Lipstick Agile: 13 Signs You Probably Need a New Job

Lipstick Agile — 13 Signs You Probably Need a New Job by Age of ProductHappiness in the Trenches? Have you noticed how many people in the Agile field are unhappy with their work situation — caught in a lipstick Agile situation where an organization already struggles doing Agile (not to mention “becoming agile”)? Scrum masters and Agile coaches who are close to either burnout or indifference. Product owners who…

Preaching to the Choir here.  Some management folks think if you just insert the word “Agile” into development documentation, it makes it so.  When I hear questions like “Where is the project manager?”, “Can we get more work out of the developers with Agile?”, “Are daily stand-ups required” and “How can we make Microsoft Project do Agile?” I just sigh.  Now I have a name for it “Lipstick Agile”.  I promise the first time I use this I’m sending a dollar to Stepen Wolpers.

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via Lipstick Agile: 13 Signs You Probably Need a New Job — DZone Agile Zone

The Scrum Master: A Wizard — DZone Agile Zone

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We all know Agile Scrum framework is prevailing these days. Every field is adopting Scrum as it provides transparency in work and helps maintain trust among people. With increases in the use of Scrum and Agile, one term that we all hear is a ‘Scrum Master’. When organizations think of creating a Scrum team and…

Change agent, Pioneer, Master of Ceremonies and Risk Taker.  Yep, that sounds like me.

via The Scrum Master: A Wizard — DZone Agile Zone

Software development explained with Cars

The only thing more difficult than building software for a client is explaining how software is built to a client.  So we sat down to explain this incredibly complicated concept the only way we knew how – with pictures, and with cars:

Special thanks to Dan H. for pointing this most excellent infographic to me.  The folks at Toggl have outdone themselves.  I live in Michigan and I find using Cars as a metaphor works to explain complicated stuff.  I plan to make a post from this for my office.




We can’t solve the problems by using the same kind of thinking when we created them – Task Management.


With the continued advancement in the tech world and development of top notch software, the need for a robust task management tool has never been this important. No wonder why businesses are switching from the old system to a new automated task management system that simplifies work place activities. And for companies who have invested…

When I bring the topic of task management to some companies I get back. “We have E-mail, Word, spreadsheets and a shared drive, we’re good.”  Yea… no your not.  This might work for a single project but not when you have 10, 20 or more projects at a time.

I preach the use of task management software dedicated to the process of watching over each project with the ability to zoom up to see the entire workload.  Use something like JIRA or Basecamp.  There are cost and some start-up learning required.   Make the investment in your survival, read this article as it is very insightful.

via Top Five Reasons Why You Can’t Win Without Task Management — DZone Agile Zone

Learning over Delivery, the Experimentation culture, it’s OK to be wrong


Large organizations want to be like lean start-ups but they need to rethink how they hire, incentivize and manage their staff to become an agile organization. Organizations should reward teams for making low-risk decisions based on what they can learn quickly and build in the value of learning in addition to delivery. By Ben Linders

“Look what I did!”  is one of the favorite statements I like to hear from developers in the teams I work in.  Like a parent who hears this utterance from their child sometimes you are amazed and at other times you just say “That’s nice”.  You never discourage the kids from trying things out.  This includes those kids who just happen to be developers.

Many companies don’t embrace the “Need to Learn” in order to be relevant.  This results in me getting calls to help companies replace developers who have left with the explanation “I’m stagnating here, my skills are drying up”.

I didn’t know that “Failure” was a four-letter word.  A mistake you learned something from is not a failure.  A mistake you repeat and never learn the lesson is the failure.

This interview with Jeff Gothelf, author, coach, workshop leader and public speaker, is about Scaling Lean at Craft 2017.

via Scaling Lean Startup: Principles over Process — InfoQ

Backlogger web app released to Github, it’s a Scrum thing.

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“Backlog” is one of those SCRUMmy terms used to identify features or functions that have been dreamed up or discussed for an application.   You collect these ideas into a list which is called the “Backlog”.  Then this list is reviewed (Sprint Review) and the ideas are refined (Groomed) and an estimate of effort (Story Points) is assigned to it.  Then folks get together and discuss which ones should be done in the next timeframe (Sprint).  To collect these ideas some companies use an issue tracking system or an off the shelf ticket system (Atlassian JIRA) and others just use a spreadsheet… gasp.

Sometimes all you need is a simple web application that all the participants can use to enter any ANY of the ideas that came up.  Even things like “The buttons should be colored blue.”  I needed a simple project to help me learn some technologies that are new to me.  Hence the “Backlogger” was born.  The whiteboard above shows the original concept.

Technologies used in Backlogger

  • JavaScript
  • NodeJS
  • Bootstrap
  • Mongo without the headache, neDB
  • jsGrid

Design Requirements

The design requirements were meant to be simple as possible to make this project something that could be done quickly.  They also needed to be flexible to allow for better learning.

  • Single Page Application
  • Open Source
  • No user logins, just a password, we are a big happy family
  • Self-contained application, no need for outside services or servers
  • Mongo database and Mongo queries
  • Allow for a maintainable list of people names who contributed ideas to the backlog
  • Allow for a maintainable list of functional areas to help groups the ideas
  • One time entry of an idea, no editing,
  • The editing of an idea will be done during the grooming
  • Filters that help find ideas quickly
  • Ability to backup and wipe the database (Mongo Documents)
  • Simple report that can be printed directly

GeekMustHave would like to thank Phoenix Learning Labs for the resources and funding to do this project.  GeekMustHave would also like to thank the MDHHS-DWIP team for the testing and feedback.

Open source, common components

What does it look like?


Backlogger is an Open Source project available on Github.


I’ve used “Backlogger” in one project so far but others who have seen it have expressed some interest in it.  That’s another reason why it’s Open Source.

Depending on the feedback I might do additional updates.  Maybe I need a “Backlogger” for the “Backlogger”?













How Scrum Motivates People

2017-02-22_9-14-38.pngIn a lot of my Scrum training sessions, I show this great video of a talk given by Daniel Pink, the author of Drive: The Surprising Truth About What Motivates People. Pink explains there are three intrinsic drivers for motivation: autonomy, mastery, and purpose. I think the roles in Scrum all nicely help in stimulating these drivers. Here’s how: Autonomy…

The SCRUM Master helps the team become self-organizing by letting them have a hand in deciding what needs to be done and then leaving them alone to do it.  Devs are the craftsman, and it’s not money as the primary motivator, it’s mastering their skills and learning.

via How Scrum Motivates People — DZone Agile Zone

Courage to Become Agile, being brave

Being brave is about doing what is necessary, even when you are afraid. The single most important thing in agile is to inspect and dare to change things which aren’t working. You can start with small experiments to find solutions, and if it turns they do not work, then you can stop them. By Ben…

One of the quotes I love from this article is

Being brave is not about removing fear or not being afraid – it is about doing what is necessary even when you are afraid.

It is true being a developer is being a craftsman.  It’s a learn-code-adapt-repeat cycle, not just a code-repeat cycle.

via Courage to Become Agile — InfoQ

Habits that Pay off for Developers

2017-02-21_12-54-36I would like to clarify something immediately with this post. Its title does not contain the number 7, nor does it talk about effectiveness. That was intentional. I have no interest in trying to piggy-back on Stephen Covey’s book title to earn clicks, which would make this post a dime a dozen. In fact, a google search…

There are some great tips here.  This is an excellent read.

  • Document and readable code
  • the “Unhappy” path, when shit breaks
  • Automated testing
  • I said so.  Isn’t a decision
  • more…

via Habits That Pay Off for Programmers — DZone Agile Zone