Spikes, they’re sharp

One of the concepts that came from XP is the Spike. Especially in teams new to agile, there can be confusion on what a Spike is, and how to deal with them. The best definition of a Spike I've found is this one: "Spike" is an Extreme Programming term meaning "experiment". We use the word … Continue reading Spikes, they’re sharp

Not Estimating At Scale

Estimation is a sensitive subject in Agile. Should we estimate? Do we avoid estimation in days or other time-based units? If we use relative estimation like story points, do we standardize across teams? What do we use estimation for? Are we explicit enough in emphasizing the distinction between estimations and commitments? How do we prevent … Continue reading Not Estimating At Scale

Business Value vs. Politics

Any good Agile initiative aims to get better at delivering business value. One might say that ultimately, that is what it's all about. So when we were well on our way to getting the nitty gritty details of software development under control, we knew we needed to get the business closer in the loop. We … Continue reading Business Value vs. Politics

Set-based design in software

Last year at the Lean and Kanban Benelux conference I attended a session by Michael Kennedy: Set-Based Decision Making: Taming System Complexity. Watch that video, where he explains the way that Toyota uses set-based design to be innovative without risk to the schedules of their new product development projects. I thought that was a very interesting … Continue reading Set-based design in software

Actionable Metrics at Organizational Scale

I recently chaired a session on 'Going from company vision to Actionable Metrics' at the Stoos Stampede conference in Amsterdam. In that session I tried to show some ideas on making the link from an overall company vision, through different approaches to achieve that vision, to concrete actionable metrics allowing teams within a company to … Continue reading Actionable Metrics at Organizational Scale

On Discipline: Fooling yourself is an important skill!

Discipline is an interesting subject. One that I find myself regularly talking about. Or discussing about. In the last year I lost about 20kg of body weight through a combination of diet change and exercise. This apparently give some people the impression that I am very disciplined. I'm not. I do know, however, how to … Continue reading On Discipline: Fooling yourself is an important skill!

On Effect Mapping and Pirate Metrics

During the Specification by Example training I talked about recently, Gojko Adzic introduced me to Effect Mapping. He's writing a more extensive booklet on the subject, of which he's released a beta here. I think this is an excellent tool for exploring goals, opportunities and possible features. It can be used as a tool to … Continue reading On Effect Mapping and Pirate Metrics

Specification By Example Training

On the 24 an 25 of May, my colleague and I organised and attended the Specification By Example course of Gojko Adzic at our company. We both very much appreciated Gojko's book on the subject, and much of what he says fits very well with the style of dealing with requirements that I've used in … Continue reading Specification By Example Training

Management Innovation, ca. 1972

Yesterday, after my brother's 47th birthday, I was talking with my father. My father is 79, and he has had an interesting professional life. He started out as a catholic priest but, as you could guess from the fact of my existence, at some point figured out that this was not a sustainable career path … Continue reading Management Innovation, ca. 1972

The Strategic Inflection Point as a Special Case Pivot

I've noticed that I very regularly get people visiting my blog through a Google search for the term 'Strategic Inflection Point'. Since that term has some very direct connections to other concepts I've been learning about, I thought I'd give some detail on Strategic Inflection Points, and their relation to the Lean Startup ideas of Pivots and … Continue reading The Strategic Inflection Point as a Special Case Pivot