Integral Agile Blog

July 1st, 2016

The Rise of Zombie Scrum

We got out by the skin of our teeth, I tell you! Crawling through vents, hiding behind Scrum Boards and pelleting them with post-its and whiteboard markers. But we got out in time, and we’re here to warn you. Because they are here, and their number is growing rapidly. Mindless, drooling herds of developers, testers, designers and others moaning ‘chaaaange’ and shambling around the building to all sorts of brainless Scrum-activities.
We (Christiaan Verwijs and Johannes Schartau) took it upon ourselves to write down what we have learned. By sharing this with you, we hope you will be able to identify teams that are starting to show symptoms and act accordingly. Let’s hope you don’t have to experience the horrors we did.
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May 11th, 2016

An Evening With Henri Lipmanowicz

It’s a warm evening in Naples, Florida. I’m walking alongside Henri Lipmanowicz and I’m struggling to come up with questions to ask him.
Now is my chance to make the most of the limited time I have with Henri. His work has had a big impact on my life and there are a million things I’d like to know. I just don’t have any idea where to start. I don't know what to ask Henri.
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September 23rd, 2015

Liberating Structures - The Tools for Host Leadership

Something happened to me at the start of the year that I would like to share with everybody. Up until that point, I had always felt like I should be much better in a particular aspect of my coaching practice. Wait, that’s not entirely accurate. I had felt like we as coaches should all be much better in a particular aspect of our coaching practice: group facilitation. Mind you, I’m not talking about facilitating any of the standard Scrum or Kanban meetings. I’m talking about everything around that. About inter-team conflict. About multi-team workshops. About department-wide get togethers to create new ideas. About company-wide change initiatives.
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April 30th, 2015

Twisted Team Thinking

In “The Feeling Good Handbook” David D. Burns lists ten forms of cognitive distortions which can lead to increasing pathology. If you are a coach, you might be familiar with them on the level of the individuum. But as we often focus more on the team level, it’s interesting to look at them from that particular point of view as well. These ways of thinking can undermine team morale and cause one or more of the following issues.
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March 31st, 2015

Agile Codependency

While directly or indirectly helping companies adopt or refine their agile approaches, I have noticed a tendency in many Agile Coaches which has the potential to turn into a subtle but destructive anti-pattern. Sadly, Agile Coaches still lack an official ethical guideline, and as a result many novices are unaware that they run into a distinct set of contradictions which can lead to an unhealthy codependency between themselves and their teams.
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February 26th, 2015

Don't Collapse

Openness is that feeling when you are giving your gift to the world even though it makes you vulnerable. It’s that delicious sensation right at the edge where excitement and fear mingle and there’s a real chance of failing and getting hurt. Collapsing on the other hand is the activity of giving up and deciding to close down. When you collapse you decide to stay where you are, to play it safe. Both opening and collapsing are tools which can be appropriate or inappropriate depending on the context. However, most people stay on the collapsing side a little too much and could benefit from a nice dose of opening every now and then.
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January 9th, 2015

An Integral Perspective on Feedback

There seems to be something fundamentally wrong with the way we give and receive feedback in organizations. I have personally experienced feedback meetings as deeply dehumanizing, objectifying, and counterproductive. At best, they were useless and a waste of time. To see if this was true for others as well I conducted a survey of participants of the Integral Agile Wizardry seminar. Sadly, all my suspicions were proven to be correct.
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December 22nd, 2014

Integral Agile Wizardry

December 1st, 2014, marked the beginning of the first Integral Agile Wizardry seminar by Lyssa Adkins, Michael Spayd and Michael Hamman of the Agile Coaching Institute. I’ve been back to my old world for two weeks now and I am still trying to wrap my mind around what happened at that seminar in Petaluma, California.
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November 2nd, 2014

A Holarchy of Visions

Working in a truly agile environment is different from traditional models in almost every aspect. One of the most fundamental changes is the one that happens to the old notion: “We do what the CEO tells us to do”. Traditionally, strategy is determined at the very top of the hierarchy and then presented to employees. Companies which let agile move beyond the “we let some of our IT guys do Scrum” approach are faced with drastic new problems. Give up control? Yes. But to what extent? Exercise too much control and we’re back to where we started from. Too little control and instead of a company striving for goals we have a heap of loosely associated people who happen to be in the same building. But we can have alignment and freedom. And we’ll use visions to achieve this.
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October 12th, 2014

Introduction to Integral Agile

These are amazing times we live in. We are facing a flurry of contradicting ideas and differing perspectives each day like never before. And there is no sign of things slowing down anytime soon. This is true for the world at large, but especially for people working in agile environments at the cusp of technological advancement...
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