Using an Inception to kick off a project

Agile Inceptions are powerful and fast ways to get a team to internalize a vision. It's a two-day investment that saves the company months of up-front planning and allows the teams to begin immediately deliver core product functionality. Overview Since mid-2013, I've been involved with teams adopting the Agile Inception format used by Pivotal Labs to kick off

20 Questions

Agilists are everywhere. We come in all stripes. Combine these two observations and you realize that at any time the opportunity can present itself to broaden your perspective on Agile practices.  When we meet other practitioners, it's routine to ask a few basic questions; but if we take a disciplined approach to our inquiry, the encounter becomes

upcoming Diana Larsen workshop in San Diego

Great news for those of you in sunny SoCal: expert agilist Diana Larsen is holding an Advanced Retrospectives workshop in San Diego on March 6th. The full title of the workshop is Advanced Practices for Leading Agile Retrospectives: New Techniques and Activities, and full details can be found here: from her abstract: Agile Retrospectives improve any project or

presenting “Agile for Start-ups: SG’s History with Agile”

In November I presented at SoCal Code Camp (USC) on the topic of my company's history with Agile (from start-up to 200+ employees and 160B emails). It was my first time to present this topic, and it was tailored for an audience without much Agile experience. (For those interested, here's a link to the slides: (If you're

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