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Agile Coach in Toronto, Canada (; founder of Toronto PhotoWalks (; Formula One (F1) and rugby fan

That’s not a typo in the title — I see lots of articles about adopting scrum (i.e. getting started) but I wanted to touch on adapting scrum, for those who have been doing scrum “by the book” and are wondering what’s next.

When you notice that the quality of your product isn’t a high as you’d like, what can you do?

I know the common phrase is “content is king”, but as far as Agile is concerned it’s context that is key.

When I graduated (many years ago!) my first job was as a Developer. I was one of about 90 developers on a multi-year project (I think it was in its third year when I joined) and my role required me to churn out code according to the detailed design specification. Follow the design, turn it into C code, make sure it compiled and passed some basic tests then throw it over the wall to the QA team. You won’t be surprised to hear that the project was not a success. …

Teams collaborate to create high-quality products, and in order to collaborate they need many discussions… but how much discussion is too much?

If you want to grow, whether as a team or individually, you need a healthy environment that allows you to thrive. There are so many things that could contribute to a healthy environment, so I am going to pick just a few as examples. (I’ll skip development environments other than to say I use vi when I write code or websites.)

The most tangible components include your desk, or wherever you work most days. I was lucky enough to have my study set up well before we had to work from home due to COVID. An adjustable sit-stand desk and…

When we talk about “forecasting using yesterday’s weather”, we mean that the most reliable prediction comes from using recent data, i.e. if you want to know how much a team can complete next sprint, look at how much they completed in the past few sprints.

The recent weather in Toronto reminded me of a discussion I had with a Product Owner: “how can we use yesterday’s weather when what happened was unexpected and unlikely to happen again?” In the past week, the temperature here peaked at 31°C and three days later we had hail and snow. …

Most of Canada has May 24th off work — Quebec calls it “National Patriotes Day” but everyone else knows it as Victoria Day. But what do you do if it falls during your sprint? I’ve heard some teams move the sprint end date to compensate, so their sprint is still the same number of working days. (I’ll use 2-week sprints for simplicity but YMMV — I’ve worked with teams using 1-week, 3-week or 4-week sprints, but I’ve never seen a non-integer week duration; have you?)

I can understand the thinking behind moving the sprint end date because that gives them…

Onstage with Marillion after everyone sung Happy Birthday to me!

I’ve been accused of seeing examples of agile everywhere, which I think is probably true, but I was just watching a video by my favourite band about their progress on the latest album and I couldn’t help but see agile parallels. In this video they talk about how they have been jamming together, which to me feels like small experiments — they try something new and get feedback on whether it’s worth pursuing or putting aside.

I’m starting with an assumption: that we believe there is always the need for improvement (in what you produce and/or how you make it). If your product/team/system is perfect then you can stop reading now and go feed your unicorns instead. 😉

The next group I’ll invite to stop reading are those who believe it’s everyone else who needs to change but not themselves. I have worked for organisations where senior/middle managers want the coaches to “fix” the teams. …

Paul Henman

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