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Finding orientation in a chaotic world

The 6th question of Personal Agility is "Who can help?" and now I know why.

A few weeks ago, Maria Matarelli (my partner in the Personal Agility Institute and on the book) observed to me, "Peter, it's obvious you haven't been doing Personal Agility for a while. Maybe you would be better at mastering your current challenges if you did."

Man! I had to chew on that one for awhile. She was right of course. This is what a good coach does. A good coach helps you see the reality of your situation so you can act effectively. A good coach brings the truth of the matter to the surface.

Today, I came back to my Priorities Map. I decided to start with a clean slate. What is the first question to ask, even before you start with the 6 questions? Why?

Why am I doing Personal Agility? What is the change in me that I am trying to achieve that I am not able to do now? In my case, I feel like I have potential that I am not realizing. I want to realize my potential.

This over…
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How are we responding to the Corona Virus for our upcoming Scrum classes

Scrum for Hardware Expert and WIKISPEED founder Joe Justice has confirmed that he is coming to Switzerland next week to teach the XM Extreme Manufacturing workshop. I am looking forward to a great workshop that opens your eyes to new possibilities. The COVID Virus is indeed making a big mess of everyone's plans. Why are we holding the class anyway? (Scroll past the graphic for the answer).
To make the March workshops more attractive, we are offering a special discount. Use the coupon code WhatsSpecialinMarch for an additional 20% discount an all our courses in Zurich in March (XM, CSM, CSPO). For course listing and registration, click here.
Based on what we have learned about how the virus spreads, who it affects, what the impact is, we believe it is still reasonable to be holding the classes. We are watching the situation, and if that changes, we will react appropriately. 
Here is the statement we sent to our students to explain why we believe this and what we will do to mitigat…

Top Project Risk Number 1: Delivery Risk

Will I get anything usable at all? Ninety percent of the time and money allocated for your project have been used up. Yesterday your project leadership said, “We're 90% done.” Today the project leader comes to you and says, “We need more time and money.” “How much more?” you ask. “Oh, about what we have spent up till now.” “What can we deliver now?” “Nothing.”

This was a common scenario back when large ‘waterfall’ projects only attempted to integrate and demonstrate the solution late in the development process. According to the Standish Group's Chaos Reports, 31% of IT Projects in 1992 failed outright, and another 53% were challenged. By 2012, the percentage that failed had dropped to 18%, largely due to doing smaller projects.
Delivery risk mitigation in Scrum Scrum mitigates delivery risk by taking a big project and splitting it into many small projects. Each mini-project lasts less than one month and creates a potentially shippable version of the product, regardless of whe…

Top Project Risk Number 2: Time and Budget Risk

“Will it be ready for Christmas?”  Just about every client I ever met has wanted to know the answer to this question. Will it be delivered in the time frame and budget that were promised?

Time and budget are very closely related. While there are other factors, cost usually depends mostly on the number of people involved and on the length of the project.
Time and budget risk mitigation in Scrum You can deliver to a deadline with Scrum or other agile frameworks. A fixed price is easy to achieve if you limit the time on the project but leave the scope open and definable in the project.

Scrum mitigates time and budget risks by breaking down functionality into small pieces, implementing must-have features before nice-to-haves, and having a shippable version available at least once per sprint.

In Scrum, the Product Owner has the option at the end of every sprint to deliver, to continue funding and developing, to deliver and continue developing, or even to abandon the project.

Phased develo…

Top Project Risk Number 3: Scope Risk

Will I get everything I asked for? Imagine it is Saturday, your spouse is about to go out somewhere with the car, and you need groceries. You ask him or her to stop at the grocery store on the way home. “Of course, send me the list!” You text the list of groceries for the week and then add, “For our guests tonight we need meat, wine, and cheese.” Your spouse returns at six that evening with everything but the meat, wine, and cheese. “How could you not bring tonight's dinner!?” “Oh, that was at the bottom of the list and I was running late, so I didn't get to it.” Obviously, getting everything would have been the best solution, but if you had to choose between ‘things for next week’ and ‘things for tonight’, which is more important? Which alternative gives you better options?

Time, budget and scope are the classic measures of success of a project. Is it on time and on budget? Did it deliver all the features? Of these three, scope is probably the least important. Being on time …

Top Project Risk Number 4: Market Risk

If we build it, will people use it or buy it?
Building a product that no-one wants is a great way to lose your entire investment.
“For our guests tonight we need meat, wine, and cheese.” Your spouse goes to the grocery store and gets all the ingredients for dinner. That evening... you have prepared a wonderful meal. Your guests arrive and see that the menu consists of meat and cheese: “We're vegetarians, and I have a milk allergy.” 
This is known as ‘technical success’. The developers did a great job, but the ‘business guys’ screwed up by not figuring out what the customer really needed.

How do you avoid creating “a solution looking for a problem?”
Market risk mitigation in Scrum  Scrum reduces market risk by encouraging collaboration between the stakeholders and the Scrum Team. Scrum requires a demonstration to stakeholders every sprint and makes the Product Owner responsible not just for staying within the budget, but also for ensuring that the sponsor's money is well spent…

Top Project Risk Number 5: Technical Risk

Can it really be done? I believe that this nation should commit itself to achieving the goal, before this decade is out, of landing a man on the moon and returning him safely to the earth. When American President John F. Kennedy made this speech in 1961, did anyone know if it was possible to get a man to the moon? If you are going to build rockets you need a certain tolerance for explosions – and you will learn the importance of testing and when to be careful!
Technical risk mitigation in Scrum In Scrum, the Whole Team collaborates to identify the best step forward each sprint. This includes identifying and handling risks. The Team advises the Product Owner, who has the final say about deciding which backlog items come to the top of the backlog and into the sprint. Business value usually trumps technical issues, but the Product Owner should be an educated client and listen to the Team.

An insidious form of technical risk is the ‘Technical Debt’. Technical Debt is the consequence of po…