee of these conferences …
Do you own your product?
Are you a product owner in name only or are you the CEO of your product? How much autonomy do you have and how can you get more? Take this …Read more
Dealing with unfinished work in Scrum
During client engagements I often get asked what teams should do about unfinished work in Sprints;
“Can’t we just claim some of the points this Sprint?”
“If we don’t claim …
Self organising teams at The Times
The Times News were on a journey to re-platform their system. While working diligently behind feature flags, using elements of Scrum, it wasn’t clear to the stakeholders the value …Read more
Objective: Do something that makes things better
Writing agile programme objectives
Setting and sharing objectives for your programme is a key way to ensure that the people working on …
5 Tools for Building Trust
5 tools for building trust
Building trust across team members has been the foundation of good teams for quite some time. Specifically, the kind of trust spoken about in …
Growth mindset: becoming a learning organisation
Ten actions you can take right now
In a recent blogpost, I wrote about being a learning organisation. The example I used was how Microsoft, under the leadership of Satya …
Being the newbie at Agility in Mind
My alarm sounded, and I hopped out of bed with nervous excitement, tinged with some apprehension of my first day at Agility in Mind………that was me just over a …Read more
GDPR: What will happen next?
On 25thMay, the regulatory environment for any business that holds more than a sliver of data on any EU citizen will change. The EU has changed the system in such …Read more
How to Innovate
How to innovate and why everybody should do it
When you hear the word innovation, what do you think of next? Many conjure up images of “artistic types” huddling together …
Team Formation Tips
It’s widely acknowledged that deliberate team forming activities for new teams is time well spent but what should you focus on, and what if you have remote members on the …Read more
Introduction to Change Management
Leading Effective Change
Change management is a broad discipline. It is a set of tools, techniques and frameworks intended to accelerate the people side of change.
In future blog posts …
Getting to ‘no’ – building better products
Quite often it’s a team’s culture that makes the difference between delivering a good product and a great product.
In his excellent book, Work Rules!, Laszlo Bock talks about whole digital …
Culture eats strategy – what’s your team eating?
We can think of culture as like the software for a team. It is the way in which the team has been programmed to see itself and how it sees …Read more
Line Management is not “Agile”
If you give a developer a verbal warning for surfing social media all day, you are crushing their autonomy. Insisting on core hours of 10am-4pm violates self-organisation. Personal development …Read more
Where to start with Agile Programme Management?
Why move to Agile Programme Management?
Many organisations are adopting agile methods to deliver products and projects using frameworks such as Scrum and Kanban. However, it is often the case …
How to help your agile teams find the better way
Every good agile coach has figured out long ago that the kernel of team dysfunction doesn’t lie with the frameworks (like Scrum or Kanban) but with individuals, and the interactions …Read more
Don’t give up on remote teams!
Remote agile teams are a reality…despite the obvious, much discussed and debated issues, in today’s increasingly competitive digital world they just aren’t going to go away. So…let’s get used …Read more
Why is Innovation and Entrepreneurship important?
“Who the hell wants to hear actors talk?”
Harry Warner, Warner Brothers, 1927
Luckily for them (and us!) his brother Sam ignored these now famous words of advice. Continuing …
3 things that make daily scrums a waste of time
The work of a Scrum development team is pretty complex. People with a wide range of technical skills need to organise themselves to bring multiple work-streams together and produce …Read more
How to create the perfect size team
When it comes to teams, size counts! But what is the best size for your team and how do you know you’ve got it right? The answer will depend …Read more
Secret Santa’s agile Christmas reading list
Looking for the best agile Christmas reading list – look no further! Soon it will be time when your sprint review might include a festive minced pie and perhaps a …Read more
Scrum is often a waste of money
The Intent of Scrum
Scrum allows development organisations to invest a little time at regular intervals to allow teams with autonomy over their work to identify and enact frequent, small …
Good scrum master versus bad scrum master
As many scrum masters set out on their journey, they are often as new to their role as their manager. How do they know what the expectations of their role …Read more
Seven top delegation tips for business leaders
You can’t do it all
We work with a lot of business leaders. We seem to say one thing to them over and over again – “learn to let go”. …
5 ways the PMO can support agile teams
Many organisations use the Project Management Office (PMO) to underpin their project delivery mechanism. The PMO exists within a business, agency or enterprise to define and maintain standards for project …Read more
Definition of done – when is it really, really done?
We speak with many customers and a common query is “What should be the definition of done? Is it when the product owner says it done or when …
High Street Law Firms in the UK
Looking Beyond Friendly Street
In the UK, high street law firms have always been the friendly face of law in practice. Their personal nature as the beating heart of accessible …
How I learned to love agile business analysis
The problem: confusion, uncertainty and delays
We find this a common thread amongst our customer teams, which can be attributed to a …
Lavington School take on Three Peaks Challenge
Agility in Mind is sponsoring a group of year 10 students (aged between 14-15) from Lavington School in Wiltshire, on their quest to become the youngest team ever to complete the …Read more
Top Tips for Negotiating with Stakeholders
Product managers are meant to be many things – visionaries, decision makers, leaders and much more. But what about negotiating with stakeholders?
Negotiating with stakeholders is rarely mentioned outside …
Top 7 books for agile teams – Spring reading 2017
There are plenty of good agile books out there, but you can find the top 7 books for agile teams being passed around the Agility in Mind office this spring 2017 …Read more
6 top tips for creating better leadership teams
A leadership team is still just a team – they can share all the dysfunctions that any other team may have.
The main difference is that those leadership team dynamics, both …
Do you consider yourself an agile tourist?
Following the Christmas holidays, like many people at this time of year I’ve just booked my summer vacation; a fortnight of relaxation in the Lanzarote sun in August. I can’t …Read more
Could BDD have prevented Judgement Day?
It is 1995 and Cyberdyne Systems are on the verge of launching their new automated military artificial intelligence software, CloudNet.
“Come with me if you want to live!” cries Ant …
Three simple steps to make distributed teams work
As we launch our new training course designed to help distributed teams work effectively, we share our experiences on the reality of remote working, offshore development and virtual teams.
What is Scrum?
Scrum is a lightweight framework within which people can address complex adaptive problems, while productively and creatively delivering products of the highest possible value. It is defined at http://scrumguides.org/. It is …Read more
Going up – achieving flow – less is more
BBC News has more of the details about the experiment undertaken by Transport for London (TfL) in attempt to improve the journey of 50 million customers who pass through …Read more
Behaviour driven development (BDD) in a day
As the log fire burned in the lobby of a country manor house, Agility in Mind were making plans for the year ahead. We decided we wanted to build our …Read more
Outcome based agile coaching
A few months ago we were invited in to see a client who had decided that their engineering team needed to do Scrum. After a few short conversations with …Read more
Kanban – when, where and how
What is Kanban?
Kanban is a methodology that helps teams to evolve the most appropriate workflow for the type of work being carried out.
When should I use Kanban?
Product delivery style impacts your customers
There is a reason that fast food is a successful industry sector. This hasn’t happened by chance – a lot of thought has gone in to the process of …Read more
Don’t write “Duncan”; call me “Long Black”
Buying something good that meets your needs from someone who cares about what they do can be an enjoyable experience for all involved. What can an independent coffee shop …Read more
Can rituals help agile teams bond?
Tea ceremonies, burning Viking long ships, or a stuffed toy cat on your monitor while preparing a release. Could the human instinct for group rituals be useful to the …Read more
Why business leaders need to embrace agility
The complaint we hear most frequently from agile software development teams is that their senior leaders aren’t listening. And, do you know what, they have a point. If you’re …Read more
Product development with BDD
Behaviour Driven Development (BDD) is a collaboration tool that can help at all stages in the agile product lifecycle. BDD helps to bridge the communication gap between business and technology …Read more
Achieving business agility
Organisations, including our clients, see the transformation that has taken place in their software development or product teams and say, “we want to be like that”. The question that …Read more
Setting up an enterprise-scale agile department with 200 developers working towards the same vision will ensure you are invited to speak at all of the most prestigious conferences, but …Read more
Who makes a good Scrum master?
If you’re looking for a scrum master, who you need may be different from what you want. What personal attributes should you be looking for in the most suitable …Read more
From dog food to champagne
We were pleased to eat our own dog food. We are delighted to drink our own champagne. Knowing the principles and practices we encourage our clients to adopt helps …Read more
Agile fixed price contracts – can they work?
“How can you adapt agile methods to work with our agile fixed price contracts?” is a question that is asked many times during our Introduction to Agile course, usually about half …Read more
UX driven development
For years now, I have witnessed a scenario which is seemingly common across businesses: developing the wrong software for the ‘right’ reasons. This post is an example of how I …Read more
Scaling Agile – It has the Wrong Intent
It’s human nature to want more of a good thing. This has fuelled the growth of legitimate and elicit markets over centuries. Agile has been a good, if not great, …Read more
Choosing Processes and Tools
We have a mind boggling number of choices to make in the tools and techniques we use to turn ideas into delivered software. Every organisation has its particular blend of …Read more
High Level Estimates
Are the outcomes of high level estimates really worth the effort
A lot of people like getting ‘high-level estimates’, but is the outcome really worth the effort?
We have a …
Kanban principles for sales management
Kanban may be a more recent phenomenon in the world of agile software development but the principles that it helps to apply have been in sales management for many …Read more
Assessments and certifications – the right balance
Studying for an exam involves work that you wouldn’t normally choose to do, but recently I have found that there can be significant benefits to breaking out from your …Read more
Agility and Dev Ops
Recently, I’ve had the opportunity to work with some great Dev Ops teams. During the work with them I’ve noticed myself repeatedly helping people appreciate that Lean and …Read more
Premiere Screening in Leicester Square
It was Agility in Mind’s total delight to attend the screening of The Marvellous Adaptation at Capital Radio studios in Leicester Square. We are very thankful to Global Radio …Read more
Video: Standing up for ourselves
This is a video of a talk Ed gave at Pearson in November 2013. Using real-life examples of how he has seen teams struggle to deliver against un-realistic expectations, he …Read more
Your Agile Compass
When working in an Agile manner, there are continual challenges and uncertainty that arise from the complexity of what you are doing. As a result of this …
When opportunity knocks
Waiting for opportunity to knock achieves little other than a trail of frustration and excuses. Taking action is the only way to make a difference.
The truth about opportunity …
Minimum – the least understood word in IT?
If you were going to eat an elephant, if it was politically correct, ecologically sound and gastronomically edifying, you could only eat it a bite a time. So why, …Read more
Commercial case for incremental delivery
Many people now understand the benefits that incremental and iterative delivery offer organisations: faster feedback, prioritised delivery, greater value and improved collaboration. But what about the hard commercial facts? How …Read more
Getting teams to work well is a bit of a science. Instead of overcomplicating it, perhaps we need to shift our thoughts from metrics and performance to focus on the …Read more
What is a Value Driver?
Value Drivers are a simple tool that anyone can use, make a massive difference to your product and help you get delivering – so why do so many people …Read more
Honesty is the best policy
Delivering IT projects, particularly software product, can be a challenge at times, no matter what methods are used. Making the status of a project visible with simple tools such …Read more
There is one unavoidable question you have to ask as a coach when going in to see a new team: “What’s your project all about?”.
If you are lucky, …
Exit criteria saves lives
What is it about the airline industry that makes it such a safe place to be and what did the health industry learn from it that had a dramatic …Read more
Doing Scrum ‘right’? You’re probably doing it wrong
I was helping a friend prepare for an interview – one of the questions she had to answer was about showing how she could get Scrum done right. How, …Read more
What’s happening upstream?
For years now, I have been working with development teams that are used to continually improving the way they work. They are used to retrospectives and reviews, daily stand-ups …Read more
The map is not the territory
We’ve all seen the headlines or heard the news that software projects and major IT fails. When this happens we look for a place to lay the blame – …Read more
The Power of Conversation
I have worked in a lot of places where people spend vast sums on slide decks that they read to people in ‘training courses’. They end up with a …Read more
Kanban at the BBC: “Stuck in the Middle”
In this video filmed at the BBC Academy in November 2012, Ed talks about how development teams are often the victim of bad management and planning, but how there is …Read more
Learning to drive and agile adoption
Recently, a friend of mine has been learning to drive.
The process is simple. You apply for a provisional licence by filling out a form and you can then …
Kanban at New Broadcasting House
Developers stuck in the middle, making the migration from Scrum to Kanban and using metrics to improve predictability were the centre of discussion at BBC’s New Broadcasting House, for …Read more
Agility in Action at the BITS Foundation
Business and IT aligned together to achieve business goals is a long-standing issue. It is achieved, of course, by people collaborating rather than through contracts, placing the emphasis upon interactions, …Read more
It turns out that having a blog is easy – but having a good, readable and co-ordinated one is a bit of a hassle. We need to have a good …Read more
The broken link between Managers and Teams
Managers and teams are increasingly not seeing eye-to-eye and I think I might know why.
I am fortunate enough to be able to work with individuals at both leadership and …
Achievement Awards – BBC Business Analysis
The value of awards can often be compromised by the process of attainment, particularly where there becomes a disconnect between presentation and practical reality.
For the BBC, however, their Business …
We ate the dog food and we liked it
Whether it’s eating your own dog food, drinking your own champagne or bathing in your own goats’ milk, it’s not something that consultants always like to do, particularly when …
Test Driven Meetings
I can’t help but think that I am spending to much time in meetings when I am with clients lately. That’s not to say I am going to too many …Read more
Agile Banking? Whatever next …
Generally speaking, I am not a fan of banks. I feel that most of them are greedy, self-centered and I can’t help but think that many of them are somehow …Read more
Someone asked recently, “ What do you think about the NAO report on Agile Governance ” and my initial reaction was, “how much did it cost to produce and how …Read more
Is BA just a team assistant?
In many places that we work there is a peculiar gap between the Business (specifically Product Owners, Portfolio Manager, Product Managers and the like) and teams. Yet there is one …Read more