Practice Makes…

Finding true success with your SAFe implementation

We all believe that practice makes perfect.  However, if you practice the wrong things the only thing you are perfecting is the wrong approach.

A big part of my personal life revolves around motorcycles, specifically road racing and coaching.  When I am working with new racers or track riders wanting to improve their skills the first thing I do is to ask them to complete this sentence “Practice makes…”  Almost everyone says “Perfect!”, but usually the opposite is true.  When racers go out on track and continue to repeat bad habits, such as not moving their eyes down a track or using poor body position, they simply cement in the wrong technique, which makes it more difficult to correct later.  I always teach the riders to focus on learning the basics and then build on these good techniques until they become “permanent”. I want to thank Nick Ienatsch from the Yamaha Champions Riding School for helping me to see the importance of learning the right skills before starting to practice.  Working with Nick and the crew at YCRS and ChampSchool taught me so much about the importance of getting the basics right.

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The Slippery Slope from Personal Task Assignment to Lack of Team Ownership and Commitment

Sprint planning is an important event that has a significant impact on the team’s effectiveness and productivity during the sprint.
The most critical aspects of successful sprint planning are the level of the team’s commitment to the goal of the sprint and handling the sprint backlog.
To encourage the team’s commitment to the sprint, the Scrum Master (SM) should include all the members of the team in planning the sprint and, together with them, craft a challenging sprint goal and estimate the tasks involved. Another important mission of the SM is to prevent managers from putting pressure on team members to take on more than they can deliver and commit to

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Guidelines for Common sense ☺

Recently in retrospectives of one of the scrum teams, one team member had some strong opinions about guidelines that were defined for code reviews. Besides what to review and how to review, the guidelines also had some instructions on who should review which features/stories’ code. He strongly felt that the reviewers for his stories didn’t add much value, the code reviews waited longer for feedback, and the reviewer didn’t seem to have much context, so didn’t add much value. He felt that his design reviewers or his colleagues working on the same story should have been the peer reviewers!

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Under Siege

The coronavirus has sent many people that on regular days are working from the office to work from home. This is a big change for many teams that need to establish new ways of working.

Here are some tips for managers that are relevant for these days (which are relevant for regular times as well):

Video calls are highly recommended: they keep people engaged and focused on the meeting, reducing multi-tasking and keeping meetings short and fluent. There should be a very good reason not to have a video call.

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Agile Tools

Getting Started with ATDD

It is early afternoon on Friday.

As the week is coming to an end, so is Team Alpha’s Sprint. 

The team is rushing to finish the last User Stories in the Sprint. Marion is putting the last touches on the Daily Report User Story. Just a bit more tweaking of the CSS… and… we’re done! Marion shoots Kate, the PO, a WhatsApp message: “Hi Kate, the daily report story is done, can you please check it out and accept it?” A couple of hours pass and Kate is finally done with the grueling series of back-to-back meetings she’s been enduring today. 

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Agile Leadership

3 steps towards better team work

Working with teams I sometimes feel that teamwork is similar to the weather: everybody talks about it but not much is done. When I talk about teamwork I mean doing the work together, as a team. Advising with each other is good, planning together is necessary, going to lunch as a group is fun and like the other activities, is probably a good way to get nearer to team work. However , as said above, I’m talking about doing the work together. And here are 3 steps that will help you get nearer to that worthy cause.

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Engineering Practices

Peer Code Review – Benefits and Statistics

Benefits and statistics of embedding peer code review into your software development process.

As a Lean-Agile coach, I regularly talk with software development groups about the benefits of adding code review to their development process. Some easily embrace it and some require a little bit of persuasion, but usually, I find enough internal allies to initiate the change. Lately, I encountered a whole group that completely rejected this essential practice as a luxury they can not afford. Explaining that they will see immediate ROI within a sprint or two was not enough to convince them. So, I sat to compose the following list and sent it to the group. Luckily I had a sympathetic ear with the general manager of the business unit who embraced it and made it easier for the team to experiment with the practice. All’s well that ends well… here is the list, shared with you too.

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