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Zachariah Young - Sun, 06/19/2016 - 09:00
Categories: Blogs

Python: Regex – matching foreign characters/unicode letters

Mark Needham - Sat, 06/18/2016 - 09:38

I’ve been back in the land of screen scrapping this week extracting data from the Game of Thrones wiki and needed to write a regular expression to pull out characters and actors.

Here are some examples of the format of the data:

Peter Dinklage as Tyrion Lannister
Daniel Naprous as Oznak zo Pahl(credited as Stunt Performer)
Filip Lozić as Young Nobleman
Morgan C. Jones as a Braavosi captain
Adewale Akinnuoye-Agbaje as Malko

So the pattern is:

<actor> as <character>

optionally followed by some other text that we’re not interested in.

The output I want to get is:

Peter Dinklage, Tyrion Lannister
Daniel Naprous, Oznak zo Pahl
Filip Lozić, Young Nobleman
Morgan C. Jones, a Braavosi captain
Adewale Akinnuoye-Agbaje, Malko

I started using the ‘split’ command on the word ‘as’ but that broke down when I realised some of the characters had the letters ‘as’ in the middle of their name. So regex it is!

This was my first attempt:

import re
strings = [
    "Peter Dinklage as Tyrion Lannister",
    "Filip Lozić as Young Nobleman",
    "Daniel Naprous as Oznak zo Pahl(credited as Stunt Performer)",
    "Morgan C. Jones as a Braavosi captain",
    "Adewale Akinnuoye-Agbaje as Malko"
regex = "([A-Za-z\-'\. ]*) as ([A-Za-z\-'\. ]*)"
for string in strings:
    print string
    match = re.match( regex, string)
    if match is not None:
        print match.groups()
        print "FAIL"
	print ""
Peter Dinklage as Tyrion Lannister
('Peter Dinklage', 'Tyrion Lannister')
Filip Lozić as Young Nobleman
Daniel Naprous as Oznak zo Pahl(credited as Stunt Performer)
('Daniel Naprous', 'Oznak zo Pahl')
Morgan C. Jones as a Braavosi captain
('Morgan C. Jones', 'a Braavosi captain')
Adewale Akinnuoye-Agbaje as Malko
('Adewale Akinnuoye-Agbaje', 'Malko')

It works for 4 of the 5 scenarios but now for Filip Lozić. The ‘ć’ character causes the issue so we need to be able to match foreign characters which the current charset I defined in the regex doesn’t capture.

I came across this Stack Overflow post which said that in some regex libraries you can use ‘\p{L}’ to match all letters. I gave that a try:

regex = "([\p{L}\-'\. ]*) as ([\p{L}\-'\. ]*)"

And then re-ran the script:

Peter Dinklage as Tyrion Lannister
Daniel Naprous as Oznak zo Pahl(credited as Stunt Performer)
Filip Lozić as Young Nobleman
Morgan C. Jones as a Braavosi captain
Adewale Akinnuoye-Agbaje as Malko

Hmmm, not sure if I did it wrong or if that isn’t available in Python. I’ll assume the latter but feel free to correct me in the comments and I’ll update the post.

I went search again and found this post which suggested another approach:

You can construct a new character class:


instead of \w. Translated into English, it means “Any character that is not a non-alphanumeric character ([^\W] is the same as \w), but that is also not a digit and not an underscore”.

Let’s try plugging that in:

regex = "([A-Za-z\-'\.^\W\d_ ]*) as ([A-Za-z\-'\.^\W\d_ ]*)"
Peter Dinklage as Tyrion Lannister
('Peter Dinklage', 'Tyrion Lannister')
Daniel Naprous as Oznak zo Pahl(credited as Stunt Performer)
('Daniel Naprous as Oznak zo Pahl(credited', 'Stunt Performer)')
Filip Lozić as Young Nobleman
('Filip Lozi\xc4\x87', 'Young Nobleman')
Morgan C. Jones as a Braavosi captain
('Morgan C. Jones', 'a Braavosi captain')
Adewale Akinnuoye-Agbaje as Malko
('Adewale Akinnuoye-Agbaje', 'Malko')

So that’s fixed Filip but now Daniel Naprous is being incorrectly parsed.

For Attempt #4 I decided to try excluding what I don’t want instead:

regex = "([^0-9\(]*) as ([^0-9\(]*)"
Peter Dinklage as Tyrion Lannister
('Peter Dinklage', 'Tyrion Lannister')
Daniel Naprous as Oznak zo Pahl(credited as Stunt Performer)
('Daniel Naprous', 'Oznak zo Pahl')
Filip Lozić as Young Nobleman
('Filip Lozi\xc4\x87', 'Young Nobleman')
Morgan C. Jones as a Braavosi captain
('Morgan C. Jones', 'a Braavosi captain')
Adewale Akinnuoye-Agbaje as Malko
('Adewale Akinnuoye-Agbaje', 'Malko')

That does the job but has exposed my lack of regex skillz. If you know a better way let me know in the comments.

Categories: Blogs

Stop Calling It Theft: Thoughts on TheDAO

Radyology - Ben Rady - Sat, 06/18/2016 - 01:41
Like many people involved in Ethereum, my attention has been thoroughly captured by the recent events surrounding TheDAO. As an Ethereum miner, I have a little stake in this game. The reentrancy vulnerability found in TheDAO smart contract has resulted... Ben Rady
Categories: Blogs

Filtering objects to Optionals

Xebia Blog - Fri, 06/17/2016 - 17:36
A while ago I stumbled upon a Blog post by Natascha the Robot about Configuring a Constant Using Shorthand Argument Names in Swift. Which by itself is a great post, but I was most inspired by the Then library mentioned at the end of her post. Seeing how such a small amount of code could change the way we configure
Categories: Companies

Why Comparing Different Approaches Is Good

NetObjectives - Fri, 06/17/2016 - 16:59
Early in school, we all learned to compare and contrast things and ideas. It is what helps us learn and to understand and to perform better. So why do some software consultants seem to think it is wrong to compare and contrast approaches to software development? Why should we expected to be supportive of them all? They are not all equally good or appropriate. This is especially true of Lean and...

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Categories: Companies

Uke the World

Portia Tung - Selfish Programming - Fri, 06/17/2016 - 13:44

The Lost and Foundlings

“Without music, life would be a mistake” – Nietzsche

When I was little, I was taken to Yamaha piano classes every Saturday. I remember sitting between two mini world talents as I banged at the keys, vaguely wondering how the other children managed to translate those tadpole scribbles into beautiful tunes.

Then one auspicious day, my mum asked, “Would you like to stop going to piano classes?” To which I replied, “Yes!” And that was one of my earliest memories of the sweet taste of liberation. And many other things besides.

The conclusion from this experience was stored in perpetuity in my brain’s computer. Because my computer was efficient, it readily replayed its recorded message at every opportunity: “I am not musically talented. I will never play a musical instrument. I cannot sing…”

… Until the day came when I became a parent and learned that, as a parent,”You can only give what you have”. Suddenly, from across the misty distance of time and space, I heard the familiar sound of banging keys and I was paralysed with fear. Of not being good enough. And this time, my child’s fate is at stake.

Then somewhere from deep within me, amidst my chilling and profound sense of loss, a gentle and defiant voice spoke up. “Wouldn’t it be nice to make my own music? To sing and play with all my heart?”

Without knowing how or when that wish would come true, the most important thing had happened, a pre-requisite for all wishes before they can come true: my heart had made a wish.

Within days, my friend Vira offered me the gift of music in the form of the ukulele so that I could share music with my little girl. And what better way to celebrate life than by sharing the gift of song?

Play for Your Life

I hope you’ll be able to join our uke jam keynote (our uke troupe’s called The Lost and Foundlings) at BCS SPA on Tuesday, 28 June where we’ll be supported by The Fleas who’ll bring along ukuleles so you, too, can have a go. No previous experience required, just the willingness to play!

And if you already play an instrument, do bring it to the conference with you that day because uke jams sound even better with all sorts of different instruments!

And if you’ve always had a longing to learn to play the uke and you fancy buying one to bring along, then a decent starter uke costs around £20-£30 (we recommend Kala or Mahalo available from Amazon and good music shops). Let the music play!

Categories: Blogs

Signing Bonuses: Indentured Servitude of the Engineering World

Recently I was having lunch with several friends, two of who worked for a certain Fortune 500 company. These two in particular were discussing a lot of negative situations at their current company and I asked the obvious question… “Why don’t you just leave?” I mean right now in my opinion it is definitely a software engineer’s market. Off hand I know of at least a dozen companies with the number of open positions in the double digits that they’re desperately seeking to fill. And while I know this is anecdotal, my inbox get a ridiculous amount of emails per day from recruiters who aren’t just asking me if I’d be interested, they’re practically begging me to please forward them resumes of anyone I know who might be a good fit. So with such booming opportunities, why put up with shitty behavior of an employer?

The answers I got were interesting. While one guy had the common excuse I see where they believe their employer, despite being crummy, is the only well paying opportunity available the other gentlemen told me something I was rather surprised to hear. When he joined he was given a $10,000 signing bonus. He happily used this to pay for a bunch of of home improvements. But this wasn’t just free money, it came with some strings attached. I might have the details muddy but from what I heard the sum had to be returned in full (even including the amount that got taxed out of the original $10,000) if the employee terminates employment with the employer within 2 years. Basically what it comes down to is he has to pay $10,000 to leave and even if someone hadn’t spent the money they still need to scrap up the amount taxed on it in order to leave. What!?

I’ve heard of signing bonuses all the time and a lot of companies offer some pretty sweet stock options to prospective employees with the typical constraints (e.g. they take 3 years to vest fully) but this is the first time I heard of a signing bonus that has to be returned if the employee doesn’t complete two full years of employment. With so many of the expenses people have from mortgages to car payments to child care scraping up that amount is no small task and might even be impossible. As with my friend here he’s pretty much stuck with an employer he doesn’t like for the next year because there’s no other option available to him aside from taking out a loan to pay the signing bonus back. That’s no signing bonus… that’s indentured servitude.

The point to really ponder when you’re mulling over several prospective job offers is to understand that anything that is a bonus for signing on is just that, a bonus. Never take a job based on any signing bonus they offer. Stock options are great but don’t accept them in lieu of the full market value for your abilities. And if any company comes along with a signing bonus of a lump sum be sure you read the fine print. If it comes with a constraint where you must pay it back run straight for the hills and make sure you let them know that you won’t work for indentured servitude. Don’t sell yourself short! There’s tons of software engineering jobs out there and a ton of them that don’t come with such ridiculous, almost outright vindictive strings attached!

Categories: Blogs

Video Review: Rethinking Education, David Sabine

Learn more about transforming people, process and culture with the Real Agility Program

BERTEIG’s David Sabine presented “Rethinking Education” at the first ever TedX talk in Fort McMurray, Alberta in 2012!

“Rethinking Education” has received nearly 3000 views and offers an insightful perspective into the way youth are streamlined into either vocational or educational career paths, and the funding which supports curriculum development. He even addresses important issues such as gender bias. I like how David sees Agile Transformation as having a positive influence on change in our current educational model and how he invites a radical approach to a new way to think about education.

I absolutely love how he combines his background in music composition with his professional training as an Agile Coach at a time when his personal life was changing with the upcoming birth of his daughter. He says “What we need is a common understanding, for a collective effort, for a collective benefit. That is how collaboration will manifest in our social system.”

What an encouraging and inspiring presentation! Please watch the video and share your thoughts on how you would like to see our social education model change now for the future.

Learn more about our Scrum and Agile training sessions on WorldMindware.comPlease share!

The post Video Review: Rethinking Education, David Sabine appeared first on Agile Advice.

Categories: Blogs

Scrum Masters: Are you impacted by the First Impediment?

Scrum Breakfast - Thu, 06/16/2016 - 15:08
I just had a conversation with a graduate of my last Certified Scrum Product Owner class.

  • How is it going with Scrum?
  • Well, good, I suppose.
  • That sounds a bit hesitant...
  • Well, I'm called a Product Owner, but my job description is completely different, so I can't really make things happen the way I should
It turns out that her job description was missing some key aspects of Product Ownership, like the ability to make decisions.
I suspect this issue is widespread. People say were are going to do Scrum, because it will enable us to do many wonderful things. Then they fail before they start, by not even getting the basics right. Does this sound like your organization? 
Scrum Masters, Product Owners, is this your First Impediment? Do you have the full competency that your role should have? Step one, let's make the problem visible! What are you expected to do in Scrum that you are not allowed to do in real in your company?

Categories: Blogs

Connect with VersionOne at Agile2016

Agile Management Blog - VersionOne - Thu, 06/16/2016 - 14:30

Connect with VersionOne at Agile2016

Dates: July 25 – 29
Location: Hyatt Regency, Atlanta, GA
Event URL:

VersionOne is proud to be a title sponsor of Agile2016. The annual Agile Conference is always exciting for us, but this year we are especially excited because Agile2016 is being held in our hometown, Atlanta!

The VersionOne Diner

If you’re planning to attend the 2016 Agile Show in Atlanta, be sure to stop by the VersionOne Diner—our booth—and get All You Can Eat Strategy, Development and Delivery. This is a great opportunity to learn about the VersionOne Enterprise Agile Platform and how VersionOne has been serving up 100% genuine agile since 2002. Also stop by the VersionOne booth to register for our daily raffle. There will be a new winner each day.

VersionOne Speakers

Be sure to check out these presentations from VersionOne team members:

Career Growth, Recognition, and Continuous Learning for

Software Craftspeople
Steve Ropa
Tuesday, July 26 – 10:45 am – 12:00 pm

In this presentation Steve Ropa will share a Software Craftsman approach, based on his experience of many years and many development organizations, to help further the learning and career development for your team. 

Intentional Learning – Map a Successful Strategy
Claire Moss
Wednesday, July 27 – 2:00 pm – 3: 15 pm

In this workshop inspired by Dan North and Chris Matt’s work in skills mapping, you will chart your own learning adventure based on where you are now, and where you want to be in the future.

A Hands-On Introduction to Exploratory Testing
Claire Moss
Thursday, July 28 – 9:00 am – 10:15 am

In this hands-on introduction to Exploratory Testing, attendees will bring a laptop, pair with a buddy, hear a little theory on test design, open a real application, and get to testing.

Purpose Driven Teams
Matt Badgley
Thursday, July 28 – 3:45 pm – 5:00 pm

This session will explore the science and power of purpose—how purpose enables engagement, improves team morale, and can improve performance. Matt Badgley will share some simple techniques that leaders and team members can use to help clarify their purpose.

Agile2016 Overview

Hosted by the Agile Alliance, the Agile2016 conference is one of the best opportunities to meet fellow agile practitioners, from all disciplines, sharing their knowledge, experience, and passion about agile. More than 2,500 agile practitioners from 40 countries are expected to attend this year’s conference which includes over 200 sessions on agile related topics spanning 18 tracks including: Leadership, DevOps, Enterprise Agile, Government, and more.

Agile2016 attendees will walk away with practical and pragmatic strategies and tactics for furthering agile in their teams and organizations.

Connect with VersionOne at Agile2016

We look forward to welcoming you to our hometown, Atlanta!

The post Connect with VersionOne at Agile2016 appeared first on The Agile Management Blog.

Categories: Companies

What do Vegetarians and Agilists have in common?

Leading Agile - Mike Cottmeyer - Thu, 06/16/2016 - 13:15

What do some vegetarians and some agilists have in common? It sounds like the setup of a bad joke, doesn’t it?  Actually, some believe their practice is best and you are wrong for doing things differently.  Well, at least that’s my first hand experience.

Over the weekend, I overheard a conversation while we were dining out.

So-and-so isn’t a real vegetarian. She eats fish.

It was a little deja vu to me.  Just days earlier I overheard a similar conversation.

So-and-so isn’t really doing Scrum.  They use a Product Owner team.

So, what’s our deal?  Should I stop eavesdropping on people or should we address why we get so protective of what we think of as a textbook example of something?  Who’s keeping score?  There seems to be a fear the vegetarian police or the Scrum police are going to be knocking on doors any day, demanding people stop saying they are vegetarians or agilists.  Sure, I get it. You’re disciplined. You’re passionate about being a vegetarian or passionate about Scrum. But why do we have to be police and not ambassadors?


A vegetarian diet is derived from plants, with or without eggs or dairy. Varieties include: Ovo, Lacto, Ovo-lacto, Veganism, Raw veganism, Fruitarianism,…  Those with diets containing fish or poultry may define meat only as flesh from a mammal and may still identify with vegetarianism.  Vegetarianism can be adopted for different reasons, including objection to eating meat out of respect for critters.  Other reasons include religion, health-related, it looks cool, can’t afford it, or plain old personal preference.  At the end of the day, to each his or her own.


An agilist believes in a set of values and principles (originally for software development) in which requirements and solutions evolve through collaboration between members of cross-functional teams. These teams pull work from a prioritized backlog and provide a demonstrable product increment on a regular interval. It promotes value focused adaptive planning, evolutionary development, early delivery, and continuous improvement, and it encourages rapid and flexible response to change. Agile methods can be adopted for different reasons, including the solution is not yet fully defined, our organization says we’re going to follow the practices, we accept the mindset, or it looks cool.  In the end, the framework or methodology really doesn’t matter


Before you go off and point your finger at someone and claim they are not a real vegetarian or agilist, stop and think about why they are doing either.  In the end, why are you doing it?  Often, I see the similarities will outway the differences. I see many wanting to benefit from a practice but then have to operate within a constraint. I think that’s what prevents many of us from being extremists and I’m quite happy with that.  I actually like the diversity.

Perhaps there should be a 13th principal added to the manifesto.

13.  Acceptance of similarities of practices over judgement of differences

As noted earlier, we need a lot fewer police and a lot more ambassadors.

The post What do Vegetarians and Agilists have in common? appeared first on LeadingAgile.

Categories: Blogs

8 hours a day of Scrum Master stuff ?

Growing Agile - Thu, 06/16/2016 - 13:02
When we coach teams new to agile we inevitable get asked how many teams a Scrum Master should have. We then use the quote “A good Scrum Master can have two teams, a great Scrum Master will only have one team.”. This is met with blank stares. The Scrum Master role is so different to […]
Categories: Companies

The Purpose Alignment Model

Xebia Blog - Thu, 06/16/2016 - 10:45
When scaling agile / Scrum, we invariable run into the alignment vs autonomy problem. In short: you cannot have autonomous self directing teams if they have no clue in what direction they should go, or even shorter: Alignment breeds autonomy. But how do we create alignment? and what tools can we use to quickly evaluate
Categories: Companies

Scrum Day Europe, Amsterdam, Netherlands, July 7 2016

Scrum Expert - Thu, 06/16/2016 - 10:00
Scrum Day Europe is a one-day conference dedicated to Scrum. The 2016 edition of this conference dedicated to Agile project management and Scrum will take place in Amsterdam and will features local and international expert speakers. This is a main event for all European Scrum practitioners. In the agenda of Scrum Day Europe you can find topics like “Scrum Turns 21, what is next for Scrum for the next 20 years”, “When Agile is not enough, responsiveness to the rescue”, “The Lean Startup powerpack, extending the model for easy practical use”, “Saying goodbye to command and control for good: how completely hierarchy-free companies can take Scrum to the next level”, “A retrospective on Leading Agile Transformations”, “Acceptance test driven development @ Scale”, “The systemic Scrum Master”, “Implementing Agile for embedded software development in Lely”, “Serious Play on the Path to Agility”, “Using Lean UX to build the right things”, “Product Owner Value Game” or “Agile Myth Busters”. Web site: Location for the Scrum Day Europe conference: Pakhuis de Zwijger, Piet Heinkade 179, 1019 HC, Amsterdam, Netherlands
Categories: Communities

Links for 2016-06-14 []

Zachariah Young - Wed, 06/15/2016 - 09:00
Categories: Blogs

Agile Retrospectives workshop op 21 juni

Ben Linders - Wed, 06/15/2016 - 07:44

UtrechtVoor de workshop Valuable Agile Retrospectives in Utrecht op 21 juni zijn nog plaatsen beschikbaar. Meld je nu aan voor deze succesvolle workshop. Elke 2e en volgende collega ontvangt 25% korting bij gelijktijdig aanmelden.

Retrospectives helpen je om Agile Practices effectief toe te passen en je teams continu te verbeteren. Scrum masters en Agile coaches halen met behulp van een toolbox met retrospective oefeningen meer uit teams, en zorgen voor blije medewerkers.


Retrospectives Exercises Toolbox - Design your own valuable Retrospectives

In deze workshop leer je de waarom, wat en hoe van retrospectives en oefen je in teams met diverse manieren om retrospectives uit te voeren in Scrum, Kanban of SAFe, Je gebruikt het boek Getting Value out of Agile Retrospectives / Waardevolle Agile Retrospectives. Iedere deelnemer ontvangt een persoonlijk exemplaar van dit Engelstalig of Nederlandstalige ebook.

De workshop wordt in het Engels gegeven zodat professionals die geen Nederlands spreken ook deel kunnen nemen. Als alle deelnemers Nederlands spreken geef ik de workshop uiteraard in het Nederlands :-).

Schrijf je nu in voor deze succesvolle workshop. Aanmelden.

Deze workshop wordt ook gegeven in Athene en Kladno (bij Praag). Ik geef ook interne maatwerk workshops. Interesse? Neem dan contact met mij op!

 +31 6 2901 3863
Ben Linders
Ben Linders Advies
Icons-mini-icon_home Tilburg, The Netherlands

Categories: Blogs

The Retro Game

Learn more about transforming people, process and culture with the Real Agility ProgramThe Hunt for Better Retrospectives

The rumours had started to spread, retrospectives at our organization were flat, stale and stuck in a rut. The prevailing thought was that this was stalling the pace of continuous improvement across our teams. In truth, I wasn’t sure if this was at all true, it’s a complex problem that has many possible contributing factors. Here are just some possible alternative or co-contributing causes: how the teams are organized, the level of safety, mechanisms to deal with impediments across the organization, cultural issues, levels of autonomy and engagement, competence & ability and so on…

Despite this, it didn’t hurt to have a look for some inspiration on good retrospectives. I really liked Gitte Klitgaard’s talk called Retrospectives are Boring and Useless – Or are They? In particular the parts around preparing and establishing safety.

On the theme of safety, I thought we could try to go as far as having fun; we’d already had lots of success with the getKanban game (oh Carlos you devil!). Where it all tied together for me, was being inspired by the great question-based approach from that I’d had a chance to preview at Spark.

If I could create a game with the right prepared questions, we could establish safety, the right dialogue and maybe even have some fun.

The Retro Game

This is a question-based game that I created that you could use to conduct your next retro for teams of up to 10 people. The rules of the game are fairly simple and you could play through a round or two in about 1 to 2 hours depending on team size and sprint duration. Prep time for the facilitator is about 2-4 hours.


Prepping to play the game

You, as facilitator, will need to prepare for 3 types of questions that are thought of ahead of time and printed (or written) on the back of card-stock paper cards.

One question per card. Each question type has its unique colour card. About 8 questions per category is more than enough to play this game.

The 3 types of questions are:

In the Moment – These are questions that are currently on the mind of the team. These could be generated by simply connecting with each team member ahead of time and asking, “if you could only talk about one or two things this retro, what would it be?” If for example they responded “I want to talk about keeping our momentum”, you could create a question like “what would it take to keep our momentum going?”

Pulse Check – These are questions that are focused on people and engagement. Sometimes you would see similar questions on employee satisfaction surveys. An example question in this category could be “What tools and resources do we need to continue to be successful?”

Dreams and Worries – This is a longer-term view of the goals of the team. If the team has had any type of Lift Off or chartering exercise in the past, these would be questions connected to any goals and potential risks that have been previously identified. For example if one of a team’s goal is to ship product updates every 2 weeks, a question could be “What should we do next to get closer to shipping every 2 weeks?”

On the face-up side of the card it should indicate the question type as well as have room to write down any insights and actions.

You will also need:

  • To print out the game board
  • To print out the rule card
  • Bring a 6-sided dice
Playing the Game

Players sit on the floor or at a table around the game board. The cards are in 3 piles, grouped by type, with the questions face down.


  • The person with the furthest birthday goes first.
  • It is their turn and they get to roll the dice.
  • They then choose a card from the pile based on the dice roll. A roll of 1 through 3 is an “In the Moment” card, 4 is a “Pulse Check” and 5 to 6 “Dreams & Worries”
  • They then read the card question on the card out loud and then pass the card to the person on the right.
    • The person on your right is the scribe, they will capture notes in the Insight and Actions boxes of the card for this round.
  • Once they have read the question, they have a chance to think and then answer the question out loud to the group. Nobody else gets to talk.
  • Once they’ve answered the question, others can provide their thoughts on the subject.
  • After 3 minutes, you may wish to move on to the next round.
  • At the end of each round the person whose turn it was chooses the person who listened and contributed to the discussion best. That person is given the card to keep.
  • The person to the left is given the dice and goes next.
Winning the Game
  • The game ends at 10 minutes prior to the end of the meeting.
  • At the end of the game, the person with the most cards wins!
  • The winner gets the bragging rights (and certificate) indicating they are the retrospective champion!
  • You should spend the last 10 minutes reflecting on the experience and organizing on the action items identified.
Concepts at Play


Context & Reflection – Preparation is key, particularly for the “In the Moment” section. The topics will be relevant and connect with what the team wants to talk about. Also when presented in the form of a question they will likely trigger reflection for all those present.

Sharing the Voice – Everyone gets a chance to speak and be heard without interruptions. The game element also incentivises quality participation.

Coverage of topic areas – The 3 question categories spread the coverage across multiple areas, not just the items in the moment. The probabilities are not however equal, for example there is a 50% chance of “In the Moment” being chosen in each turn.

Fun & Safety – The game element encourages play and friendlier exchanges. You are likely to have dialogue over debate.

Want to play the game?

I’d love to hear how this game worked out for you. I’ve included everything you need here to setup your own game. Let me know how it went and how it could be improved!

Retro Game – Game Board
Retro Game – Rules
Retro Game – Card Template
Retro Game – Champion Certificate

Martin aziz

Martin Aziz


Business vector designed by Freepik


Learn more about our Scrum and Agile training sessions on WorldMindware.comPlease share!

The post The Retro Game appeared first on Agile Advice.

Categories: Blogs

Adapting Change Management Models to Support Agile Transformation

BigVisible Solutions :: An Agile Company - Tue, 06/14/2016 - 20:45

In my last blog post, we explored some of the classic models and frameworks that have been used successfully in the past to deal with large organizational change initiatives, such as ADKAR and Kotter’s 8-step model. We also advocated that organizations who are undergoing Agile transformation use one of these classic change models to manage the change.

In this post we shine a light on the weaknesses of the traditional change models in the context of Agile transformation. The fundamental flaw in all of these models is that they emerged to address phase-based, sequential project management and delivery with all of its upfront planning, impractical governance constraints and long phases with little feedback and actual user input. In short, none of the traditional change management models are Agile because they were designed in a much stabler world than the one we live in today. For the purposes of this blog, what we mean by “Agile” or “an Agile mindset” can be summed up in five separate but interwoven dimensions:

  1. Iterative and Incremental
  2. Transparency
  3. Collaboration
  4. Rapid Feedback
  5. Empowerment

Now let’s imagine for a moment an organization that has successfully transformed its software organization to Agile, and has adopted and internalized these Agile values. (Please don’t be confused by the fact that we use the word “values” in this work a little differently than how that word was used in the Agile Manifesto, the work that originally inspired much of our thinking.) In this brave new world, the organization is able to release valuable working software in an almost continuous state and rapidly respond to changing conditions. As software is delivered faster than ever, new challenges emerge. Downstream from software delivery, new bottlenecks emerge in testing and deployment and upstream delays mount as software delivery waits for new requirements. The value of speeding up software delivery is lost if the rest of the value stream is still bound to stage-based, linear processes and a waterfall-like mentality. The solution is to apply the Agile principles and practices used in software development more broadly throughout the organization.

For this to happen, new stakeholders will need to begin the process of adopting an Agile mindset and practices. However traditionally trained change agents will likely not have the tool set that is needed to adaptively pivot the change program that they designed for software delivery teams to meet the emergent needs of these unanticipated stakeholders. The lack of the change agents’ ability to effectively adapt the change program limits the value that could otherwise be delivered and in some scenarios jeopardize the entire program.

The problem is, as I said above, traditional change management models were originally conceived to manage large batches of change sequentially over a long duration. However, in the same way that the world of work has been transformed by Agile to produce smaller increments of value more quickly and frequently, change management must also be adapted to work at the speed of Agile. In the example given above, traditional change agents cannot hope to effect a successful Agile transformation without transforming themselves to become Agile. Before they can help others undergo the necessary personal and interpersonal transformations that will ensure the longevity and success of the Agile organization, change management practices and indeed the traditional mindset guiding them must first become Agile. The place to start, then, is with the models themselves, though not any particular one.

This blog post looks into how we can make change management models more Iterative and Incremental. We will explore some of the other Agile concepts and how they can be brought into change management models in future blog posts.

Iterative and Incremental

To understand the benefit of combining iterative and incremental, we have to understand the constituents. Steven Thomas has an excellent blog post that compares the “iterative”, “incremental” and “iterative and incremental” processes using painting the Mona Lisa as an example.

Using an iterative approach you create a work (for example, the Mona Lisa) through a process of continuous elaboration: starting with a prototype, then a rough design, then a more detailed draft, and so forth, until the entire picture is completed. An incremental approach instead works on completing one section at a time (for example, the upper left corner of the Mona Lisa) before moving onto another section of the picture (for example, the upper middle section), before moving onto the next section, and the next until you complete the entire picture. The two approaches complement each other when combined. With the iterative and incremental approach, you would prototype the entire picture while also working to deliver a small increment of value. For example, you may need to sketch out the entire picture so you see how the parts work together (like setting up software architecture). But you can also focus on painting a complete increment of value so that your fans (i.e., customers) have something that they can put to use and appreciate quickly (e.g., a new product feature).

What is Iterative and Incremental Change Management?

How might change management shift to be more iterative and incremental? The iterative aspect would be laying down a rough framework for the change, with rough estimates of how long certain organizational shifts might take and that also acknowledge that people are dynamic creatures who change at individual paces and intensities. Traditional change management models, designed to riff off of waterfall processes, had big upfront plans that were simply rolled out, the assumption being that people would just change because they were told to. An Agile model would instead plot out a rough map of the transformation required for an Agile mindset to take root and flourish, with nearer-term goals more clearly defined that farther-term ones. In terms of increments of value, change agents should focus on delivering a single increment of valuable change. For example, each sprint may have a mindset theme, such as transparency, and the change agent(s) can focus on ways that the team can measurably and visibly improve transparency, for example through visible work boards. In this example, the change organization can outline the long-term goals of long-lasting, sustainable change at the individual, group (e.g., team, department) and enterprise levels while also demonstrating the ability to instantiate some Agile change at the individual and/or group level. The overall change roadmap could be projected to take a year, but only Q1’s goals would be decently detailed, with only the first month’s goals actually broken down into user stories.

A further example of how an organization might apply the concepts of iterative and incremental to their change management would be by using a backlog to track and prioritize change activities. We could be iterative by having a series of related change activities on a backlog oriented around some of the early aspects of ADKAR, such as awareness and desire, while later items on the backlog might be oriented around knowledge, ability and reinforcement. Likewise the concept of incremental could be used by going through a sequence of iterations of ADKAR for different parts of the organization. Maybe we would first iterate on an increment of change through the Northeast region, followed by a series of backlog items for an increment of change through the Europe region.

Iterative and Incremental-01

Two increments of change management iteration

Agile Change Patterns

The question still stands: how does the Agile team interface and interact and thus benefit from the change agent(s). I have seen two distinct patterns used with some success, namely Synchronized Agile Change Management and Embedded Agile Change Management.

Synchronized Agile Change Management

The first pattern I’ve observed, I would describe as Synchronized Agile Change Management. In this pattern, we create a separate team of change management specialists who operate like their own Scrum team and work off their own distinct backlog of change management activities, and their release plan is synchronized with the release plans of the set of Agile teams they support. The stories on their backlog would likely have relationships to specific user stories on the backlogs of each of the individual Scrum teams and during release planning we would ensure that the change management backlog is synchronized to the Scrum team backlogs. Essentially the change management team, being a downstream consumer of the work being produced by the Agile team, has to do their change management work often a sprint in arrears, before the software can be released to users. This pattern might be the easiest to use to start out, and it’s quite similar to the pattern that many organizations were using for QA in early attempts at scaled Agile. One criticism of this pattern is that it introduces a handoff from Scrum teams to a separate Change Management team, thus introducing a time lag from when the Scrum team does the work to when the work is “done done.” This could be introducing some waste in the system with the delay and handoff. In some organizations, however, due to having a scarce set of talented and credentialed change management professionals, this might be the only feasible option in the short term.

Embedded Agile Change Management

The second pattern I’ve observed I would describe as Embedded Agile Change Management. In this pattern, we strive for one truly cross-functional team, and we embed the necessary change management skills and disciplines directly into the Scrum team itself. At first it might be that we have a dedicated change management professional working on each Agile team, or less desirably they could be shared across teams, provided each team has a designated change management professional. Then longer term we might start cross-training Scrum team members in the different change management skills so that eventually the team is self-sufficient again (i.e., not relying on external stakeholders to deliver value). This is a more desirable pattern because it empowers the Scrum team with all the necessary change management skills and it does not introduce any further handoffs downstream allowing the team to strive towards delivering truly shippable value at the end of the iteration. However this is a future state that will probably take much higher degree of investment and time to achieve.


Traditional change management frameworks were set up to be long-running, sequential processes to deal with large batches of change. Generally speaking the traditional Scrum team does not have any formal change management skills directly on the team. When organizations successfully transform to Agile, they will need to adapt these change management models to make them as Agile as their newly adopted Agile frameworks so that the organization can successfully manage the continuous flow of valuable changes that they are introducing into their environments and ecosystems. As we continue to improve our understanding and implementation of Agile change management, we will need to figure out how to provision Agile teams with the requisite change management skills either by integrating the existing change management professionals into the Agile flow of work, or by directly embedding those change management professionals onto the Agile teams.


This blog post focused on rethinking traditional change management to be iterative and incremental. This leaves other Agile values like transparency, collaboration, rapid feedback and empowerment. To learn more about these Agile values and about Agile change management in general, including proven practices SolutionsIQ consultants use in the field, join Dan Fuller for our upcoming webinar “Leading Agile Change: Proven Change Management Approaches for Agile Transformation”.

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Categories: Companies

Article Review: Sometimes Waterfall is Needed to Become Agile, Scott Granieri

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I like reading success stories. In fact, I wish there were more of them in the agile literature because a success story is “evidence” of doing something that works and it is not just an abstract idea or concept with potential. That’s one of the reasons I like Scott Granieri’s article featured on entitled, “Sometimes it just may take a waterfall to go agile.” In this article, Granieri describes a situation occurring at a corporate level to create software for a federal customer. He presents the background, the problem, the solution, the results and the lessons learned. I find this article to be well-written, thorough and engaging.

Here is an excerpt from his conclusion:

“The solution for creating a successful environment for Agile adoption lies within one of the principal tenets of the methodology itself: Inspect and adapt.” He also quotes Ken Schwaber, co-founder of Scrum, who Mishkin Berteig trained with more than a decade ago. But that can be something for you to discover when you read the article.


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Categories: Blogs

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