Skip to main content

Shit That Should Be Obvious… But Apparently Isn’t

Mike Cottmeyer Chief Executive Officer
Reading: Shit That Should Be Obvious… But Apparently Isn’t

Note: I think the title of this post pretty much sums up my week of writing. I can’t tell you guys how often I make myself refrain from using profanity on this site. I caved in… maybe since I’m posting on a Friday afternoon no one will notice ;-) Hope you guys forgive the indiscretion and enjoy the rest of the post… 

My talk at Agile2015 was called ‘The Three Things You Need To Know To Transform Any Sized Company Into An Agile Organization’.

Long title, I know.

Basically the talk was a 75 minute call to action.

It was a call to action to stop adopting agile in name only and actually make the organizational changes necessary to do it well.

Here are the three things:

1. Form complete cross functional teams. These teams have to be focused at a business problem the company wants to solve. They have to stay together over long periods of time. They have to have everything and everyone necessary to solve the problem they are formed to solve.

2. Build backlogs. Each team must have a clear list of things that they are expected to build. They have to meet the INVEST model or some similar standard. They have to be so clear that the team can organize around them in a two hour planning meeting and leave that meeting with a high degree of confidence they can be built.

3. Deliver working tested software. Every team must have the ability to deliver a working tested increment of the product, or a slice of the solution, the team was formed to build. It has to be measurable, free of defects, free of technical debt, and to the acceptance criteria defined by the business.

Anything that gets in the way of doing these is an impediment that has to be removed.

Think about if you used those three things as a litmus test.

Any information necessary to figure out how to form teams, build backlogs, or produce working tested software. Any consensus that has to be arranged. Any negotiation that has to happen. That is all part of your transformation plan.

Anything that gets in the way of doing this, things like dependencies, bottlenecks, insufficient staffing, lack of business alignment, would be on your list of impediments that have to be removed.

It’s too easy to bastardize the process, to make compromises, to tell yourself that you can only change what you’re empowered to changed.

While that may indeed be the case, if you can’t do these three things, nothing else will work. Nothing.

Think about it.

Name one thing we do in Scrum, or XP, or SAFe, or LeSS that works in the absence of teams, backlogs, and working tested software?

I’d suggest not much. Or at least not much in the way it was intended to work.

This is my call to action.



Working tested software.

Next No More Sucky Demos

Comments (2)

  1. Rob Hoover

    Great post Mike. Sometimes we nees to be reminded to get back to the basics.

    • Dennis Elenburg

      I totally resonate with this sentiment. This is what I talked about in my presentation at Southern Fried Agile last week in Charlotte. Keep it simple and stop it with the “us versus them” mentality of Waterfall vs. Agile. Just do the right thing and move toward better ways of working. Thanks for sharing this.


Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *