My Approach to a Quick Retrospective

It’s simple… Do not do a quick Retrospective.

But if y’ain’t got a lotta time… I do a “Fist Of Five“, gather quantitative & qualitative data, pretend for a moment we have 6 fingers on a hand, then capture a piece of Kaizen, all in 3 minutes.

I mean… I could end this post right here.

But I won’t… Remember that insurrection on January 6th? What the fuck was that shit? People were fed lies to fuel all sorts of anger & fear, which led to some of them invading the Capitol?!? Like, holy fucking shit!!! That whole scene represents major failure on a number of fronts, and… We. Need. To. Retrospect. HARD.

Alors… The quicker you Retrospect, the lesser the quality of the actionable item of improvement on the other side, mostly because you don’t give yourself the time to think up and dive down into how to make the next chunk of time better. Also, the shorter the amount of time you’re reflecting on, which is usually the same amount of time ahead of you that you hope to improve, the lesser the potential impact of the Kaizen. Think about it… Are you holding a Retrospective at the end of your day? Then the Kaizen will impact the next day, which will not be as potentially impactful as one you would pick from a weekly Sprint Retrospective, or a quarterly one, or a yearly one (New Year’s Resolutions, anyone?). Or one for a 4-year cycle (voting for a US President, anyone?). The LONGER the amount of time you’re retrospecting, the deeper the potential impact of… a piece of Kaizen. Yet, this isn’t what Agile is about… it’s about quicker feedback loops, to more frequently validate if you’re going in the right direction, mechanizing pivot/persevere decisions. Think about it… again… Are you holding a Retrospective at the end of your day? Then that retrospecting mechanizes how you change direction once a day, which will not be as potentially impactful as one for the next half-day (re-centering post-lunch, anyone?), or half-hour (a 1-1 regular meeting, anyone?). Or one for a moment (mindfulness, anyone?). The SHORTER the amount of time you’re retrospecting, the deeper the potential impact of… retrospecting. Oh, and the less risky a piece of Kaizen.

Maybe… I should’ve ended this post back there.

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My First Interview

I was called a YouTube Celebrity after connecting with somebody new via LinkedIn, who had a video appear in her YouTube feed, of an interview of me that a buddy of mine conducted for his YouTube channel.

Granted, I’ve only done one, where it featured the ScrumOfOne portion of my Agile journey, but then branched out to cover popular discussions about Scrumming as one (what was difficult, what did I learn, …), books I recommend, how I answer one job interview question, and what I say I’m up to lately.

It also memorializes my mustachioed days.

Now, when I read that title card, I interpret that as if I am a cat & a genie, but in reality, I mention something about a cat, and I mention a genie in my answer to that one job interview question.

Oh, and no: I’ve since shaved.

My Approach to the Daily Scrum

It’s simple… We walk the board, address 4 questions, then refine 1 ticket, all in 15 mins.

I mean… I could end this post right here.

But I won’t… As I chat up more Agilists, I realize that after 6 years of being a Scrum Master or Agile Coach full-time, and after almost 10 years of engaging in my own ScrumOfOne adventure, I’ve developed a few practices that are well received upon me sharing ’em verbally. So I figure I’ll share ’em here, bloggally.

Ya’ani… This reflects an internal shift I’m trying (ooh, a forelog), where I see a lack of clear & solid support for newer Scrum Masters, so I’m quietly working on a product & service to address this (yep, a backlog), through experimenting with newer approaches on myself (aha, a frontlog) (BINGO!). Thus, I see this blog shifting from present-day journaling to documenting ideas & practices from my recent past, plus playing with ideas & practices for a future I’d like to create: lowering the barrier to becoming a Daily Agilist. You don’t need a damn certificate (caveat: I have 3) to start playing this Agile game: this isn’t secret knowledge, nor should it be. And yes, certification was borne out of a desire to standardize after the organic spread of Scrum, to improve marketing (“hold up, this is Scrum”) and to reduce anti-patterns (“hold up, this is good Scrum”), but embarking on your own Agility, and then benefiting from it, shouldn’t require a big bang. There’s got to be a better way. Anyway, this paragraph is way too long, and you’re here for my “at-least-ha” take on the stand-up.

Maybe… I should’ve ended this post back there.

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My Approach to Starting an Agile Coaching Engagement

It’s like dating.

(Oh no. Seriously? THIS is how you’re starting a post about starting a relationship between an Agile Coach and her client?)

Ahem. It’s like dating. Maybe we have a mutual friend who invited both of us out to a bar to a meeting, the group got talking, the beer coffee or water got flowing, you piped up with what you have going on, I found your fledgling side hustle intriguing Scrum team composition stupid, and shared aloud, “Hey, I know the band at a chill spot a couple blocks away… y’wanna get outta here?” “Let’s continue this offline.”

(You know the band? THAT’s the line you’re showcasing? Dude, you are OUT of practice. It’s like you’ve been married for a few years…)

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A Second Life for the Second Wave

As we enter the Second Wave of COVID-19 here in the U.S., I’m reminded of a quote:

We have two lives, and the second begins when we realize we only have one.

Confucius

We’re all going through a protracted once-in-a-lifetime period of pain & loss, and if the above quote inspires you to make the most of life a little bit more, than this quick blog post wasn’t completely useless.

Stay safe out there.