Its the wins that make it worthwhile


Had this happen to me, figured I would share. Instances like this make the job worthwhile…

I have been working with a senior leader in our organization (one of my boss’s peers) regarding his groups agile transformation; he’s coming around and is starting to be really receptive to new, agile-centric ideas. He rang me up on Friday to talk MVP; his business partner is having trouble wrapping their heads around the term and what it means as far as delivery, and we chatted for a good hour about what it means and potential alternative terms (MMF, SMURF, etc.). He then asked me if I had any suggestions around how to get the business partners unified conceptually about what product they really need and how to define it. At the end I passed along Martin Fowler’s blog series on Paulo Caroli’s Lean Inception, and sent along a link to the book, telling him to check it out and that it may suit his needs.

Today I get an email from one of his directs who I know well; apparently he purchased the book prior to his flight out to meet his business partners and read the WHOLE thing. He’s using what he learned in the sessions and is now telling his teams to dig into it as he wants to consistently use this approach going forward.

I didn’t do anything special except point him in a potential direction, but to see what amounts to a quick conversation turn into some serious step change is pretty wild.




Nice! I love lightbulb moments.

Being a part of the journey there is rewarding. It is a big part of leadership. I think John Maxwell had it right when he said, “Leadership is influence, nothing more, nothing less.” You demonstrated leadership by simply sharing. Good times!

PS. I prefer that lightbulb moments happen before a major “Oh Sh**t, major FUBAR!” moment though. Those aren’t as fun. Still useful if they happen early enough, but can be stressful for all involved.


Jay that is really awesome. Now I have to read this book too!

So I will say this straight out. Working with my current company has been one the best work experiences I’ve had so far. Even through all the challenges some days you get big wins and today maybe I’m riding high on the wins but I had 3 Huge wins today and 1 small one. IN ONE DAY. You can go a while without any big ones so 3 in one day I thought was pretty amazing.

Helping others is extremely rewarding and seeing light bulbs go off and seeing teams perform better is really satisfying and I’m really fortunate to have the career I have and in part it’s due to all of you as well on here. Everyone person in our lives that we choose to interact with can contribute to our success and I’m thankful for this forum, the Agile Uprising, and the Agile community in general.


Can you loan me one of your wins? Just for a couple of days. I’ll return it. Sooner or later.


Had another one today…did a presentation to our leadership team on agile metrics and forecasting, and had a Sr leader say to me “these metrics don’t give me a magic wand answer, but they tell me what questions I should be asking to get the answer I’m looking for.”

Poetry in motion!


This may flow on from the Married With Children podcast, but definitely falls in FTW category.

There are reasons we are with the people we are with. I am pretty blessed by my partner, but today she took it to the next level.

We were having a chat about agile with in work practice. This isn’t abnormal for us, whilst not a developer, we do share interests. People, process and how thing work well definitely fall within the scope of discussion.

She turned to me and asked, “You see scrum and the agile stuff, like Kanban, in your world with software, but I haven’t seen it anywhere else. Wouldn’t it work in all sorts of other business settings?” Immediately followed by, “I can see how this would work so well in small businesses with nothing to do with software.”

Very cool. Well, we had a really fun chat, and she asked a great question that I don’t have a great answer for:

I can see that one of the biggest challenges for agile to get into the small business space is owners who are stuck in their ways. How do you use something like agile when the person at the top wants to either micromanage or do things “the way we’ve always done it” even if it isn’t working?

Brilliant question! So how would you answer that one?


So how would you answer that one?

Ask the person at the top if they’d like to improve upon the following outcomes:

  • Time to market
  • Customer satisfaction
  • Employee satisfaction
  • Reliability
  • Innovation
  • Responsiveness
  • Predictability

And then when they say “yes” to at least a handful, tell them all we need to do is apply four simple principles:

  • Make People Awesome
  • Make Safety a Prerequisite
  • Experiment & Learn Rapidly
  • Deliver Value Continuously

Ya just don’t need to call it Modern Agile… until later.


ooooh easy.

BML feedback loops are the ULTIMATE for control freaks - um, I mean micro-managers. Just make it small enough that they get immediate feedback. Seriously, that’s how I get traction with leaders. I ask them what their current cycle of reporting is (eg quarterly, monthly etc) and then we talk about how much more control they’d have if they had visibility of more immediate feedback.

And coming from a small business family, let me tell you the phrase “indulge me, can we play with this idea for an hour” can move the most intractable small business owner. Just make sure the small business owner gets feedback in that hour.

And don’t forget, a lot of small business owners have big business aspirations / identity. BML / hypothesis experiment that aligns their status identity with some-one else who is visibly successful can be very effective.

Love that your partner is thinking that way – I use it in many, many applications outside of software. Training, teaching, cooking, writing, dating, fitness and organisational life in general.

And @JayHorsecow the BEST thing about this post is you acknowledging and accepting the win. That is so so important and the lifeblood of sustaining change. Kudos. Bloody marvellous.


I had to google that BML acronym…

I love @Jen ’ s “see the world their lens and give 'em more of what they want”… and then slowly turn their POV.