Best Agile Articles of 2018

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I’ve met a number of agile coaches recently. They tell me they’re hired as Scrum coaches or as Scrum Masters. They see their job as “better Scrum.”
It would be lovely if that was their one and only job. However, many of these coaches work in organizations just starting a cultural transformation.
Even though the client asked for agile coaching, that might not be what the client needs.

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I recently flew to Lisbon to participate in a two-day talk and workshop led by Pablo Aretxabala and Jabi Salcedo from K2K Emocionado. K2K has successfully transformed 70 organisations (many of them industrial companies) in the Basque Country from traditional hierarchies to flourishing, self-managing organisations. That they have successfully transformed and improved results (profitability, productivity, absenteeism, salaries) in so many companies with such consistency piqued my interest. So how do they do it?

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The Sprint is one of the five Scrum events. In my Professional Scrum Courses, this is the event that people often forget about because it is a container event, not necessarily something you distinctly schedule on the calendar.
This container holds the space for all of the work to create the shippable Increment of product, and it is limited to one month or less in duration (i.e. time-box). This container starts with Sprint Planning and ends with the Sprint Retrospective. Then the next Sprint immediately starts.

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When considering scaling Agile, it is important to start small. Some of the various scaled Agile frameworks available can look incredibly complex, while others can look simplistic and incomplete at first glance. Relax. Don’t over-complicate it. Start small with these proven best practices—and then fill in the rest as your Agile journey continues!

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Daily standup meetings can turn into a perfunctory chore, with everyone simply going through the motions. It’s the ScrumMaster’s job to make sure that doesn’t happen and the meetings remain useful for everyone. With these five ideas, the ScrumMaster can actively help daily scrums be effective and encourage communication, transparency, and efficient delivery of value.

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Retrospectives are one of the key activities that teams have in order to improve. As a facilitator its always exciting when you get to try new formats or ways of conducting one. The board game King of Tokyo is one of my favorite board games and I thought it would be fun if we could somehow use the mechanics of the game to conduct retrospectives. Here is how we did it.

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Agile can’t stay just at the team level. Agile transformation only creates disturbance and gap between the management and employees. And the more Agile the teams are, the bigger the disconnect is. Managers feel lost, forgotten and start to be frustrated that those self-organizing teams might eventually not need them. Part of the problem is they’ve never been part of any Agile or Scrum team themselves. They’ve seen them working, joining them for Reviews and listening to their stories, but that’s not the same.

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I got off on my floor and breathed a sigh of relief. The metaphorical pyromaniac was too eager to be pulling my leg. The experience brought into stark contrast how tired many of us have become in the business world. The daily frustrations of working in a modern office force many professionals into the cynical behavior of inflicting harm on others as a means of satisfaction. It is perverse, and it is wrong. The cynicism in the elevator is one of the reasons I have been such an enthusiastic proponent of agile.

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