July 28|NYC: Jeff Sutherland at Credit Suisse

On Thursday, July 28th of 2016, there was a Americas Architecture Forum at Credit Suisse in NYC, with participation of Jeff Sutherland – the co-creator of Agile Manifesto and co-founder of Scrum and Co-author of The Scrum Guide.

Below, are some additional artifacts that are available to everyone:

…and Kodak moments from the session:

Credit_Suisse_5 Credit_Suisse_3Credit_Suisse_4 Credit_Suisse_2 Credit_Suisse_1 Credit_Suisse_6 Credit_Suisse_7

July 7-8: Certified Scrum Product Owner Course with ScrumInc

On July 7th and 8th, in New York, there was Certified Scrum Product Owner Course delivered by two co-trainers:  Avi Schenier, representing Jeff Sutherland’s company ScrumInc  and Robin Dymon, CST from Innovel.


The class (size of about two scrum teams) was engaged in heated discussions, practical exercises and games.   I had the honor of attending and participating in the course and was able to make a series of observations.  Below, is the list of points that either very strongly resonated with me because they are already in-line with my personal views or are going to be leveraged to  enrich my personal training methods and coaching techniques:

  • The Scrum Guide: Scrum Values (courage, commitment, focus, respect, openness) – the latest, very important Scrum Guide amendment
  • Management-Leadership: emphasis on management acting in Servant-Leadership, not Command-Control capacity.  Exposing  most common problems with mid- and first-line management
  • Finding a good Product Owner: common challenges and good vs. bad candidates
  • Brooks law: fallacy beliefs about how to return late projects back on track
    • N(N -1)/2 formula
    • Communication saturation and “Heat of Commutation” gone wild
  • Story Mapping: purpose, techniques, strategic advantages
    • Story Slicing
    • Story dependency discovery
  • “What to build first?”: Value vs. Effort conversation
  • Sprint Interrupts and Emergency Procedures: how to deal with sub-optimal Scrum situations
    • Use of Buffers for Emerging Requirements and Bugs and Customer Feedback
    • Individual/Team Capacity Management
  • Scrumming the Scrum: continuous, relentless improvement of Scrum itself
  • Definition of Ready vs. Definition of Done: importance of understanding and agreeing to what is being delivered (and what is not!)
  • Hardy-Weinberg Principle of task switching impact on productivity and Throughput: a great practical in-class game
  • “Team Happiness is a Leading Indicator of Performance”
    • Measuring Individual/Team Happiness Factor vs. Velocity
    • Using Happiness Metrics as an Analytic Tool
  • Agile Strategy Objectives: Convergent & Divergent design vs. Process Predictability & Adaptability
  • Making story discovery real with Customer Personas
  • “Why is it important for Product Owner to understand principles of Story Sizing and Estimation?”
  • Importance of Business Value estimation in strategic planning (frequently forgotten by POs concept)
  • Creating Executive Action Team – provide support and remove impediments
  • Breaking the Iron Triangle of conventional Project Management
  • Release Management: burn-up/down charts as means of communicating status
  • Agile Metrics/Dashboards – why is it important for Senior Management to rely on empirical data produced by teams to measure progress
  • Three Common Approaches to Release Planning: Deadline-based, Regular-Departure, Value-Based

It was also a great experience to observe (and participate) in a daily scrum call, held by ScumInc folks during the lunch breaks.  Jeff Sutherland and his entire team practice what they preach: every day, around the same time (noon), they meet virtually, from multiple locations, to debrief each other on progress of their sprint-in-flight. Below, is the illustration (collage of different locations) of how they do it (from Avi’s laptop):

Daily Scrum With Jeff Sutherland and ScrumInc Teamdaily_scrum

My Kodak moment with Avi (center) and Robin (right) :avi_robin_gene


Additional Kodak moments from the course:cspo_7





July 7 – LeSS Talks: Framing a perspective: LeSS, Nexus, Scrum @ Scale, SAFe

This event was about comparing and contrasting the following four known scaled agile frameworks:

The discussion was very engaging but conclusive and many topics remained to-be-discussed in a future.

Below, please find the post by one of the participants and contributors at the meetup: Sevina Sultanova:

sel_sulScaled Agile comes in different flavors. Knowing the differences and similarities between various Agile frameworks can be largely beneficial, to put organizations at ease BEFORE they get underway with Agile Transformation, while with either of the frameworks: LeSS, Nexus, Scrum @ Scale, and SAFe.

Consider the recent LeSS in NYC meetup event in which attendees gathered around the virtual canvas projected onto the wall with goal of creating a perspective about the frameworks and comparing/contrasting them across multiple Agile dimensions (e.g., dependencies, optimization, overall structure, artifacts, ceremonies/events, teaming, ability to improve system design, roles/responsibilities, strengths, challenges, etc.).


The participants were provided with a lightweight reference for each framework in the form of virtual stickies to “move” around across the table, in order to understand the differences of the various scaling frameworks.

What I found particularly interesting was a discussion about the differences between SAFe and LeSS initiated by one of the attendees. Here are a few highlights from this discussion:




Solving dependencies Coordinates people People work with technology
Cost of dependencies Coordination is seemingly necessary waste Learning to work with technology is investment
Optimization Resource coordination Outcome optimization
Batch size [1]  Planning cycle 3 months. Big batch of work to reduce total cost. [1] Planning. Sprint-long iterations to enable fast feedback
Main control mechanism [2] Bureaucratic [2] Clan
Customer contact Intermediated Direct
Organizational maturity Possible with lower skill. Learning for the role “Natural” Development Higher skill needed. Learning what is needed. Skilled evolution,  leading learning

Take away: Embracing either framework is simple yet not easy as technology, competence, identities and culture need to develop.

As Edgar H. Schein says, “There will always be learning anxiety…Learning only happens when survival anxiety is greater than learning anxiety.”  [3] Like with any enduring change, learning requires time though there is sure to be some worry and resistance.


  1. [1] Stefan Thomke and Donald Reinertsen, Six myths of Product Development,” Harvard Business Review. May, 2012.
  2. [2] William G. Ouchi. A Conceptual Framework for the Design of Organizational Control Mechanisms. Management Science, Vol. 25, No. 9. (Sep., 1979), pp. 833-848.
  3. [3]  Edgar H. Schein, The Anxiety of Learning,” Harvard Business Review. March, 2002.

If you have any questions for Sevina, please contact her directly here