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Our favorite ideas from "Agile Explained" with LeanDog

Our team had the recent good fortune to attend "Agile Explained" on the very cool boat/office of the good folks @LeanDog

The two-day course is a fire-hose of information about the agile process and will leave you exhausted with your head spinning; but in the best way possible. Our team left positively buzzing with all the ideas we want to learn more about and implement into our own workflow.


Here are some of our favorite ideas from the course:

  • Agile is more about the values and culture than it is about strict ceremony or ritual.
  • To become agile, you must first identify your blockers so that you can overcome them.
  • There is no one process. Try everything and keep what works for you.
  • Pair on all the things! It makes knowledge move more quickly throughout the organization, and you'll solve problems faster.
  • An open workspace is a must.
  • Personalize your workspace to match the personality of the organization.
  • Don't create walls. Even things like wearing headphones or a monitor facing away from the group (where they can't see what you're working on) constitutes a wall.
  • Involve the client (Product Owner) every chance you get.
  • The number one failure of agile teams is not doing retrospectives.
  • Always be delivering business value (to the customer).
  • Work a hard 40 (hours per week). Make the most of your time at work so you can have a life outside of it.
  • Waiting = waste
  • Make your work visible.
  • Your work queue is just like a ride line at DisneyWorld. Everybody has to wait their turn, but it's ideal to be able to estimate how long till they get to ride the ride.
  • Get rid of processes that don't contribute any value (hint: ones that are directly related to making product). I'm looking at you, timesheets.
  • Retrospectives are one of the most important Agile processes, don't skip them. Figure out how to make them as fun as possible, bring food.
  • Don't let the squeaky wheel always win. Communicate and vote on ideas so that the team decides what is the best option or most important.
  • Establish rules that will help prevent unnecessary distractions and create penalties for those who break the rules (not necessarily a monetary punishment).
  • Agile should increase consistency. Lack of consistency = lack of trust.
  • Cross train everyone on your team to avoid specialization (T-Shaped abilities).
  • Satisfy your future self, invest in people now so that they are more valuable / versatile later.

If "Agile Explained" sounds like something you and your team might benefit from, here is some more information: