Happy Scrum People at Intuit

On December 17 and 18 I held a Scrum training course at Intuit in Waltham, MA. The Intuit folks quickly grokked the importance of understanding and implementing agile principles and values.  I found that extremely impressive. The end result was a group of twenty happy Scrum people.

Agile Retrospective

An excellent way to perform a retrospective is to ask the Five Whys: Ask why five times to understand the root cause of a problem. Here is an example: Problem: The server is slow. Why #1: Because it is running out of memory. Why #2: Because the code has a memory leak. Why #3: Because it was not tested properly. Why #4: Because we do not have good automated tests. Why #5: Because we have not received training in automated testing.

Netflix Culture

A great explanation of how and why Netflix does what it does.   Netflix Corporate Culture of Responsibility and Freedom View more presentations from Justin Decker.


Humans love to touch and to be touched. Parents hold their children to comfort them. We hug people who are in pain. In prison, one of the greatest punishment that can be meted out is to place a prisoner in solitary confinement. Solitary confinement does not involve any direct physical deprivation. The prisoner receives the same amount of food, sleep, and exercise. But he does not have human contact for almost the entire day. Studies show that this loss of touch has debilitating psychological effects which, in approximately one third of all cases, persist well after solitary confinement has ended and the prisoner has rejoined the general population. In typical corporate environments, touch is verboten. My sense is that some of the unproductive behavior that…

How Much Do CSTs Charge?

Certified Scrum Trainers (CSTs) are the only people who can teach Certified Scrum Master (CSM) and Certified Scrum Product Owner (CSPO) courses. Anyone can teach a Scrum course, but only CSTs can teach certification courses. Heart Healthy Scrum has relationships with several CSTs. One charges $6,000 plus expenses, a second charges $10,000 plus expenses, and a third charges $12,000 plus expenses. A fourth charges a small fixed rate plus 50% to 80% of the profits. These fees help to explain why typical certification courses cost $1000 to $1400 per person. The good news is that several CSTs are holding special certification courses for people who are between jobs. One of the best known efforts is WelfareCSM, a program started by Tobias Mayer. Here is how…

Scrum Primer

A good way to learn more about Scrum is to study what Scrum is not. Jimi Fosdick has a great new video on what’s not scrum? Here are some of the points that Jimi makes: * Organizations which modify Scrum in a way that hides organizational dysfunctionality are doing Scrumbut. * Scrum has very few parts and there is not much to modify. * Instead of changing Scrum, change the organization. * Organizations need to change the way they think and what they value to do Scrum. * Organizations should look radically different after they transition to Scrum.

Dan Mezick's Give Thanks for Scrum

Dan Mezick’s Give Thanks for Scrum event on November 25, 2009 in Waltham (about 20 minutes from Boston) promises to be an extraordinary event. Speakers include Ken Schwaber, Jeff Sutherland, Sanjiv Augustine, Amir Elssamadisy, and Dan Mezick. You do need to register and there is a small cost to attend. The event may sell out so get your tickets soon!

TFS Scrum

What is the best source of information on how to do Scrum in Microsoft’s Team Foundation System (TFS)? The best source is This site contains videos of great talks by Dan Mezick, Giora Morein, Ben Day, Phil Denoncourt, and Joe Maressa. Ben and Phil focus on using Team Foundation System to support agile.

O'Reilly Ignite Video!

I spoke at the Ignite 6 event in Boston on “What Makes Humans Happy?” The video is available here and a list of all Ignite 6 videos is here.

Define Scrum

What is Scrum? My favorite definition comes from Tobias Mayer: Scrum is a mechanism that exposes an organization’s dysfunctionality. Under this view, Scrum is not about answers, it is about questions. Scrum does not solve problems, it surfaces them.