One thing that I’ve learned over time, and through hard-earned experience, is that we who consider ourselves Agile practitioners, aren’t very good at explaining ourselves. We seem to know if something is right or wrong, but tend to be unable to articulate that feeling into something “others” will just get. It’s frustrating for practitioners, and alienating for their audience. It leads to the accusation of "purist", "evangelist" or just plain "troublemaker”, which tends to put limits on career aspirations.

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You see, when you first immerse yourself in this new world, it all just seems to click; you see everything in…

A short collection of thoughts

Recently, there have been a lot of posts about the death of agile. I get it; as a collection of ideas, it’s been around for a long time. And as it was intended as a way to make software better, and has expanded to mean organisational change, it’s propogated way beyond original intent.

Of course there are issues with it:

- the certification industry has become more about monetisation than helping people. You can get certified for $50 and a good look over the scrum guide. Does it mean you’re a scrum master/product owner? …

Going beyond the games we play…

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We live in a time of low trust. Social media is the dominant source of information, yet is built in a way to amplify our own viewpoints, and reduce intrusion from views that are different/diverse. We live in our own realities, and struggle to identify the real from the fake — #FakeNews. Consequently, this lack of diversity means that our relationships suffer as well; it impacts our personal relationships, and especially our professional relationships. Back in 2001, Patrick Lencioni identified the primary dysfunction of teams as being “Absence of Trust”; in the age of social media, this is more prevalent…

The unspoken issue of scaling

Working in tech, you hear the phrase “technical debt” all the time. Technical debt is overhead accrued over time when building products and services that need to be addressed sooner rather than later. These can be as simple as small bugs in the systems being built, but can be as large as the need for a complete replacement of infrastructure, or complete re-write of the underlying codebase. …

Banishing the ghost of imposter syndrome

Reflection time

I’m currently sitting in a hotel in Manchester, after a long travel up from London. I was supposed to get a flight back to Belfast, however, some eejit(s) decided to fly drones around Gatwick airspace, grinding the 2nd largest airport in the UK to a halt, and resulting in all flights cancelled. So here I am, in the nicest hotel I’ve been in all year (for my budget), waiting for my last flight of the year. And what a year it’s been.

At the very start of 2018, I left full-time employment, started my…

a lighthearted look at the different people who chose to be (or are bestowed the title of) Scrum Master

Scrum Master has to be one of the most ridiculous titles bestowed upon modern working practice. It’s officially a role in the manifestation of the Scrum methodology, by someone who acts as servant-leader/coach/facilitator to the team. However, it’s been adopted across industry and is synonymous with Agile. However, where Scrum is easy to understand and difficult to master, the scrum master role is difficult to understand and even harder to master. Many have tried to articulate what the role should entail (see my previous post, for example, or ), however, there’s still a wide variance in the types that adopt…

The view from the vendor

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A typical customer-vendor project contract signing

The current mantra is products, not projects. Product thinking means building and enhancing a product iteratively, based on short feedback cycles and continually deploying and shipping. Product building means stable teams with focus on optimisation and improvement. And it also means a product manager (Product Owner if you follow SCRUM methodology); someone focused on getting ROI from their products through meeting a market need.

However, many of us work in the service industry, and many of us are considered “vendors” — that dreaded word so tainted from so many failed IT projects, conjuring up visions of offshoring, devolved responsibility, and…

I’m a scrum master. It’s a role I chose to adopt around 5 years ago, when I first started working on a delivery team, as a tester with limited technical ability (i.e. none), who were trying Scrum. Our tech lead had taken on the role, but he was maxed out trying to figure out the basics of the design and implementation of a huge service. I offered to take it on as a role, took to it like a duck to water, and have tried to improve how I do the role every day. I love it.

However, trying to…

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Agile started out as a set of principles, defined by a very smart bunch of software thought leaders, in 2001. They based their principles on the issues they had seen within the software industry, and strove to do better by building the right thing for the right people, sustainably and with principle.

Fast forward 15 years, and we have an agile industry. We have frameworks, methodologies, businesses, conferences, books, certifications and endless amounts of people all getting involved in one way or another. It’s so big now, that government and industry is mandating that software projects use agile methodologies. Sounds…

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Feedback is something that has intrigued me for a long time. I’m one of those people who recoil from praise, much preferring to be told where I’m going wrong and what I need to do to improve. However, I assumed this was the exception rather than norm, and anecdotal evidence backs up my assumptions; there seems to be an unhealthy fear of feedback in general. I work for @KainosSoftware, and as a company, we are growing, and have a healthy culture of developing our people. I firmly believe that regular, timely feedback is a key to growth, to maturity, to…

Steven Limmer

Agile Coach, husband, dad, fitness nut. Founder of #LeanCoffeeBelfast, co-founder of @PCampBelfast. Agile Coach at BT

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