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Showing posts from 2013

Scaling Scrum: SAFe, DAD, or LeSS?

Participants in last week's Scrum MasterClass wanted to evaluate approaches to scaling Scrum and Agile for their large enterprise. So I set out to review the available frameworks. Which one is best for your situation?

Recently a number of approaches have started gaining attention, including the Scaled Agile Framework ("SAFe") by Dean Leffingwell, Disciplined Agile Development (DAD), by Scott Ambler, and Large Scale Scrum (LeSS), by Craig Larman and Bas Vodde. (Follow the links for white papers or overviews of each approach).

How to compare these approaches? My starting point is Scrum in the team. Scrum has proven very effective at helping teams perform, even though it does not directly address the issues surrounding larger organizations and teams. An approach to scaling Scrum should not be inconsistent with Scrum itself.

Scrum implements a small number of principles and constraints: Inspect and Adapt. An interdisciplinary Team solves the problem. Deliver something of va…

Invitation: Open House / The Agile Company / Vernissage

Scrum. Community. Improvement.
Agile. No Hype. No Frameworks.
Training Room. Open House.

Apéro. Vernissage.
The Agile Company.
Join us!
Update: The evening session is now an official Jazoon Side Event! So we have added a Coaching Clinic in the evening.

Want some help with specific challenges you have encountered on your way to a more Agile way of working? Come Coaches Clinic where you can speak one-on-one with an experienced Agile Coach. We can help you across issues like technical practices, organizational change, Scrum, Kanban, Agile Coaching as a career and many other topics.


I am proud to start a new series of events on "The Agile Company"... and celebrate my new location!

The Agile Company is a series of events that look at the challenges and rewards of taking Scrum beyond software and becoming and staying an agile company. And a chance to meet and share experiences.

Each month an experienced speaker will present his or her experiences taking Agile beyond soft…

Hotel Discounts for Course Participants

It is always an honor when somebody comes from out of town to attend one of my courses. Thanks to the location of my new training room in Zürich-West, that is even easier, because lodging, public transport and parking are all closeby.

I am pleased to announce that 25 Hours Hotels have agreed that course participants can "receive a 15% discount on the best available rate of the day."

All you need to do is ask me for the booking code.

XM Principle 6: Agile Hardware Design Patterns

A pattern is an old idea. A pattern is simple way to represent implicit knowledge about well-known solutions to well-known problems. Patterns were pioneered in architecture by Christopher Alexander to facilitate the understanding of good solutions to common challenges in building houses and other structures. Software developers picked up on the idea to communicate solutions to typical challenges in computer systems. WIKISPEED has identified a number of patterns to help design good hardware. For example:
Wrapper – Use a wrapper to adapt a third party part to your contract. If you use the supplier's interface as your contractual interface, any change in either product or supplier will probably cause you to redesign the interface, a potentially expensive undertaking.Facade – Use a façade, a connector of connectors with a simple interface, whenever multiple wires (like data & power) need to go to the same place.Singleton – Every component needs power, data and ground. The first thi…

XM Principle 5: Iterate the Design

One frequently asked question for hardware or embedded projects considering Scrum is, "How can we get stuff done every sprint? It takes longer to develop a piece of hardware than could ever fit in a two-week sprint!" Hardware development needs to take a slightly different view on iterations and iterating than software development.

When the WIKISPEED engineers were first working on the interior, they realized that the lack of an emergency brake was slowing down their progress. The brake handle sits between the seats, close to the gearshift and to the attach points for the seats and seat belts. Because no one knew what the emergency brake handle looked like, they were unwilling to commit to design decisions on these nearby components.

The solution was "version 0.01" of the emergency brake: a cardboard box that said, “the brake handle will fit in this box.” That was enough functionality that the team could move forward on nearby components, even though nobody had any…

XM Principle 4: Contract-First Design

The initial design decision of the WIKISPEED car was that it should consist of eight modules – body, chassis, motor, suspension, interior, etc. Before Team WIKISPEED even started to design individual components, they designed the interfaces between those modules.

Joe did not know what suspension would be used on his car, but he was able identify the external parameters and boundary conditions of the suspension. After researching the subject, he found that that if the suspension mounting could withstand 8 gees, it would more than meet all the necessary requirements, even for Formula One racing applications. So the team identified a suitably sized block of aluminum that could carry that load. Any suspension that could be attached to that block could be used on the WIKISPEED car without modification to the rest of the car.

So when designing a solution,
Design the interfaces based on outside parameters, e.g. load factors, or communication and power requirements.Only architect the connec…

XM Principle 3: Test-Driven Development

...also known as "red, green, refactor"

Before Joe started building a car, he created a model for predicting fuel economy. He identified over 100 well known, freely available parameters, like weight, drag coefficients, engine power, tire size, etc. Based on these parameters he could predict the EPA fuel economy of the car within a few percent.

Armed with this model, he was able to calculate the characteristics the WIKISPEED entrant must have in order to achieve not only 100 miles per gallon, but also to achieve performance characteristics worthy of a high-end sports car.

Team WIKISPEED wanted to achieve five-star crashworthiness according to the specifications of the NHTSA and IIHS. These specify impacts under multiple conditions to evaluate the crashworthiness of the cars. These tests are quite expensive, US$10'000 per test, plus the costs of the vehicle itself, transport and disposal of the test vehicle and the travel costs for the people involved. How can they update…

XM Principle 2: Object-Oriented, Modular Architecture

In the software industry until the 1980's, programs were developed on a procedural model. This led to extremely complex, unmaintainable solutions. A change to one part of the program usually required changes throughout the program.

This 'tight-coupling' is still pervasive in automotive designs. A change to the suspension requires a change to the chassis, which requires a change to something else, with eventually impacts the design of the entire car.

Today software developers use "information hiding" and object-oriented design patterns to create loosely coupled, highly modular solutions. So you can change for instance the login process without having to modify other parts of your system.

At the X-Prize competition, many of the competitors dropped out. Why? As it became clear that there would be many entrants, the organizers planned to hold a race on city streets to determine the overall winner. This was changed to a coast-to-coast rally, and finally they settled …

New location for my Scrum Trainings in Zurich

I am pleased to announce that starting in June, all my Scrum trainings in Zurich will be held in a more spacious, easier to get to location. More space, better air, easy access to parking and public transportation. Just 10 minutes from the main train station!

The new address is:

Training Room "Zurich West"Hardturmstrasse 1818005 ZurichTram: Zurich, Fischerweg (9 minutes from Sihlquai/HB!) You can find more information about the Training Room "Zurich West" here. I look forward to meeting my first participants in the Intense CSM Course June 24 & 25! (And if you know someone who wants a Scrum course, please point them to my registration page!)

XM Principle 1: Optimize for change

What happens if an engineer comes up with a way to build a safer car door? Can that new door be deployed right away? No. A stamping machine and a custom made die produce that door. Together they cost over 10 million US dollars and they must first be amortized before the new door can be economically produced. Given the high costs, it can take 10 years or more before that better door can enter production. You can see the impact of the need to amortize huge investments in the slow, incremental changes in automobiles from year to year, even from decade to decade!

WIKISPEED can change their design every seven days. They employ tools like value stream mapping not merely to reduce the variance of products produced or to optimize the flow through the production line, but first and foremost to reduce the cost of change. It does not cost them more to use a new design than to use an existing design. So if they have a safer way to build the door today, they start using it next week.

Welcoming and…

Extreme Manufacturing Explained

In 2008, Joe Justice responded to a challenge from the X-Prize competition to create a road-legal 100mpg automobile. Despite having little time, hardly any budget, competition from over 100 well-funded competitors from companies and universities around the world, and changing requirements from the awards committee, his company's WIKISPEED entry placed 10th in the Mainstream class. Joe not only created a great car, he also developed an Agile approach to creating physical products.

As a software developer, Joe was an "Agile native." He had only worked with methods like Scrum and Extreme Programming, so his engineering practices drew heavily on his software experience. Today, WIKISPEED is selling prototypes, and the WIKISPEED approach to manufacturing is turning heads worldwide at companies like Boeing and John Deere. "Our technology is more sophisticated than yours, but your culture is light-years ahead of ours!"

Joe calls his approach "Extreme Manufacturing…

Joe Justice + Peter Stevens: Certified Scrum Master for Management and Manufacturing

with Joe Justice &Peter Stevens Scrum beyond Software: Applying Scrum to Manufacturing and Management. Are you enjoying what Scrum Project Management is doing for your software delivery teams? How about sharing some of that success with your sales, marketing, and public relations staff, and your HR, legal, and finance teams? And your hardware development and manufacturing managers?

Learn all about how your entire company can achieve 10x typical  velocities with Peter Stevens, the pioneer of Scrum in Switzerland, and Joe Justice, the founder of Team WIKISPEED. Join us for a special event in Zurich:

May 28 and 29: Certified ScrumMaster Training for Management and Beyond

Read the detailed information (here)!
Sign up for the course (here)
And be sure to join us for a beer on Thursday to talk about WIKISPEED, Stoos and Making the whole company Agile... (find out more here)

Stoos, Lean, Agile & Scrum Events in Switzerland - April/May

I have long published upcoming Scrum Breakfasts either on my blog or in my newsletter. As the community gets bigger, it is hard to keep track of what is happening. So I will now publish here everything I am aware of. If it proves to be a popular feature, I will expand on it, maybe make a real calendar...

Do have an event which belongs here? Let me know by submitting your event here.

Updated on April 22, 2013

Want your event on this list? Click here.
Lean Startup
Zurich - 22.4.2013TBD:
discuss how to Build your MVPRegister
mapswissICT Scrum Breakfast
Bern - 24.4.2013Ralph Jocham:
Agile Portfolio-based Release TrainsRegister
mapStoos Network
Zurich - 25.4.2013Kurt Schär:
Gegensätze als ErfolgsfaktorRegister
mapswissICT Scrum Breakfast
Zurich - 8.5.2013Jiri Lundak:
Einmal agil, für immer agil?Register
mapswissICT Scrum Breakfast
Basel - 15.5.2013Rainer Hiss:
Projekt-Priorisierung auf Basis eines Kanban-orientierten Pipeline BoardsRegister
mapswissICT Scrum Breakfast
Lucerne - 16.5.2013Philipp Engstl…

An Evening with Joe and Peter

My last customer event was to inaugurate my training room last October. It's time for another one!

Joe Justice will be in town this May to co-teach our CSM Course: Scrum in Management and Manufacturing (sign-up for the course here).

After the course, we will have a free public event.

Besides networking, Joe & I will talk about WIKISPEED, Stoos, applying Agile values to the rest of the organization, and the importance of beer in changing the world.

Space is limited, and we look forward to seeing you!

Here are the details:
What: An evening with Joe and Peter on WIKISPEED, Stoos, Agile in the Organization, and BeerWhen: May 30, 2013Where: Training Room "zum Talgarten", Am Wasser 94, 8049 ZurichDoors open - 18.30Presentation - 19.30 or soDoors close - whenever Admission is free but space is limited. Registration is required. If you register please come. If you can't come, please cancel. We request a donation of CHF 10.-- or more for project WIKISPEED.Update: The eve…

Course discounts for swissICT members

Back in 2008, I started the Scrum Breakfast community and quickly saw that it needed a home in the Swiss IT community. In 2009, the swissICT became that home in what became known as the the Lean Agile Scrum working group. The swissICT has been a great home -- Scrum, Agile, Lean and related practices have thrived! Today, a core team of 25 people organize five monthly breakfasts throughout Switzerland and a major conference once per year! (see swissICT event program)

I am pleased to announce a cooperation between my company and the swissICT. All swissICT members qualify for a 20% discount off the early-bird price to all my Certified Scrum courses in Zürich. Just include the discount code LAS-swissICT in your registration. (jump to the Scrum course program).

New Scrum Course Program Announced

Inspect and Adapt; Learn and Delight. Simple mantras keep us focused on the right things. My course program reflects these principles.

I extended and adapted my course program, based on feedback from my participants. What are the most biggest questions and requested improvement?
How do I apply this to my company?How do I get management on board?This course needs more time to cover the materialI need a course in German To address the requests, I have updated my course program:
CSM/Scrum in Management and Manufacturing - together with Joe Justice, I will be teaching a Certified Scrum Master course on applying Scrum beyond Software - get your management on board, get the rest of the organization agile! Book Now - course date May 28 & 29, 2013 (see more info, register )Certified Scrum Product Owner Courses - after Summer Break these will be a three day class so you can get beyond the basics of Scrum and focus on how to Leading Innovation effectively! (see more inforegister ) Certified…

Change Management or Change Leadership?

I don't like the the term "Change Management." I think it is an oxymoron. Management implies control. Change implies chaos. These are diametric opposites. Change is unpredictable. I think this implicit conflict between wanting change and wanting to stay in control is the reason that changing an organization is so difficult.

I believe you can lead change, inspire change or unleash change. IMHO, trying to manage change means you will fail. ( See also The Deadliest Sin of Change Leadership ).

What does this difference mean for change managers?

I was once recommended a video on change management, and the essential message was understanding how people react to change based on the Kübler-Ross Model, better know as the five phases of grief. My first reaction was WTF!? But then I realized this kind of reaction is a) probably quite widespread, and b) a consequence of one group people doing the thinking ("managers"), and another group…

A failed Sprint Review

Do your sprints look anything like this:
In Sprint Planning 1, the team commits to implementing 8 stories and fixing 2 bugs (open issues identified in the previous Sprint Review).During the week -- our sprints last one week -- from the Product Owner's perspective, everything seems very quiet. The virtual task board is showing no movement. No builds are forthcoming. No calls or questions either.Friday before the Sprint Review there is some pickup of activity. Monday, 1 hour before the Sprint Review, a build becomes available. Theoretically, everything is done. You download the build. Start to test the functions. Crash. Try again. Another crash. Hmm. What can I test without causing a crash?In the Sprint Review - we go through the 10 stories and bugs. The Review lasted 2 1/2 hours for a one week sprint.  The bugs had been fixed. 2 of the 6 stories were implemented and are done. The remaining 4 stories were not done and had to go back on the backlog (and yes, I did put them into the ne…

Scrum Glossary: 62 Scrum Related Terms in 50 Words or Less (each)

In my Intense Certified Scrum Master training, we dive in right away with using Scrum to learn Scrum. People swim a bit at the beginning until they start to figure things out. That's intentional - as people see they can get past the chaos and quickly create something cool and useful, that's when they learn deep down in their gut that Scrum really works.

I always ask for suggestions to improve the course, and item which has come up repeatedly is a glossary of terms. So here it is! 62 Scrum-related terms in 50 words or less:

TermMeaningAcceptance CriteriaTests which must pass for the Product Owner or customer to consider the Story accepted. The Team should verify these before submitting a story to the PO for final approval. Acceptance tests help ensure External Quality. Product Backlog Items can usually be mapped to one or more Acceptance Criteria.AgileA movement for finding better ways of developing software. Scrum and Extreme Programming are two leading examples. Others, such …

How do you do Scrum in a regulated environment?

I hear this question often from people in the pharmaceutical branch, air traffic control, banking and finance - any place where strict regulatory compliance is required, and it came up again at my last CSM course.

Regulated environments are complex, both because of the regulations themselves and the high risks associated with the domain being regulated, which means that Scrum is well suited to developing products in this sector. Let's look at Scrum's building blocks, some objections to using Scrum in a regulated environment, and then, using traceability as an example, let's look at how Scrum can be used to address a regulatory requirement.
Building blocks Scrum is designed for solving complex problems as a team, without defining any domain-specific process. Scrum gives you several building blocks to ensure that your delivered product meets all of the necessary requirements:

The Product Backlog, a planning instrumentThe Definition of Done, an agreement to ensure quality, The…

Join Stoos Connect in Zurich

...or around the world!!

Join Dan Pink, Steve Denning, Joe Justice, Franz Röösli, Jurgen Appelo and many other speakers as we respond to the Stoos Communique.

It all started one year ago:
Reflecting on leadership in organizations today, we find ourselves in a bit of a mess. We see reliance on linear, mechanistic thinking, companies focusing more on stock price than delighting customers, and knowledge workers whose voices are ignored by the bosses who direct them. All these factors are reflected in the current economic crisis, increased inequity, bankruptcies and widespread disillusionment.

There has to be a better way.

We believe that we uncovered some of the common characteristics of that better way. For example, that organizations can become learning networks of individuals creating value and that the role of leaders should include the stewardship of the living rather than the management of the machine.

-- Stoos Communique, January 8, 2012 This message resonated! The Stoos Gathering…