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Agility in Mind’s thoughts and reflective insights into the world of digital 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.

5 facilitation books to achieve better meetings

In this blog post, I will share with you my top 5 facilitation book recommendations that will inspire you to improve your facilitation practice and learn new techniques and tools. …

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Conflict Management

Let’s set the scene. You’ve started as a Scrum Master in a new team. It’s your first day, and it seems to be going well. You’ve joined the daily Scrum …

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10 Diseases of Agile Leadership

Here’s the deal. Leadership isn’t all sunshine and rainbows. There’s no shame in doubting your steps. We’ve all been caught in its twists and turns.
You know what the catch …

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Fostering Collaboration

The results revealed some interesting insights about how leaders are perceived in terms of encouraging teamwork and collaboration within their organisations.
Out of the respondents who took the survey, it …

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How to Create a Motivated Team

Understanding Intrinsic Motivation
Intrinsic motivation, it’s like that spark that lights up your favourite campfire.
It’s not about someone handing you a marshmallow on a stick (that’s external motivation); it’s …

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Developing Leadership Capacity Conference

Agility in Mind submitted a submission about developing a leadership capacity through inclusive facilitation presenting our Inclusive Facilitations Playbook and a case study of how we used them during the …

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5 Tips to Eliminate Confusion and Ambiguity in Your Scrum Events

Have your team ever felt confused and lost in a Scrum event? Have they ever wondered what the point was or what they were supposed to do next? Do you …

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Onboarding

The situation
The team is working well and doing great stuff, but business is growing and there is more work than they can achieve. You are prioritising the items with …

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How taking a STATIK approach can unlock agility

In its simplest form, STATIK is the process of mapping out everything that needs to happen to allow a business to do its thing. There is a process to follow, …

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The need for Agile Leadership

What is a TUNA environment? 
The world is increasingly described as a TUNA environment – Turbulent, Uncertain, Novel, and Ambiguous. From Covid to geopolitical instability and supply chain fragility, organisations …

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Boosting productivity in challenging times

Boosting productivity in challenging times
The economic climate is challenging. Covid recovery, Brexit, energy crisis, disrupted supply chains, rising inflation and interest rates, the list goes on and on. It …

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Building a Cross-Functional Team

Background
The original approach was that the developers completed tasks and then passed them onto the QA engineers who then tested and performed releases. Whilst this approach worked overall there …

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How to Retain your employees

The year 2021 saw the rise of ‘The great resignation’. Since the pandemic, thousands of people have chosen to leave their jobs for a more flexible work-life balance. This has …

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Agile coaches reading list spring 2022

Suggestions from Dave Leach
Mark Jarvis – Uncle bob builds a boat
A tale about life and ambition. In the story, they dream of building a boat and winning races. …

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Creating our Diversity Charter

Team day – the seeding of the idea
At the end of year team day (2021), Agility in Mind reviewed the financial year and took the time to create a …

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Meet the team at agility in mind

Name: Jess Edwards
Role: Marketing Manager
The Journey with Agility in Mind
I joined Agility in Mind in 2019 as the Marketing and Admin assistant. I applied for a part-time …

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New Product Owner Recommended Reading

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New Scrum Master Recommended Reading

Below is a list of 11 essential books you should have in your scrum library and why Paul thinks they are crucial to any new scrum master.
 
 

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Agile coaches reading list fall 2020

Suggestions from Ed Scotcher
Who Do We Choose to Be?: Facing Reality, Claiming Leadership, Restoring Sanity -Margaret J. Wheatley
A book that explores how we have come to embrace …

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Inclusive Growth

Full transcript available
Automated: [00:00:01] Welcome to the Inclusive Growth Show with Toby Mildon and future proofing your business by creating a diverse workplace.
Toby Mildon: [00:00:13] Hello and …

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7 tips for a great online retrospective

A retrospective is where the whole team gets together to agree a minimum of one improvement to be implemented in the next sprint.
Retrospectives are about driving higher performance in …

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How to be a good scrum master during a crisis

Help the business clarify their tactical objectives
Responding to change is a well-rehearsed line, but it’s important that everyone understands the new objectives. Try to get a clear line …

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Moving from continuous coping to continuous improvement

Recently I was discussing one such challenge with a fintech organisation. They wanted to implement automated testing but felt paralysed to progress the idea. The benefits of automated testing are …

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Diversity and Inclusion – It makes business agility sense

Here are three reasons why diversity and inclusion in any organisation is fundamental to achieving business agility:

Creating propositions, products and services from multiple points of view, means products …

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10 tips for agile teams going virtual

Show your face
Develop trust and engagement in virtual meetings by turning your camera on. It’s much easier to follow along with a conversation and …

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Live Virtual Classrooms are here

Our journey
Some time ago, we were delivering a handful of courses every year to a global software company. We would fly out to their sites in places like Munich, …

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Driving change in 2020 – Q&A with our CEO

Can you tell readers about your company and what you do?
Agility in Mind helps organisations improve the way people work together to deliver first class services and products for …

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Why I chose to work for Agility in Mind

Why did you choose to apply for a role at Agility in Mind?
I had referenced Agility in Mind FAQ’s and case studies for some years and always found them …

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Recruitment – we got this

1. Let’s get to know a bit about you
As many organisations do, we have a page dedicated to recruitment.   It tells the reader a bit about what we are …

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Ask a Consultant: QAs in Scrum

I thought this question from a recent Professional Scrum Master delegate highlighted some common issues facing Scrum teams. I’ve reproduced the question with their permission, and answered below.
Hi Duncan,
I took …

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Agile coaches reading list fall 2019

Suggestions from Ed Scotcher
“Invisible Women” – Caroline Criado Cortez
A book all about the gender data gap. The default human has become male – and many things are designed around men, …

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Checklists Save Lives

For many years when teaching these concepts, we have compared this practice to the Surgical Safety Checklist advocated by the World Health Organisation. This was established as a sanity check …

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I’m a product owner not a feature owner

 
“The Product Owner is responsible for maximizing the value of the product resulting from the work of the Development Team.”
The intent behind agile frameworks such as Scrum is …

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How to visualise an agile programme

Visualise an agile programme
The approach I am advocating is suited to when you want to look at a single agile programme. It allows the programme to be managed in …

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How to start an agile product delivery

When they told the whole story of how they got off track, it seemed totally avoidable. If anything, it was simply down to a lack of preparation. They were so …

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Scrum vs Kanban – there’s no big difference

Are you part of the Scrum vs Kanban debate? Now, as an attendee of these conferences and an enthusiastic participant in discussions on pull systems; time boxes; empirical process control; …

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Do you own your product?

1. Your developers define the order the work is done irrespective of value
a) TRUE
b) FALSE
2. You’re not sure what’s in the backlog because your BA did all …

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Dealing with unfinished work in Scrum

Claim some of the points? I generally don’t encourage teams to try and take partial credit for unfinished work. If it’s done in the current Sprint, then claim the points …

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Self organising teams at The Times

Rather than dictate to the teams the PLT agreed they wanted to develop a culture of ownership.  The hypothesis was: if the teams have some stake in defining the work …

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Agile Objectives

Agile objectives are best if they describe the intention of the functionality of the system rather than prescribing a specific technical approach. For example, rather than the objective describing the …

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5 Tools for Building Trust

Teams that lack trust waste time and energy by engaging on political behaviour that reduces the likelihood of the team achieving their goals.
One of the activities spoken about in …

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Growth mindset: becoming a learning organisation

Since then I have seen Microsoft’s Tony Reeves give a fantastic talk on the subject at an innovation summit where we were both headline speakers. After Tony and I had …

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How to Innovate

Innovation is not just about new technology, although it can be. Digital innovation can be about leveraging new or existing technology, it can be about making the process lean or …

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Team Formation Tips

Diana Larsen (author of Liftoff: Launching Agile Teams and Projects) suggests that for a group of people to come together as a team they need to:

Understand what they …

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Introduction to Change Management

I usually apply change management during “Agile Transformation”. Anywhere something needs to happen differently can benefit from change management.
There are a lot of change management models. I will be …

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Getting to ‘no’ – better products through disagreement

Great product teams have a growth mindset
I would go so far as to say in many cases teams with the best cultures make better products than the teams of …

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Culture eats strategy for breakfast, so what’s your team eating?

“Flatland”, a novella by Edwin Abbott Abbott, describes a world that exists in 2 dimensions. The male inhabitants of this world are polygons while the females are a single line. …

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Line Management is not “Agile”

Well, maybe. On the other hand, having someone relatively experienced and influential on your side, to help shape your career and keep you off the annual redundancies list might actually …

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Where to start with Agile Programme Management?

The phases of a traditional programme are:

Programme Identification.
Programme Definition.
Programme Execution.
Benefits Realisation.

In the traditional model the benefits realisation phase is the last phase, after …

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How to help your agile teams find the better way

The hardest teams to coach to success often are those that have a pretty rigid, established view of what ‘agile’ either is or isn’t. This is pretty understandable and there …

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Don’t give up on remote teams!

How it all too often is…
I’ve worked on/coached/observed remote agile teams for over ten years now, from India to Finland, Israel to Japan. Whatever the makeup of the team, …

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Three things that make a daily scrum a waste of time

The trouble is that in the real world, there is an awful lot that can get in the way of this self-organised utopia. We regularly work with teams that see …

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Scrum is often a waste of money

 

This is not free: taking a whole team away from their work for several hours a month is an overhead. The Scrum framework caps the time allocated to …

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Good scrum master, bad scrum master

Good scrum masters have a deep understanding of Scrum and operate from a strong basis of confidence and knowledge. They are responsible for the successful implementation of Scrum within their …

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Seven top delegation tips for business leaders

 
Success, whilst hard won, isn’t guaranteed to stay. Successful businesses often grow quickly, with lines of communication getting more and more complex. The original team is joined by new …

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Definition of done – when is it really, really done?

Although the Scrum Guide does not dictate this, in practise a lot of scrum teams include “product owner sign-off” as part of the definition of their done and/or have product …

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High Street Law Firms in the UK

High street law firms aren’t big corporate entities located in the capital but are often comparably smaller outfits with offices situated in hubs all over the country. Here, they serve …

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Backlog refinement

A team are planning their next sprint.  One of the developers looks anxious:
“What do you mean we are changing the way we list items? This is going to be …

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Top Tips for Negotiating With Stakeholders

Secure Your Home Base First
We know from his ‘Commentary on the Gallic War’ that Julius Cæsar, a highly successful general and politician, adopted as a primary strategy the maxim …

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Top 7 books for agile teams – Spring reading 2017

 

Top 7 books for agile teams – Book 1: The Coaching Habit
The promise this book makes is that you can work less hard and have more …

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6 top tips for creating better leadership teams

Here are six simple, impactful, actions which I often start with when helping leaders, teams and individuals shift their cultures, build better products and outpace their competitors.
Walk the floor
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Three simple steps to make distributed teams work

Real life is about compromise
Designing an effective IT product delivery capability is a complex problem involving compromise. It will never match up to the perfect world described in the …

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What is Scrum?

When should I use Scrum?
When you want to deliver a product of known quality, have some predictability on upcoming work, and have people who can fulfil the three roles …

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Outcome based agile coaching

Quickly closing in on how the product team was working, we agreed that the correct focus was to help make product delivery effective again, because improvement in that area would …

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Kanban – when, where and how

When should I use Kanban?
In any situation where you want to manage a flow of work, whether for a team or as an individual and regardless of the nature …

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Product delivery style impacts your customers

 
Subway and Dominos are two popular fast food joints. They both have a reasonably similar product. They both target a similar kind of target customer. They are well known …

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Why business leaders need to embrace agility

As a sector, IT was late to the party when it came to adopting the Lean principles that came out of heavy industry in the 1950s. To make up for …

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Product development with BDD

What is required? – User Stories supported by Scenarios.
At the beginning of an agile product development or while discussing potential new features, discussions about what is required will take …

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Achieving business agility

Beginning in the software or product domain, there is a belief by some that a software team or organisation can attain 100% agility and become x% agile by a given …

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Simplicity

Just get Sam to do it
The simplest way to build software is to find one talented engineer and get them to devote all of their time to building the …

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Who makes a good Scrum master?

Organisation
The scrum master is an organiser. They don’t have to run ceremonies like planning sessions or daily stand-ups, but they need to make sure they both happen and happen …

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Agile fixed price contracts – can they work?

Fixed price, fixed scope contracts seem like a great idea if you have an idea for a new product and you want to limit your exposure to escalating costs. By …

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UX driven development

The scenario
The head of product is senior in the organisation. They do a good job, guiding a large and talented multi-disciplinary team. They also manage stakeholders, liaise with other …

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Scaling Agile – It has the Wrong Intent

The agile movement came out of a desire to improve the way software was developed. The agile manifesto is clear in this intent:
“Working software over comprehensive documentation”.
The desire …

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Choosing Processes and Tools

Agility in Mind recently launched a new version of our Behaviour Driven Development (BDD) workshop. I worked with Ed to deliver the early sessions and develop the course content, and …

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High Level Estimates

On a recent visit, I was asked to help them plan a new release. They had a bunch of user stories, a wireframe to help show where they fitted in …

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Kanban principles for sales management

Good sales management is all about identifying new opportunities for work early on, achieving dialogue with clients and progressing the right opportunities through to commitment from the client in a …

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Agility and Dev Ops

Dev Ops teams use a lot of tools. It’s part of the trade, so it’s natural that there is focus on the best ones to use. However, it’s not …

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Agile Compass

My experience and understanding has shown that the best way to deal with these situations is to adopt a principle based stance, and use these principles to evaluate the choices …

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Commercial case for incremental delivery

In a traditional approach to product delivery a specification is written and a development team formed.  They work on the product for a number of months (sometimes years) and then …

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What is a Value Driver?

 
I have been doing some work for a team that is struggling to deliver. They are established, have a vision that is okay and backlog that looks organised. On …

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Honesty is the best policy

 
It can be difficult to face up to the truth.
Sometimes the way that truth is told comes across as abrupt and direct and can have the opposite effect …

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Shared Vision

 
Quite often, it can take a long time before you get to ask those other questions, because you get stuck at the first one. I know it sounds crazy, …

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Exit criteria saves lives

Back in 1935 the Boeing Corporation developed a new fighting machine that became known as the Flying Fortress.  In a demo flight to the senior people of the USAF, the …

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Doing Scrum ‘right’? You’re probably doing it wrong

Really, this is a daft question – because agility is about flexibility and responsiveness in pursuit of delivery. It is not about getting Scrum right or being the best at …

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The Power of Conversation

 
At the end of all of our training courses we always get a request for the slide deck to be emailed to the participants. Of course we are happy …

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Learning to drive and agile adoption

 
Before you can drive on your own, you have to have someone with 3 or more years experience with you. You have to pass a theory and a practical …

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Kanban at New Broadcasting House

 
The BBC’s New Broadcasting House, overlooking the impressive BBC Newsroom, was the venue of the Kanban Meetup on 15th November 2012. Hosted by The BBC Academy, the event was organised …

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Agility in Action at the BITS Foundation

It was a pleasure to be part of the BITS Foundation forum hosted by Takeda in central London, last week.
At the July 2012 meeting, I ran something a bit …

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The broken link between Managers and Teams

Companies want to make fantastic products. Their leadership teams and managers want to impress their customers with great experiences, products and customer support. They invest loads of money in to …

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Achievement Awards – BBC Business Analysis

The BBC Academy has a deserved reputation for the quality and range of its training and development programmes, which benefit the BBC and the wider broadcast industry.
It has, therefore, …

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Public Training Courses

Building confidence in new ways of working and inspiring change

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