How Not to Choose an Agile Framework

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It doesn’t matter if you’re choosing an Agile development framework like SAFe or an Agile Transformation Framework like the LeadingAgile Basecamp model, the models and frameworks are incomplete, by design.  They need to be adapted to meet your organizational goals.  Do you think the Agile Manifesto would have lasted as long as it has, if it answered all of your questions in two pages?  To that, if you think all of your questions are completely answered by a single “big picture” poster, you’re being naive. But, that’s exactly what I see happening. Realize that you have permission to mix and mash whatever you need, to make your organization operate better. The Agile police are not going to break down your door because you’re not following a framework as it was originally written. If that is what you think, what happens if the author or creator of the framework or model you’re following changes it? Does that mean your business is now broken?

Don’t just follow the horde of people that are choosing frameworks because they look pretty on a poster.  It’s not a car!  Look for a framework that looks like a potential organizational end-state.  Evaluate what your company values from a planning perspective. Next, evaluate what your customers value from a planning perspective.  Pick a framework and then refine it (through structure, governance, and metrics/tools) to align with an ideal end-state.

Want to read more?  See more at:  agile frameworks and template zombies

Categories: Agile, Project Management Tags: Tags: ,

Not Enough Time In The Day

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I’ve been working at LeadingAgile since mid 2012.  Early on, Mike Cottmeyer (founder and CEO) said he wanted me (and others) to act like we’re building our own mini LeadingAgiles.  He has consistently said “make your decisions as though it was your company.”  The advice has served me well.  Now, either you’re committed to your company or organization or you’re not.  Either you’re trying to help grow it and improve it or you’re not.

When I talk to others about what I do, related to short-term and long-term horizons, they ask me why I don’t go start my own consultancy.  That answer is simple.  I don’t want to! I believe in Mike’s vision for the company and what LeadingAgile is doing.  If you love what you’re doing, it’s not hard; it’s not work.

What do I do?

  • I manage accounts (deliver on our commitments)
  • I continuously look for opportunities to help existing and future clients
  • I continuously look for ways to improve LeadingAgile
  • I keep my eyes out for local talent we can hire
  • I maintain a sales funnel that I work every single day
  • I occasionally write blog posts
  • I engage people on Twitter every day
  • I speak at events (semi-annually)
  • I organize and host monthly meetup events
  • I’ve organized a conference and will do more

But Derek, there isn’t enough time in the day

This statement is complete and utter bullshit.  Everyone is given an equal opportunity.  You have 24 hours. How YOU choose to spend this resource is up to you.  I get up every day at 5AM.  I usually work until around 12AM.  I work on the weekends. So, don’t tell me there isn’t enough time.

How we’re wired

If you want to do your job and check out at 5pm, I’m not going to fault you.  Do your job and do it with excellence.  But don’t try and bullshit me by telling me that you don’t have the time to do things you want to do.  You make time for the things that are important to you.  There is not a lack of time.  There is just a lack of conviction, drive, and grit.

Categories: Misc Tags: Tags:

New PMI-ACP Classes Announced

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PMI AgileI am happy to report that LeadingAgile is ramping up its Public Training Program.  We will now offer regularly scheduled public training classes in the Southeast and Mid-Atlantic.  Early bird registration (30 days or more before class start date) will be heavily rewarded, by way of a $300 discount.  The first class to be announced is the PMI Agile Certified Practitioner.

For those unfamiliar with LeadingAgile, though all of us offer training, we’re all actually Agile practitioners by trade, with years of real-world experience.  We come from a variety of backgrounds, allowing us to offer relevant training specific to the needs of the individual student. Both our public and private classes move at a steady but relaxing pace, delivering the right combination of applicable information, Q&A, and interactive exercises.

When it’s time for your respective exam, you will pass because you understand the concepts, not because you memorized questions and answers. When you go back to your organizations, you will have the confidence of knowing that you understand the fundamentals and how to apply then.

Why Us?

There are a lot of companies out there who offer training but do so from an ivory tower.  The trainers aren’t actual practitioners so they aren’t going to be able to answer your questions based on their experiences.  When it comes to knowledge about the PMI-ACP content, no company comes close to LeadingAgile.  Both Mike and Dennis were on the ACP Steering Committee and I was an Independent Reviewer.  After the exam pilot phase concluded, I transitioned to a new role as Co-Lead of the PMI-ACP Support Team at the PMI Agile Community of Practice.


Contact Hours/PDUs: 21
CEUs: 2.1
Public or Private: Both
Duration: 3 Days – 9:00 am to 4:30 pm

DATE LOCATION  EARLY BIRD PRICE
August 20-22 Tampa, FL  $1395.00 $1695.00 Register
September 10-12 Reston, VA  $1395.00 $1695.00 Register
October Atlanta, GA  $1395.00 $1695.00 Register

Who Should Attend

Certainly, if you’re interested in getting the PMI-ACP certification, you should take this class. But, it doesn’t matter if you’re an executive, traditional project manager, or a member of a team.  This class is going to give you a lot of value.  In a typical workshop, I’ve seen anyone from a CTO to an Extreme Programmer to a Tester.  Come with an open mind and you’ll see how we’re on the bleeding edge of Agile thought leadership.

Class Materials

Attendees will receive a complementary copy of the class training material, ACP practice exam, and ACP flashcards.

Course Content

Though this course was originally designed to be an exam prep course, it was enhanced to be an introduction into the principles, values, and practices of Scrum, Lean, Kanban, and Extreme Programming. Our course is developed around a fun 3-day exercise, simulation, and game driven curriculum that encourages signifiant interaction amongst everyone participating in the course. Topics include:

  • Understand the Agile Manifesto Values and Principles
  • Have an end-to-end understanding of Scrum, its key roles, artifacts, and meetings
  • Understand what are and why we use big visible charts or information radiators
  • Understand Scrum from a ScrumMaster, Product Owner, and empowered Team perspectives
  • Know and understand the XP (Extreme Programming) roles and who does what
  • Understand Test Driven Development. Know how it works and why it’s valuable
  • Understand Continuous Integration. Know how it works and why it’s valuable
  • Understand the Lean Software Development Principles
  • Know what Lean Portfolio Management is and how your organization could benefit from it
  • Understand what Value Stream Mapping is and how to do it
  • Understand the basics of Kanban, WIP, and why it works
  • Know how to write and identify good User Stories
  • Know what Personas are and how to use them
  • Understand what makes a Servant Leader and what they do
  • Understand Velocity and its usefulness
  • Know Agile Estimation techniques
  • Know facilitation methods
  • Understand how Agile deals with risks
  • Understand the Definition of “Ready” and “Done”
  • …much more…

Private Training

If you are interested in private training for your organization or team, please contact us for more information.

Joined LeadingAgile

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LeadingAgile

LeadingAgileI am happy to report that I have just joined the family at LeadingAgile.  LeadingAgile is dedicated to solving the challenges associated with Agile in larger, more complex enterprises. They provide Agile training and coaching, strategic enterprise Agile transformation consulting, and Agile project and portfolio management services.

I’ve known Mike Cottmeyer since LeadingAgile was his blog, he was at VersionOne, and I was at the National Archives.

LeadingAgile is growing and I’m going to help them stand up Agile training around the Southeast and apply my enterprise Agile coaching abilities to some of the larger client engagements.

This is going to be a very easy transition for me.  The Agile community provides opportunities to know a lot of great people.  Step that up a notch to include someone you trust, respect, and enjoy hanging out with, and you’ve got Mike.  Come share a cup of coffee or a glass of beer with us at Agile 2012.  We’ll be there!

Here are some LeadingAgile links to check out:

Website and Blog
Facebook
LinkedIn
Twitter

Mike Cottmeyer on Twitter
Dennis Stevens on Twitter