Dr. Mitchell's Scrum Shack

Ian Mitchell, BSc Hons, PhD, FRGS
Agile Alliance Member
DZone Most Valuable Blogger
IBM Certified Enterprise Developer
Certified Scrum Master

Latest post: 22 March 2018

Responsibility for enterprise change cannot be delegated away to subordinates and hirelings. Senior executives are accountable for what happens, and they must be careful and keen to engage with any party who would help revise the model through which the organization delivers value. Yet often they are conspicuous only by their absence, and by an unmet need for clear executive authority which only they can provide. The supposed scale, importance and urgency of the challenge is passed onto the coach. The agile transformation initiative is handled like any other - through delegation. Ultimately though, it is senior managers, and not the coach, who will be accountable for the success of the endeavor. In this article we examine some of the more common failure modes which executives demonstrate when abdicating their agile leadership responsibilities.

Read More..."Twenty Top Fails in Executive Agile Leadership"

Earlier posts

  1. Faking It: Estimates and Metrics in Scrum
  2. Agile Metrics: Lessons from your Headbone
  3. 20 Unagile Things to Avoid Saying and Some Better Alternatives
  4. Scrum Guide change: Planning Retrospective items into a Sprint Backlog
  5. What is a Product Backlog for, anyway?
  6. Zombie Stories: Conversations from Beyond the Grave
  7. Scrum Roles from a Lean Perspective
  8. Walking Through a Definition of Ready
  9. Three Sporting Fails for your Agile Interview
  10. Walking Through a Definition of Done
  11. Type III Scrumban: A Journey
  12. Managing Technical Debt
  13. The Empirical Product Owner: Innovation Accounting in Scrum
  14. The Product Backlog and Technical Debt
  15. Type II Scrumban: Going Straight
  16. Using a 'Technical Debt Register' in Scrum
  17. Gross Definitions: 144 Agile Terms You Simply Have To Know
  18. Why the Agile Enterprise must be an Innovation Network
  19. The Agile PMO
  20. Type I Scrumban: A Forensic Approach
  21. A Typical Sprint, Play-By-Play
  22. The Agile Crime Scene
  23. Risk Burn-up: Daring Deeds in DevOps
  24. Running Scrum Sprints in DevOps
  25. The DevOps Studio (PDF)
  26. Technical Spikes in DevOps
  27. Innovation Wars: Trump, Lean Startup, and Zero to One (PDF)
  28. By Bell, Book, and Candle
  29. Agile Scaling Frameworks: An Executive Summary
  30. DZone Scrum Refcard Update
  31. Sprint Goals in Practice
  32. Ordering a Product Backlog to Minimize Development Team Dependencies
  33. Counting Chickens: Undone Work in Scrum
  34. Is agile transformation at risk?
  35. Pull in Practice
  36. Choosing Metrics for Agile Practice
  37. Choosing Columns for Agile Team Boards
  38. Stabilizing Teams for Agile Practice
  39. Agile Transformation in Organizations that Suck
  40. Method Wars: On the Commoditization of Estimates
  41. Method Wars: Scrum vs SAFe
  42. Limiting WIP: Stories vs Tasks
  43. Sprint Retrospectives in Practice
  44. Your boss, the Invader from Mars
  45. Sprint Backlogs in Practice
  46. The Agile Response to a P1 Incident
  47. The Kanban Sandwich: A Bite-Size Recipe for Agile Work Flows at Scale
  48. Agile Teamwork in Practice
  49. Sprint Reviews in Practice
  50. Taking One for the Team: the Refactoring of Failure
  51. Definitions of Done in Practice
  52. Product Backlogs in Practice
  53. Confirmed or Busted: Are the Mythbusters Agile?
  54. Agile Estimation in Practice
  55. Sprint Planning in Practice
  56. Winging It: Going Live with Technical Debt
  57. Scrum Master: Servant Leadership in Practice
  58. An Agile Health Check: The Daily Standup in Practice
  59. Suiting Up for Agile Practice
  60. User Stories in Practice
  61. Product Ownership in Practice
  62. Why Stretched Teams do Scrumban
  63. Getting Real with Scrumban

An archive of posts before 2013 is available here.

Agile Development in Practice
"Agile Development in Practice"

I was asked to pull the In Practice series together into a book, so I have. Here's the blurb:

The development of complex systems is fraught with difficulty. Many organizations have taken the vocabulary and outward form of agile practice, but without sponsoring the deep change that agile adoption genuinely requires. The benefits they hope for escape them...and their projects continue to fail. All too often, nothing really changes at all.

This book tells you what agile practice is really about, and how to achieve it. The essential components of an agile way of working are laid out chapter by chapter. The book concludes with a concise treatment of the agile transformation problem, and shows how to leverage agile patterns and practices in order to resolve it.

You can buy it at amazon.com. ISBN 978-1-908552-49-5, 260 pages.

The Doctor Is In...
Ian in Dev Shed

Have a question about Scrum or agile practice in general? I hang out in the Scrum Forum and I'm a certified trainer. Post a query there and I'll help if I can:

If you're after an overview of Scrum and what it's about, you can have a look at my presentation Scrum in an Hour. There is also a companion text, The Agile Buddy Guide.

For the low-down on many topical issues, you can see Agile Tom, the Scrum Shack's resident cat.

I teach the Scrum.org Professional Scrum Master course fairly regularly. Classes are usually held in Aske Hall in North Yorkshire:
Upcoming classes

A little information about me

I'm Chief Scientist at proAgile Ltd. Agile transformation is my bag. I tweet and blog quite actively about this.
I'm also the curator at agilepatterns.org.

Too much information about me

Hobbywise, I'm into Extreme Ironing. I've ironed underneath the ice-sheet of a frozen lake, and I've also gifted the world with the "fusion" sport of bog snorkelling + extreme ironing.

I do quite a bit of scuba diving in lakes and rivers, mainly in pursuit of antique bottles.

Cave diving is another interest, and I have traversed White Lady sump in the Dan-yr-Ogof system while training under the redoubtable Martyn Farr.

Of course, I have plumbed even murkier depths on public sector IT projects. This latter experience once lead to an outburst of Vogon Poetry; you can commiserate by reading it here.

Contact info

twitter: https://twitter.com/dr_ian_mitchell
linked in: http://uk.linkedin.com/in/docmitchell
mob: +44 (0) 7849694162

Gargoyle of the Month

Gargoyle on the Chapel of Saint-Hubert in the gardens of the Château d'Amboise, via Wikimedia Commons
This month’s gargoyle is on the Chapel of Saint-Hubert in the gardens of the 
Château d'Amboise, a castle on a spur above the River Loire. The strategic potential of the site has been appreciated since Celtic times when a fort was to be found there. The medieval castle became favored by the French monarchy and was extensively rebuilt in the 15th century. King Charles VIII died at the château in 1498 after hitting his head on a door lintel. The castle fell into decline during the 16th century and many inner buildings were lost, although some remain along with the outer towers and walls.

Leonardo da Vinci came to Château Amboise in 1515 as a royal guest. He lived and worked in the nearby Clos Lucé, which connected to the château via an underground passageway. The supposed remains of Leonardo were discovered in 1863 at the nearby church of St. Florentin, and were moved to the Chapel of Saint-Hubert.

For previously featured gargoyles, go down to The Vault.