As development groups transform into Agile teams they become empowered, transparent,
predictable, and much more capable of maximizing the ROI of their efforts, and lowering
the total cost of software asset ownership. Often, the remaining bottleneck
in the environment is the interface between the development teams and the executive
For this reason we offer a brisk, one-day course targeted for IT and non-IT executives
who rely on Agile teams to fulfill their software needs. This short course
is designed for busy executives who want to understand what Agile means, how it
is different form traditional models of software development, how it can benefit
their organization and--most important--how they can interface with their Agile
teams correctly so that the teams can work as fast as they can on the right things.
- Learn what it means to be Agile
- Learn how to describe the Agile Development process
- Learn why Agile is popular
- Learn about industry adoption trends and what drives successful adoptions
- Learn about practices that enhance an Agile team's velocity
- Learn about common practices that negatively impact an Agile team's velocity
- Learn how to expand the benefits of Agile beyond the software teams
- Learn about servant-leadership
- Learn what factors create an effective Agile teamspace
- Understand a high-profile Agile adoption and what could have been better
Agile For Executives Course Overview
Our course includes the following:
Part I - What Does It Mean to be Agile?
- Agile Manifesto
- Agile Values
Part II - What is Agile Development?
Part III - Why is Agile Popular?
- Business Value of Agile
Part IV - Industry Trends for Agile Adoption
- Adoption Trends
- Drivers of Agile
- Impacts of Agile
- Agile Portfolio Usage
- Typical Champions of Agile
Part V - How Can Your Organization Benefit from Agile?
Part VI - Practices that Enhance an Organizations Agile Engine
- A look a effective practices...
Part VII - Practices that Slow a Corporations Agile Enging
- A look at Anti-Agile patterns...
Part IIX - Expanding on the Agile Model
- Agile in Marketing
- Agile in Sales
- Executive Support for Agile
Part IX - Common Adoption Challenges
Part X - Adoption Case Study: SalesForce.com
- Agile Transformation Approach
- Agile Benefits
- Other Benefits
- Lessons Learned
- What would they have done different
Part XI - The Agile Leader
- Servant Leadership
- Emotional Intelligence
Part XII - The Agile Environment
- Practices Follow Vales
- Safe Envionrment
- Information Radiators
Attendees perform the following:
- A Look at the Agile Manifesto
- Graph your organization's agile profile
- Velocity Impact Worksheet
- Information Radiators
- Back to work plan
Posts From Our Blog . . .
One or Two Day Tasks (12/10/2012)
Recently while coaching Agile to a large client in the Salt Lake City area one of the developers on one of the teams asked me why an Agile team should decompose features into one or two day units of work. It seems, he said, the particular unit of work he was considering could not be [...]
Project Management Institute Announces New PMI-ACP Agile Certification Credential (5/14/2011)
Agile Certified Practitioner (PMI-ACP) will be the designation of the new PMI Agile credential. PMI has decided to recognize the prevalence and effectiveness of Agile practices within the project management community and has constructed a tangible foundation of requirements and guidelines for establishing what constitutes an Agile framework. Perhaps we’ll soon finally see an Agile [...]
Whiteboards for Everyone! (1/6/2010 3)
Do you like designing on whiteboards? I do. Colorful markers against a clean, white surface inspire all kinds of creativity and fun.
Recently David Crossett of Ready Receipts gave me a great tip. He told me that instead of going to your local OfficeBOX superstore and paying $200 for a 4×8 whiteboard, just hit HomeDepot [...]
Book Review: Crossing the CHASM (7/24/2009)
I’ve heard people make references to Geoffrey A. Moore’s Crossing the CHASM book for several years now but had’t read it until this past week.
Moore’s book is a must-read for any IT company trying to launch a new product. Although the concepts in the book are not novel (so admit’s Moore) the book brings a vocabulary and metaphoric dictionary [...]
Book Review: The Book of Five Rings (7/14/2009)
Recently, while attending the ‘09 Agile Roots conference in Salt Lake City, UT, Alistair Cockburn–the keynote speaker–referenced Miyamoto Musashi’s 16th-century book called The Book of Five Rings.
I like Asian philosophy (and swords and such) so I picked up the book and read it. The book was written in 1643 by an undefeated Japanese samurai master who was so effective [...]
Anatomy of an Execution Plan (1/11/2009)
Have you been challenged with performing a high-risk task like upgrading a prominent server, for example?
Here’s an execution plan template that you can use to guide you.
I. Executive Summary
Brief overview of intended event.
II. Review of Discovery
Details of what efforts were made to research what is listed in the following sections. Meetings, Vendor consultations, OnLine Resources, and Conventional Wisdom can [...]
Excellence over Heroics (11/12/2008)
I value Excellence over Heroics.
‘Excellence’ can be defined as “the crisp execution of established procedures.” Think about that for a minute.
Do you know of a software development shop where several prominent developers often stay up late into the night, or come in regularly over the weekend to solve high-profile problems, or put out urgent mission-critical fires?
The thrill of delivering when [...]
NewsCHIME.com passes the 100+ repeat visitor mark! (10/23/2008)
NewsCHIME.com, the ‘News from everywhere, every 10 minutes’ website has officially passed the 100+ repeat visitor mark! This site was launched in May of ‘08 with no advertising at all, and now enjoys more than 100 repeat visitors, and over 1000 unique visits per month.
I classify a ‘repeat visitor’ as somebody who has come back four or more [...]
Book Review: Motivating Employees (6/23/2008)
Employee motivation is an ever-present concern for most proactive managers. Interestingly enough, motivation can come from both functional and dysfunctional sources.
I’ve seen employees motivated for many different reasons: recognition, financial incentive, empowerment, personal growth, tension release, fear, and finally there’s that weird Lord of the Flies thing where employees get motivated together against another employee.
In their [...]
www.NewsChime.com (6/3/2008 9)
The value of information…
Here’s a fun site if you are a news junkie. www.NewsChime.com is a simple site that grabs news headlines from major news sites and lists them in an easy-to-peruse text-only format.
I’ve got the site on my PDA which makes reading news articles perfect for that boring meeting or that inconvenient 10-minute wait [...]
Software Production Support (5/20/2008)
In a conversation with a friend once, they jokingly described their inability to play racquetball against other seasoned players as ”They are playing racquetball, while I am just hitting a ball around the room.”
I’ll borrow that reference and apply it to Software Production Support.
Is your Software Production Support group ”playing racquetball,” or are they “just hitting a ball [...]
What does it mean to be a Professional? (4/10/2008)
Decades ago I had a friend tell me this question was posed to their High School class. I never found out what the class concluded.
Over the years I have thought often about the answer to this question.
My earlier conclusion was that professionalism meant a separation of work and personal life. This is something that I [...]
The Bat-Phone (3/27/2008)
Do you have one of those executives that harasses you with status updates to projects, yet never attends the status update meetings?
Perhaps they call you, email you, stop in to your office, and want to know what the latest on project X is?
Is the behavior efficient? What suggestions do you have about how to convey [...]
Anti-Values (3/5/2008 1)
I was sitting in a KFC eating lunch, reading the murals of slogans on the walls. This particular KFC is supposedly the first KFC in America. Yes, it’s in Utah. Along with some chicken legs and a drink, you can enjoy a small exhibit showing Colonel Sander’s original briefcase, white suite, shoes, etc.
One mural read, “Somehow [...]
Your First Week as a Software Development Manager (2/27/2008)
Wether you are starting a new job, or you just got promoted, the first week as a Software Development Manger, VP, Director, etc, can be a dizzying experience.
Depending on your particular situation, you’ll likely have to meet many new people, learn about new systems, and remember to smile often.
A good starting point is the be sure the following items [...]
What to look for when interviewing a candidate (2/21/2008)
My sister was recently promoted to manage a team of software project managers for a large bank on the East coast. She told me she gets to hire someone for the first time in her career.
I told her that hiring is always a bit of a dice roll, but I offered her some advice after [...]
Book Review: The 360 Degree Leader (1/21/2008)
John C. Maxwell’s book, The 360 Degree Leader, is an excellent field-guide for navigating the challenges of leadership at all levels of an organization.
Maxwell starts his book by dispelling many common dysfunctional myths that are found at line-level, or middle-level management. Ideas such as “When I get to the top, I’ll be in control,” and “If I were on top, [...]
Three-dimensional value systems (1/2/2008 1)
What is a value system?
As of late, corporations have discovered that mission-statements are only somewhat helpful in providing direction to a company. Being strategic in nature, they don’t provide enough detail to govern tactical decisions made by the corporate employees on a daily basis.
To answer this need, value-statements, and value-systems have come into vogue. Many companies have [...]
Great Mission Statements (12/28/2007)
Jack Welch, in his book, Winning, talks about how to create great mission statements.
He says most mission statements are dull, uninspired, and even unhelpful. Most groups write their mission statement to describe only what they are in business to do. While this is not wrong, it creates a whole bunch of mission statements that all look the same among [...]
Improving Employee Morale (12/26/2007)
As a software development management consultant, I’m always looking for innovative ways to improve employee morale.
My friend and associate, Greg Wright, told me about an interesting process for improving morale that his company practices.
They have an appeasement committee and budget. The appeasement committee is a group with one representative from each department. Each month, a [...]
Book Review: The 4-Hour Workweek (12/10/2007)
I just finished reading The 4-Hour Workweek: Escape 9-5, Live Anywhere, and Join the New Rich, by Timothy Ferriss. Timothy Ferriss is a 29-year old self-made millionaire, TV actor in China, athletic advisor to more than 30 world record holders, Chinese Kickboxing Champion, first American to hold Guinness world record in Tango, speaker of four [...]
Book Review: Reinventing Strategy (11/28/2007)
I just finished reading Willie Pietersen’s book, Reinventing Strategy: Using Strategic Learning to Create and Sustain Breakthrough Performance.
Pietersen first sets the stage for the rest of the book by underscoring the need for organizations to be adaptable. He paraphrases Charles Darwin, concluding that is it not the largest, the strongest, or even the most intelligent of species [...]
Book Review: Good To Great (11/27/2007)
I just finished reading Good to Great: Why Some Companies Make the Leap… and Others Don’t, by Jim Collins. This #1 bestseller is the best business development book I have ever read. In fact–I would even say–I can recommend it with every fiber of my being.
Collins takes a team of 20 graduate students from the [...]
Book Review: The 21 Irrefutable Laws of Leadership (11/26/2007)
With a forward by Zig Ziglar, John C. Maxwell’s book titled The 21 Irrefutable Laws of Leadership is an assured home run.
Maxwell breaks down leadership into 21 categories. He then goes to great lengths to explain each category and give real world examples.
He describes the progression of leadership by highlighting great leaders who have created momentum in others around them. For example, he explains [...]
Book Review: The No A**Hole Rule (11/24/2007)
Despite it’s brash title, Dr. Robert I. Sutton’s book, The No A**hole Rule: Building a Civilized Workplace and Surviving One That Isn’t, is a valuable text that effectively treads where few business authors have treaded before.Sutton makes a case for the need for insight and direction in handling Bullies, Creeps, Jerks, Tyrants, Tormentors, Despots, Backstabbers, Egomaniacs, [...]
Book Review: Results (11/24/2007)
I finished reading Results: Keep What’s Good, Fix What’s Wrong, and Unlock Great Performance, by Gary L. Neilson and Bruce A. Pasternack.
I have to admit this book seemed much like many of the other “improving business performance” books that I have read, except that this book kept me confused through most of it.
The authors discuss [...]
Book Review: Product Development for the Lean Enterprise (11/23/2007)
I finished reading Product Development for the Lean Enterprise: Why Toyota’s System Is Four Times More Productive and How You Can Implement It, by Michael N. Kennedy. This book explains why Toyota’s internal product development process has enabled them to surpass the Detroit auto manufacturers production in both volume and quality.
If you haven’t heard already, Toyota now [...]
Book Review: The First-Time Manager - 5th Edition (11/23/2007)
The First-time Manager, 5th Edition, by Loren B. Belker and Gary S. Topchick is an excellent book on management.
Although it has been titled for “The First Time Manager,” there are enough gold nuggets in this book for seasoned managers as well. Now, in it’s 5th edition, you can be assured it has been refined and reality-tested.
Belker and Topchick [...]
Book Review: Winning (11/22/2007)
Jack Welch, together with is wife Suzy, have a Wall Street Journal and New York Times bestseller with their book titled Winning.
Following Jack Welch’s direct, no-holds-barred style, he presents quite plainly the road-map to successful management.
He talks about constructing corporate values and effective mission statements. He talks about the importance of candor, respect, and effective reward-systems. He continues [...]
Book Review: Confessions of an UnManager (11/22/2007)
Recently I read Debra Boggan & Anna VerSteeg’s book titled Confessions Of An Unmanager: Ten Steps To Jump Start Company Performance By Getting Others To Accept Accountability.
This is an interesting book that speaks to the great “divide” in corporate America. The divide, they say, is the distinction between how management conducts themselves in relation to their teams [...]
Book Review: Freakonomics (11/21/2007)
I just read Freakonomics: A Rogue Economist Explores the Hidden Side of Everything, by Steven D. Levitt and Stephen J. Dubner.
This New York Times bestseller is an analytical exploration into social cause and affect. Using analytics, Levitt shows how he was able to detect administrative cheating in the Chicago school districts, prove that sumo-wrestling is fixed, [...]
Book Review: Execution - The Discipline of Getting Things Done (11/21/2007)
I just finished reading Execution: The Discipline of Getting Things Done, by Larry Bossidy and Ram Charan. This is an excellent book that examins the dynamics of making things happen inside of a corporation.
Bossidy and Charan make a case for needing the right people, the right strategy, and the right operations in place to successfully grow [...]
Book Review: Value Innovation Portfolio Management (11/15/2007)
I Just finished reading Value Innovation Portfolio Management: Achieving Double-digit Growth Through Customer Value, by Sheila Mello, Wayne Mackey, Ronald Lasser, and Richard Tait.
This book discusses implementing corporate project portfolio management by focusing on insight gained from your customers as to what they value. I like this because I agree with their premise. They call [...]
Book Review: Secrets of Great Rainmakers (11/15/2007)
Secrets of Great Rainmakers: The Keys to Success and Wealth is short sales book by Jeffrey J. Fox. They say in life that we are all sales-persons, so books like this are good to read every so often.
Fox’s book is rare in that he has interviewed many “rainmakers” and taken their personal philosophies and stories and [...]
Book Review: How to Talk to Anyone, Anytime, Anywhere (11/15/2007)
How to Talk to Anyone, Anytime, Anywhere: The Secrets of Good Communication, by Larry King, is a fun, short book to read.
Larry did a service to the public by writing this book and elaborating on some guiding principles that have helped him succeed in his career of–well, talking.
Novel among his concepts is the premise that [...]
Book Review: Integrating Agile Development in the Real World (11/15/2007)
Hooray, another book on Agile Development!
In Integrating Agile Development in the Real World, Peter Schuh explains in depth how to get your team to adopt the Agile Development Model.
Schuh covers several Agile Methodologies including the problems to watch out for during the process.
I do have to say, this book seemed like a “whole bunch of everything” and so [...]
Book Review: The Five Dysfunctions of a TEAM (11/15/2007)
In The Five Dysfunctions of a Team: A Leadership Fable, written by Patrick Lencioni, he discusses–well, five dysfunctions of a team.
Lencioni’s style with his books seem to be a sort of fable-story-type narrative in the first part, and then real meat in the latter part. I have to confess I skipped about half of the fable stuff, [...]
Book Review: The Tipping Point (11/15/2007)
The Tipping Point: How Little Things Can Make a Big Difference, by Malcolm Gladwell, is an insightful book that discusses factors that cause market surge.
Gladwell points out the two phenomenons that seem to primarily be market catalyst factors:
One high-profile, highly-connected individual’s public endorsement
A critical-mass buildup of interest
Gladwell suggests people like Oprah Winfrey can have great [...]
Book Review: Blink (11/15/2007)
Blink: The Power of Thinking Without Thinking, by Malcolm Gladwell, is an inspiring book that encourages us to “trust” ourselves and our intuition.
Gladwell talks about several interesting documented situations where seemingly factual information purported to suggest one reality, but an intervening expert just “knew” something wasn’t right and–with further research–was able to bring the real [...]
Agile Development and Government Contracts (11/14/2007)
So I attended our SLC-based agile development forum yesterday. Alistair Cockburn was there, along with some other associates from around the valley.
We discussed various successes and challenges with using the Agile Development Model for software development. One particular topic that became a main discussion point was how to get government agencies to accept Agile Development [...]
The Role of the Development Manager (10/30/2007)
I remember my grandmother explaining what it was like to teach grade-school. She said to be a good teacher, you had to be part teacher, part nurse, part referee, part coach, part police officer, part mother, and part collections agent.
Fortunately, software development management requires a smaller skill-set. Software Development Managers really have four areas of responsibility. These [...]
Corporate Strategy Planning Simplified (10/30/2007)
What is Corporate Strategy and how do we deconstruct it? Corporate Strategy can be simplified into two drivers: Top-line and Bottom-line. Top line is your gross revenue, and bottom line is what it costs you to obtain that gross revenue.
Think about these as numerator and denominator drivers. Together they make a formula that looks something like:
Yield(Investment) x Market Opportunity x [...]
Why should Corporate Strategy be important to us in Development? (10/30/2007)
We code, right!? We code, and play Warcraft. Why should we know or care about corporate strategy?
Well, the answer is that most programmers probably don’t really know what their organization’s corporate strategy is. If you do, you likely have an outstanding manager who has learned that part of their responsibility as a manager is to communicate [...]
What is Software Portfolio Management? (10/29/2007)
What is Software Portfolio Management, or SPM? They never taught us about this in college. This is when you are reading your email in the morning from an unhappy customer who wants new feature X when suddenly your phone rings and the VP of Sales wants to know when you will have an install ready [...]
Optimizing Corporate Portfolio Management (10/29/2007)
I just bought a new book on Portfolio Management called Optimizing Corporate Portfolio Management: Aligning Investment Proposals with Organizational Strategy, by Anand Sanwal (Wiley Press).
To my amazement, the forward commentary is by Gary Crittenden, a long-time friend of mine. Gary and I lived near eachother in Munich, Germany years ago. I believe my girlfriend at [...]