Archive for October, 2010

This video reminds me of my post of cleaning a kitchen metaphor

Thanks to JurgenDeSmet for the link

Last year at Agile Coach Camp Germany, in the evening there was a quiz about agile in the bar.
I was immediatly attracted by the format. I wanted to use this technique at the end of my agile classes. I have been bugging the presenter of the session for months to get the software he used.
This week I was reading Training from the back of the Room on a plane, where Sharon gives an example of a trainer using a pop quiz at the beginning of the training. Wow even better.
While flying, I realized I had been blocking myself, I did not need the software to start doing this. I decided I would create a google spreadsheet to collect questions.
The next morning before I even did this, I received an e-mail from the organizers of XPDay Benelux (As I only help a little bit I don’t call myself an organizer) with a question about a pop quiz… Seems I’m not alone with this idea…

I created the spreadsheet and thanks to a few friends I have already 35 questions.

The idea is to gather questions that if you learn the answers, you learn about agile.
Although it is nice to know how many people initiated the agile manifesto, it’s does not bring you any value.
I want to use the agile community to gather questions and to play the game at different conferences around the world.

I think it is even a good technique to use at CSM or other agile classes.
Read Training from the back of the room, to understand why.

I will create a downloadable version of the quiz that can be used by anyone. (with a creative common’s license)
I don’t want to publish all the questions freely in a blogpost as it can ruin the fun of playing the quiz.

I give access to the spreadsheet to anyone who asks for it.
In return I ask you add at least a few questions.

Update: Geoff Watts asked me who the quiz was for. After rereading I realized that was indeed not clear from this post.
The original trigger came from a conference. That does not help not help much as you have both newbies and experience practitioners at conferences. My goal is that after playing this quiz, people have learned some thing about agile. To keep the quiz fun, everyone should have the feeling they know something and not everything.
I will add a difficulty column to my spreadsheet.

Let’s making learning agile even more fun as it is right now…

Reader: But yves, you have not told us the right answer to the number of initiators of the agile manifesto!
Yves: That is correct. If you want to know the correct answer to that question, count the names you find at the (the first page not
Reader: Why don’t you tell us?
Yves: I’m convinced you will remember it more when you look it up yourself.

This presentation is part of a larger leadership lean & agile training. It is inspired by Tom Demarco’s  Slack

The most popular item on my blog is the book list I made at Agile 2010.
As I read a lot of books, I wondered what other booklist could I make. I try to read at least one book every month that has nothing to do with IT. At this moment I am preparing a 2 day leadership course, although I have lots of agile, and IT books on my desk, these are the non IT one’s I have at my desk:

The 7 habits of effective people

Speed of Trust

The Black Swan


The Goal

A Sense of Urgency


The paradox of Choice

Getting Things Done


Training From the back of the room

The Five dysfunction of a team

On my kindle I have:

How the brain learns to read (Reading this one)

Implementing Beyond Budgeting (Read last week)

Open Space technology (Loaded because I like the book so much)

This is your brain on music (David said it is a must read book)

Drive (next on my reading list)



As any list, this list is not complete, I even think it is very biased in one direction (I feel that all these books could reference each other) What books do you think I should add?

Yesterday I delivered my talk what I learned from burning down my (parents) house in Kiev @ AgileEE 2010.  Last year, the first edition of AgileEE made a big impression on me. Thanks to AgileEE I could follow a Coaching course by David Hussman

I felt really bad when I had to say to Alexey that this year I would arrive very short for my talk and leave the next morning. Work/Life Balance working 3 days a week in Bordeaux after my family went back to Belgium, I want to avoid being away too long.

Due to a slow security check I only arrived 20 minutes before my talk. Just In Time to the extreme. Robin and I designed the talk (last year somewhere in a London pub.) to be a very interactive. At AgileEE I was talking at the main stage.  That stage is in a traditional room.

Although an interactive talk in a room like this, is quite a challenge, I’m happy I kept the talk as it was.

Some people on twitter thought there were too many people for this kind of talk, I disagree, it was more about room layout then number of people. After the break I started walking around in the room, to make it feel more like a training then a conference talk.


On my way home I finally started reading (instead of skimming) Training From the Back of the Room. During my talk, I did not went to the back of the room, I do think I did do wat is ment in the book. While reading I thought of something that Mary Poppendieck said last night: instead of convincing people to use idea’s of agile we should better look more at idea’s of other industries. (Robin and I had that idea on slide 21 of my talk).

Reading this book, made me think, how many coaches, CST etc are reading books about teaching? (I’m not talking about facilitating books.)  And that made me think about the one book that David Hussman adviced me to read last year that I still have not read.

I have written before about some of the idea’s where I am learning from outside our agile world.

With David & priorities, I’m back to where I started this post. Although I was only half a day in Kiev, I had a great time. The (short) discussion I had with Robin, Henrik, Mary & Jurgen has triggered a lot. Thank you Alexey, Nataliya for inviting me again.

Update: If you saw my talk at AgileEE, please rate it here

Just as last year, I talked today at Agile Tour Bordeaux (Last year I did Toronto, Bordeaux, Geneve) It was a nice challenge to do 67 slides in 90 minutes.

A BIG thank you to the organizers, I loved being here. (I seem to be only invited by great organizers.)

As always these free conferences are only possible thanks to the sponsors. I was nice to see so many people from my current client that wanted to learn more about agile.

I was especially impressed with Yaal, a small consultancy company where everyone was at Agile Tour Bordeaux. Now that is dedication to agile.

I also did two Open Space sessions:

One about, the other about Coaching Circle (contact me if you want to know more about this one)

Here is the current link for the hourglasses.

Update: If you were at my talk at Agile Tour Bordeaux please rate the talk

Interesting topics and quote’s:

  • An idea is a network.
  • Innovation happens at the conference table at the team meeting, when they share their failures…
  • The truth about how Darwin found the natural selection.
  • Why google 20% helps innovation…
  • We should connecting idea’s instead of protecting them…
  • How GPS was created as a side effect of the sputnik launch

This video talks about the idea’s of David Gauntlett’s upcomming book Making of Connectivity.
He starts with an interesting message that reframes the way people think about how digital creativity. It links how I feel about television for a long time.

Last night I finally played the Business Value Game V2 at Okiwi

I still remember the day I was doing some agile coaching with Vera, Pascal, Johan at a large financial client. They had a large backlog that they had trouble prioritizing.
During one of these meetings Vera said to me, we need to create a game to help people understanding Business Value. It felt so right I was surprised nobody thought about it earlier.

At Agile 2008 I played a pre-beta version of BVG led by Pascal & Portia.

This BVG was a try out for Agile Tour Bordeaux.I’m very happy Fredericdid a try out.
1) I think the best sessions at conferences have been dry runned the week before.
2) I can’t go to BVG at AGTB. (Like it has been the last 2 years)

As with all the games that Pascal, Vera and Portia make, the game has a creative commons licence. Also like all their games that you can download, when you download the game, you have everything to play

(Although I tried to copy that for my leadership game, the fact I use tons of lego can’t of makes that impossible. ==> there is a lesson here for game designers…)

One of the critis about the XPand the BV game, is that they contain too much.
And yet after the game was over, the only remarks Frederic got was new idea on how to make it even more complex.
A few examples:
-have a client that runs away unexpectly
(Now you know when he will walk away
– You have income but you don’t have costs. As Frederic said you are not really encouraged to deliver the first two sprints. In real life, when you deliver a project to your customer, it changes your cashflow. Adding a cost to each sprint would encourage people to deliver fast.
Although this is my own idea and I clearly like to add that to the game to make it more realistic. (This game is aimed at either business people or developers that want to understand more about doing business) I also think that teaching games should be kept as simple as possible.

What puzzles me:

In one of the later iterations there is a story that says if you deliver this story the framework improvement is +1 (instead of +2)
It’s not clear if implementing this moves from +2 to +1. If you had +2 and now another 1 added.
Why would I implement that story when I know my improvements go down?

I remember that after playing the beta version I was very confused about what I had learned. That feeling I had not yesterday.
When I have money for each demand I can clearly see how to create BV.

My biggest challenge is that most of my clients don’t know about the amount of money they will make for each demand.
(Neither did that client when the game was invented, but the client sales people thoughted they knew.)

ROTI of my evening: 4