23 Mar 2020
I started pair-programming years ago, and it has become a huge part of how I code and work with others ever since. Yet, when I go to clients, the very thought of pair-programming or pairing up is met with lots of different objections. They range from things taking longer, or that it is a waste of a senior person’s time, to paying twice as much for half the work. Those are the objections, but what are my main reasons for advocating for it?
16 Mar 2020
There is always one meeting that your group has that never seems to go well. For a lot of groups their planning meetings fit this description. After so many poor planning meetings, the group decides they are taking too long, they try to shorten it instead.
06 Mar 2020
If you’re like me, you have multiple email accounts, each of which is filling up with more and more emails. If you’re also like me, it feels like I can never quite keep on top of them.
04 Mar 2020
I have a three-month-old and a four-year-old, and that means I don’t have a lot of time to myself after I come home from work. Most days I only get about two hours to myself, so I have a real need to stay focused and organized, or I’ll never make progress on my personal and business goals. I’ve tried lots of things over the years, but this is what I’m attempting now.
03 Feb 2020
There is a funny thing that happens when consultants are around each other. They keep using big important words. One such set of words that get thrown around a lot is strategy and tactics.
31 Jan 2020
Here’s the situation, you come across some code and you have to start making sense of it. As you read the code you begin to build a mental model of how the pieces work, and then slowly but surely you get enough of it in your head that you see potential bugs or areas to improve.
20 Jan 2020
No matter where you are in your job, you will have great ideas. How do you get them to your manager in a way that they hear it?
26 Nov 2019
Not too long ago, I was involved with a new team starting up. The team went through the training and sat at their desks, ready to work on their problem of replacing an existing system. They had a critical decision to make, what would their tech stack be?
05 Nov 2019
Today is the first day of Lean Agile KC 2019, and the opening keynote was from Esther Derby. Her talk was about change, and how it works in an organization as opposed to how it is often treated like a machine.
05 Sep 2019
Its all-to-often that during meetings, people make numerous decisions and aren’t communicated out. Maybe a new strategic direction was set for a few teams or its time to experiment with agility, we’re going to try OKRs, or a new set of people are being brought on. The decision could be anything, but I guess that one of those probably fits a simple set of criteria.
15 Jul 2019
This past Friday, I said goodbye to a Scrum Master. They were contracting at the same company I was and found a different opportunity. During one of our conversations, I asked, “So, did is there any transition?” Their response was a laughing, “No.” But what does a transition look like for someone that coaches teams?
01 Jul 2019
I often wind up with clients who are so fixated on keeping their teams working that they don’t have a clear strategy or vision that they can communicate. They lose themselves in the world of finding more work for the teams to consume. For the few that have a vision or a strategy, there is a considerable gap between that vision or strategy and the work that is happening.
24 Jun 2019
There are so many things that happen every day within a team and organization. Even companies that seem to move at a glacial pace have lots of moments that avail themselves to the opportunistic consultant seeking change.
21 May 2019
No sprints, releases, recent significant events, or even a common thread of problems with a group I’ve never met is the backdrop for a recent retrospective that I facilitated. I refer to a scenario like this as facilitating a blind retrospective. Did I mention this was their first retrospective?
17 Apr 2019
My wife and I sometimes joke that 2019 is the year of Ryan. My career seems to be accelerating very rapidly, and I’m exploring new ideas and activities with success. I think one of the reasons that are happening is because of a few key things that I started in 2018.
26 Mar 2019
One of the most important skills for any organization to develop is meeting facilitation. Ever see an invitation pop up on your calendar without a clear statement as to what the meeting will be about? Ever walk into a meeting where discussions happen for an hour and the result is another meeting to try and understand more of what was talked about? What about a meeting where lots of small decisions were made, but the net result is everyone leaves with a different idea of what is going to happen?
21 Mar 2019
The deadline is approaching and there is still so much to do. Workdays get longer, the rigor that normally applied to design and testing begin to slide in favor of cranking out more features. The technical debt card starts getting swiped.
18 Mar 2019
There is a tendency in me to look at things as right or wrong, black-and-white, or on-or-off. I know better than to think this way, but I find myself falling into this way of thinking with enough regularity that I thought I’d write about it.
15 Mar 2019
A new developer shows up to a team. They are eager to contribute and start writing code but have a lot of questions. Where is the source code? How do I set up my environment? How do I build the software? What is the development process here? Where do I look in the code to get an idea of where to start?
08 Mar 2019
Within the first 8 months of starting my job, I saw two confirmed cases of sexual harassment and watched colleagues quit at a rate at one person a month. This is the beginning of what I now regard as the worst job in my career.
08 Mar 2019
I was told every week that I had no value. I was told I was a liar and a fraud. My colleagues were depressed. I was yelled at.
08 Mar 2019
Back for more? Welcome to the second article in a series about the worst job I’ve had in my career. The series was kicked off back in a previous article.
27 Feb 2019
One year ago I attended my first conference as a speaker. That conference was LeanAgileUS 2018. The organizers invited me to return to speak once again. This is a story of my experience at a conference that holds a special place in my heart.
23 Feb 2019
I’ve put the work in. Prepared my talk and slides. I arrived at the hotel the day before. Its hours before I’ll attend a speaker event.
20 Feb 2019
For developers today they have a lot of things to consider when applying for their first few jobs. Do they build a great portfolio? Do they invest in curating a great GitHub profile? Do they update their resume? Should they craft an ideal cover letter?
18 Feb 2019
How many times have you heard the phrase “What is the project timeline?” If you were asked this phrase, what was your reaction? Were you waiting with bated breath to speak your thorough analysis and research into an airtight date with milestones? Were you filled with dread as you utter something that you knew was wrong?
17 Feb 2019
I began to speak at conferences a little a year ago. I remember the first time reaching out to people and asking how they prepared for talks. I went through several recommendations before finding the one that I use today.
15 Feb 2019
Steve is new to software, they spend a lot of time reading documentation, writing code, commenting it out, and trying again.
25 Sep 2018
Early in my career I made a terrible mistake. One that I think many others have made and will continue to make. I ran a remote retrospective with people I didn’t know well enough.
07 Sep 2018
I’ve been working on a workshop to help teams and Product Owners understand user stories. One of the topics that very important for this group is sizing and breaking stories down.
02 Aug 2018
We’ve all heard of SMART goals before. Goals that are SMART are:
30 Jul 2018
Imagine going to a restaurant. You walk in the door, and everything looks right. There are diners sitting at tables and booths. There are wait staff going around to tables. Everything looks right.
04 Dec 2017
I was reflecting on my successes and struggles in helping teams experience agile. This led me to consider the relation
of proximity and change.
27 Sep 2017
I am working with someone who has a different working style than myself. I find
it interesting to watch them work. They often ask how they they can be more
effective in their communication.
26 Sep 2017
On Friday September 15th, I attended the first Agile Coaching Summit. I already told my wife, co-workers, and friends
how exhausted I would be from that weekend. Many thought my exhaustion would stem from staying out late and doing lots
of activities. I was exhausted because I am an introvert.
23 Aug 2017
In 2010 I spent 8 months in the worst job I ever had. For the last 5 or so of those months I was the company’s first an only Scrum Master. The individuals I worked with said that it was the best experience of their careers. This is a story of those 5 months.
15 Aug 2017
My last post was laid out the basic parts of how I think about agile coaching. This post will take on the first piece
which is: You.
03 Aug 2017
There are incredible people in the world that have taken up the profession of agile coaching. There are others, like
me, who are figuring out what to do with their passion. Others still, are trying to make a buck by riding a wave of the
02 Aug 2017
You have heard, “Change is hard,” before. There may even be a personal experience that you have where these words were true. Here are my thoughts on those three words.
09 Jun 2017
I finished my most recent coaching engagement three weeks ago. This team watched another one go through
a transformation for the eight months prior.
22 May 2017
Last week, during stand up a manager that I’ve been working with said, out of the blue, that several work items now
have a deadline of the next Wednesday. My ears perked up.
30 Jan 2017
There is enough written about effective and more so ineffective stand-ups. This time I want to explore the idea of what
happens after a stand-up is over.
18 Jan 2017
Early in my career constraints were something that filled me with dread. They spoke only to what I could not do. They
held me back. They left me bound and unable to see a path forward.
28 Mar 2016
Testing software isn’t a new subject by any means, but that also doesn’t mean it’s well understood or easy to approach.
If you’re starting a new project you have the benefit of only needing to test what you create, but if you have an established,
legacy project you have the extra burden of trying to test the other interactions of code and system that already exist.
18 Mar 2016
In my previous life as a developer, I would get asked to stay late and work. This happened for only two reasons:
18 Feb 2016
I want to try and commit a little heresy by talking about story point estimations. Specifically I want to talk about not
using them ever again. This is not a call for no estimation, but a fairly different approach. This idea has some problems,
is not fully fleshed out, and needs lots of smart people to think about.
15 Feb 2016
I remain an uncertified agile coach. I wish to continue to remain an uncertified agile coach. I have missed many opportunities
because of this position.
03 Feb 2016
If great teams deliver great products, what do poor teams deliver?
21 Jan 2016
Today, Esther Derby wrote on Twitter:
20 Jan 2016
Sex is pretty great. Most people of a certain age tend to agree on that point. STDs are not great. Most people agree on
that too. Software tends to be a little bit of both.
15 Jan 2016
If we are using Scrum as the foundation for our agile process, then we have a Product Owner who is out there discovering
and prioritizing the things that continually deliver increasing value to the business and it’s customers.
14 Jan 2016
Companies have to be careful about the costs that they incur. They have to in order to stay in business. This cost-consciousness,
can be described in one of two ways, cost as a concern and cost as a constraint.
10 Jan 2016
We all love throwing around, “High-Performing,” teams as something that you get when you transition to agile beliefs
and practices. This high-performing team could be described many ways, and I’ll try to provide a way to think about the
journey a team takes as they become high-performing.
04 Jan 2016
Scrum Masters are farmers whose seeds are employees and whose crops are people.
22 Dec 2015
Every software developer and engineer I’ve ever worked with, myself included, has remarked at how romantic it is to do
15 Dec 2015
I thought I’d try something a little ambitious and catalog activities that can help people in their endeavors to be
better entrepreneurs. So the first activity I’ll write about, I will call, “Say Yes.”
20 Nov 2015
I think most people in software are familiar with the daily stand-up meeting. Everyone literally stands up and then
goes around the room answering three basic questions:
04 Nov 2015
I am a big believer in system thinking. This can be pretty simply defined as believing that people are doing the best
that they can, and that the system they are required to operate in is what dictates the results. Another way of looking
at it is realizing that if you put any person in the same situation in a given system, you will almost always get the
17 Oct 2015
A really good friend of mine was visiting and we were just catching up. We were talking about what things we have been
doing with our time and we both surprised one another by saying that we have both taken an interest in Fly Fishing.
10 Oct 2015
The title of this post is a parody on the infamous For Sale: Baby shoes, never worn.
It is an example of what is sometimes called, “Flash Fiction.” While the title of this is a parody, it has remained a work
of non-fiction in many of the organizations I’ve been in.
21 Sep 2015
Everyone I work with and know has a grand idea for a business or product. I like to ask them lots of questions about
their idea to see how much they’ve thought through. It seems most people have constructed a fairly detailed fantasy
about their idea being wildly successful.
14 Sep 2015
Sometimes, I get a lot of pressure from clients to build more and more features. There are plenty of people who speak
on the perils of, “The Feature Trap.” I wanted to try and work out my own way of explaining it, and thought I would share
where I wound up after thinking about this for a 5 hour car ride home.
27 Aug 2015
Lets go over some basics when working with software freelancers, contractors, and agencies. If you’re not new
to software or these kinds of groups, this is probably going to be pretty pointless.
14 Aug 2015
I’ve been in a lot of organizations that in their adoption of Scrum, they transition project managers to becoming
product owners. This is a trend I continue to see, and I thought I’d explore some of those common trends here.
13 Aug 2015
There is an endless number of questions that plague any group releasing a product, but there is one that, if ignored, will cripple any chance of success, and if answered, can yield phenomenal results.