Bad coffee, good cookies & great people


  • Class deck (Link)
  • Class mind map with guides (Link)
    Note: Requires XMIND 
  • Metrics (Link)
  • Printable Scrum Mindmap (Link)
  • Behavior Stories (Link)  

Articles I mentioned

  • Unfreezing an organization (Link)
  • How to form teams at scale (Link)
  • The taxonomy of A-Holes (Link)
  • Running an impact mapping session (Link)

Books I mentioned


  • Become a faster reader using RSVP (e.g. Spreader)
  • Prepare your speaking voice via repeating: " I slit the sheet, the sheet is slit, on the slitted sheet I sit" (Video)
  • Mindmapping as a tool to retain and correlate information. (Video by Creator)
  • Pomodoro technique (Video)
  • Glucose Transporter type 4 (Link)

Videos you watched

Class soundtrack

Class Blog

Break Your Mental Model

By Susan and Jeff

A mental model is a thought process about how something works in the real world.  For instance, when you think about getting medical care, would you want the receptionist at the hospital front desk to be the person to treat your illness when you are sick?  Of course not, your mental model demands that you see a qualified doctor or nurse because you want to have an in-depth conversation with them to describe your condition and find out how to solve the problem.  You want to work with the people who know how to meet your needs.

Today, our mental model for product development is based on specialization by role and hand offs between our customers and development teams and development teams and deployment teams. To break the mental model, let’s move forward and have development teams work directly with customers to understand and seek feedback about the business needs, perform all the tasks needed to build a quality product, and then deliver the product to production as ready-to-use.

This requires that product owners invest time with teams to elaborate on the full “definition of done” for the product and work with the teams to estimate relative size of effort.  This partnership will help to create a new model in which the product purpose is constantly clarified and the backlog of work is prioritized to align with customer value.  The scrummaster is a change agent helping the product owner execute on their role and encouraging the team to stretch their skillset beyond their existing expertise.  During this change, management leaders will support the team’s pursuit by removing obstacles and focusing on improving the organizational system that may be an impediment. Finally, the development team will work to become poly-skilled, no longer boxed in by their specific role titles, they will begin mastering skills that support better, faster, cheaper delivery of client needs.  As an example, development team members will embrace learning a wide range of soft skills and technical knowledge, thus enhancing communication, requirement elicitation, testing, coding, security, risk management, and production deployment.

Break the mental model, break with the past, break down the roles (developers, testers, business analysts, project managers) to be skilled-based, problem solvers who can diagnose, analyze, prescribe solutions, and renew their customers’ well-being, just like doctors!

What Got Sue and Jeff Jazzed about LeSS?

By Susan and Jeff

We know we’re not there yet.  Where is it that our companies want to go?  What’s our vision?  What is the angst we experience trying to get there?

Organizationally we think we understand what our objectives are for success.  But, if you ask anyone, would they have a familiar description of shared purpose?  We say no!  We say that the vision by which we operate and build products and services is degraded as you traverse down the organization.  Let’s take a look at the root cause…ask the 5 why’s.

1)     Why is the vision degraded?  Answer: Layers and layers of organization and distortion

2)     Why are is the organization layered?  Answer: We use the command and control business model as the historical model for success

3)     Why command and control?  Answer:  We believe that workers need direction and oversight

4)     Why do the workers need direction and oversight?  Answer:  Because we value the process over the people.  People simply execute the process as optimized.

5)     Why is the process more important than the people?  Answer:  Because classic business operation is based on repeatable, low knowledge activities that drive high throughput and the most efficient utilization of resources.

So how do we change our direction to value the people and ensure that our shared purpose guides each employees’ actions?

LeSS is a framework that incorporates core principles that focus on transforming the organization with bringing purpose to the forefront.  Using LeSS, shared purpose is constantly reinforced when product owners have rich dialogues with product development teams to ensure they share a mental model of the product.  Focus is on the product, not the process.  During sprint planning, sprint retrospectives, and product backlog prioritization and refinement activities, the product team engages to hear and clarify the product purpose.  It’s not a “once and done” message.

Picture this…

A future were senior level leaders spend entire days with the product development teams interacting in real time to generate excitement about building the next great feature!   And, at the end of the day, everyone sees the real product delivered to delight the real customer.  Now that’s real progress!  That’s got us jazzed!

Turn failures o success in a volatile business environment Transition - LeSS

By Raj and Ranju

Developing software is a game of decision making under conditions of uncertainty. As part of an organization developing products to increase market share, every day we are forced to make decisions in situations with insufficient information. The team cannot finish their sprints and the velocity will go down. Understanding customer needs and delivering them a quality product in a short lead time is a key driver to be successful in today’s competitive market. We can accomplish this in multiple ways but choosing the right process and framework is fundamental. We found LeSS principle to be an effective and efficient way to scale a one team scrum process to multiple teams. This process enables us to build scalable models and continuously improve the end products based on customers’ feedback. Meetings are more effective and efficient, team participation is more active and start functioning more independently to deliver the tasks associated with the sprint. Planning does tend to become shorter and retrospectives are more focused.  LeSS suggests having an overall retrospective together with the client and the team to talk about improvements concerning coordination issues. The agility comes from short Sprints and continuous customer feedback loop. The LeSS creates openness within the team and enables them to self-organize.  LeSS also drives lean thinking throughout the lifecycle of the process and helps reducing the lead time, build a high quality product and become creative. This framework uses systems thinking to build a resilient organizational design to deliver the highest business value.

It is very difficult to describe everything that was discussed during the first day of the LeSS session but will sure help us apply the principles to become a better agilest and team manager

Scaling Your Success

By Nathan Leinard, Sunita Dhungana, Jacquelyn Talpalar

You just built a killer new product. Now you have $40 million from investors, and it’s your job to grow the team and the product. Now what? Start with what’s working. The team trusts each other; they are intrinsically driven; they have clear purpose; they are self-empowered; and they are experts in their field. Now comes the hard part—scale this model.

First, think about the principles you want to scale. Transparency in where the work is builds trust with your customer. Accomplish more with less, scaling the simplest framework. Ensure your customer is at the center as you continuously improve your product and your people, through empirical process control. In keeping to these basic principles, you can tailor a scaling framework to your company’s needs.

So what does the LeSS framework look like? It’s simple, really. Take the scrum model that is near and dear to your heart from your first product launch, and keep doing it. As your organization and your product continue to grow, there are two key differences to the scaled model of scrum. First, you’ll need to empower one Product Owner to maintain and prioritize one product backlog, divvying up the work to the various feature teams that will refine and deliver. Second, you’ll need an overall retrospective so that you can continuously adapt to the needs of the organization. It’s critical that you have one definition of done for all of your teams.

How do you measure the success of your scaling efforts? Don’t let others set targets for your teams; don’t measure for control or for comparing teams/people. Your metrics should have a purpose and not create waste. Consider customer satisfaction and team satisfaction after every release. Consider the number of production defects after every release. Consider the cycle time to production and the percent of effort towards product improvements. Your metrics matter. Make sure they are helping to measure the right kind of success.

At scale, communication channels are critical. There is no “one size fits all” solution. So consider the unique complexities within your organization. Communities of Practice around automation can help drive initiatives forward. Component Mentors around things micro-services can help empower leaders while also spreading knowledge and eliminating technical debt. For unique skill sets, the role of the Traveller enables spreading a wealth of knowledge across the entire ecosystem, while giving the Traveller a new challenge each step of the way.

Let the LeSS framework be your guide and continue to experiment with the minutia that will help you find your sweet spot. Through a strong product team and a focus on the principles discussed, you can help minimize lead-time to your customers and maximize your return on the $40 million investment.

LeSS in a Nutshell 

By Randy & Susan

LeSS is akin to the Analects, for Scrum. It is philosophy, theory, guidance and suggestions on Scrum and scale..