Nope. You don’t have to be in this meeting. The subjects that are being discussed are not your specialty. The project discussed is in a different business unit. And your team members can make decisions on this without having to consult you.

Regardless what your role is at work, you will undoubtedly be in at least a couple of meetings where you have nothing to contribute. You are in this meeting because somebody invited you. Maybe because you invited yourself.

Your role in this meeting is to:

“Look out for dependencies”
“Be informed about what is happening that might have impact on your team”
“This might impact your team later on”

And I love this one: because it involves somebody from your team and you should be informed.

As a manager you will reach a level where there is too much going on in your team to know everything. Your role changed when you were made responsible for the leadership of your team. It became about a different set of tasks and skills then what you where used to before. Your role as a manager and leader is to create an environment in which your team can successfully deliver value to your customer. That requires their own skill to be at the right level, clear vision and objectives and constraints on how to reach them.

This inadvertedly means you will have less time to understand what your team members do at a random moment in time. That might be scary at first because you know the work and with that the mistakes you and others made when you did it. But you have to let go.

As a manager and leader it is your taks to create an environment in which your team is aligned, engaged and effective. That also means moving the authority to make decisions to where the information is. Which is, most often, with them. Not you.

Teach them to understand what the best decision is to make and how to do that. And your job will change from chasing issues to solving problems.


What are you trying to accomplish?

“Managers are idiots”
“Eliminate SAFe is a lean principle”
“Scrum doesn’t work”
“Testing is waste”

Just some random stuff I’ve heard people say or saw them tweet. This post is not about starting a discussion about to what extend these tweets and comments are true. And yes I have an opinion here but that’s not my point.

What are you trying to accomplish? Are you trying to wake them up, piss them off or put them in listening mode?

Continue reading What are you trying to accomplish?

3 Tips to improving your Kanban stand up

Regardless of what method is used almost everybody working in an agile way agrees that having a regular stand up brings great value. It gives you as a team the chance to make a plan for the day. What will we work on, what will we finish, what are we stuck on? Whether it’s Scrum, XP, or Kanban this is one of the first practices teams implement after setting up a board.

In a lot of organizations I see stand ups being done in the same way regardless of what method / framework the team uses. More often than not this leads to stale or ineffective stand ups. This post is how you can make your Kanban stand up more effective with 3 easy steps.

  1. Ask the right questions
  2. Focus on completion
  3. Manage the work, not the worker

Continue reading 3 Tips to improving your Kanban stand up

Intera(ttra)ctive presentations

If keeping someone’s attention in a lecture was business, it would have an 80% failure rate.” – dr. John Medina

Whether you’re a seasoned presenter/trainer or just every now and than presenting something to your colleagues, you will know that one of the hardest things about giving a presentation is keeping your audience’s attention. Although serving them a lot of coffee and random shouting might work it will not necessarily get them to focus on your presentation.

jasper - boring

What if I told you that you can tell the same story and even use the same pictures and text but they will be received even better if you draw them yourself?

Continue reading Intera(ttra)ctive presentations

Lost in translation

For a little while now I’m encountering an issue and I hope with this post to get some perspectives and tips from fellow non native English speakers.

Since most of the stuff written about for instance Kanban, Scrum or other related subjects are in English it feels natural for me to not translate some words or expressions but use the “common” English term when in conversation with like minded people. This is mostly because I can’t really find a good translation for the word in Dutch. What I’m finding, and I doubt this is specific for the Dutch language, is that some words don’t translate very well. They just get a very subtle different meaning from the original English word.

Unfortunately in some situations it is just not possible to not translate the word. For instance: translated texts (duh), quotes or workshops with people that are very new to that particular scene. The issue I’m having is that I don’t really see the difference in meaning when translated, just because I have the English word in mind. Other people don’t so they will debate whether the word I’m using is the correct one. It turns into a semantics discussion very fast.

I would really appreciate tips and/or experiences from people who have had this issue, have translated texts or had their text translated.

Lean Kanban Netherlands 2012 is almost here!

A little while ago I received the good news: an acceptance to speak at Lean Kanban Netherlands on the 25 and 26th of October. This event will take place for the first time and is looking very promising. An amazing line-up of speakers and a great venue.

I will not be speaking alone. Together with Sarah Reeder and we are verymuch looking forward to an interactive session. We will talk about why we believe the Kanban principle “Encourage Acts of Leadership at all levels of the organization” is the key to sustainable change. With examples of real life teams supported by research from the change management field we will elaborate on:

• That sustainable change is achieved on a different level than most methodologies act on
• Why we think a organically grown (viral spread) approach will trump a big bang implementation
• Why change shouldn’t be managed and consulting/coaching to a predetermined outcome is impossible

If you are thinking about going and would like to pay less: contact me (via mail or twitter) or any other speaker. We haz discounts 😉

If you are not thinking about going: you should. This is the place to be when it comes to Lean and Kanban in the Benelux!

Hope to see you there!

Conferences, conferences and more conferences!!!

Summer holidays are almost over and that means that there are a lot of conferences coming up!

I’m very excited to have the chance to share, attend, learn and meet a lot of old friends and new people. So if you are near one of these or can find any excuse to join, please don’t miss that chance as the programs look very promising!

Continue reading Conferences, conferences and more conferences!!!