My Blogs & Vlogs

Scrum of Scrums

May 24, 2016 by Barc Category: Agile, Leadership, Scrum 0 comments

Scrum of Scrums is a regular meeting where team leads gather to talk and, as much as possible, be open about project challenges, root out dependencies, brainstorm solutions, and make commitments that will move the project forward. This post gives a few suggestions for holding a successful meeting.

Agile Status Reports: Do We Need Them?

I wish we could do away with status reports all together, but we need to make sure our clients and executives know what's going on quickly. Kill the red/yellow/green and go with the facts.

Is Scrum Certification A Good Idea?

Apr 09, 2016 by Barc Category: Agile, Career, Scrum 0 comments Tags: certification

There's been a lot of debate about whether or not you should get a Scrum Master Certificate. There’s even more debate about which certificate to get.

The Pros:

The best aspect of a generic certification is that there is at least some evidence that the person who has the certification has heard the basics of the craft. As an employer, you can’t always test each applicant for basic knowledge. The notation of a certification on your resume can speed things up.

Of course, if the practice is complex--like brain surgery--you want to make sure your applicant knows more than the basics, so rigorous certification and licensing processes are needed. 


One of the positives about Scrum certification, versus, say getting a license to practice medicine, is the certification is not very expensive. You can get an online certification for a few hundred bucks, or attend an in-person class and test for about $1,200.

The Frog Prince

Apr 07, 2016 by Barc Category: Leadership, Management 0 comments Tags: Disney, Leadership

The news of Tom Staggs’ resignation from Disney after 26 years at the company came as a shock, at least to me.

 No official statement explaining his departure has yet been released, but in less than 24 hours, there’s plenty of speculation, including cost overruns at Shanghai Disneyland, fears ‘he’s not creative enough’, and Staggs’ own impatience at 5 years of CEO vetting by the Disney board.

 Everyone is suddenly trying to figure out if this guy was a prince or a frog.

 My experience says he was both.

One Standup Approach

Mar 04, 2016 by Barc Category: Agile, Scrum 0 comments

Everybody does Agile standups a little differently. I recommend you: 1) actually standup, 2) do them in person if possible, and 3) record due dates. Not exactly by the book, but it works

Why All The PowerPoint?

After a big software project goes haywire, the CEO often gets involved. Usually somewhere around the 18-month mark.

Most good CEOs start their involvement with an apology: “I’m so sorry I haven’t been more involved up until now. I haven’t supported you.”

Less introspective CEOs start by firing people.

If you’re lucky enough to work for a good CEO, there will be a mixed reaction to the mea culpa nonetheless. There’s a new sheriff in town, but painful change is surely nigh. The appeal of finally having the CEO’s ear wears off in about a day–right after he or she asks for a PowerPoint deck that recaps the goals and leadership structure of the project.

That deck should be somewhere on the wiki, but isn’t. If it’s out there at all, it’s out of date.

Great Product Owners Aren’t Visionaries

This week I’ve been thinking about the projects I’ve worked on that were successful--as well as those that weren’t--hoping to focus the coming year on the former. Not surprisingly, the past winners weren’t led by committees.

The Cut Line

Dec 20, 2015 by Barc Category: Agile, Development, Scrum 0 comments

How much should the team commit to?

I don’t come to you with my problems, do I?

Introducing himself to Bob Dylan at a party, Peter Grant extended his hand and said, “Hi. I’m Peter Grant, manager of Led Zeppelin.”

Dylan looked at him and said, “I don’t come to you with my problems, do I?” then turned and walked away.

This famous anecdote says a lot about Dylan’s dyspeptic personality (Dylan was our Kanye, but with a sense of humor), but it indicates more, and better, I think, about why Peter Grant was a great manager.

Peter Grant

Grant was a former South London wrestler who became one of the most powerful men in the music industry. The formidable 6 foot, 5 inch, ‘Genghis Khan of Rock’ struck fear into the hearts of anyone foolish enough to try to rip off one of his bands.

Across a long career, Grant managed the Yardbirds, Bad Company, Bo Diddley, The Everly Brothers, Little Richard, Chuck Berry, Gene Vincent, and the Animals, but his reputation was cemented in rock history with Led Zeppelin.

There were many rough edges to this ex-wrestler (who once beat up a security guard who mistakenly cuffed his son), including years of drug abuse and depression when John Bonham (Led Zeppelin’s drummer) died of alcohol abuse.

But, for now, let’s focus on Grant’s positive attributes, the ones we’d like to see in all our managers.

Crossing the Potomac

Sep 15, 2015 by Barc Category: Agile, Agile Executive, Blog 0 comments Tags: agile, scrum, teams

The Agile Alliance attracts over 2,300 project managers, consultants, and what are called ‘Agile Coaches’ from all over the world, who present over 200 presentations on how to fix troubled projects just like mine.