Role agreement in scaled multiple team organizations

For the Agile Alliance I wrote an experience report about how to overcome the struggling many organisation have in getting the various roles in place.  In this experience report I will share my approach with striving for role agreements. The report is the fundament under my talk on the XP2020 conference

In order to have effective teams it is crucial that everyone understands their role. In small organisations I had success with mission statements for e.g. the Scrum Master and Product Owner. But what approach do you choose in a large department where opinions varies from team to team and exceptions rule?  Where management is in a transition from traditional management toward agile leadership?

I learned that in a multiple team session the search for a single truth is futile and it is better to stimulate communication and alignment. The result of this approach was that a dialogue was started, and PO, SM and managers aligned rather than getting stuck in a discussion on the formal role description.

In the report I share the mission statements I used and the approach we took to get role agreement between PO and manager. This yielded in some insight on how we wanted to share responsibilities between the SM, PO, Manager and the Team. The article lists this in a big overview, that you can use to discuss and align the roles in your own organisation.

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21st Edition of XP2020 – Online Conference

XP is the premier Agile software development conference combining research and practice. It is a unique forum where Agile researchers, practitioners, thought leaders, coaches, and trainers get together to present and discuss their most recent innovations, research results, experiences, concerns, challenges, and trends. Whether you are new to Agile or a seasoned Agile practitioner, XP 2020 will provide an informal environment to learn and trigger discussions.

This 21st edition will be held online from 8-12 June. The program has been announced this week and I am triggered by the good content. Also I am proud to participate with an experience report called “Role agreements in Scaled Agile organisations” . You can find details about the conference program on the conference page. Participation is free for Agile Alliance members.

Register and join my session, or any other on the program at Tuesday 9 June.

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Impression of the online STAREast Tutorial on Test Management in Agile

Monday 4th of May I gave a full day tutorial on Test Management in Agile. This year STAREast went virtual, so I had to rebuild the tutorial to make it suitable for online participation. I think we (the 30+ participants and I) managed in keeping it an interesting day full of knowledge exchange, discussions and collaboration. I made a small video impression of the tutorial to give you an impression. Note, that I didn’t add the attendees participation to the video to comply with GDPR. Luckily Jan Jaap Cannegieter made a cameo as CEO in one of the cases. More info on the tutorial can be found at the STAREast Conference website.

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TestingUy: Back to Uruguay

It’s been a while since I was in Montevideo for the TestingUy. I am glad to participate again. I thought this time it will be virtual. The conference plans a series of webinars featuring the former keynote speakers. It’s a great line-up. Check out the talks of Janet, Gregory, Melissa Eaden, Kevin Richardson, Michael Bolton and Lisa Crispin. I will close the webinar series on 23 June. Hope to see you there!

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Jet-Lag while working from home

Today starts the STAREast conference. This Floriday based conference organised by Techwell and one of the premier conferences on software quality. Although running for years know, 2020 is the year they go virtual. The conference starts with a series of tutorials by Adam Auerbach, Adam Satterfield, Chris Loder, Dr. Jess Ingrassellino, Hans Buwalda, Janna Loeffler, Jason Arbon, Jeffery Payne, Jennifer Bonine, Michael Bolton, Robert Sabourin, Tariq King.

I will give the tutorial on Agile Test management that I developed with Jan Jaap Cannegieter. Whe have updated the program and enabled it for virtual delivery.

Although it’s really early in the morning, I am wide awake and all wrapped up and ready to go. Funny that when you do a virtual conference, you do not have to travel, but you still work in a different time zone. Will I still end up with a jet-lag tomorrow?

Hope to see you in my class, more info can be found on the conference website: STAREast

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EuroSTAR program announced

EuroSTAR will be an online experience this year. The program has been announced. It looks like its going to be a great event. I am proud to be part of the line-up. Check out the above mentioned speakers and all the other interesting sessions on the conference website.

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Keynote recording: Built-in Quality

Early March I was in Vienna for the Tesena Fest Conference. I gave a keynote on Built-in Quality. I shared challenges that we encounter during our agile transformations and linked them to quality measures that you can take on a team level. In the second part of the presentation I explained how the testers role can evolve towards a test coach and Built-in Quality (BIQ) Ambassador. I introduced a BIQ Maturity model and explained how we can use this model to design feedback loops that help us to overcome some of the challenges that I introduced at the start of the presentation.

Built-in Quality Feedback loops

Tesena made a very nice full length recording of my speech. The slides run parallel with the video. So I you happened to have missed the talk. You can now see it on slides live

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The 3 waves of Agile

In januari we published two articles on the Bits & Chips  website. This month the two parts are published in the hardcopy magazine as one integrated story. I think it looks great! In the article I describe how I see the role of the agile coach evolve from a Team Coach into that of a Business consultant/ Delivery coach or Councillor. Using three waves I describe the challenges that organisation have in their agile journey. Of course it is a model, and the real world is more complex, still I believe the article enables us to better explain to our organisation what they can expect and why, given the wave we are in, we focus on one challenge and not on the other. In the article I added a table that gives an overview of the challenges for each wave. I trust it serves as a checklist and can help agile coaches to explain why they focus on certain aspects.

You can find the article on you doormat when you subscribe to the magazine. But for your convenience I share it in PDF: also: Coaching in the 3rd wave of agile

I like to encourage you to comment on the article. Do you recognise the challenges and what are your experiences?

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Scaling Agile with SAFe – An experience story by Randy Soet

Yesterday we organised a Squerist Agile Knowledge Session at our office in Veenendaal. With 25+ colleagues we gathered for diner and a story on the agile journey of Randy Soet from Achmea. Randy is MT member and manager of three Product Owners. He is responsible for IT & Change from a business perspective. He also acts as Product Manager within the SAFe framework where he forms the leading coalition together with the Release Train Engineer.

In a loose setting Randy enthusiastically explains how they took the first steps to SAFe in 2016. He shares the problems they wanted to solve with this, how they did the implementation and what lessons they learned. It was an inspiring story about scaling Agile based on the SAFe framework.

Randy stated that the SAFe framework fits his organisation quite well. He explained the way they planned their releases, their focus on preparing not only the next ART but the advantages of looking further ahead. Luckily, he took time to answer our questions on how they organised their PI events about the evaluation of the completed Epics. According to him, the success of the transition is due to the combination of Lean and Agile, with the real drive of individuals to achieve together. It was great to hear a practical story from the trenches and share experiences with fellow colleagues. An evening well spent.  Thanks, Randy, for sharing your experiences

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Built-in Quality @Tesena Fest Vienna

Yesterday I was in Vienna for the Tesena Fest Conference. After organising this conference in Prague and Brno, the conference was held in Vienna for the first time. Despite the corona virus many participants joined to listen to some great talks and attend the afternoon workshops by a.o. Rik Marselis, Jennifer Bonine and Dominique Schildorfer.

I gave a keynote on Built-in Quality. I shared challenges that we encounter during our agile transformations and linked them to quality measures that you can take on a team level. I referred to the ebook that I wrote with Mette Bruhn-Pedersen and the tips the SAFe framework gives. In the second part of the presentation I explained how the testers role can evolve towards a test coach and Built-in Quality (BIQ) Ambassador. I introduced a BIQ Maturity model and explained how we can use this model to design feedback loops that help us to overcome some of the challenges that I introduced at the start of the presentation. I got nice feedback and had nice discussions afterwards. It has proven to be a valid and rich topic.

Below an impression of the talk:

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Rik and I talking about our contribution to Tesena Fest in Vienna

Watch this video and find out what my presentation and Rik Marselis’ workshop will be about. We will both be at the Tesena Fest in Vienna on the 5th of March. The question is where will you be? We hope to see you at the front row.

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18 Questions to Ask for Better Backlog Refinement

Refinement is time spent during the current sprint discussing and elaborating product backlog items so that they are ready for future sprints. Unfortunately, many teams do not unlock the full potential of refinement. Backlog items should be sliced, and a solution should be proposed, reviewed, and discussed. For Agile Connection I wrote an article with 18 handy questions that you can use trigger refinement discussions.

You can read it on Techwell’s Agile connection:

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The role of the Agile Coach in the 3rd wave of agile – part 2

Two weeks ago Bits & Chips published the first part of my new article on agile transformations: The role of the agile coach in the 3rd wave of agile – part 1. I am pleased to share the second part of the article. In this article I describe the 3rd wave. If you want to know what organisations that are in the 3rd wave of adoption have on their mind, you should read this.

I’ll describe how I see the role of the agile coach evolve from a Team Coach into that of a Business consultant or Councillor. In order to complete the article I added a table that gives an overview of the challenges for each wave. I trust it serves as a checklist and can help agile coaches to explain why they focus on certain aspects.

You can find the article on the bits&chips site: The role of the agile coach in the 3rd wave of agile – part 2.

I like to encourage you to comment on the article. Do you recognise the challenges and what are your experiences?

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The role of the agile coach in the 3rd wave of Agile

Bits & Chips published the first part of my new article on agile transformations. Analysing the various organizations I’ve worked with, I distinguish three separate waves, each with its own challenges and scope. Understand the three waves of agile enables us to have a better grip on Agile transformations and helps agile coaches to explain why they focus on certain aspects. It puts our interventions in perspective and provides a roadmap for the organisation. But last but not least I trust the article will provide insight into how the role of Agile coaching is developing.

Part one of the article describes the first two waves. In two weeks time we’ll publish part 2 that will describe the 3rd wave and contains a table that summarises the challenges for each wave.

You can find the article on the bits&chips site: The role of the agile coach in the 3rd wave of agile – part 1.

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Speaking at Agile Amsterdam

The 4th edition of Agile Amsterdam will be held in September 2020. The conference aims to nourish and cultivate the agile mindset. The conference program consists out of a warming-up evening, a full day of talks, workshops and open space sessions that are followed by masterclasses on the second day.

Although the event seems still far away in time the first speakers are announced. Confirmed companies and speakers to date are Mary Poppendieck, Dave West (CEO Scrum.org), Bloomberg, Booking-com, Shell (tbc), and more

I am utterly thrilled to be part of the speaker line-up for Agile Amsterdam next year. More information about my contribution will follow.

More information about the conference can be found at the Agile Amsterdam website

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