How Value Stream Mapping can speed up your cycle time from years to weeks

by on May 30, 2013 · 0 comments

When switching on the oxygen pumps, there was an explosion on board of the Apollo 13 space craft. A short circuit in a small module led to an explosion rendering most of the space craft useless.

For days, the crew frantically worked in cramped quarters trying to return to Earth. Tensions ran high, but, instead of blaming each other for the mistakes they made, they concentrated on the system of the space craft and how to work with what was left of it. Only that broad, holistic focus on the system let them survive.
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How To Break Departmental Silos By Forming Feature Teams

by on May 23, 2013 · 2 comments

Imagine a seven year old playing the piano. She hits every note like it’s the only one, taking long breaks between each note. The play drags and listening to the singular notes is a pain. Instead of music, all you hear is a bunch of individual sounds, each one rivaling with the others to be the loudest one.
Now imagine the same play performed by the same kid five years later. The notes flow like a river, the emphasis not on individual sounds but on the whole sequence at once. Listening to the piece is pure joy, because every note works together with the others to create a beautiful experience.
Distributing your software development through separate departments is like a seven year old playing the piano. Every department works on its own, rivaling with the others to be the most important. The output is a pain for your customers and the quality is really poor. But how can we create an organization where the individual parts play nicely together? One way of making departments play together are feature teams. Let’s see how this could work out.
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Why Agile Fails

by on August 16, 2012 · 3 comments

In the past decade we’ve seen thousands of companies introducing agile methodologies. A lot of teams started introducing scrum, re-structuring the way they work, and … getting stuck after a couple of months. Why do most agile introductions come to a screeching halt? Why do so many teams either fall back into old habits or decide that “This scrum thing doesn’t work for us!”? Let’s take a look at what makes agile fail.
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Kanban Boards: Physical or Electronic?

by on July 27, 2012 · 7 comments

This is a story about merging two teams. One was using a physical Kanban board and the other was using an electronic one. Of course we were discussing the pros and cons of electronic versus physical boards. My role in the discussion was pretty funny: I used to be a very strong fan of physical Kanban boards but found myself arguing for the electronic version. Below, you’ll find some of the more convincing arguments from both sides.
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Why projects fail and how to make them succeed with more transparency

by on May 24, 2012 · 0 comments

© Matthias Marschall

Imagine you’re driving your car through uncharted territory to a destination only vaguely described by “That Guy” who told you to go there. “That Guy” was kind enough to give you an absolutely non-negotiable deadline too. With that in mind, you race to the first waypoint – you should already be able to see it by now. But you find yourself in a heavy mist, with your windshield fogged up and broken wipers. In this situation, should you really speed up and to try and reach your destination on time?
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Stop missing out on collaboration opportunities by creating situation awareness

by on April 5, 2012 · 2 comments

Yesterday, I was waiting for the train to arrive for my daily commute. After it pulled up to the station, a mother with a baby carriage tried to disembark. She struggled with the carriage while carrying a heavy bag, a second child pulling her arm. Naturally, I jumped in to help out and she was very grateful. I was able to help because I a) saw her struggling and b) was standing right beside her when she needed help. I was aware of the situation she was in and spontaneously collaborated with her to get her kids and stuff out of that train. But, how does this story relate with your agile team?
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