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.




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

Technology Pinnacle and the adoption curve


Special thanks to Daniel Stori comic on the topic of technology “Pinnacle”.  This is so true but, it not just limited to blood relatives it also includes friends who you treat you as their “Rent a Geek”, customers not in the IT industry, employees of other IT consulting firms and even some CIO’s.  Technology topics that seem to have passed the pinnacle include relational databases, not relational database, dashboards, agile, scrum, kanban, analytics, JavaScript full stack, cloud anything, streaming and big data.

Kanban, Scrum aren’t equal to the Agile Manifesto


No truer word are spoken than these, “The Agile Manifesto is simple, clean and doesn’t enforce any methods.”  This opinion piece by Yusuf Autas is right on the money.  Less is more, less meeting, less new roles, less new terminology.   Focus on building something quickly, refine it until the customer says “Wow”!  Some of the Scrum disciplines are just in place so management can see a process they might be able to interject new goals and visions.  I like to use Kanban Tool to organize my projects.  This is simple and to the point task management system.


Larger projects may require some better tasks tracking in which case I would use Atlassian’s JIRA and its boards.  It is possible to connect these two tools together to take advantage of the best features of each of them.

jira.jpgI am currently working on some presentation and course material on putting the Agile train back on track after the Scrumnado wrecks I have witnessed.  I will post them here at GeekMustHave.



SCRUM – The Book, the Review, thumbs up


I agree with DZone’s  Jone Vester review of the “Scrum — The Art of Doing Twice the Work in Half the Time.” book.  I actually didn’t read the book, I listened to the book from Audible.  It was a 6 hour listen and well worth the time.  Much of the Scrum terminology that causes many folks heartburn is defined with some fun and lightheartedness.   I have used some of his definitions to help a presentation/class I am preparing called “Let’s get Flexible, it’s not about Yoga, Agile 101”, soon to be release on GeekMustHave.