Tag Archives: Agile

Review: The Professional Product Owner

poDon McGreal and Ralph Jocham wrote the book The Professional Product Owner – Leveraging Scrum as a competitive advantage.

This book gives you the insights how you, as a product owner, can identify, measure, and maximize value throughout your entire product lifecycle.

The authors explain that you can call yourself a professional product owner if you can excite, can envision, can cause the product to emerge and you can manage and administer the product as it matures.

The chapters in the book are clustered into three parts strategy, Scrum and tactics. Every chapter starts with a little quiz (statement: agree/disagree) and at the end of each chapter you will find the answers.

The first part – strategy focusses on proper agile product management and maximizing the return on investment (ROI of a product by looking at the three Vs (vision, value, and validation) as a way to achieve this.

Vision creates transparency, value provides you with something to inspect and validation causes adaption. The authors explain why the world of product management a lot bigger is than Scrum. There are many types of product owners starting with scribe, proxy, business representative, sponsor and entrepreneur. Going from left to right the expected benefits from the product owner type will increase heavily. We got an explanation of the business model canvas, the added value of a good vision and what it means to deliver value. Evidence-based management with current value, unrealized value, ability to innovate and time to market is illustrated (in grey boxes you will find the corresponding text from the EBMgt Guide (see review on my blog). In the last chapter – validation, the authors discuss feedback, the usage of different types of MVP’s, the Kano-model and the build-measure-learn feedback loop (based on Eric Ries’ book Lean Start-up).

Part II – Scrum explains empirical process control and how Scrum is a tool for managing complexity and continuous delivery of value. In the text you will find, in grey boxes, corresponding text form the Scrum guide too.

It starts with an explanation of complexity. You get a certainty quiz to measure the uncertainty of your own environment/team. To visualize complexity a modified Stacey graph (categorization model) is explained as well as the usage of Dave Snowdon’s Cynefin model (sense-making) with the five domains obvious, complicated, complex, chaos and disorder. The empiricism of Scrum helps to address risks (misunderstanding of requirements, lack of top management commitment and support, lack of adequate user involvement, failure to gain user commitment, failure to manage end user expectations and changes to requirements and lack of an effective project management methodology). For the rest of this part the focus is on Scrum itself. The pillars (transparency, inspection and adaptation), The Scrum roles (product owner, development team and scrum master) and stakeholders, the Scrum artifacts (product backlog, sprint backlog and the increment) and not official Scrum artifacts (Definition of done, burn-down, burn-up charts), and Scrum events (sprint, sprint planning, daily scrum, sprint review, sprint retrospective). For every element the authors explain the relation with the product owner.

qrc (backlog items, 190121) v1.0To download: qrc (backlog items, 190121) v1.0

The last part – tactics introduces more concrete practices and tools for managing product backlogs (see the attached QRC) and release plans and concludes by examining what it means to be a professional product owner.

It starts with an explanation of a requirement and you get an explanation of the different items on a product backlog (feature requirements, non-functional requirements, experiments, user stories, bugs/defects, user cases, capabilities, …) and an example of a product backlog item template with acceptance criteria and common ways of writing acceptance criteria (Test that …, Demonstrate that …, Gherkin syntax (given, when, then)). How you can order a backlog based on business value, risk, cost/size and dependency including measuring value, risk and size is a next topic. The definition of “done” is defined as well the meaning of ready. A lot of other techniques are discussed e.g. story mapping, impact mapping, specification by example and agile testing. Release management is the next big chapter in this part. What are release management, reasons to release, release strategy, major, minor and functional releases? How can you use estimation and velocity to answer the question when will I get it? Scaling in terms of more products or more teams as well as a brief overview of the Nexus framework are introduced. This chapter ends with some more techniques like the Monte Carlo simulation to estimate a product backlog, velocity breakdown by type (features, bugs, technical debt and infrastructure), budgeting, governance and compliance, release kick-off and quality (definitions, product and technical quality, keeping quality). This part ends with the skills and traits of a good product owner.

Conclusion: If you are a product owner this is absolutely a must read. You get explanations, techniques, examples and real-life cases from the authors how you have to and can play your role as a professional product owner.

To order: The Professional Product Owner


A birds eye view on the agile frameworks forest

Some years ago, you could say “Scrum is agile” and ask “is agile Scrum?” Now we know there is more flesh on the bones. At this moment there are more than fifty known and less known agile frameworks available. To get a first impression of the different frameworks, I try to bring some structure in the jungle to methods and frameworks. In Figure 1, I position the best-known agile frameworks in a structure. The frameworks are positioned within the ‘One-time programs / projects’ sections or within ‘Business as usual’ / indefinite, or both.

grasp session (scaling agile, 190110) v1.1

Fig. 1 Overview agile framework[1]

On the other side the frameworks are clustered around team, product or programme and portfolio level. In the dark blue boxes in Figure 1 we see agile frameworks that are only applicable in IT-focused organizations. All other frameworks can be used within IT and non-IT-oriented organizations (light blue coloured). I haven’t mapped all the known frameworks in this figure, and to be honest, I think there is a lot of duplication and probably commercial drivers play a role too to ‘develop’ the next kid on the block without added value in comparison with the existing frameworks.

The team level, including Scrum and Kanban, is applicable in both IT-oriented and non-IT-oriented products and services development and operations. The engineering level focuses specifically on IT-oriented product development. The one-time, temporary projects and programme frameworks are suitable for both IT and non-IT. The permanent umbrella frameworks (both product-targeted and team-targeted) focus specifically on IT and product development and the business-targeted frameworks help organisations to increase their agility.


If we start at the team level in Figure 1, then we see of course Scrum as described by Ken Schwaber and Jeff Sutherland in their Scrum Guide. In addition, you will see frameworks such as Kanban (as described in the Kanban Guide for Scrum Teams), Scrumban and DevOps or BusDevOps. The team level can be used both within the IT environment and the non-IT environment. At this team level we can position the following IT frameworks too: Crystal family (developed by Alistair Cockburn with Crystal Clear and Crystal Yellow, Orange, Orange Web, Red, Maroon, Diamond, and Sapphire), Rapid Application Development (RAD developed by James Martin), Adaptive Software Development (ASD by Jim Highsmith, Sam Bayer), Agile Unified Process (AUP) as a simplified version of Rational Unified Process (RUP) which was superseded by Disciplined Agile Development (DAD) which was superseded by Disciplined Agile (DA). If you want to deliver quality as a team within the IT world, only following these frameworks is not enough. To improve quality and minimize technical debt (e.g., inefficient code due to many iterative adjustments), you could make use of eXtreme Programming (XP, developed by Kent Beck, Ward Cunningham, and Rom Jeffries) with Pair Programming, Acceptance Test Driven Development (ATDD), Test Driven Development (TDD), Behaviour Driven Development (BDD), Feature Driven Development (FDD), Example Driven development (EDD), User Experience (UX) Design, Continuous Integration and Continuous Deployment. AgileBA delivers the techniques to perform business analysis.

 Scrum or Kanban?

When teams start working with Agile, Scrum is often chosen. An obvious choice, but the question is whether this is always the right choice. In a Roman Pichler[2] blog the link was made with the life phase of a product. During the first phase of a commercial product lifecycle, in which the commercial product is finally put on the market for the first time, the uncertainty is high, and the focus is on on-time delivery of the first market-ready product. A deadline has been set and that date must be met. During this phase, the focus of the entire team is on delivering a commercially marketable product. This development is perfect for Scrum with its iterative approach, being able to deal with uncertainty and working together on the result (the commercial product). Optionally, a second launch can take place with a next set of important functionalities, so that eventually a mature product is put on the market. During the further course of the product lifecycle, we see the amount of uncertainty and requested changes decrease. At this moment you can make good use of Kanban. In a continuous flow, User Stories can be picked up, developed and deployed one by one by individual team members.

If one looks at the often difficult transfer to production environments, the time-to-market can be shortened by properly arranging the transfer and reducing the number of transfer errors when development and production teams are merged, and the integration testing and deployment are automated (Continuous Integration and Continuous Deployment CI/CD). In this way a DevOps team is created.

Scrumban is the combination of Scrum and Kanban. In the first instance it was intended as a transitional model to switch from Scrum to Kanban and let the team experience Lean- and Kanban concepts. Nowadays it is an approach in which the team has chosen to work according to Scrum with Sprints, but to use the Kanban system to continually view and improve its working method to optimize the flow of units of work (e.g. User Stories).

Scaling up towards product- or program level

In order to be able to use an agile way of working in an organization of some size, just having individual agile teams is not enough. The agile way of working needs to be scaled up and where possible the overarching alignment needs to be institutionalized.

To institutionalize coordination, management of dependencies and integration between the different permanent agile teams within ‘the run-the-business’ / ‘business-as-usual’ side there are various frameworks available, including:

  • Nexus, as described in The Nexus Guide, is a framework for developing product or software development initiatives with three to nine Scrum Teams, in Sprints of up to thirty days. Nexus is the answer of Ken Schwaber, one of the founding fathers of Scrum, to the scalability of Scrum. It requires more than just the will and the agile behaviour of the different Scrum Teams to work together to deliver an integrated product. Nexus is based and builds on Scrum and the rules and roles formulated in The Scrum Guide. We can position Nexus over the team and program levels of SAFe, but it does not offer provisions on portfolio level.
  • Scrum at Scale (S@S, developed by Jeff Sutherland and Alex Brown) is a modular framework. The starting point at S@S is that an all-encompassing one-size-fits-all framework is not possible, but that every time we have to look at scaling of the underlying Scrum principles. The framework can be tailored for your own organization by adding the needed S@S modules. S@S builds on the well-known Scrum framework. By analogy with Nexus you could therefore say that S@S is the answer from Jeff Sutherland, next to Ken Schwaber, the other founding father of Scrum, on the scalability of Scrum.
  • Large-Scale Scrum (LeSS, developed by Craig Larman and Bas Vodde) is an agile framework with rules, based on principles and doing experiments. The LeSS Company offers a freely accessible knowledge base (less.works) containing the integrated approach, principles, process descriptions, definitions, roles, examples, et cetera, for large-scale, mainly IT-related, product development. Transparency is also a key concept within LeSS. The first version dates from 2005 and since then, work is constantly being done on the use and further development of LeSS.
  • Scaled Agile Framework (SAFe, developed by Dean Leaffingwell) is a framework to enable scaling up of agile teams in order to create better systems, create higher employee engagement and make use of correct cost considerations. This is the mission of the scaled agile organization and of the founder of SAFe, Dean Leffingwell. The scaled agile organization offers a knowledge base that is freely accessible to everyone (www.scaledagileframework.com) with an integrated approach in the form of process descriptions, definitions, roles, examples, etc. for Lean / Agile product development. SAFe is based on five core competences: Lean-Agile Leadership, Team and Technical Agility, DevOps and Release on Demands, Business Solutions and Lean Systems and Lean Portfolio management.

Figure 1 (see the ‘Business as usual’ / indefinite block), makes use of a division between product and team targets, namely on the basis of cooperation, if necessary, of teams or not. Or with other words, can the individual teams work autonomous (team focus) or do they have to work together to deliver a new or modified product (product focus). The fore mentioned frameworks all relate to examples where multiple teams work on a single complex product or value stream (product targeted frameworks). Not visual in the figure several frameworks make a distinction between products where you are working together in with a maximum of nine teams (in total the team of teams must not exceed the Dunbar number of 125-150 people) and a team of teams of teams (e.g. SAFe large solutions, Nexus+, LeSS Huge).

The other group concerns frameworks to support IT departments that have to maintain dozens or hundreds of applications or services, whereby the dependencies between the teams are minimal (multiple team targeted frameworks). Here the Spotify model (developed by Henrik Kniberg, Anders Ivarsson and Joakim Sundén) can be positioned, but also Scaled Agile Lean Development (ScALeD, developed by Peter Beck, Markus Gartner, Christoph Mathis, Stefan Roock and Andreas Schliep). For both groups, there are essential interfaces between the teams in areas such as data integrity, security and architecture that may not or sometimes will ask for coordination when implementing changes.

In addition, there are many, less known, frameworks that can offer support at the product level, including Agile Integration Framework (AIF), Agile Team Portfolio Management (AgileTPM), AgilePath, Continuous Agile, Disciplined Agile (DA), Enterprise Scrum, Enterprise Agility, FAST Agile, RAGE, Surge, XSCALE, Industrial XP, and AgileDS.

On the left side of figure 1 we see the one-time projects and programs as part of ‘change the business’. Here a distinction is made between projects and programs. Within the project block we see three frameworks and/or methods, all three of which are a further development of the more traditional project management frameworks:

  • Agile Project Management (AgilePM, which is derived from DSDM);
  • PRINCE2 Agile (derived from PRINCE2 from AXELOS)
  • PMI-ACP (in addition to the PMBoK Guide of PMI)
  • Project Half Double (Project Half Double is run by a community of dedicated project management practitioners who are passionate about what they do)
  • Agile Project Management (APM), not mentioned in the figure, can be positioned here too.

On the program side we see:

  • Managing Successful Programs (MSP from AXELOS) that is very agile in itself with the step-by-step growth (via tranches) towards the intended goal (and connects to PRINCE2 (Agile)) and
  • AgilePgM (Agile Program Management of Agile Business Consortium) that connects with AgilePM on the one hand and is comparable with MSP on the other hand.

Praxis covered the portfolio, programme and team levels. Praxis is a free framework for the management of projects, programmes and portfolios (based on PRINCE2, MSP, MoP, AgilePM and other frameworks). It includes a body of knowledge, methodology, competency framework and capability maturity model. The framework is supported by a knowledgebase of resources and an encyclopaedia.

Portfolio management level

Traditional portfolio management focuses on ‘change the business’. In the previous chapters it has become clear that more and more changes are being handled by the line organization, that is to say: by the permanent agile teams. This means that portfolio management must now also provide an overview of what takes place in ‘run the business’ / ‘business as usual’ for to be implemented change initiatives. Existing portfolio frameworks such as Management or Portfolios (MoP from AXELOS) and Standard for Portfolio Management (SfPfM from PMI) only cover the change-the-business part. Agile Portfolio Management (AgilePfM from ABC) covers ‘run the business’ / ‘business as usual’ as well as ‘change the business’.

In addition, there are a number of agile frameworks that also include a portfolio management component:

  • SAFe offers a portfolio management layer to control ‘run the business’ / ‘business as usual’ permanent team(s) of teams.
  • Disciplined Agile (DA) offers a portfolio process in which, in addition to projects, a number of ‘run-the-business’ / ‘business-as-usual’ aspects are taken into account, such as the permanent teams and the operational management of existing IT solutions.
  • Scrum @ Scale contains modules Strategic vision and Organizational development to which portfolio management can be related.
  • Spotify also provides its own portfolio management approach with its strategic planning.
  • AgilePfM use some basic concepts of an innovation hub, an agile portfolio process, maturity of the initiatives within the portfolio as well as horizons for an agile portfolio.

At the moment (Jan’ 2019) there are no mature portfolio management frameworks that include ‘change the business’ as well as ‘run the business’ / ‘business as usual’. AgilePfM was launched by the Agile Business Consortium (previously DSDM Consortium) as part of their Agile Business Change Framework. However, it is becoming increasingly clear that the overarching agile portfolio management principles are based on frameworks like SAFe, Agile PfM and Disciplined Agile.

Business level

The business focus provides frameworks to increase business agility by changing the mindset of all staff in the organisation. What does it mean to work in an agile way? How can we make sure that the Agile Manifesto values and principles are understand and applied, and the Scrum values (courage, focus, commitment, respect and openness) are part of what we are doing? If the right mindset is in place it makes it much easier to implement an agile framework. In figure 1 the following frameworks are mentioned:

  • Open Space Agility (OSA) is a safe, pragmatic and repeatable technique for getting a rapid and lasting Agile adoption. It works with the framework you are currently using, and OSA can be added at any time. OSA is used to actively engage as many employees as possible in your Agile program.
  • AgileSHIFT (developed byAXELOS) is a framework that prepares people for transformational change by creating a culture of enterprise agility. The AgileSHIFT framework helps organizations to undergo a transformational change, to adopt a ‘survive, compete and thrive’ mindset. It will help to bridge the gap between the current and the target state (the Delta in AgileSHIFT) by embracing a range of agile, structured and hybrid approaches across the organization. The existing severe split between ‘run the business’ and ‘change the business’ will vanish.
  • Agility scales (developed by Jurgen Appelo) helps organizations achieve agility at scale from the bottom up – with measurable evidence of organizational transformation.
  • Lean Startup (developed by Eric Ries) is a methodology for developing businesses and products, which aims to shorten product development cycles and rapidly discover if a proposed business model is viable; this is achieved by adopting a combination of business-hypothesis-driven experimentation, by using a minimum viable product (MVP), iterative product releases, and validated learning.
  • Holacracy (developed by Ternary founder Brian Robertson) is a method of decentralized management and organizational governance, in which authority and decision-making are distributed throughout a holarchy of self-organizing teams rather than being vested in a management hierarchy.

Not mentioned in the figure:

  • Goal Driven Agile (GDA) rests on three main pillars: autonomy, alignment and structured improvement. It’s a very simple framework and consists of only one base structure, the diamond, five roles and ten building blocks.

Already more than 50 agile frameworks and it’s still growing. The figure can help you in your agile framework selection process, but it cannot be said often enough, do not act dogmatically, see a framework not as a panacea that can be implemented out of the box. Common sense helps too to achieve more agility and probably the best route to become more agile is dividing your products and services into smaller autonomous parts and have them supported by an individual team.

To download this article: a birds eye view on the agile frameworks forest v1.1

[1] This picture is based on a simpler version in the book Scaling Agile in organizaties (Portman, 2017)
[2] Pichler, Roman, ‘Is Scrum right for your product?’, 19 september 2016, see: www.romanpichler.com

The Agile Culture Map

In one of my previous posts I reviewed The culture map by Erin Meyer. Based on this book I created a questionnaire to ask my readers the come up with their ideas where to position the agile culture on the eight scales of The Culture Map. As we know, and stated by many surveys, the top 1 reason for agile transition failures is that the organizational culture is at odds with agile values. So I was curious to see the agile culture map visualizing the differences. In this map I compare The Netherlands with the Agile culture. For other countries you will have complete different results. At this moment there are culture maps available of 67 countries.

Agile culture map results

As we can see in this comparison there are a lot of differences to take into account. In the book The Culture Map you can find approaches how to bridge those gaps. The figures from The Netherlands are Erin Meyer’s figures. The agile figures are the average figures of 29 respondents of my Agile Culture Map questionnaire. Feel free to submit your input too so we can make it even more accurate. You can find an explanation of each row in the questionnaire. See the Agile Culture Map questionnaire.

I am looking forward to your reactions if you think these differences make sense or how you want to cope with them!



Recensie: Agile

9789462762770-480x600Tijdens de laatste vakdag van KWD Resultaatmanagement sprak ik Rini en hij liet vol trots, en terecht, een geprint exemplaar van zijn nieuwe boek zien. Ook liet hij mij zien dat hij in zijn nieuwe boek drie van mijn boeken aanbeveelt als je meer over agile wilt lezen. Waarvoor uiteraard dank. Tijdens de vakdag gaf Rini een inspirerend betoog over duikboten en dolfijnen als metafoor voor agile werken. En als ik de geëmbosseerde dolfijn op de voorkant van het boek zie staan dan kan het niet anders dat ik het inspirerende betoog terug ga vinden!

In 20 hoofdstukken laat Rini je zien dat agile een mindset is die makkelijk te begrijpen is, maar in het begin erg lastig is om toe te passen.

  • agile dolfijnin het waarom, wat wanneer en hoe van agile komen we al direct de mooie duikboot-dolfijn metafoor tegen. Verder een aantal conceptuele denkfouten die agile oplost. Agile is een mindset uitgewerkt in 4 waarden en gedefinieerd door 12 principes en praktisch gemaakt in tientallen aanpakken (n.b. zie mijn boek Scaling agile in organisaties) en geïmplementeerd via oneindig veel practices. Tenslotte krijgen we aan de hand van de Stacey matrix inzicht wanneer je beter wel of juist niet agile werken moet hanteren (n.b. vergelijk het Cynefin model van Snowden)
  • Gaat het de juiste kant op biedt zeven vragen om te kijken hoe agile men is en daarnaast het nut van metrieken zoals velocity, happiness, waarde, energie, productiviteit en focus
  • In wendbaar door afmaken krijgen we zes praktijkmaatregelen om het werk sneller te maken: stel afmaken centraal, opknippen en losmaken, veel en kleine releases, alles automatiseren, volstrekte onafhankelijkheid en meet impact en opbrengsten.
  • In gevaren van agile krijgen we er acht voorgespiegeld waaronder agile werken is moeilijker dan het lijkt en de eisen aan een product owner zijn onrealistisch. Ook worden zeven misvattingen over agile uitgewerkt zoals bijvoorbeeld documentatie is bij agile niet meer nodig en agile teams hebben geen management nodig
  • In scrum of agile? wordt Scrum beschreven
  • Is agile haastwerk? geeft zeven redenen waarom agile juist kwaliteit afdwingt: ritme en regelmaat, kwaliteit is expliciet en staat vast, continu leerproces, waarde als stuurinstrument, geen grote projecten meer, automatisering van kwaliteit en autonome teams. Verder legt de auteur het belang van de Definition of Done uit
  • Agile transformaties biedt acht in de praktijk ruimschoots bewezen stappen: voer een initieel assessment uit, formuleer het waarom en de urgentie, werk een blueprint uit, bepaal de veranderstrategie, maak een transformatie-roadmap, voer de roadmap iteratief uit in sprints, meet en reviseer de roadmap en als laatste stap integreer via governance en cultuur
  • In valkuilen van agile transformaties worden zeven valkuilen beschreven waaronder het niet onderkennen van het belang van een nieuw ritme, angst om fouten te maken en alleen aandacht geven aan het proces
  • Agile cultuur biedt zeven maatregelen om een agile cultuur te bewerkstelligen: focus op het waarom, verander de context, stel zelfmanagende teams centraal, maak cultuur expliciet, wees zelf de cultuur, werk volgens een vast ritme en stimuleer dienend leiderschap. En maakt het meetbaar aan de hand van een aantal stellingen
  • Agile leiderschap gaat over het eigenaarsmodel met de twee dimensies vrijheid en volwassenheid en zeven stappen om een eigen eigenaarschap-model te maken. Ook vinden we hier een samenvatting van Rini’s businessroman De Bijenherder.
  • In agile besturing en structuur zeven maatregelen of aanbevelingen om te komen tot een agile governance zoals het werken met vast teams en het plannen van werk i.p.v. de mensen. Verder krijgen we hier een aantal voorbeelden van rigoureuze governance-aanpassingen zoals het stoppen met uren schrijven en het opsplitsen in minibedrijven (vgl. de cel-filosofie van Eckart Wintzen)
  • Product owner valkuilen presenteert negen valkuilen zoals het erbij doen, mandaat veronderstellen en op alles ja zeggen. Verder zeven zaken waarmee succesvolle product owners zich onderscheiden van een hun minder succesvolle collega’s zoals het op vele manieren nee kunnen zeggen (in febr. 2019 verschijnt 50 tinten nee – Effectief stakeholdermanagement voor de Product Owner door Robbin Schuurman en Willem Vermaak)
  • Kwaliteit door autonomie licht zeven maatregelen toe om kwaliteit bij agile te verhogen zoals alle kwaliteitschecks automatiseren en afhankelijkheid van externe partijen wegnemen
  • Hyper productieve agile teams beschrijft zowel vier randvoorwaarden voor hyperproductiviteit als zes manieren om agile teams hyper productief te maken
  • In agile op grote schaal komen zeven aandachtspunten voor het schalen van agile naar voren en een toelichting op SAFe. In het aansluitende hoofdstuk wordt de SAFe PI planning en de bijbehorende voorbereiding in zeven stappen beschreven.
  • Agile opdrachtgeverschap biedt acht vragen over agile opdrachtgeverschap en negen kenmerken van de ideale aanbesteding. Aansluitend komt de vraag naar voren of agile ook fixed-price kan zijn en vier bijbehorende maatregelen voor fixed-price agile
  • Automatiseren van herhalend werk beschrijft een aanpak en zes tips voor continuous delivery
  • Het laatste hoofdstuk beschrijft agile schatten en planning poker.

Conclusie: Fraai opgemaakt, rustige zachte kleuren en mooie foto’s. Agile is een mindset en dat spat van de pagina’s af! Het boek is doorspekt met opsommingen van valkuilen, stappenplannen, denkfouten, redenen randvoorwaarden en gevaren die de praktische toepasbaarheid van dit boek enorm verhogen. De beschrijvingen van cases bij bol.com, ANWB en Eneco consumenten helpen hierbij. Sta je aan de vooravond van een agile transitie dan is het een perfect boek om door alle betrokkenen te worden gelezen. Uiteraard ook prima geschikt om kennis te nemen van de agile mindset.

Ook leuk de QR codes aan het begin van ieder hoofdstuk (verder geen toelichting erop, of ik moet die gemist hebben, dus iets voor de nieuwsgierigen onder ons, uitproberen en dan … Hoe agile wil je het hebben. Zie onderaan twee voorbeelden).

Is er dan niets op aan te merken? Wellicht wat kleine puntjes. Het zijn nu 20 hoofdstukken waarbij de volgorde niet altijd logisch is. Wellicht had een clustering in een aantal thema’s de leesbaarheid of toegankelijkheid vergroot. Denk hierbij aan introductie agile, agile in teams en agile in organisaties. Ook vind ik dat de scrum master en agile coach onderbelicht is.

Ik kom in veel boeken over agile en ook in dit boek, in mijn optiek onjuiste, beschrijvingen van een MVP tegen. Wat meestal bedoeld wordt is een MMP. Een minimal marketable product. Een MVP is een minimale inspanning waarmee een hypothese getest kan worden en hoeft dus geen gereed en levensvatbaar product te zijn. De MVP voor de app Dropbox bestond bijvoorbeeld uit een paar powerpoint slides.

Maar los van deze paar kanttekeningen, zeg ik aanschaffen en lezen dit Agile koffietafelboek!

Bestellen: Agile

Het waarom, wat wanneer en hoe van agile(H1):

Agile cultuur (H1): 



Recensie: De 10 principes van agile-lean teamcoaching. Zelforganiserend verbeteren in de praktijk

9789024406678-480x600Aty Boers en Marijke Lingsma hebben met De 10 principes van agile-lean teamcoaching. Zelforganiserend verbeteren in de praktijk een handzaam boek afgeleverd met daarin de theorie en vele handvatten, gebaseerd op best practices uit de wereld van lean, agile en teamcoaching.

Agile-lean teamcoaching helpt teams zich te ontwikkelen in de richting van zelforganisatie waarbij zowel teamontwikkeling, het effectief en resultaatgericht organiseren van het werk alsmede het leren en veranderen samenkomen. Men zegt wel: “organiseren is rust, leren is onrust”.

De agile-lean coach benadering is gebaseerd op 10 principes:

  • Betekenisvol bewegen vraagt om principes – methoden en regels zijn hulpmiddelen
  • Een organisatie bestaat uit betekenisvol met elkaar verbonden teams
  • ‘Harde’ en ‘zachte’ aspecten van samenwerken zijn niet uit elkaar te trekken
  • Klantfocus is de aanjager van verbeterdynamiek
  • Transparantie maakt collectief eigenaarschap mogelijk
  • Het gaat niet om de beste aanpak, maar om de eerstvolgende betekenisvolle stap
  • Lenigheid heeft lenige gewoonten nodig met een structureel karakter
  • Ontwikkelen kan alleen wanneer mensen zich bewust zijn van hun eigen bijdrage – en dat geldt ook voor begeleiders
  • Evaluatie en reflectie zijn even belangrijk als actie
  • Lenigheid is stollen en vloeibaar blijven tegelijkertijd.

De auteurs hebben het boek onderverdeeld in vier delen waarbij ieder deel een stap uit de PDCA-cyclus van Deming volgen. Deel 1 Plan laat zien wat jij, als professionele agile-lean coach moet weten. Wat is lean, scrum en agile? Wat zijn de basisuitgangspunten van (team)coaching. De auteurs gaan in op de vijf kritieke succesfactoren (meetlat, eigenaarschap, context, ijsberg en het hier-en-nu) van coaching en hoe hiermee de teamvolwassenheid (ieder voor zich, groep, team, open team) te beïnvloeden is. Ook wordt ingezoomd op de agile-lean teamcoach rollen als adviseur, trainer/tutor, mentor, teamcoach, performance coach en facilitator. Dit deel wordt afgesloten met een toelichting hoe je met een functionele analyse zicht op teams in hun context kan krijgen (issue/aanleiding, context, team-ijsbergen huidig en gewenst en sociale ondersteuning).

In deel 2 Do wordt duidelijk wat je, als agile-lean coach moet doen om teams te ondersteunen in hun ontwikkeling richting agile functioneren en zelforganisatie. Hoe verbind je jezelf met de organisatie, de opdrachtgever en het team? Hoe ziet een traject gebaseerd op de lean-agile coaching principes eruit? Hoe begeleid je agile-lean teamsessies? Hoe zorg je dat de energie erin komt en dat je samen met het team een beeld opbouwt, focus op klantwaarde ontwikkelt of versterkt, inzicht en greep krijgt op de eigen (delen van) de waardestroom en tenslotte hoe is het werk van het team slimmer te organiseren om daarmee het adaptievermogen te vergroten.

Deel 3 Check kijkt hoe zowel het team als de coach opereren. Wat kan jij of het team leren van een pas op de plaats en wat zou onderzocht moeten worden als het niet ‘lekker’ loopt. Waarbij het team tijdens het evalueren onderzoekt wat er goed is gegaan en wat er volgende keer beter kan en tijdens het reflecteren in gaat op het waarom als evalueren geen effect heeft. team coachingHebben de teambijeenkomsten weinig flow of zit er geen voortgang meer in het team(verander)traject. Hierbij kan zo’n traject gezien worden als veranderen als verzorgde reis, veranderen als ‘samen op reis’ en veranderen als zwerftocht. De auteurs hanteren een acht fasen transitiemodel bij teaminterventies (waaromfase, vasthoudfase, loslaatfase, niet-wetenfase, ideeënfase, experimenteerfase, expliciteerfase en de nieuwe werkelijkheid) als tegenhanger van modellen gebaseerd op de unfreeze-move-freeze-gedachte.

In deel 4 Act staan de coaching activiteiten centraal die nodig zijn om het team dat je begeleidt te helpen vast te houden wat is geleerd en te komen tot een meer fundamentele vernieuwing. Hierbij wordt de Act-fase uit de PDCA-cyclus gesplitst in een ‘re-Act’ (borgen en bijsturen) en een ‘pro-Act’ (bezinnen en herkaderen) fase. Om als team met beiden om te kunnen gaan is het hebben van adaptievermogen essentieel. Als agile-lean teamcoach heb je kennis van leerprocessen nodig om teams te begeleiden bij het (verder) ontwikkelen van adaptievermogen. Ook in dit deel komt reflecteren weer aan bod en het hierbij gebruikte double- en triple-loop leren, alsmede het innovatief leren.

Conclusie: Een must voor de agile-lean (team)coach, agile coach, of begeleider. Zeker in combinatie met het bijbehorende boek 75 werkvormen voor agile-lean coachingvan dezelfde auteurs (zie hieronder voor 75 werkvormen) is dit boek onmisbaar in de gereedschapskist van de coach. Tenslotte nog een paar kleine verbeterpuntjes voor een volgende druk. Het toepassen van het MVP komt niet helemaal uit de verf. Ik ben het niet eens dat een MVP een afgewerkt geheel moet zijn, dat is m.i. een minimum marketable product. Het MVP moet iets zijn waarmee met een minimale inspanning een hypothese getoetst kan worden. Ook ben ik van mening dat een scrum master geen hiërarchische positie heeft t.o.v. het team. 

Bestellen: De 10 principes van agile-lean teamcoaching

Bestellen: 75 werkvormen voor agile-lean teamcoaching

Recensie: 75 werkvormen voor agile-lean teamcoaching.

9789024403950-480x600Naast het boek De 10 principes voor agile-lean teamcoaching hebben Aty Boers en Marijke Lingsma ook de bijbehorende 75 werkvormen voor agile-lean teamcoaching – Teams begeleiden naar zelforganiserend verbeteren geschreven.

Dit handzame boekje met praktische handvatten kan eventueel ook los van het genoemde boek gebruikt worden. In dit boekje worden alleen werkvormen behandeld die kunnen bijdragen aan het vermogen van teams om samen resultaten te behalen, het zelforganiserend vermogen van teams, het eigenaarschap voor continu verbeteren en de wenbaarheid en adaptievermogen. Meer generieke werkvormen gericht op kennismaking, teambuilding, persoonlijke ontwikkeling, communicatievaardigheden of energie in teams komen niet aan bod. Daar is elders al genoeg over geschreven.

In dit boekje worden de 10 principes nog een keer kort toegelicht. De rest van het boek gaat over de 75 werkvormen. Deze werkvormen zijn voor de toegankelijkheid, in lijn met het boek De 10 principes voor agile-lean teamcoaching, geclusterd volgens de Plan-Do-Check-Act cyclus. Binnen iedere cluster vindt vervolgens nog een nadere onderverdeling plaats.

Binnen het Plan deel worden basistechnieken voor agile-lean teamcoaches (bijeenkomsten inrichten, werkvormen kiezen, in subgroepen werken, aanleren vaardigheden, focus op resultaat, gesprek terugleggen in de groep, spiegelen met behulp van de ‘gouden driehoek’, de olifant en de ijsberg en het onderlinge gesprek stimuleren), starten van bijeenkomsten (mentale check-in, starthouding bespreekbaar maken, samen interactieregels opstellen en de biografie van het team) en gezamenlijke beeldvorming (enkele woorden, abc-methode, kruislings interviewen en verzamelen en ordenen van ideeën) behandeld.

Het tweede deel Do gaat in op het versterken van teammeetlat en teameigenaarschap (de ‘why’ van het team, team pay-off, team-SWOT, ambities richting zelforganisatie, walking scale, GROW en GROUP, stappen naar de toekomst, businessplan op 1 A4 en KPI’s/KWI’s formuleren), het versterken van klantfocus – verhelderen van klantwaarde (actorenkaart/invloedsdiagram, klantarena, klantreis, critical to quality en KANO-analyse), waardestromen in de context van teams (organisatie rol analyse, verantwoordelijkheden afkaarten, procesopstelling, contextdiagram, storymapping, team-waardestroom, spaghetti-diagram en procesherontwerp), flow en pull versterken (zeven verspillingen, 5S-methode, Poka Yokes bedenken, planning poker) en tenslotte continu verbeteren (verbeter-kata, 5 x why, is/is niet-analyse, visgraat-diagram, kaizen, oplossingen brainstorm en keren is leren).

Deel drie Check licht werkvormen toe binnen evaluatie en reflectie (afsluiten, reviewsessie, sprint retrospective, after action review, tijdlijn, visuele evaluatie, appels en peren en het CREA-model voor intervisie) en teams in transitie (veranderen aan den lijve ervaren, transitieopstelling, cirkels van invloed en betrokkenheid en versterken en verstieren).

Het laatste deel Act gaat over innoverend leren waarbinnen de volgende werkvormen worden behandeld: van beperkingen naar mogelijkheden, denkhoeden van De Bono, herkaderen, stakeholderbrillen, design thinking en als laatste werkvorm het scenariodenken.

Conclusie. Een praktisch boekje. Naast heel specifieke werkvormen voor agile-lean teamcoaching komen ook de wellicht bekende werkvormen vanuit agile of lean aan bod. Iedere werkvorm wordt kort en krachtig toegelicht aan de hand van het doel van de werkvorm, eventuele randvoorwaarden, de uitvoering, werkwijze of in te zetten technieken, eventuele varianten en tips met soms verwijzingen naar you-tube filmpjes. Dit laatste had wat mij betreft wat vaker gehanteerd kunnen worden inclusief de juiste link (of QR-code). 

Bestellen: 75 werkvormen voor agile-lean teamcoaching

Bestellen: De 10 principes van agile-lean teamcoaching



Agile Culture Map

In my previous post (see: The Culture Map) I reviewed The Culture Map and gave an example to show cultural differences between countries.

Afbeelding1The top 1 reason for agile transition failures, is that the organizational culture is at odds with agile values. I would like to create an agile culture map that can be used to visualize the bridges you have to cross when performing an agile transition. It could probably show as well why agile transitions in one country are more difficult than in another country.

To make this happen I need your input to build this agility culture map. I would like to ask you to answer a simple questionnaire with eight questions: Agile Culture Map questionnaire.

Results will be shown in a next post on this blog.

Review AGILE NXT – Insights and foresights for your next step in agile

agilenxtA new colorful magazine from Xebia, developed by using their four new agile marketing Ps Purpose, Product, People and Process, to help you with your next step in your agile journey.

Many articles to bring you up to speed in the world of agile development:

  • Doing DevOps the DASA way: the six DASA DevOps principles and DASA qualification information
  • Product Leadership for the third wave (of agile adaption): successful POs build trust and a safe environment, transfer resistance into commitment, and switch between leadership styles according to the stakeholder field, urgency or importance. They learn how to own the product and nurture it to fruition
  • Mixed human-robo agile teams: the future is now: robo-advisors, teams focus on creativity and solving complex problems
  • Kick-start your agile team with design sprint: a five-day process with real customers that includes: define the main problem, forming ideas, designing solutions, prototyping and validating with real customers
  • Leadership’s role in business agility: driven by flexibility, focus, flow and feedback
  • Using brain science to boost your scrum events: applying one or more of the six trumps to enhance learning during your scrum events are movement trumps sitting, talking trump listening, images trump words, writing trump reading, shorter trumps longer and different trumps same
  • Yesterday’s competitive advantage is today’s industry standard: what questions need to be answered to embrace the next phase of your agile maturity
  • Design thinking: get to the heart of what the customer wants: The five stages of a design thinking process are empathize, define, ideate, prototype and test
  • Cultivating a culture for engineers with agile: Four critical ramifications of today’s digital age fueling the war for IT talent and the increasing demand for engineers: product digitalization, mass customization, immediate customer feedback and reduced cost of entry
  • Recommended reading for every agile leader: six knowledge areas that are critical to successful agile leadership are transformational reorganization, system thinking and mental models, ownership and responsibility, scaling through minimalization, group dynamics and a culture for creativity
  • The art of personal mastery: personal mastery shifts the focus to learning and improving ourselves and others
  • What makes a team a winning team: leaders who facilitate alignment and stimulate autonomy and improve team strength with a (management) drives workshop and a feedback workshop
  • Scrum@Scale: a meta-framework for strategic agility: set up a leadership action team to establish the executive metaScrum that prioritizes all agile initiatives and deliver shippable product increments at the end of every sprint, or sooner, by employing the Scrum of Scrums as a network of teams
  • Agile coaches prepare for the new wave: The 6 traits of new wavers are scrum experience, self-oriented, value work-life balance, value purpose and the need for speed, internet savvy and value and master feedback. The 8 do’s & don’ts of coaching, motivating, teaching a new waver are explained
  • The art of leadership agility: How can I be agile myself (flexible, adaptable and responsive) as a leader, in order to support organizational agility
  • Mindshift to purpose: our need to be part of something bigger: a well-defined purpose is inspiring, concise and observable. To make a purpose stick: believe it yourself, reinforce it often, reward the right behavior and share successes and build a movement, on purpose
  • A picture is worth a thousand words: accelerate your transformation with visualization: Five ways to speed up agile transformations: sketching skills: find hidden and essential drawing talent, travel journal based on pictures, talking pictures: shared complexity, style: congruent visualizations, and communication media: initiation of co-creation
  • Unboxing the CoCreate agile scaling model: scale to be small. The triple-A’s of the CoCreate model: Agility, Autonomy and Alignment. The model focusses on developing value and people while performance, growth, products, culture and adaption are its critical core components
  • Agility without agile: agility in practice, without using the traditional (agile) frameworks and using non-traditional cutting-edge technology to manufacture high-quality, custom-made, bespoke mannequins for the show floors and windows
  • 50 shades of “no”: product owners seem to understand the role, but they don’t know how to respond to all the requests and questions that come with it, or how to handle the stakeholders
  • Engineering culture: the unintentional side effect of agile transformation (and how to prevent it): upper layers of culture: artifacts and espoused values and behaviors and the deeper, invisible layer: basic underlying assumptions. 5 seeds for cultivating a sustainable agile culture are described
  • re.vers.ify: the need for agility in the face of perplexity: complexity turns into perplexity, an inability to act, an individual or collective state of being overwhelmed by complexity, permanently
  • Digital transformation gets real: adapt or die, disruption in action, embrace AI, robotics and AR. In the next decade 40% of today’s companies on the S&P 500 will be gone
  • Shared leadership: the product owner as mini-CEO: to get the most (and best) out of the product owner role: communicate top-down distribution of power and mandates explicitly and as the product owner, accept handovers of power and mandates explicitly and ensure product owners are qualified to execute power and mandates and that they receive the appropriate training
  • Evolutionary or revolutionary change: knowing the organizational end-state: fact or illusion? Evolutionary change: move away from where you are now
  • Find and bind talent with a flexible shell: a flexible shell can maintain the stability within the team while at the same time create an opportunity for those who want to grow more than a single team would allow.

Curious to read the magazine? Download or request a printed copy at: AGILE NXT