Complex Adaptive Systems

Self-organization, which I just wrote about, is only one of the ideas that contributes to the success of complex adaptive systems. While I am not convinced CAS (complex adaptive systems) have been fully figured out, the idea has a lot to add. In fact, the idea in science is that E=MC(2) is only a working […]


Some smart people are discussing self-organization on the Lean Software Development Yahoo group. You might want to listen or talk there. Here is what I said today: __________________________________ First, recognize that self-organization happens willy-nilly all the time. I suppose one can still ask when does it start, and where or why does it stop. (Thanks […]

The goal

Elihu Goldratt wrote a book called “The Goal” that I recommend. Theory of Constraints, TOC, is embedded, to some degree, in Scrum. But I wanted to mention “the goal” in a different way. What is the goal of our courses? Being shy and modest by nature (okay, yes, I act differently if the part requires […]

CSM Course + ARP Workshop: Why So Successful?

At the insistence of my good friend and colleague, Catherine Louis, I started doing Certified ScrumMaster courses (two days) followed immediately by a one-day workshop. This experiment (which it was for me at first) has proven completely successful. I am now convinced that this is the best way to learn Scrum. Period. And I am […]

How much should we sharpen the saw?

You probably know the classic story of the man sawing the tree. You walk up to him. You: “How’s it going?” Man: “Wow. It’s really hard. This is one big tree, and I have been working at it for hours now.” You: “Sounds tough. Why is it going so slowly?” Man: “Well, this is hard […]

The biggest impediment

To start the New Year, perhaps we should focus on the biggest impediment. Now, of course, we don’t know the biggest impediment at your place of business, but I can tell you what I see at clients, and what makes sense to me, given human nature. In my view, it is human nature to feel, […]

The Daily Scrum – a question

Srinivas sent me the following note: QUESTION: Thanks to Joe and all of the attendees — I have learned a lot from all of you. I have a simple question — in the Daily Scrum meeting — if I understood it correctly, team members are expected to answer the three questions to the team — […]


In my last post, I talked about responsibility, or mentioned it. As I was walking my dog today, I was thinking of what I would say.   thought of the famous line from that movie: “I’m mad as hell, and I’m not going to take this anymore.” (Network) [This is a rather complicated allusion, so apologies […]


I have written about freedom before, but, as Rousseau said, man is born free and everywhere is in chains. It is a topic that bears repeated discussion. In business and in life, too many people want to think that they own other people. Other ‘resources’ or whatever they may call these people. These owners might […]

How I teach – 1

For those who will teach and for some puzzled course attendees, I want to do a series of posts about how I teach. First, the goal is not to teach. Or, clearly, the goal is neither teaching nor learning, but results, more than just action, but actual results from action). Results for you, for your […]