Chad Beier: understanding the system requires system thinking

No surprise in that title, hein? I guess not. But this is an aspect very often ignored by manager, team members and, unfortunately, also by us, the Scrum Masters. In this episode we discuss anti-patterns (estimation as an anti-pattern, with references to #NoEstimates hashtag on twitter and the #NoEstimates book), but also dive deeper into what Systems Thinking is, and how it can help us navigate the complex organizational anti-patterns we need to be aware of, and deal with.

In this episode we discuss Systems Thinking (a good book to get started is: Peter Senge’s The Fifth Discipline), and Craig Larman’s Laws of Organizational Behavior. Finally we also talk about Laloux’s Re-inventing organizations.

About Chad Beier

Chad’s first experience with Scrum was in 2005 on a global team responsible for consolidating financial software. After some dark days of death march projects, he left his traditional business analyst and project manager roles behind. He is now consulting organizations as an external change agent and organizational agility advisor.

You can link with Chad Beier on LinkedIn and connect with Chad Beier on Twitter.

Chad’s company is: Whiteboard Consulting.

Chad Beier 5 steps to success Scrum Masters need to be aware of

Scrum Masters become a force for change over time. This “fate” we meet, sooner or later, requires us to be aware of different stages in our role. In this episode we discuss 5 steps that are critical in a Scrum Master’s journey according to Chad.

Featured Retrospective format of the week: The Thirty-Five

There are many retrospective formats that try to illustrate or visualize problems and opportunities. This week we talk about a completely different approach. A format named after the process of the retrospective. The Thirty-Five format for a retrospective is based on the idea that it is easier to prioritize when we compare only two items. This is a very cool format for quick group prioritization, where the prioritization naturally emerges from the discussion happening in the pairs. A great format for that difficult prioritization step that helps you choose the action to take this Sprint!

About Chad Beier

Chad’s first experience with Scrum was in 2005 on a global team responsible for consolidating financial software. After some dark days of death march projects, he left his traditional business analyst and project manager roles behind. He is now consulting organizations as an external change agent and organizational agility advisor.

You can link with Chad Beier on LinkedIn and connect with Chad Beier on Twitter.

Chad’s company is: Whiteboard Consulting.

Chad Beier: avoiding the Death March project management anti-pattern

Many organizations are set up around the concept and idea of projects. Projects are the way we get work approved, funded, controlled, and ultimately released. Organizations set up their governance around projects with the customary PMO (Project Management Office) to help perpetuate the governance pattern. But how do we adopt Agile in this kind of environment. This story is about avoiding Death March projects, and what Chad and his colleagues tried to change. It’s a story about how sometimes we are the “insiders” in the change process, and how hard that role is.

In this episode we refer to an illustrative example of what it is to be an insider in a change process, Gaping Void’s “change the system from the inside” cartoon. We also refer to Steve Denning’s The Agile of Agile book and we even discuss music! Don’t miss Chad signing “Tenessee” a tribute Scrum parody song at Music City Agile.

About Chad Beier

Chad’s first experience with Scrum was in 2005 on a global team responsible for consolidating financial software. After some dark days of death march projects, he left his traditional business analyst and project manager roles behind. He is now consulting organizations as an external change agent and organizational agility advisor.

You can link with Chad Beier on LinkedIn and connect with Chad Beier on Twitter.

Chad’s company is: Whiteboard Consulting.

Chad Beier: How Agile adoption can be defeated by the use of Email

Email is a very helpful tool. It has a lot of things going for it. Email gives us a quick way to jot down some thoughts and ask a colleague (or many) for help. It helps keep track of conversations. It even enables remote teams (with limited overlap in working hours) to communicate without loss of memory. However, it also has some bad sides when misused. In this story we explore how certain uses of email can be destructive for a team, and some tips on how to detect and avoid that anti-pattern.

Featured book of the week: Flawless Consulting, by Peter Block

Scrum Masters act as consultants. They help, but are not responsible for the outcome of the team. They answer, and most importantly, ask questions to help the team learn, reflect and advance. So, we must understand how to be a good consultant. Flawless Consulting, by Peter Block is a book about how to be a better “helper” (read consultant) for the teams and organizations we work with.

 

About Chad Beier

Chad’s first experience with Scrum was in 2005 on a global team responsible for consolidating financial software. After some dark days of death march projects, he left his traditional business analyst and project manager roles behind. He is now consulting organizations as an external change agent and organizational agility advisor.

You can link with Chad Beier on LinkedIn and connect with Chad Beier on Twitter.

Chad’s company is: Whiteboard Consulting.

Chad Beier on Agile metrics, and their anti-patterns

When we start in a new organization, it takes a while before we understand all the anti-patterns around us. And something innocent, like a manager asking for a burndown chart, can quickly spiral out of control if we don’t pay attention. In this story, Chad shares with us how sometimes, focusing on metrics and transparency can destroy trust. Listen in to learn about one anti-pattern of the use of the Sprint Burndown, and how that can quickly destroy trust in your organization.

About Chad Beier

Chad’s first experience with Scrum was in 2005 on a global team responsible for consolidating financial software. After some dark days of death march projects, he left his traditional business analyst and project manager roles behind. He is now consulting organizations as an external change agent and organizational agility advisor.

You can link with Chad Beier on LinkedIn and connect with Chad Beier on Twitter.

Chad’s company is: Whiteboard Consulting.