Scrum Master

Scrum Master as Scrum Maester, a game of thrones

The Scrum Guide update video with Ken Schwaber, Jeff Sutherland, and David West made a case that I know some things. Though I am not-quite-ready to say that “I know nothing”, I acknowledge the danger across Scrum that pulls good people and good intention into a game of thrones. When I ponder Agile transformation all around me, I found Scrum has a clear point to revisit: the Scrum Master role. The Scrum Master role is an unfortunate political challenge to adopters and court jesters alike who question what is a Scrum Master master of? Likely, the thinking is that a Scrum Master knows nothing. The Scrum Master is a servant-leader for the Scrum Team. The Scrum Master helps those outside the Scrum Team understand which of their interactions with the Scrum Team are helpful and which aren’t. The Scrum Master helps everyone change these …

scrum, daily, stand up, pawnee, native american, peace

Stand up to daily scrum

Successful Agile development is principles over practice. Many an Agile Coach, Scrum Master, and Agile roles assure people the difference between doing Agile with being Agile. The Scrum Team’s Daily Stand Up is a practice that many adopt, try to do, but ultimately fail to understand the principle being Agile in a daily Scrum. The most widely practiced Agile method, is Scrum. As both the focus on incremental delivery, Agile software development using Scrum methods highlights team success dynamics. Across Agile and Scrum the key: everyday calibrate, shift, plan, and validate. In the spirit of feedback and transparency Scrum co-creators Jeff Sutherland and Ken Schwaber revised the Scrum Guide and took the opportunity to introduce many of their thoughts on the state of Scrum in an excellent video, moderated by David West. In this Scrum refresh I have a few items that …

projects, personas, stakeholders, death star, slides

Projects, Personas, and Stakeholders – the slides

Projects have stakeholders, that much is clear, these pesky project stakeholders influence the project in both positive and negative ways. As a project moves towards completion, such as the Death Star, that all-universe symbol of … well, that is an interesting point. There are a lot of stakeholders across the Death Star with very different views of the same project, stakeholders: The Empire, The Rebels, and The contractors … [did you think of them?] Every view into a project is filtered through one lens: WIIFM? (What’s In It For Me?). When I look deeper into stakeholders with a persona lens I gain empathy for the persona motivation through the project and post-project on to the end-user need. This week I had a fortunate invitation to the  Project Management Institute MassBay roundtable to discuss Projects, Personas, and Stakeholders. Here is the deck and resources shared …

podcast, agile, user experience, Donald Fagen

Podcasts for modern design

The bright side of a one- to two-hour commute: I now bundle a set of podcasts on modern design to my commute and learn an incredible amount to and from work. Until recently my digital community of interest did not include podcasts. Perhaps my hesitance was the preferred immediacy of reading, clicking, and browsing that has delayed my entry into the podcast community, but reality podcasts are very distant from blogs, Twitter, LinkedIn, and other community of interest engagement to share, learn, collaborate. That has changed with new commuting, habits: see drive time. Design in Context Design is key to organization, marketing, product, and projects. The past year or so, some might assume this blog has migrated to Agile and away from other objectives. Not so, intrepid reader: Agile is a management technique more than a simple project method and Scrum is a …

user story, requirement, design

User story, no requirement needed

Good design meets end-user need. Bad design wastes time and money. The difference is not about requirements. Requirements are your great, grandparent’s design directive. Effective design is about empathy and to understand empathy you need to understand the user story requirement. Before development, every project team needs to understand what to build. In project management requirements gathering provides that essential view of what the project delivers. Good requirements assumes what the build is what the end-user requires. This up-front effort to understand user need is shared across many professions: In communications, start with know your audience; In product management, starts with know your market; In software development, start with user requirements; and Is digital marketing, start with know your persona Whether the user had to sit through a presentation, scour documentation, search software, or fumble through a webpage on their smart phone, bad design creates bad feelings. A requirements document is not a …

User Story Mapping, book, Agile, design

User Story Mapping by the book

All design, whether PowerPoint deck, website, software, product, operating model, or Thanksgiving dinner, is an effort to deliver experience. Experience can range from bad to good to exceptional and where you land along that range depends on how well the designer understands their audience need. When design fails end-user need: We waste time, We waste effort, Frustration builds, and Trust is lost A User Story creates better understanding. Before development starts, a user-story and a user story map provides design a view of user journey to solution. User Story Mapping, as a software development tool, aims to focus design teams on users and user needs. But you say “I am not a software designer?” and I say, “everything we do is design, read on friend”. Any effort to improve design is a wise investment for: Trainers, Organization development, Communications, Marketing, and Beyond In short, this is …

Agile example, Scrum design, Toby Elwin, Lord Business

An Agile example of Scrum by design

From startups to corporate leviathans the business directive is be more Agile. The most often employed project method is a Scrum design, an Agile framework for projects. Without Agile management adoption the executive call to “be more Agile” really means: Get faster results, in less time, with less resources. Forbes touts Agile, The World’s Most Popular Innovation Engine, Agile expectation does not align to Agile implementation and adoption. In practice Agile is more a fragile mismanagement mindset of misplaced expectation that others do Agile while management retains control. Scrum is the most popular Agile adoption of a lean mind. Scrum, itself, unfortunately, becomes a confusion multiplier for organizations looking to adopt an Agile organization or team design, without shared understanding of Agile. Agile Example for Some What, however, is Agile? Agile works as a: Project management framework, Business management tool, Manufacturing discipline, and Cost control Yes. Agile is about lower cost and faster response. Agile gets talked about, planned, trained, and expected. Teams …

Steve Harvey, Ms Philippines, Ms Colombia, Top Posts, 2015, Toby Elwin

Top 10 blog posts for 2015, 5 to 1

Top blog posts from 2013, from number 5 to number 1, a follow-up from Top 10 blog posts for 2015, 10 to 6 I need to rename this, annual, Top 10 to Top 10 Posts that are not Impact Assessment or Stakeholder Analysis.  The impact assessment post gets three times more hits, per year, than any other post and the stakeholder post almost two times. My executive decision:  retire, but, annually, if this maintains, acknowledge, the two, repeat posts. 5. Buyer persona for organization strategy and development — Software companies, product companies, and service companies have turned attention from customer transaction to customer experience. Buyer persona methods help companies identify motivation and desired experience a customer seeks.  It is a great method to help move from what a company wants to sell a segment to what someone’s objective is that they need to solve. I began …

marketing, fear, the walking dead, top blogs, 2015, Toby Elwin

Top 10 blog posts for 2015, 10 to 6

Closing out 2015, I look back at the year’s most viewed posts as a chance to reflect on blog topics, from project management, marketing, and mergers and acquisitions failure, here is what people viewed. In descending order: 10. Change management bottom up or top — The more you look at an organization, the more you identify where the work gets done. An executive team can not command change from the top without awareness of actual change people care about: their job, their compensation, their role, their skill, and their motivation, Stock options, bonus packages, and executive parking privilege do not resonate with the majority, let’s start with culture, forget leadership.  Leadership doesn’t drive change, change relies on culture and in the case of culture, leadership is along for the ride and rarely in the driver seat for how change travels. 9. Competing values drive your organization out of business — Another post in the …

training, metrics, important, Toby Elwin, blog

The 2 most important learning metrics

CEOs care about learning programs.  To gain more executive-level interest, guess what learning and development folks? CEOs want metrics. Give them learning metrics. The learning metrics you may have collected and reported on might need adjustment to become important to an executive. The organization challenge that leader’s need to recognize is that an organization’s ability to learn and to adapt is the only source of competitive advantage. Development professionals only gain stature in the business environment when they meet and plan business solutions. The ROI Institute and Chief Learning Officer magazine have a study recap that should provide a clearer map of our worth.  The targets of this survey were CEOs at Fortune 500 companies and the top 50, privately held firms.  From this population 450 firms received a survey and 95 firms, 21%, responded. Quick hits: 4% of CEOs avoid learning and development …

Being Agile by the book

Our digital world demands ‘just in time’ connection, transparency, and community engagement. In an agile environment, classic project mindset and process are challenged to meet Agile method and Agile practice. Agile – Your Roadmap to Successful Adoption of Agile by international speaker and Agile raconteur Mario Moreira is a book to help cross the Agile chasm. This book takes Agile beyond the way you “do Agile” to the way you “become Agile”. … if you reach every scheduled release date, you bring the project in on budget, and you build it with quality, but you do not build features that customers want, they will not buy it and you have failed. This is why I contend that if you align your culture and processes around building customer value (e.g., what customers need and when they need it), then you will …

Magnificent Seven, team of me, blog, Toby Elwin

High performance team of me

Many times what looks like a team is not team. A high performance team is beyond skin deep and requires shared understanding. A collection of well-intended professionals that meet, from time-to-time, around business issues, is not a team. In What It Takes to Build a Team, John R. Anderson’s dense and rewarding read, reminds me that there is no ‘I’ in team. Identity shapes how people describe their world. The range of options that someone can identify and define their view presents little issue, until collaboration. Teams work in concert to meet common goals: Share success; Collaborate for achievement; and Willing to give up resources for the good of the collective High Performance Team Law In our world of people, process, and technology, a single item can mean multiple things. The law of identity presents a shared meaning, not mixed …

Steve Jobs, technology, liberal arts, innovation

Apple’s technology formula

Too often there is a chasm between the technology design and the user need. Technology alone is not enough.  Whether a business area or a consumer product, delight is a unique feature requirement. In 2011 Steve Jobs, hosted an iPad 2, special event and I take two great points within this three-minute and 11 second video clip: Technology married with the liberal arts or the humanities creates results that delight. Apple competitive advantage is that product architecture and the organization architecture that build the products align. Intuitive products rely on user objective, not technical wizardry. From an email to a presentation, we design for reaction, from communication to technology, the goal is reaction. Features and functions of the software, hardware, and applications need seamless integration to meet user objective, not technical architecture. The design function is the user objective. Function goes beyond the lab and into the environment objective. This video reminds me, again, about good …

dumb, data-driven, decisions, Toby Elwin, blog

Dumb, data-driven marketing decisions

Dumb, data-driven decisions happen when numbers have no context and people have no confidence. Who? How? and So now what? improve the odds.

When innumerates run the asylum, you, your customers, and your business miss context and transparency to interpret intent.