Agile2012 Talks

Written by Mike Cottmeyer Tuesday, 14 February 2012 04:16

Okay… I finally got off my duff and decided to submit a few talks for the Agile2012 conference this year in Dallas, TX.  Hopefully a few of these are good enough to make the cut so wish me luck.  I’d love if some of you guys would head over and give the talks some feedback.  There isn’t much time before the 2/15 deadline, but anything you might add would be really appreciated and I’d love to hear what you have to say… even if after 2/15 I won’t be able to update anything.

Patterns for Agile Adoption and Transformation

Understanding Agile Program and Portfolio Management

Introduction to Agile Project Management

I’ve got one more space to submit… everyone is allowed to submit up to 4 session proposals.  As it stands right now, I am thinking three might be enough.  That said, if you have any ideas, and want to comment here quickly… I might be talked into submitting one more.  I almost started one on the whole Product Owner/Product Owner Team thing… but as much as I talk about that in my practice, it wasn’t something I felt super-passionate about submitting on.

Let me know what you think… would love your feedback.  Thanks!

A Few Thoughts on the Economics of Software Product Development

Written by Mike Cottmeyer Thursday, 2 February 2012 02:59

Some of you probably already get this… some of you might even disagree… but unless you are building software as a hobby… chances are, you building software for money. In other words, someone is paying you to write software for them.

Why would someone pay you money to show up and write software? They are paying you money to write software because they hope to sell that software and get even more money in return. It is an investment.

Ideally, we should want our investors to get a good return on that investment so they’ll keep investing. It’s our job as software professionals to help our sponsors get good, working software into the hands of paying customers as quickly as possible.  That’s how we make money.

The act of selling software funds our ability to build more software.

Conversely, our inability to sell software makes investors grumpy and a lot less likely to want to keep paying you to write software. Unless we sell software, we don’t have any money to pay people to build software.

To many, the thought that we are writing software for money cheapens our craft… it cheapens our art. We want to be pure. We want to build perfect products. We want to perfect our craft and be artisans.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m all for building great products. That said, at some point, we have to strike a balance between perfection and getting products to market, products that can sell and start generating revenue.

Why am I writing this post?

Over the past few years, I’ve worked with a bunch of folks that have seem to have lost this fundamental connection to the economics of software development. Some where along the way, software became and end unto itself.

…somewhere along the way it became more important to be great engineers.

…somewhere along the way it became more important to be great testers.

…somewhere along the way the design became more important than the delivery.

Some where along the way, it became more important to deliver everything at one time rather than to getting something into the hands of our customers as quickly as possible. I think that mindset is killing many of our companies.

If you were spending your own money to build software, you’d want to see a return on that investment as quickly as possible. As software professionals, we have to start thinking about the economics of software delivery and act accordingly.  How would be build software if our own money was at risk and failure wasn’t an option?

InfoQ Interview with Mike Cottmeyer – Agile Adoption and Transformation

Written by Mike Cottmeyer Friday, 6 January 2012 06:09

This got published today… here is a link to the interview:







Take a look and tell me what you think.  Here is just a little more about the talk:


In Agile, adoption and transformation are typically viewed as one big event. Mike Cottmeyer provides a holistic perspective that looks as adoption as the implementation of practices, and transformation along two dimensions, organizational and personal. Mike discusses how they are a means to an end, and how to avoid the trap of focusing on practice adoption as a goal.Bio

Mike Cottmeyer is a PMP Project Manager, an Agile Certified Practitioner (PMI-ACP), and a Certified ScrumMaster. As an Agile Coach Mike provides mixed-methodology Agile Training, Agile Coaching, and Enterprise Agile Transformation Services designed to help pragmatically, incrementally, and safely introduce Agile methods into any sized organization.About the conference

The Agile Alliance organizes the Agile series conference, which bring together all the key people in the Agile space to talk about techniques and technologies, attitudes and policies, research and experience, and the management and development sides of agile software development.

Merry Christmas from LeadingAgile

Written by Mike Cottmeyer Sunday, 25 December 2011 05:00



We just wanted to take a moment to wish you and yours a very Merry Christmas.  Hope you’re having a great day surrounded by the people you love!

- Mike, Dennis & Peter

Are You Intentional?

Written by Mike Cottmeyer Saturday, 24 December 2011 05:00

Intentional. One of my favorite words as of late… and a theme I am constantly preaching to my clients. Merriam-Webster defines intentional as being done by intention or design. defines intentional as being done with intention or on purpose. Google suggests several synonyms for intentional including deliberate, willful, or purposeful. Intentionality implies we have thought things through, we have chosen a course of action, and we are willing to accept the consequences of those actions.

If we are going to succeed, we don’t want to succeed by accident. If we are going to fail, we don’t want to fail because we didn’t have a well thought-out plan of attack. Intentionality means that we have a clear line of sight between our activities and our outcomes. That’s not to say our intentions are always going to be right… our intentionality might not yield the outcomes we hoped for. If we are intentional though, we can understand what we did wrong, learn from it, and do something differently next time.

My oldest son is turning 16 in a few months. Zach is a great kid, but like any teenager he has his moments. One day he was giving me crap over something he didn’t think I was doing right. That day he felt compelled to share with me what he thought of a few decisions I had recently made. I told him that in no way did I think I was a perfect father, but also that I have always been very intentional with him. Almost every aspect of his life, good or bad, was as result of an intentional decision made by me or his Mom.

I think that made an impression on him, I could see it in his eyes. Wait a minute, Dad has a plan!?

Many folks come into work and lead their organizations they have always been lead. They do the things the way they have aways been done. They get the outcomes they always get because no one is intentional about changing things. No one is intentional about understanding the way we do things today, and understanding how a few intentional changes might make things better. Even introducing agile into an organization, we do things by the book. We fail by the book too… with no understanding of what might have gone wrong.

There are tons of things we can choose to do that will help us become great organizations. There are even more things we can choose to do that will almost certainly to lead to failure. Whichever path we choose to go down, intentionality makes all the difference. Decide a course of action, create shared understanding, and create a shared sense of purpose. Work together toward common goals. Succeed together because you had a plan to succeed…

… and what if that plan doesn’t work out the way you wanted?  Learn from your mistakes and be intentional about what you are going to try next.

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