About Author: Derek Huether

Website
http://www.derekhuether.com
Description
I'm an Enterprise Agile Coach at LeadingAgile. I have a goal to take the hand waving out of Agile, Kanban, & Scrum. I’m a strange combination of a little OCD, a little ADHD, a lot of grit, and a lot of drive. I come from a traditional PM background but I don't give points for stuff done behind the scenes. The only thing that counts is what you get done and delivered. Author of Zombie Project Management (available on Amazon)

Posts by Derek Huether

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My Personality Assessment

checklistI recently took a personality assessment for LeadingAgile.  I didn’t know what to expect.  I wasn’t happy with all of the choices that were presented to me but I answered all of the questions the best that I could.  Below is the outcome of the assessment.  When I showed it to my wife, she laughed and nodded her head. Regardless if this was a partial result or the full readout, they kind of nailed it.

Strengths:

  • Assumes the weight of the world on his shoulders
  • Probably more good than bad, but his focus in personal goals and relentless intensity can make for a person who will execute at a high level.
  • His quick decision-making and ability to change direction is helpful to inspire confidence.

Opportunity:

  • His temper and emotions get the best of him at times and can be explosive.
  • He tends to be focused on going solo in his role and probably doesn’t share much.
  • He’s super willing to take on tasks or responsibility which may weigh him down especially as he’s not the most organized person either.

Final Take:

  • There’s A LOT going on in his life and he’s not taking time to stay balanced.
  • Something is new or changed in his life that is causing him to be really stressed and not have time to exercise and is causing him to be really short and harsh in his reaction and interactions with others.
  • He’s a really strong individual who has a ton of quality strengths, he just needs to fix whatever is going on with him and build a way to manage the stress and aggravation that is present.

I’ll have to give these these people credit.  They pretty much nailed me.  I am very goal orientated and do have a relentless intensity.  When someone tells me they are doing their best, my internal monologue says something like “Don’t do your best. Do better”.  To provide clarity around “he tends to be focused on going solo”, it should be written as “if he doesn’t feel confident others will do something to the level he expects, he’ll do it himself”.  I do take on a lot of responsibility and lack organization and therefore use a personal kanban for everything.  I think the misunderstanding there is I enforce my WIP limits.

Knowing my limitations makes me very anxious.  I’m working on balancing things out a little by running more, which I did this morning.  My long term goal is having a stable velocity and sustainable pace.

 

Has anyone else out there taken one of these assessments?  What do you think of them?


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Is Agile Now a Social Movement?

Mike Cottmeyer, LeadingAgile’s founder, asked the question on the company blog.

When Did Agile Become a Social Movement?

It seems to me back in the day, agile was about getting product into market faster… it was about working with customers to make sure we were building the stuff they really wanted… it was about craftsmanship and quality and excellence. There is a part of me that feels like some of us have taken things like self-organization, empowerment, and collaboration to an illogical extreme. Potentially to the detriment of some of our other goals.

Though I do not agree with their position, I do get the feeling from some that they see Agile as a disruptive cause.

What are your thoughts?  Take my straw poll!
Yes, Agile is becoming a social cause.
No, Agile is about getting product to market faster

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You Need More Process and Tools

processEven in an environment where you have a single, ideal, co-located cross-functional team, I believe you’re going to need processes and tools. The more complex and distributed your organization, the more processes and tools you’re going to need. Doesn’t sound very agile does it? Well, get over it. You’re going to need processes and tools to enable individuals and interactions. If you can’t sit in your chair and make direct eye contact with everyone on your team, you need more processes and tools. Hell, even if you can see everyone, you’ll still need processes and tools. What is Scrum? A process framework. What is a team board? A communications tool.

Context

I’m not dismissing the Agile Manifesto. I do prefer individual and interactions over processes and tools. I’m just trying to establish some context. Most of us don’t work in that ideal agile world. Rather, we have to operate within a series of non-ideal organizational constraints. Most people are sold on the idea of Agile. The values and principles resonate with us. But my job (and LeadingAgile) is to understand the goals of an organization and help them reach them.  We start by laying the foundation for an agile enterprise by forming teams and installing a Lean/Kanban based governance model, but maintaining focus on longer term planning, risk management, and dependency management.

Current State

Before laying the foundation, I look at their current organizational structure, I look at their current governance (processes) and I look at their current metrics to see how good that structure and governance is working out for them.

Future State with Process and Tools

Whatever the future state looks like, I expect two things to help get us there.

1. We need to provide clarity by making process policies explicit.
2. We need to demonstrate incremental improvements by using tools.

Do you agree with me? Maybe you disagree with me. I’d love to read your feedback.


Image Credit: Pictofigo

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Eliminating waste with reusable story cards

When coaching clients who use physical team boards, I’m seeing more of them gravitate away from pins and painters tape and toward the use of magnetic whiteboards, sticky-notes and index cards. I see them making a substantial upfront investment in the whiteboards and then again with magnets. If the magnets are too costly, I see them make the lessor but incremental investment in painters tape, post-it notes and paper index cards.  So, how do you eliminate the waste of the disposable index card or post-it note?  Just combine the magnet and card!

storycards

To be clear, I’ve got no skin in the game with this company. I’m not being paid to write this and I’ll make no money if you purchase their product. I just think this is a product that you’ll like and I think it’s worth writing about.

Though I usually don’t do product reviews, I found the product from Story Cards particularly compelling.  I asked them to send me a few samples so I could see for myself if this is something I would recommend to others.  Well, it is!

If you purchase a group of these reusable story cards, say goodbye to sticky-notes, painters tape, magnets or pins.  They come in four colors: blue, red, green, white.  These reusable story cards are made of a flexible magnetic material on one side and whiteboard material on the other.  They peel off easily but have enough grip that they won’t blow off the board like post-it notes do.  Great idea! Thank you storycards.co and day5labs.

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Agile Zombies – Fight the Dead. Fear the Living

zombie-standup

Agile Zombies – Fight the Dead. Fear the Living

Inspired by artwork by Pictofigo