Archive for April, 2013

A few years after AYE, I finally have been able to go to PSL. I could not resist to also start a booklist here. As these days, we get knowledge not only by booklists, I’ll add a few videos.

Quiet: The power of introverts in a world that can’t stop talking by Susan Cain

Thinking, Fast and Slow by Daniel Kahneman

Decisive: How to make better choices in life and work by Chip & Dan Heath

The Five Dysfunctions of a Team: A Leadership Fable by Patrick M. Lencioni

Adrenaline Junkies and Template Zombies: Understanding Patterns of Project Behaviour: by Peter Hruschka, Tim Lister, Steve McMenamin, James Robertson, Suzanne Robertson, Tom DeMarco

Clear Leadership: Sustaining Real Collaboration and Partnership at Work by Gervase R. Bushe

The Brain That Changes Itself: Stories of Personal Triumph from the Frontiers of Brain Science by Norman Doidge

Non Violent communication by Marshall Rosenberg

Personal Kanban by Jim Benson

At the last dinner Matt Paid it forward.
It reminded me of Aaron’s last wish



I talked about a company called /UT7 that does not have a shared vision and uses Satir model. Read about /UT7 at infoq




Other lists


I created a PSL Twitter list (if you have been to PSL, let me know and I’ll add you)

In the hot tub (where else?) we also talked about some of the projects I started.



The last few weeks, I was discussing about the concept of thoughtleaders.

For me the idea of a thought leader, is that one person has a brilliant idea, she spreads that idea and she creates a tribe of people following that idea.
Our current culture is one of worshipping these people and they are instant famous (for 15 minutes or for eternity)
I personally have a few problems with this.

  1. I don’t like the worshipping part. As humans these are not better or worse than other people.
    It actually puts a lot of pressure on these people and for some people it even creates the impression that they are god. We have seen a few examples of brilliant people who did stupid things on a personal level. I think our system of worshipping is partly to blame for that.
  2. What is worse for me, is that this is a very limiting model.
    It means that only brilliant people can come up with idea’s: bummer for me, I’m not brilliant. And bummer for you, 50% of the people their IQ is below average.
    (Ok sorry, of course not my readers, you are all above average )
  3. I believe that most ideas are actually created by networks of people.
  4. The ideas created by many people are of higher quality then when they are created by one person.
  5. On top this all, you can’t copyright an idea, so for me it’s wrong that one person can dictate how their idea should be used.

That last point is interesting to think about, because one if the side effects of this is the law of raspberry jam: The wider you spread it, the thinner it gets. Many thought leaders, try to counter this point by dictating that you can only do x their way. And yes, I have seen enough people trying to change something before they understand it, to understand why ThoughtLeaders ask this.
















All of this has inspired me to think, there should be another model, instead the model of thought leaders, we should have ThoughtJockeys.

What is the idea of a ThoughtJockey, well one part is, its created by a bunch of people. So Instead of me telling you what it is, I point you to a document that was a created by a bunch of people. I want to encourage you to:

1 read it completely

2 Adapt the parts that you think should be adapted

3 If you agree or if you changed something, please add your name to the contributors list.

Yves, wait are you tell me the full internet has editing rights?


Isn’t that insane? What about the hackers, spammer etc?

That’s why I call it an exercise of trust.
I want to see what happens, and where it takes us. And yes, when (not if, when) we will take action. Let’s for now see what trust can create.

As my father wrote a few years ago, most laws are created by a bunch of people over many years and that make them much better then just ideas of one or 2 people.

Please check with me, what’s happening….

Standing on the shoulders of giants

Have a look at this picture. I took this during ALE2012. It was a local spectacle offered by the organizers to make us think about being agile.

It is a powerful metaphor, it inspired me to lots and lots of stories.

Today I want you to look again at the top. Do you see who is at the top?
is it:

No. It’s the smallest kid. Being an agile coach, I can be biased and say it’s because he is the most flexible, agile person.
Tonight I don’t even want to go that way.

Do you know what needs to happen for him to reach the top?

  • The full team needs to trust it’s gonna work. Yes I saw them multiple time starting over, until it was fine for everyone.
  • The small kid, is probably the one with the least experience, so for him to reach the top, he has to listen to the people with more experience.
  • I assume that some people at the bottom, used to be the little kid. They have moved on and they had to accept that they will never reach the top again. Yet thanks to their experience, their group can now maybe create bigger statues.

And once he has reached his top spot, that’s not the end. I saw them moving as a group, the kid high up in the air.

Standing on the shoulders of giants, that’s how I feel in the communities I flutter  around:

  • I trust the people I work with.
  • Like the little kid, I’m not the smartest person in my world yet I listen to the smarter people around me.
  • I have no idea if I will ever reach the top, or if my job is to support the people reaching higher…

Standing on the shoulders of giants.

For me, working as a change agents, is

  • NOT about being the smartest person.
  • NOT about who is the best author
  • NOT about the person where most people listen too


It’s about knowing when to listen to who and also knowing when to  move on and drop idea’s whose expiry date has long been gone…

I have no idea any more what they said, yet this post is inspired by what Liz Keog and Elisabeth Hendrickson said in their acceptance speeches for the Gordon Pask Award about standing on the shoulders of giants.



With agile going mainstream more and more entrepreneurs, are looking for new ways to organize their company.
When a company goes agile, it has an impact on the company culture.
Some of the smart managers I coach, ask me:

  • what’s next?
  • where can I look for examples of companies that don’t work the traditional way?

This is a list of books & documents about companies that are working in a less traditional way.

Although not a book (yet), the most amazing company I know is /UT7. read the /UT7 story at Infoq
nothe rblogpost about how Buffer works as a Distributed company

If you are not in a mood for reading, you might want to watch this video about how open source projects survive poisonous people

Scott Berkun also wrote an interesting book about the year he worked at WordPress
The Year Without Pants: and the Future of Work

Update 2:
In the year 2014, I want to learn by doing. I would like to join companies with creative (aka non standard structures or ways of working) and help them a week or so. (If they work distributed maybe even longer)

Yves lots of people don’t have the time to read these books. True, will you give me links to articles about these and other companies in the comments?



Last week I published the Agile Thursday Quiz about BurnupCharts.
Here are the answers from Pawel Brodzinski. (who created these questions.)

Looking at a burn-up chart one can say:

Looking at a burn-up chart one can’t say:

On a burn-up chart you measure amount of work on a vertical axis. What measure you can use?


What is a difference between a burn-up and a burn-down chart?


Yes, Pawel decided to pull a trick on you,  as all of the answers are correct.
Most of answers can be found in his post about burn-up charts: and the rest is stuff that is true for both burn-ups and burn-downs.

More links about BurnUp Charts:

This last reference can be used as a reference to the questions, may render some of the answers for the last question false. Pawel used as a reference the classic version of burn-down charts.In fact, this may be the biggest lesson: how can you improve your burn-downs.


Agile Estimation & planning 


As an agile coach, I am using idea’s coming from multiple methologies. I started this coaching 8 years ago and my first agile book I read more then 10 years ago. As a result I mix terminology when talking about agile.
This week I was told I should not use “demo” when talking about scrum.  Although I personally like the word demo (It’s the same word in Dutch, French, English, the three languages in which I am coaching) I do understand that it creates confusion among clients. And yes it’s better when everyone uses the same terminology when talking about the same thing.

As I wanted to be sure to stop doing that, I created a document with the correct scrum terminology. (These days I mainly coach scrum)

Then I realized that I’m not the only person who might be interested in it.

Here is the document: agile words

Will you help me in adding more words?

I have added extra column so you can add words for

  • Crystal Clear
  • EVO
  • FDD
  • DSDM
  • XP
  • … >> feel free to add a column to add others

Yes in a later stage we should add links explain. It might even become part of the scrum alliance agile atlas or agile alliance guide to agile practises or anywhere else, that is for later versions.

Feel free to steal it.


For this ATQ,  Pawel Brodzinski helped me out with the questions.
1) Looking at a burn-up chart one can say:
a) How much work has been done
b) How much work is yet to be done
c) What is roughly the pace at which the work is progressing
d) When roughly the work is expected to be done
e) How much time has elapsed since the team started tracking work using the chart
2) Looking at a burn-up chart one can’t say:
a) How much time it took to build work items that are completed
b) How many work items were completed on each day
c) The exact date when the work will be finished
d) How many people worked in a team on each day
e) What the quality of estimates for each work item was
3) On a burn-up chart you measure amount of work on a vertical axis. What measure you can use?
a) Story points
b) Number of work items of any type
c) Number of user stories
d) Weighted size, e.g. if you use T-shirt sizing, L item will be worth more than M, etc.
e) Estimated effort needed to complete work
4) What is a difference between a burn-up and a burn-down chart?
a) On a burn-up chart the curve goes up, not down
b) It is easier to show scope change on a burn-up chart
c) On a burn-up chart the curve shows only change of completed work, while on burn-down it can also refer to the change of scope
d) Steepness of the curve on a burn-up chart always allows to figure out the pace of work, while on a burn-down chart it isn’t always possible
e) A burn-up chart can be easily enhanced to Cumulative Flow Diagram while it’s not that easy with a burn-down chart

Please add your answers in the comments and on monday I’ll publish Pawel’s answers.