Zombie Standups (And How to Bring them Back to Life)

Are you Trapped in a Zombie Standup? Do you find yourself tuning out during Standup (Daily Scrum)? Do you feel like everybody’s monotonously reciting laundry list answers to the Three Questions: what you worked on yesterday, what you’re working on today, and…maybe…what impediments you’ve run into? When it’s your turn,… Read More
Conflict Avoidance in Scrum

6 Signals of Collective Conflict Avoidance

The primary goal of Scrum Mastering[1] is to enable a Well-Formed Team™ (WFT). Ideally, a Well-Formed Team[2] would take on most of its own facilitation and coaching. However, some Teams get stuck in earlier stages of maturity that we describe as Collective Conflict Avoidance. Collective Avoidance is a… Read More
Sleepwalking Scrum Team

Sleepwalking Through Scrum

How do we recognize when the way we’re “doing Scrum” is impeding our Agility? Two alternative scenarios are possible: The Team has fully internalized Agile practice in the past but now seems to be sleepwalking through the Ceremonies: the Team’s Agile practice has gotten stale, we’re… Read More
3Back-One-Step-Back-Two-Forward

One Step Back, Two Steps Forward

We were humming along as a Team; suddenly it feels like everybody’s got two left feet. What’s going on? Sometimes when a Team hits a rough patch, after a period of really working well together, it’s hard to understand what went wrong? We’ve faced tough challenges before... this feels different. Read More
backchanneling

To Empower Your Scrum Teams, Provide Mission Protection

Scrum coaching and training usually focuses on strengthening your Dev Teams’ collaboration, empowering Scrum Mastering and Product Ownership. These ingredients are all required for Scrum Teams to achieve high-quality results. But a key ingredient is missing in creating the conditions for success: what 3Back calls Mission Protection. Read More
finish a sprint early

What Do You Do When You Finish a Sprint Early?

So, let me talk about the easy stuff first. One of the best things that can happen to a Scrum Team is that it finishes its work early in a Sprint. It amazes me that Teams are confused about what to do, but they are. So here goes… If the Team finishes early, it seems to me there are two choices: Read More
Scrum vs Waterfall

Scrum as Superhero

Once upon a time, there was a company. A large, multi-layered organization ordered with the task of developing and launching new software. And not just any software. Complex software, unlike anything the organization or the public at large had seen, or used, before. The new software carried with it a set-in-stone launch deadline. The pressure was immediately on to go live. And not just go live in one small testing site; rather, to roll out the software and go live everywhere at the same time... Read More

SHHHHH!!! 5 Ways to Quiet Organizational Noise

Throughout our day, we experience an inordinate amount of noise. Whether it’s the garbage truck barreling down our road at 5 am, the dog that excitedly greets every passerby or the co-worker’s emphatic phone conversations on the other side of the paper-thin cubicle wall, noise is everywhere. Read More

When Should You Start a Sprint? When Should You Finish?

Starting. It’s on all of our minds as we work through the first week of the new year. The concept of starting brings to mind one of the most frequently asked questions I receive when I am both training and coaching. When should you start a Sprint? And, the question’s inevitable counterpart, when should you finish a Sprint? Read More

Reawakening Retros: Good Habits Versus Bad Routines

“We had a few good Retrospectives, but they stopped working;” “I don’t know what the point of this is anymore;” “Maybe this Retro thing was a good idea once, but we need to try something else.” “Can we just finish this so we can get back to work?” These are the kinds of things we say when a repeating process like Team Retrospectives, that used to work or maybe seemed to work once, has stopped feeling useful. Read More