Showing posts from 2015

Can you handle an Agile view of Human Nature? - Motivation

Implicit in Agile methods, is a certain image of human nature.  This view of human nature is prescriptive, you have to 'buy in' to this view or else somewhere along the line you will end up in conflict with yourself or with the particular agile method you are attempting.  This is a real problem if you have entrenched beliefs about how people are motivated and work, less so if you are still flexible enough to let yourself be surprised.

The Scrum Guide for Dyslexics

I have made a mind map that makes the Scrum Guide a little more visual for those of us who's brains navigate space better than letters:

Click here for a full screen version

This is a derivative work by Dennis Mansell based on The Scrum Guide. No endorsement is made by either Jeff Sutherland, Ken Schwaber, or any of their related commercial entities. The original Scrum Guide is offered for license under the Attribution Share-Alike license of Creative Commons, accessible at and also described in summary form at By utilizing this you acknowledge and agree that you have read and agree to be bound by the terms of the Attribution ShareAlike license of Creative Commons.

Scrum for Startups - Scaling Scrum? or just a lot of Scrum?

Yesterday I attended Scrum Day Europe, which had the theme 'Scaling Scrum'.  Perhaps predictably, the only one to consider the case: 'natural growth' was Gunther Verheyen.  Everyone who spoke after him was actually talking about how to impose/implement Scrum when you already have lots of people.

Startups have the luxury that they can think about scaling before having to do it and can make/choose a framework that they can settle- as opposed to get-crammed-into.

Scrum for Startups - does it work?

I am currently the Agile Coach/Scrum Master/Project Guru (that last, totally unpretentious title was dreamed up by Peter, one of the founders, but it looks cool at the bottom of an email) at a startup, Crunding, which makes mobile apps for end-users.  This is not my first job at a startup, in fact this company is a lot more 'established' than anywhere I have worked in the last few years.

When looking at Scrum and Agile, one of the things that strikes me is that the loudest advocates of Agile techniques seem to be working at the least Agile organisations, like banks and in government.  That is of course a good thing: top-down organisations have a lot that they can learn from mindsets that promote innovation.

But the startup crowd is very quiet when it comes to getting organised.  If you have a young product, are not stuck in a rut and indeed have no solidified management yet - the eyes are not yet turned inwards and there is perhaps less to talk about. However, some startups do…

Deep Democracy meets Scrum

About a year ago, I went to a training given by Sandra Bouckaert and Lydie van de Laar on the basics of Deep Democracy.  My wife was 35 weeks pregnant and I was working on a project with worryingly limited financing so I was not exactly in the perfect 'zen' mindset for a day of mind-battering brainstorming.  I expected to leave the day dazed and confused, yet found myself in the car buoyed up and even excited about what I had just experienced.

Deep Democracy is a method developed in South Africa at the end of the apartheid regime and specializes in getting minority views heard.  It is concurrently a team-building tool and an ideation tool.