Yahoo Groups — 4 easy lessons

Apologies to those used to Yahoo groups. This is for beginners. First, why should you care? Because lots of really smart people use Yahoo groups (and ScrumDev in particular). Second, why should you worry? Because lots of people hear stupid things or get into flame wars on Yahoo groups (and similar). You must Think For […]

Introverts and Individualists and Collocation

I am seeing a general trend. People are saying we should bend over backwards because implementers are introverts. (Yes, way over-simplifying a complex issue, but bear with me.) That position seems a bit too much, but the general direction is, I think, correct. Let’s posit that a good team always has (at least somewhat) talented […]

CSM Course, Durham, May 6-7. And May 8th

We are looking forward to a good Certified ScrumMaster course in Durham, N.C. We hope that people will get enough out of it to double their Velocity. (We know there is enough there to do that, but there are several other issues.) The course will address BV Engineering, Agile Estimating & Planning and other issues. […]

Shock Therapy

Back in September, Jeff Sutherland spoke at the Googleplex in NYC. The talk includes a section on shock therapy. The video is called “Self-Organization: The secret sauce for improving your Scrum team.” It’s about 90 minutes long. Recommended. One key point: Shock therapy is a technique for a special and experienced coach to work with […]

Business Value Engineering – 3 questions

I want to slightly change my definition of Business Value Engineering (see earlier post). It is the values, principles and practices that we use help us continuously improve the Business Value we deliver. Some questions and answers: Q. “Business Value.” OK, always good. Why add the word “engineering”? A. Scrum says you must always improve […]

How honest should you be in Scrum?

First answer: Completely. If only the answer were that simple. Sorry, but Scrum and Agile provide no cookbook answer to this question. Some people use “honesty” to mean they get a right to be brutal to others (and also to ignore their own imperfections). More often, the de-facto thinking is, “Honesty means I won’t say […]

Identify your multiple! What?!

Let’s discuss the last post from the skeptic’s point of view. Simon (the implementer) 1: “OK, I don’t want to get fired, but what’s this ‘multiple’ got to do with it?” The multiple is the relationship between the cost of the team and the NPV (net present value) of the benefits the team delivers. As […]

ACTION: Go identify your multiple. Now.

Two posts ago, I buried a key idea in a lengthy list. Here’s the gist. When the managers come around trying to figure out who to “re-engineer,” would it be helpful to be able to say, “Guys, the firm invested in our team about $1 million last year and got about $3 million back in […]


I have been noticing the contradictions in Agile and Scrum lately. Jeff Sutherland recently did a post about persuasion. The latest post might be summarized as: “To persuade you must be confident and humble.” I guess no contradictions there, but he does talk about contradictions elsewhere. And this quote has been bouncing inside my head […]

Is Agile useful now?

You may have noticed a few not-entirely-happy things happening out there in the economy. It might even have affected you and perhaps even your place of work. So, in what ways is Agile relevant now? First, Agile is even more relevant now than before. (OK, just my assertion so far; see below.) Second, for reasonable […]