Monthly Archives: February 2015

The Yearly Stall

We’ve all been there. Here in the Northern US it happens like this. It’s the dead of winter. The days have been getting shorter and darker. The weather has been increasingly trapping us inside while simultaneously making our daily commute longer than ever. January first approaches and we make some resolutions, providing focus and hope. We work hard towards these new goals. We see some positive change. Progress is made and it makes us feel good. Then something happens.

Baby White Tiger Laying In A Mattress Stock Photo

anankkml – FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Sometime in late February or early March is when we tend to first notice it. We’ve lost momentum. Progress has stalled, and we aren’t really sure when it happened. We might have lost the initial progress. In some cases things have slid even further back then when they started. Most of the time by May it’s as if nothing ever happened.

Many Agile transformations are the same way. They start strong. Everyone has really good intentions. A couple of process changes are made. Some benefit is seen. Some resistance is met with facets of change that are uncomfortable. Concessions get made. The result is little change, minimal benefit, and stalled change initiatives. Continue reading

Don’t Solve Every Problem

This is hard for me to say. I like to solve problems. Most people reading this also like to solve problems. It’s in our blood to fix what’s broken, improve what’s inefficient. It can also be a mistake.

Tug Of War Between Two Girls Stock Photo

meepoohfoto – FreeDigitalPhotos.net

I’ve talked about this before. At the start of the Back to the Basics series I posted about Tensions to Manage. I’ve thought about this topic more lately as I’ve read about the shift in attitudes towards estimation. The desire of strategic decision makers for estimates is a tension at odds with the desire for the Agile Team to concentrate on the now. The solution doesn’t lie in eliminating all estimates. Likewise the solution doesn’t lie in forcing the team to do detailed estimates for everything. The solution is to manage the tension, not give a final answer.

These situations are common in an Agile transition, especially in the early days. To maintain our sanity as coaches we need to realize that not all problems need to be solved immediately. Continue reading