The Dark Champions of Agile: Know thy Enemy…

As agile coaches, resistance to change is part of the job. How can we overcome the “Dark Champions”, who fight for status quo? Join me to find out how!

24 May 2013

The role of agile coach encompasses the responsibilities of Change, replacing the old inefficient ways with value adding tasks, in process, bureaucracy or otherwise.  Here lies the danger and inherent resistance from the implicit company culture to agile and its transparent ways.  In the dark corners of bureaucracy and inert processes, will you find a Dark Champion, someone for whom the status quo is king and will fight, indirectly and in the shadows, to keep things the way they are… As an Agile Champion, you bring Courage and Knowledge to the arena…

Resistant to change

The Dark Champion, the Dark ...

Scrumtisch Berlin 25.04.2013

On 25th of April Ralf Kruse hosted the Scrumtisch in Berlin. We had some 15-20 attendees and started by capturing interesting topics. After a dot voting the following topic backlog was ready to be discussed.

23 May 2013
scrumtisch, scrumtisch berlin

Topic Backlog


  • Transition from technical role to PO role (2)
  • When to do estimations (2)
  • Agile vs. management culture (6/7)
  • Intrinsic motivation in an agile environment (5)
  • How to tell management to relax (4)
  • How to handle weak POs (3)
  • Why Scrum does not work (2)

Agile vs. Management Culture

Agile vs Mgmt Culture

The host of this topic had the example that new, unknown stakeholders join Sprint Reviews and come with new requirements without knowing anything about agile and the team's new development approach.

The question now was how to handle management and stakeholders who has no knowledge about agile. Following ...

Viva Las Vegas!

Scrum Gathering in Las Vegas has been a great success and Dave Sharrock, Brad Swanson from agile42 have given presentations

22 May 2013
scrum alliance, scrum gathering

Organized by the Scrum Alliance, the Scrum Gathering in Las Vegas in early May has been a great success and the first sold out Gathering with over 500 attendees! For members of Scrum Alliance all presentations are now posted online on the organization's site under the Presentations tab.

Coaches from agile42 were present as always and you can also find their presentations here. Dave Sharrock presented Giving Teams the Roots to Grow and Wings to Fly, an interactive session introducing useful and proven practices that increase the sticking power of new agile teams, allowing them to stay agile long ...

Stop Starting and Start Finishing

Limiting the number of projects a team is working on – making the team do less – does not have to reduce productivity and can actually deliver more

20 May 2013

Companies typically have a large number of active or valuable work to be done at any one time, all at various stages of development. Performance improvement often focuses on how to do more, not how to do less. Therefore, limiting the volume of requests being done seems to go counter to the overall goal. In fact, many systems speed up when the volume of work being worked on decreases.

The Traffic Flow Problem

A reasonable metaphor for this is the speed-density-flow relationship seen in traffic studies. Figure 1 shows the classic relationship, where flow = speed x density. In the case ...

Announcing agile42's newest Certified Scrum Trainer: Brad Swanson

agile42 is proud to announce that Brad Swanson, Senior Agile Coach at agile42, is now a Certified Scrum Trainer® (CST)

13 May 2013

Certified Scrum Trainer logoThis guide-level certification from the Scrum Alliance recognizes the world's best Scrum trainers and gives them the authority to teach Certified ScrumMaster (CSM) and Certified Scrum Product Owner (CSPO) classes. Brad is one of only a handful of people worldwide who have both CST and CSC (Certified Scrum Coach) credentials.

agile42 has a total of six CSTs now, including Andrea Tomasini, Bent Myllerup, Sergey Dmitriev, Lasse Ziegler, and Geir Amsjø. We are also proud to have five people recognized as Certified Scrum Coaches: Andrea Tomasini, Dave Sharrock, Bent Myllerup, Benjamin Sommer, and Brad Swanson.

I Love My Product

"Software engineering and product management tend to be focused on deterministic things, such as algorithms and data structures, and more often than not, it is a lot about problem solving, bug fixing, criticising this or that. But deep inside, engineers and product managers are creative, emotional people with a lot of passion for their work. I was just curious to see what happens if their perspective would be one that is unconditionally positive - do you love your product?" —Dirk Bartels, CPO, Idealo Internet GmbH

30 April 2013
Product Owner
client, emotion, love, product, product owner, team

In a client workshop with a team of Product Owners at idealo Internet GmbH last week, Dirk Bartels, the CPO/Head of Product, suggested and facilitated an inspiring exercise. Dirk had read the book "Inspired: How To Create Products Customers Love" by Marty Cagan. So he asked the group: What does this statement mean to you, "I love my product"?


Explaining why he wanted to start the day with this session, Dirk said, “One of the motivations behind this exercise was to allow everyone to take a different perspective. Software engineering and product management tend to be focused on ...

I Think We Should Do «another fancy practice»

Every environment is different. Is the practice you want to try going to be helpful in yours?

23 April 2013
Scrum & XP, agile

As agile coaches, we frequently observe and get involved in discussions around practices, methods and tools. Many of these start with someone suggesting "I think we should try …".

Many of these discussions focus directly on the advantages of the specific method. Often, they lack focus on fitness for purpose or context. There are so many things that we could do. Many methods that work amazingly well for others. Is that enough to start trying them too?
We need to decide which method or tool is important and potentially useful for us in our environment, for our specific, current challenges. Discussions ...

Adapting Lean Canvas for Portfolio Management

The lean project canvas is designed to bring rigor to the process of prioritizing a portfolio of projects, while keeping it lean and agile

11 April 2013
Lean Management

Problem: Many organizations lack a rigorous way to prioritize and manage their portfolio of projects. They may be lean & agile at the team level, but they aren’t applying the same principles to the portfolio. Stakeholders often battle each other to prioritize their pet projects, and in the end, projects are prioritized based on the HiPPO method: Highest Paid Person’s Opinion.

Lean canvas to the rescue! Lean Canvas is useful and simple tool for weighing different business plans to choose the most promising options. With some modifications, it serves as a great tool for guiding prioritization for your project ...

agile42 European Coach Camp in Berlin

The Europe Coach Camp is a quarterly meeting between all the coaches that create the agile42 network: we met just before Easter for a two-day immersion

9 April 2013
camp, coach

It's important for an agile company to use internally the methodologies that it teaches to clients and therefore it's no surprise that the coaches at agile42 meet regularly to align themselves and to discuss how to better bring results to other companies. The Europe Coach Camp is a quarterly meeting between all the European coaches that create the agile42 network: we met just before Easter in Berlin for a two-day immersion first at the lovely Café 100 Wasser and then at agile42 Headquarters in Friedrichshain.

Most of the conversations during the first day have seen the team working ...

Why "Real Options" is the biggest fail of the Agile Community so far

To the naive, Real Options sounds like salvation but they are a broken and evil concept proven to be wrong and the agile community should not embrace that

3 April 2013
real options

Why I wrote this blogpost

I am an agile coach, but took some curves to get there, because I started my career as an investment banker. This is something I normally do not tell, because I am ashamed of the fact. I studied banking and finance and specialized in structured finance - that is the kind of complicated stuff where you put many derivative vehicles together, so that nobody can tell anymore that you included a premium that is ten times higher than the market average and sell them to naive people with enough money, mainly private banking customers. Another popular ...

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