Resources

Articles, videos, and interviews to help you create an Agile reality. All-original content by Gil Broza.

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Going Agile: Words Matter

Imagine you’ve been asked to join another Agile team. The person in charge meets you and during the introductory conversation, says “Mondays, we have the planning ceremony at 10. The other main ceremonies are on Friday afternoons…”

Rewind to where the person said “ceremony.” Did you feel excited? curious? nervous? unenthusiastic?
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Agile: Speeding up Technical Work Is not the Goal

Organizations are used to concentrating their technology workers in specialized units, such as IT or Product Development. This approach enables them to focus on their specialties and to establish their own methods and processes. As a side effect, it also creates a vendor-consumer dynamic. And once this dynamic is in place, managers on both sides start wondering, can the technical people work faster?

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Wanted: Great Agile Teams

If you’re the ScrumMaster, leader, or manager of an Agile team, what are you there to do?

My answer is: help the team become great and stay great.

Meaning what?READ MORE

The Hidden Cost of Deadlines

Every day, my kids tell me about a new homework assignment. They always finish the description with “and it’s due on…”; school is habituating them to think about deadlines. My wife and I have deadlines of our own, such as applying to high school for said kids, and filing taxes.

At work, deadlines are everywhere. Almost every nontrivial undertaking has some date attached to it by which it ought to be completed, released, delivered.READ MORE

Agile Just Makes Sense… Why Don’t They Get It?!

In my courses, I use various activities to examine and drive home Agile’s many principles. Ones that usually trigger deep conversations include getting to “done,” feedback, collaboration, and effectiveness before efficiency. Many senior managers attend my courses, and almost every time, one of them will ask:

“Aren’t these principles just a common-sense way to work?”READ MORE

How Do You Learn Agile?

If you’re picking up a new skill, method, or tool, how do you learn to apply it?

Perhaps you like to read instructions and follow them. Or maybe you prefer to have an expert teach you. Another option is trial-and-error. There are multiple learning styles.

What if you’re learning something as deep and impactful as an overall approach to work, such as Agile?

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Agile Is not Always the Answer

All over the world, Agile is the new darling. This approach to work has caught the attention of most IT and product development managers, who are now rethinking their teams, tools, practices, programs, measurements, reporting, and so on. Few of those managers, however, question Agile’s fit to their situation, or begin projects with the question, “Which approach should we use here?”

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Lead Your Agile Team Through the Storm

All Agile methods are predicated on strong teamwork. It’s not an Agile invention; bringing diverse skills and viewpoints to bear may indeed increase aggregate performance.

From an Agile standpoint, teams are also useful because human beings make mistakes.READ MORE

Gil Broza Interviewed by Selena Delesie (48-min audio)

How do you lead with both heart and mind? Why would you care do to that? And how do you overcome the organizational barriers to a people-first culture? Selena Delesie, host of the Lead With Love Virtual Conference, held a deep-dive interview on these matters with Gil in January 2017.READ MORE

What’s in a Word?

Imagine yourself in a planning meeting. The team is considering options when someone says, “How can we fail fast with this one?”

What’s going through your mind?

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The Little Word that Impedes Collaboration

Collaboration is a key principle of Agile. Yet, I believe that most Agile teams don’t collaborate nearly as much as they could, and as a result, their performance falls far short of its potential.READ MORE

How “The Three Questions” Hurt Teamwork

Building solid, collaborative teams is a pillar of our ADAPTIVE© system for Agile transformations. I’ve been doing a lot of that lately, playing a part in kicking off several Agile teams and seeing them go from “forming” to “storming” and gradually to “norming”.

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Rigid Agility

Being in the business of helping development teams and organizations become more effective, I get to see very diverse starting points. The clients of the last few months, however, had a lot in common:

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Could You Use Software Development Insurance?

Like most people, I carry various kinds of disaster insurance. If I crash my car, I’ll get paid back its worth. If my house burns down, I will lose lots of personal effects and time, but not my financial investment.

Even if the law or mortgage lenders didn’t require car/home/life insurance, I would still buy them. They are a large expense but they have a huge benefit: They allow me to live my life without fear of financial ruin.

If you could buy a policy on your software development efforts, guaranteeing some quick recovery if anything goes horribly wrong, would you?

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The Best Tool for Agile Testing

Most of the testers and managers I meet seem to have a similar perception of Agile testing. They think it’s “doing QA work on an Agile project”. That’s when I start worrying.READ MORE

How to Tell Whether Your Team Is Agile

A client reached out to my company, asking us to assess three teams. The consultant who did the assessment sent me an interesting note:

“One of the three teams is actually one of the most Agile teams I’ve observed in an enterprise environment (and their customers are really happy with the value being delivered). Yet, they’re not perceived as such by IT management because they don’t fit a ‘cargo cult’ understanding based on process.”

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Grab that Marker and Get Writing

We often attend collaborative meetings where teams need to make decisions. People share ideas, voice opinions, raise objections, identify risks, consider options… and rarely capture anything in writing.

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What’s on the Agenda?

Almost everyone we meet complains about having too many meetings. When we ask, “What bothers you most about them?” or “What would you change?”, the answer is consistent: “They don’t have any agenda!” (Yes, they include the exclamation point.)

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Agility Takes More than Practices

Imagine that you knew nothing about Agile. One day, a friend tells you, “We’ve implemented Agile practices at my company and they’ve done wonders to our development efforts. You should try them. Wanna visit us and take a look?”

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Gil Broza interviewing Michael Bolton: “Is There a Problem Here?” (1-hour audio)

How should we think about software testing? The decades-old standard answer — involving requirements, defects, and test plans — has left us with limited options, and it’s even less helpful in Agile settings. Regardless of your role in software development, listen carefully to Gil’s interview with Michael Bolton, and your approach to testing will never be the same again.

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