Agile Coaching: A guide for project managers stepping into a Scrum team – Health warnings!

This is first of a series of blogs to support traditional project managers I am coaching. To help get their bearings in deep and murky waters of Agile projects and Scrum teams.

Before the scrum purists amongst you vehemently shake your heads or berate me on the title, consider being pragmatic. In the Professional Services world there is always a project manager to manage complexity and facilitate the Scrum team(s). My remit is to facilitate and empower the role to help the team, business and customers succeed, rather than debate its applicability and existence. Continue reading

Bringing Peace Through Prosperity – reflecting on years past #SocialTransformation #Delivered

Peace Through Prosperity #SocialTransformation #Delivered

Theses are not bold hashtags! six years on Peace Through Prosperity’s programs, team and beneficiaries have delivered exactly that. Its Fact not Fiction!

For the unfamiliar Peace Through Prosperity aims to stimulate growth of micro-businesses operating in vulnerable or underserved communities, particularly those affected by conflict and terrorism. Peace Through Prosperity set out to empower individuals and to prove to them that they themselves can affect positive change and progress, to build a better future for themselves, their family and community.

The approach also provides a counter narrative to social transformation than that peddled by extremist organisations.

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Pause, reflect – lets celebrate journey of a team #SocialTransformation #Heroes

Team

What better way to spend a Sunday in Karachi than reminiscing and sharing Peace Through Prosperity (BringPTP)’s success with y’all.

Let me set the scene real quick!

2014

  • Peace Through Prosperity (BringPTP) brings its social transformation programs to Karachi. See this if you’re not familiar with BringPTP’s work.
  • BringPTP set’s about building the delivery team for what is to be the largest engagement in what is and remains a very challenging engagement.
  • Attempt 1 fails fast, and the delivery team is down to three! that reflection is for another post but it’s worth stating; for this program BringPTP hired MBAs, Tech and Social sciences graduates, of the seven hires all but one made the cut in the field, it was a brutal sprint and bloody retrospective!… and yes there was a lot of drama!
  • Attempt 2 yields a team of 9 all potential (very rough) gems, all hired from within marginalized communities they are soon to engage. There are two team members  with Higher Education qualifications, some have secondary schooling but others are only literate. None have ever been through any formal professional training of any sort or undertaken anything like this. Overall the team is hired on their street smarts, courage and a hunger for socio-economic transformation in their communities.
  • The newly formed team’s training and coaching lasts for two weeks with key areas of focus being; BringPTP’s programs and Agility (Scrum), Majority of the training and coaching delivered was in the field itself.
  • The team takes a cautious start to the project. There are many failures along the way, the team inspects, learns, adapts and keeps moving forward whilst delivering phenomenal, phenomenal results!
  • The team isn’t quite self organizing yet, but they are well on their way!

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Applying Agile beyond tech – key ingredients

Ingredient

This post started of as an email to Yashin Lin from Elizabeth Glaser Pediatric AIDS Foundation, Yashin reached out for advise on applying agile practices in non-technical teams in the social/international development sector.  This post is a guide I intend to keep building on, so do check back for updates or subscribe to be kept updated.

Introducing agility to teams, programs and organisations is less about selecting the appropriate agile framework and more about changing the culture, mindset of the teams and the organisation designing and delivering such programs of work.

Agile is a mindset, a worldview, not a set of how-to’s. However there are procedures and practices that teams in the development sector can borrow from Agile frameworks; Continue reading

A product owner’s guide to writing acceptance criteria for user stories

‘I want to create a practical guide for product owners to facilitate them in writing acceptance criteria for user stories so that their output is of value to the scrum team’

 

You’ll find pages after pages describing what an acceptance criteria is and how to write a good one, what it should include or not, however this post takes a practical approach for Product Owners to follow. You’ll find post after post describing how product owners ought to use Gherkin script to develop/write an acceptance criteria, which in my opinion is not a practical approach, there are a few things wrong with that approach, a few come to mind right now: Continue reading