Essays

Agile Gems

October 17, 2010
By Michael

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: http://twtpick.in/56.  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...
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The Milk of Human Kindness

September 9, 2010
By Michael

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...
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The Seven Universal Human Emotions

August 25, 2010
By Michael

According to one theory, there are seven universal human emotions: anger, contempt, disgust, fear, happiness, sadness, and surprise. At work and sometimes in everyday life these emotions are filtered because of social conditioning. In the West, men are not supposed to feel fear or sadness.  Men who express fear or sadness are called wimps.  Women are...
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Is Your Belief in Scrum’s Value Testable?

June 2, 2010
By Michael

Can any evidence be marshaled or any argument made which would cause you to conclude that Scrum is not valuable? If you answer yes, then you have a testable belief in the value of Scrum. If no, then you have a non-testable belief in the value of Scrum. I note that here is...
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The Danger of Steamrolling Emotional State

June 2, 2010
By Michael

A manager who is considering implementing Scrum might say, “I’m concerned about the loss of predictability in Scrum. Right now I can predict what the team is going to be doing six months from now because I have a Gantt chart that tells me what they are going to be doing. But once...
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A Structure That Rarely Works

April 4, 2010
By Michael

There is a certain pattern of action we humans are almost addicted to. I say “addicted” because we keep acting this way, even though the pattern almost always fails. This pattern of action often shows up in Scrum implementations in large organizations. This structure has three components: a list of nice...
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What Is A Story Point And What Is It Good For?

March 20, 2010
By Michael

What exactly is a story point? Answers to this question are all over the map. I know because I went looking. Maybe a story point is a nebulous unit of time: “Story points represent nebulous units of time.” Maybe a story point measures effort: “Story point is a random measure used...
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Financial Worry: An Impediment to Scrum Adoption

February 25, 2010
By Michael

Many people in the United States are broke–and the rest of us are tense. One in four mortgages is underwater. 2008 was the worst year on record for household net worth. Over 20% of households under age 35 have a negative net worth . Adopting agile, however, requires not tension, but slack. I mean psychological...
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Make Love, Not Money

February 8, 2010
By Michael

Some folks in business are pursuing a strategy that is not taught in business school: The best way to maximize profit is to stop thinking about maximizing profit and, instead, to focus on treating people right. That is to say, the best way to make money is to...
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What I Learned From The Tiger Woods Saga

January 15, 2010
By Michael

Members on Agile teams must bring their whole selves to work. They do not split themselves into pieces, bringing some to work and leaving others out. Companies that use Agile methods successfully must help team members work as their whole selves. The recent Tiger Woods “saga” strikes me as a useful example of the problems...
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