While many misinterpretations and misunderstandings have spread on the “what” and “how” of Agile, it is perhaps the “why” — the purpose of being Agile — that has become most lost.

The one question I always want to ask prospective clients is, “why do you want to adopt Agile?” Responses vary. “To go faster”, “so that we can be more productive/efficient” and “because our competitors are doing it” are typical. …


Understand what “value” means to truly maximise it

The 2017 version of the Scrum Guide states, “The Product Owner is responsible for maximizing the value of the product resulting from work of the Development Team.” But what does value mean anyway? The easy answer is to equate it with a monetary value, however, it is much more subjective than this. I found a dictionary definition of value as, “the regard that something is held to deserve; the importance, worth, or usefulness of something.”

The words “regard”, “importance”, “usefulness” do not strike me as terms that directly correlate to monetary value, though I do concede that people are prepared…


Sign on a pavement with the word “awesome” above an arrow pointing to the right, and the words “less awesome” above an arrow
Sign on a pavement with the word “awesome” above an arrow pointing to the right, and the words “less awesome” above an arrow

A typical Kanban board usually shows a series of steps or activities that work passes through. In software development, this may take the form of work items passing through some sort of discovery step when analysis or design happens, to a building or development activity, before it passes through a validation or testing stage. Such a visualisation often shows that work items move from the left-hand side of the board to the right.

Kanban has its origins in manufacturing, most famously as part of the Toyota Production System (TPS). In manufacturing plants, it is possible to see a product being…


Three cups of coffee on a stool
Three cups of coffee on a stool

My fellow PST, Glaudia Califano, and I were sitting in a café (at a time prior to the current lockdown due to Covid-19). We had agreed to meet up with a Business Analyst who had reached out to us to have a chat about Scrum and Agile. We are never too busy to pass on having coffee, so we agreed to meet and have a chat.

Once we’d settled down with our lattes and macchiato (I’m usually a flat white person, but it is always a small caramel macchiato with skinny milk for Glaudia, just in case you ever need…


At a recent training class, one of the delegates spoke about their present company, about how it was the most “Agile” place he had ever worked. The teams at his company had well-established cadences for their Scrum events; well-oiled Daily Scrums that are done within 15 minutes and result in the transparency of what the team will do for the next 24-hours. They have regular Sprint Planning and Retrospective events and hold their Sprint Reviews with business stakeholders in attendance. They are releasing software after every 2-week Sprint. …


“In the past we bought beautiful solutions… And then we needed to work out what to use them for.”

This line, or a similar variation, is one that many of us have heard uttered from the mouths of CEOs and CTOs in relation to procurement. Procurement has become an area which has become a specialisation of its own, with individuals and sometimes whole departments dedicated to it. This is a reflection on a market that has dramatically changed with increasing complexity. There are ever-greater demands and time pressures, whilst there are more unexpected dependencies and uncertainty to deal with. …


When it comes to supplier-client relationships, many common complaints like the adding or changing of scope, the availability of business people, or the use of the word ‘estimate’ to somehow implicitly mean ‘promise’ comes back to the conditions created at the very start of the relationship. How contracts are agreed can have consequences for the whole of an engagement.

During our travels for our Scrum Around The World study, we spoke to many organisations and Agile practitioners on the subject of contracts. It turned out to be an area that many people were looking for explicit guidance on. We were…


In baseball, the pitcher and the catcher must start play in a designated area whereas the other fielders can change position depending on what they think the batter and runners are going to do once play begins. More balls are hit towards the shortstop position than any other, simply because there are more right-handed players in a baseball team than left-handed players, and to quote Wikipedia, “like a second baseman, a shortstop must be agile”. …


After a busy few days in Japan, visiting companies and talking to Agile practitioners for our Scrum Around The World study, we took a break to do some tourist activities. We were staying in Nagoya, capital of Japan’s Aichi Prefecture. We could have decided to go to Nagoya castle. We could have gone to Higashiyama Zoo and Botanical Gardens. Or we could have strolled around the historical area of Ōsu, sampling traditional Japanese food and browsing the shops. …

David Spinks

Agile Adventurer, AKT, PST

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