Monte Carlo planning is far superior to standard agile planning practices

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The Satir Change Curve

How much change can your organization or group take on with ease and grace? That’s one of the fundamental questions to ask on your agile journey. On the one hand, big changes can produce big results but they are risky. On the other hand, small changes are low risk but they are slow. In the 1960s, family therapist Virginia Satir introduced a mental model that helps navigate this issue. The “J Curve” or “Change Curve” as it is often called looks like the image below. The width of the curve is the ‘time to value’ and the depth of the curve is the ‘cost of value.’ The Y axis is a metric (such as time to market) and the X axis is time.      …

Everyone is Agile

  The list of companies touting agile is long. Some of the software companies might be familiar. Spotify, Salesforce, Google, Apple, Amazon, Yahoo, Red Hat, Adobe, and Facebook are all agile. Smaller, lesser-known software-development companies such as Atlassian, Paycor, Pivotal Labs, BNA Software,, and DevSpark are agile. Companies we don’t typically think of as agile are working to be agile. Microsoft claims to be agile. General Electric, Hewlett-Packard, and Bank of America are agile. The United States Department of Defense is agile. Game developers are agile. Financial companies and media companies are agile. Banks and universities are agile. InThe Agile Mind-Set, Gil Broza asks an intriguing question: What noun typically follows agile? Broza writes: “People talk about agile development, agile project management, agile processes,…

The Inner Work of a Scrum Coach

Emotion and Cognition

 Article Originally Posted on How our theory of the mind has changed over time Agile values “individuals and interactions over processes and tools.” Understanding individuals and how they interact takes an understanding of how and why people make decisions. As it turns out, our understanding of how people think is often off the mark. Throughout history, people have used the most complex piece of technology we’ve created to date to describe how our minds work. Over the last thousand years we have gone from thinking of the mind as a hydraulic system to a mechanical system to an electrical system to a computer system. The Greeks viewed the mind as a hydraulic system similar to an aqueduct. Hippocrates spoke of the four basic humours…

Transitioning to Scrum: The Thrill of Victory and the Agony of Defeat

Transitioning to Scrum: The Thrill of Victory and the Agony of Defeat from MICHAEL A DE LA MAZ on Vimeo.

Why do agile transformations (almost always) fail?

Why do agile transformations (almost always) fail? from MICHAEL A DE LA MAZ on Vimeo.

Agile Gems

Below is a list of short (fewer than 1000 word) agile articles that substantially improved my understanding of agile.  This list can be edited here:  At this link, articles can be upvoted, downvoted, and added.  Over time, if you participate, this list might become something like a consensus view of great, short articles in the agile literature. 1. “This Is Not Like That” by Lyssa Adkins. Argues that agile concepts should be understood directly instead of by analogy. 2. “Two Forgotten Agile Values: Discipline and Skill” by Brian Marick.  Notes that team members often lack the skills they need. 3. “The Essence of Scrum” by Tobias Mayer.  A contribution to the principle-centered view of Scrum. 4. “Agile: Is, Is Not, May…

The Milk of Human Kindness

To understand others and to be understood.  To be open to the beam of light that emanates from another’s soul.  To be connected deeply, so that we understand the feelings and needs of others and they understand our feelings and needs.  To sense someone’s “no” even when they’re saying “yes.”  These are some of the goals of deep communication. In Scrum, we teach the value of collaboration, of building on each other’s work.  Before collaboration comes cooperation (which means working in the same direction), and before cooperation comes communication [2].  Communication, cooperation, and collaboration can be considered ways of being, but they are also acquirable skills. The best approach to communication that I have found is called nonviolent communication (NVC)[3]. Unlike many well-known communication systems,…

Jaime Phillips

I learned today that James “Jaime” Phillips, an outstanding member of the Boston Scrum community, recently passed away.  I met Jamie a couple of years ago when he was working on spreading Scrum values and practices at Picis.  Whenever I saw Jamie at Scrum events in the Boston area he was always happy, enthusiastic, and smiling.   Jamie once told me that he refused to work on any team that was not agile.