LeanCoffee in Ohio

Just got back from a relatively relaxing Thanksgiving pilgrimage to Ohio for family and football. While there I hopped over to Starbucks to host a LeanCoffee in Ohio (I'd posted it on Meetup a few weeks prior). As I'd expected, attendance was nil. Not sure if that speaks more to the fact it was a holiday

Packing my lean bags for Agile2013

I'm excited to be heading to Nashville in only a few days, and not just because it's a fun-sounding place that I've yet to visit. Agile2013 is a 5-day event that kicks off on Monday August 5th. I'll be looking to connect with very smart people and share stories of successes (and failures). It's

Everyday Progress

Just read @zxed's post on skills you don't have which had me reflect on my own style. I believe there are many skills (an unknowable amount and always in flux) essential to elite leadership. More than this, I believe that to become a great leader, everyday must be oriented toward greatness, no matter the increment. In my

Scaling Me, Scaling You

I just scheduled our next meetup and threw these two questions out: How many teams is too many for one roving scrummaster? How many members before a team is too large? What's great is that the group can discuss / debate the question. Despite being in Scrum environments for over six years, I don't have THE answer,

What counts as Velocity?

Recently we encountered a large-enough issue that required a postmortem (like a retro). One of the teams involved asked if they should put that into the sprint and give it points (ie. size it). This reminded me of a debate we encountered in our earliest days of implementing Agile. One side insists that we only

SendGrid’s history with Agile

I thought I'd highlight the milestones SendGrid has had in our Agile journey. Ground Zero When I started at SendGrid in May 2011, the organization was on the verge of adopting Agile and Rally's agile software solution. In other words, the decision to move to Agile had been made prior to my start. (In fact, it was

Now with more Meetups

Introducing the newest meetup: Agile Coffee - OC. I've been meaning to start this group since Stuart & I went up to San Fran for the SF Agile conference last May. There we met Jim Benson (Personal Kanban) and were introduced to Lean Coffee as a forum for discussing Lean, Kanban, Agile, limiting WIP, visualizing workflow, and

notes from retro: reducing distractions

By our Agile cadence at SendGrid, team retrospectives (and demos) fall every other Tuesday. Today one of my teams is coming up with a focused set of actions to try to solve the problem of distractions / context-switching. This team deals with many of our system-critical services (mail processing and delivery), so it's staffed with really smart

“I’ll have the salmon”

Simple words that answer the second-most important question at a business lunch. At any professional lunch, the most important question is directed at you and usually needs to come from you. (How often does your boss ever ask so, what are we here to talk about?) A great question may be what are we here

new year, new projects – a fresh start

With the new year comes a fresh new crop of initiatives targeted for the upcoming twelve months. And those initiatives ain't gonna drive themselves to completion. This is where the project manager / scrummaster steps in resolutely and takes control. First, the tech leads of each team get together with the SMs and POs and hold a