What is it that makes Agile successful? What makes becoming a truly agile organization so hard? Two questions I believe have the same answer at their core. The answer lies in replacing vicious with virtuous patterns.

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Fractal tree gif by Rafael Ruggiero / CC BY-SA

Powerful patterns

Agile works because of patterns. It helps you to start eating apples instead of crisps. In other words, we replace an unhealthy pattern with a new one. Do the new pattern for long enough and it becomes the new normal. You have created a new habit. …


The Duplo Scaled Agile game is a short game that illustrates the benefits of organizing in end-to-end feature teams over component teams.

Total duration: 15–30 minutes
Playtime: a few minutes
Reflection: about 15 minutes

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Requirements (on the basis of 6 players)*:

  • A Duplo floor plate
  • 36 Duplo bricks (2×2) in six different colors
  • Something to keep time
  • A flip-over or whiteboard and a marker to write down production times
  • 2 pictures of different Duplo structures (such as the ones below)

*it is practical to match the amount of colors to the amount of players. I would recommend a minimum of 5 players. Should you have more than 10 players, I would recommend to let them play against each other in groups.


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Most of you have probably seen the video ‘How wolves change rivers’ (it’s embedded below). It famously describes how the reintroduction of wolves into Yellowstone national park changes the entire ecosystem. It triggers changes in deer behavior, which in turn allows vegetation to regrow, which eventually even changes the course of the rivers in the park. It is a powerful story of how you can make a small change and have a big impact. Or is it? It has certainly been used that way. Simply start working in an agile way in a few teams and watch the organization change around you as a result. …


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One of the Common Crimes Unit detectives

When training Agile Coaches in the Dutch National Police one of them mentioned to me that he had recently started a Scrum experiment at one Police unit, the Common Crimes Unit in Schiedam. They were using Scrum to deal with their caseload and were having considerable success. They agreed to be interviewed so they could share their experiences. This article is the result of that interview.

Who are you?

We are a team of three full time police officers plus two ‘coordinators’, additionally we have a number of officers that work with us on a rotation basis. …


My colleague Minke’s recent article ‘Getting started as an employee experience chief’ triggered some questions about why we at Organize Agile abandoned Holacracy. It’s not an easy question to answer and while I have my own thoughts on the subject I also asked my coworkers to offer their opinions. This article will offer some insights from our journey, what Holacracy did (and didn’t do) for us, and some learnings should you want to start your own Holacracy experiment.

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An example of an organization that uses holacratic roles and circles; Springest. By their own account to great success. (Modeled in Glassfrog)

If you’re unfamiliar with Holacracy, I like to describe it as a way to constantly reorganize and refactor your organization. While it might seem terrible to work in an organization that is constantly reorganizing itself, the point of course is that by constantly changing, change becomes an incremental process rather than occasional and infrequent shock therapy. Ideally, Holacracy makes organizational change easy and helps to ensure your organization is always in tune with what outside forces and the people in the organization demand of it. …


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Agile is helping to change the future of work. Over the past few years Agile ways of working have spread over a wide range of disciplines and organizations. This happy trend brings with it some key challenges that we as an Agile community need to confront. Some of these challenges are trivial, while others may be a threat to Agile itself. This article seeks to identify these key trends and offer a glimpse of a hopeful future, but also issue the warning that Agile is in need of careful stewardship.

This article came about by talking to various Agile people; Scrum Masters, Product Owners and Agile Coaches in a number of organizations, both public and private and of course my own colleagues. What you will find below are the challenges they mentioned most, coupled with some of my own thoughts on the subject. …


Many organizations when they first start working with scrum or other agile frameworks do so in project teams. These teams stay together for the duration of the project, meet regularly and deliver the project within a short time frame. Usually, such an experiment already yields considerable advantages compared to the old situation because these teams start to rapidly and regularly deliver customer value. They constantly take the latest customer insights and feedback into account when developing their product, and improve their own way of working.

In other words, they are already reaping considerable gains. However, if you want to stay relevant and grow towards a full-fledged agile organization you need to move towards stable agile teams. Continue reading and take the first step towards stable agile teams in your organization. …


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Written in Co-authorship with Nienke van de Hoef

Only four years ago — when we explained what we do at birthday parties — only people in IT understood what we meant by Scrum and Agile. Nowadays the use of ‘Agile’ has become a commodity. So much in fact, that it is rapidly starting to become mis- and over-used. The result is an increasing amount of skepticism and the designation of Agile as a hype. …


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The Elvis retrospective is most suited to development teams (in the broadest sense of the word) as not all elements might apply equally to run teams or groups that simply have to coordinate their separate efforts. The team should have been working together for a while for all elements to work.

Required

  • Sticky notes
  • Markers/sharpies
  • A (rather bad) drawing of Elvis.

Elements

About

Michiel van Gerven

Agile Coach at Organize Agile and Scrum Company. Really into classic cars

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