November 19, 2021
Business Agility Leadership Coaching (BALC) at HSBC

Business Agility Leadership Coaching (BALC) emerged as a consequence of asking leaders and managers across HSBC how they wanted to improve their agile leadership. Our proposed solution hit a sweet spot because we were 100% oversubscribed at the start and interest just kept growing during the three months of the structured learning events. The 'secret […]

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February 16, 2020
Managers don’t make difficult decisions

Contrary to popular belief, managers are not there to ‘make difficult decisions’. What makes a decision difficult usually, is a lack of information. What makes a decision dangerous is the lack of knowledge of how to use that information. If a manager selects one item from a list of choices or approves an initiative instead […]

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December 8, 2019
Agile Delivery: you Want it, you Need it, but you Can’t Have it

Agile Delivery means putting value in your customer’s hands in weeks not years. It also means being able to change your mind about what you want to deliver, as often as the market demands.

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July 7, 2016
Shu Ha Ri: a Chef Metaphor for Agile Learning

The Shu Ha Ri Agile metaphor Nobody tells a Shu Ha Ri story better than Alistair Cockburn, and listening to his Sushi-slicing version whilst in France last year, inspired me to write (derive) a French Chef version of Shu Ha Ri. It reminds us that development is a craft that demands many skills and senses. […]

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July 20, 2015
Scrum in Large Organisations: Are you LOST?

Scrum was never intended for large organisations but those are the places it's being used. People doing it often seem quite lost, hence the need for a simple guide to surviving Scrum in large organisations. With tongue firmly placed in my cheek, I suggest it be called LOST: the Large Organisation Survival Guide To Scrum! […]

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July 1, 2015
The Heart of Agile – with Alistair Cockburn

When a speaker opens with some light-hearted banter that gets approving laughs from the audience you relax, you know it’s going to be OK. When the presenter is a "Utahn" of Scottish descent and gets his laughs from a French audience, in fluent French, you know something special is happening on the stage. Interestingly, as […]

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April 7, 2015
What Does Digital Mean?

I first became aware of a shift from analogue to digital in the 70s. We were school kids then and music was everything to us. We talked, pretentiously, as much about the quality of the sound as we did about the prog rock bands we followed. Queen confused us – it was unthinkable that the […]

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March 18, 2015
Agile Coaching - Who should be Coached?

Photo courtesy of Institute for Sustainability Several people I respect have written recently on the subject of Agile coaching. The question they all pose is ‘who should be your coach?’ The next question is: who should be coached for Agile? Coach your managers, with their teams Once management has hired the best coaches they can, […]

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March 10, 2015
When to press the Emergency Stop Button

Agile and Lean wisdom teaches us that hitting the stop button is something best avoided. Seymour Cray’s 1964 supercomputer had an Emergency Stop button on the operator’s console. It’s at 5 o’clock to the right-hand ‘bug’s eye’. The CDC 6600 ran silicon transistors rather than the high voltage and high temperature valves of earlier computers, […]

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February 3, 2015
Agile Legal Contracts: an Oxymoron?

Are the words Agile and Contract even compatible? The goal of Agile is delivering value when detailed long-term planning either isn’t useful or possible. There are recent signs of change however. The UK government is looking into contracts that make agile possible, the US has guidance on modular contracting and the flexible contract template seeks […]

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January 13, 2015
What Increases Project Risk?

Agile or Waterfall, Ignore Project Risk at your Peril This question got Project Managers (not agile PMs by the way) rather fired-up recently. Their answers help reveal the extent of the underlying problem. Of 105 replies, the collective opinion on factors that increase project risk was: Anything that’s new or unknown: stakeholders, team, methodology, tools […]

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January 6, 2015
Believe Me, I’m Standing on the Shoulders of Giants

Research of agile process improvement honours the management gurus of the 50s and 60s The phrase ‘stand on the shoulders of giants’ appears in bold green lettering every time I do any ‘proper’ research. Google has turned Isaac Newton’s 17th century quip into friendly advice on its academic search page. The research is towards a […]

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The Future of Agile Leadership

Introduction The future of leadership is Agile There are many different types of leadership styles and not all work well in every situation. The most popular method, the "Command and Control" style which has been…

Business Agility Leadership Coaching (BALC) at HSBC

Business Agility Leadership Coaching (BALC) emerged as a consequence of asking leaders and managers across HSBC how they wanted to improve their agile leadership. Our proposed solution hit a sweet spot because we were 100%…

What does focussing on culture mean to XYZ Consulting?

We have some mid-tier consultants in at the moment who are "focussing on culture." Since we don't separate culture from delivering value to customers, I asked what that meant in practice. Apparently: "A generic scheme…

Visualising Progress using the Stand-up Game

We had a (brief) discussion about tracking progress as a team. I reacted against Jira because a) I dislike the user interface as it's a collaboration killer, and b) we aren't a software development or…
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