Always Improving Always Learning

Interesting Articles to Spark Ideas

I come across many articles that I think would be great to pass on to others. Most of them I try to post to Twitter, Linked In, or Google Plus (occasionally FaceBook). The issue with that approach is that they are lost to the social media wind. Always Improving Always LearningThere are many book marking tools and ways to save links, but I’m going to give this idea a shot and see what happens. My idea is quite simple, I’m just going to add articles to this article. I’m going to put the date I added them and anytime I add a new one, I’ll update the post so it gets sent out again to subscribers (again only if there is a new article). Let me know what you think — I’d love to hear any thoughts, pro or con!


  • Pair Programming Economics: By Olaf Lewitz — “Pair Programming Saves Time — How do we spend our time when we develop software? My rough heuristics is this: We spend
    • 70% of our time reading code and trying to understand it,
    • 20% of our time solving problems, creating solutions, and
    • 10% of our time actually writing code (aka typing).” [Added 1/28/2015]
  • 6 Ways Your Brain Tries to Kill Your Ideas and How to Fight Them: By Courtney Seiter — “I have a lot of ideas in my head. And for the most part, that’s where they used to stay. In my head. Where other people couldn’t see them, interact with them or build upon them. Where they were safe and untested and uncriticized. All mine. Sure, I’ve created some. Some might say I’ve created plenty. But that’s only because they can’t see what I’m not creating. For example, this very post sat dormant for at least a month while I pondered, waited and nitpicked at it. . .” [Added 1/27/2015]

  • Sharing is the New Genius : Thoughts on Creativity: By Abby Fichtner @HackerChick — “The old model of creativity is a myth. It is the myth of the lone genius who works on his own and doesn’t share with anyone until his masterpiece is complete. It is a myth because great work has never been created in a vacuum. Creativity has always been the result of collaboration. And yet this myth continues. . .” [Added 1/27/2015]

  • Why Creative People Seem To Have The Messiest Minds: “The creative process — from the first drop of paint on the canvas to the art exhibition — involves a mix of emotions, drives, skills, and behaviors. It’d be miraculous if these emotions, traits and behaviors didn’t often conflict with each other during the creative process, creating inner and outer tension. Indeed, creative people are often seen as weird, odd, and eccentric. Over the years, scientists have attempted to capture the personality of creative people. But it hasn’t been easy putting them under the microscope. . .” [Added 1/12/2015]
Project retrospectives that focus on every project detail are frustrating!

Why Project Retrospectives Are Challenging

Project retrospectives are challenging. I spoke a bit about this in lessons learned vs. project retrospectives. You might look at a merger, acquisition, implementation of a new ERP system, or even a major upgrade of an ERP or CRM system. These are non-reoccurring events. A retrospective of this type is quite different from a typical agile retrospective, primarily because on this type of project, people will change and the project will not repeat (the definition of a project is that it is a unique endeavor). At issue here is the fact that if the people will not be the same and the project does not reoccur – then they can’t come up with actions they will apply right away based on what they learned. Ideas for change often just end up in a spreadsheet, a book shelf, or some electronic tool. A big book of “lessons learned” that sits on the shelf gathering dust does not provide much, if any, value. (more…)


Agile Commitment — Classic Pig & Chicken (Part 1)

The Pig & Chicken is a cartoon that many in the agile community are familiar with. I know some will see it and ask, why is this one being rehashed (I know this because I reviewed it with a few people and they asked). Some will be quite annoyed, since many “strongly dislike” the cartoon (which is fine – please add your comments!). So, for anyone reading this and thinking any of those things, please read on. I’d like to say “don’t worry, I have a plan”, but only you can judge for yourself how it pans out! Tweet the Agile Safari Cartoon!


What Is The Pig & Chicken Cartoon?

For readers who are not familiar with agile (or any agile folks who have not seen the cartoon), the ideas is that the pigs are the team (or Scrum Team). The chickens are everyone else. (more…)

Scrum commitment vs forecast

Scrum Commitment or Forecast

I’ve been training, talking, coaching, and writing recently on the topic of commitment and realized that anytime that comes up, it reminds me of the old (seems old – but not really that old!) discussion on commitment or forecast. I still find there are many questions on this topic. It certainly has not been put to bed. The approach I like to take is to step back and ask “what is the real problem?”  Is a word stopping you from succeeding or is something else causing the problem?  What am I talking about? — I’m talking about when the Scrum Guide was updated to change commit to forecast. (more…)


Agile Denver and Agile Boulder Meetup Summary

Denver and Boulder, Colorado have a number of different agile groups that meet regularly. There is also an annual Mile High Agile Conference that sells out every year! I’m often talking to people who are new to Denver, Boulder, or somewhere else in Colorado and interested in agile, Scrum, kanban, lean, XP, etc. so I thought instead of continuing to write up emails with links, I’d just write up a quick article on the different options.  If I’m missing anything, let me know!

Agile Denver Coaching Meetup: Meetings are setup about a month ahead of time and are typically scheduled downtown. They do not meet on a regular schedule by do meet almost every month. The topics cover a number of areas around agile, coaching, and professional coaching. This is part of Agile Denver, but has it’s own Meetup site. (more…)

three agile coaches with three coaching approaches

Agile Coaching Framework Visual Walk-through (Part 3)

Learning the different approaches an agile coach may take can be challenging without experiencing them. My preference when training people is to run exercises to help them experience the various approaches to agile coaching. Most recently, I had the opportunity to run one with a diverse group of people at the Humanizing Work conference. We got into some amazing discussions! I also had a chance to riff back and forth with Bob Hartman, who joined me for part of the session, which created a fun dynamic!

Since getting together in-person is not always possible, this article includes visual diagrams of the agile coaching framework, to explain visually, how to walk-through the framework. (more…)