Tag Archives: work smart

New Whitebook article (Dutch) – Integratie maar dan lean

lean integrationRecently my latest Whitebook was published, called ‘Integratie maar dan lean‘. The article focusses on solid tips to move your integration practise to a more lean version.

It’s in Dutch. International readers can use Google Translate. An English translation can be provided on request. Please leave a comment with your email. Have your integration lean 😉

Scrum guide mind map

Just found out I forgot to publish the Mind Map I used while studying for my scrum master certification. The mind map is based on the scrum guide. Download the scrum guide mind map pdf.

Scrum Team

  • Product owner: Responsable for maximizing the value of the product. She manages the Product Backlog.
  • Development Team: Does the work to deliver the releasable increment. The team is self-organizing and because of that needs to be cross-functional. It’s size shoud be somewhere beteen 3 and 9.
  • Scrum master: A servant leader who makes sure scrum is understood and enacted.

Scrum Events

  • Sprint: Time-box (month) to create the useable, potential releasable product ‘Increment’. Can be cancelled only by the Product Owner
  • Sprint Planning Meeting: Or actually a part focussing on the What and part on the How. On the what side focus on Forecast functionality based on the Product Backlog, Latest Increment, Projected capacity of the Development Team and Past performance of the Development Team. The How boils down to the so called Sprint Backlog.
  • Daily scrum: is performed by the Development team and answers 4 questions in 15 minutes: What has been accomplished? What will be done next? What obstacles are in the way? And syncs activities and plan for next 24 hours.
  • Sprint Review: Held to inspect the increment and adapt the Product Backlog. Time-boxed at 4 hours.
  • Sprint Retrospective: Where the Scrum Team inspect itself on people, relations, processes and tools. Besides that it plans for improvements (adapt). Time-boxed at 4 hours.

Scrum Artifacts

  • Product Backlog: with description, order/priority and estimate. Maintained by backlog grooming.
  • Sprint Backlog: Monitor sprint progress on the (total) work remaining. Set of Backlog items selected for the Sprint + a plan for delivering the product Increment and realizing the Sprint Goal.
  • Increment: The sum of all the Product Backlog items completed during a Sprint and all previous Sprints.

Definition of done

The definition of done is used to have a shared understanding of “done”. You can find a good definition of done example on this blog.

8 step course for architects in human relations

One of the most important tips in succesfully implementing an enterprise or application architecture has always been to communicate it really well. Since human relations are at the heart of communication these should be studied and refelected on from time to time. In this post I wanted to share an opportunity on that for you; a very small course on human relations.

The first time I read about this course was in Terry Starbuckers blog post on One Of The Best Leadership Lessons Ever…..In Just 29 Words. It doesn’t take long to find out that this short course in human relations has spread over the internet. However it’s contents aren’t new or unique doesn’t make it less valuable or profound.

Short course in human relations

The 7 most important words:

“I don’t know, but I’ll find out.”

The 6 most important words:

“I admit I made a mistake.”

The 5 most important words:

“You did a great job!”

The 4 most important words:

“What do you think?”

The 3 most important words:

“If you please …”

The 2 most important words:

“Thank you.”

The 1 most important word:


The 1 least important word:


I like it because it is simple, human and humble. Maybe you’d like to print the slide from Terry Starbucker.

Another list: 8 qualities of remarkable people

Some employees are remarkable, possessing qualities that may not appear on performance appraisals but nonetheless make a major impact on performance. This won’t just shine through in their own performance, but also in that of their peers, department and organizations. Read about these 8 qualities in a post by Jeff Haden.

Scrum – additional resources

scrumThe basics of Scrum can be found in the Scrum Guide. Besides that there are loads of resources available on the subject. In this post I’ll share a few Scrum resources with you I recently discussed with my colleagues:

Besides these the online lean and Scrum resources library of one of my colleagues gives some other great hints. You might also like to read his selection of 10 from ‘Corps Business: The 30 Management Principles of the U.S. Marines’.

Dis-economies of centralization

While in a previous post I was arguing that we should handle industry models with care, because of very inconvenient side effects. This week I’ll blog in a similar way on centralization. Among the effects of centralization are often overlooked or neglected dis-economies of scale.

Dis-economies of scale

One of the main reasons for centralization is to gain economies of scale. Less known are the dis-economies of scale. I’ll give some examples in the paragraphs below.

The cost of communication between the central group and the rest of the organization. Although there are lots of tools that make communication easier. Distance in the physical sense or within an organization can create boundaries. These have to be dealt with and there are costs incurred for that. Besides that it has to be clear who to communicate for what matters. This, in my experience, is not always the case. With a greater (organizational) distance more effort has to be put into this.

There is a large possibility that top heavy management in a centralized department becomes isolated from the effects of their decisions. In other words the feedback loop is broken. Because the communication loop is broken, decision become more and more dysfunctional. This due to the lack of real world knowledge that should be incorporated in these decisions.

Centralization can lead to reduced agility. On one hand standardization is a great asset. The larger part of architecture, whether it is enterprise architecture, process architecture or infrastructure architecture, is about standards and reducing the “solution space”. This has several advantages, among which the reduction of software- and systems entropy. The downside of a centralized body that maintains standards is that it probably will lead to inertia and unwillingness to change.

I’m a big fan of (open) standards. They simplify life! However we should not neglect that standardization comes at a cost. There are the costs for implementing, adapting to and maintaining standards in our organization. Say for example that we use a canonical (data) model. There is are maintenance costs (at least some effort) while adopting to change outside and within our organization. These costs of standardization tend to be hidden.

What to do?

Bring the effects described before into the business case for centralization. You did make sure that there was some sort of trade off when you decided to centralize a certain part of your organization didn’t you?

Take measures to prevent these risks. It goes without saying that these measures will take effort, time and possibly money. Now you know you’re going to take measures don’t you?

Lean Integration Presentation

Just uploaded the presentation I gave at the Seminar “Lean & Agile IT: beter resultaat, betrokkenheid en IT volwassenheid” (Dutch) on Lean Integration. Besides the aspect of getting a lean process to create integrations we also focused on how integration is lean in the sense that it can create value.

It is about how you use technology

You might have read here or on other blogs that SOA isn’t a purpose. It is a means to an end. The same goes for all the technologies that we use when implementing a SOA, or an architecture, or an application in general. So I wanted to share the next video with you since I think that it – in an even broader perspective – shows this point. Technology itself is not good or bad. It all boils down to how we as people use it.

Source: RSA.org 21th century alignment.

Stop websites from tracking you

An earlier post on how cookies are used to track you, explained how tracking cookies work. This post will show you how to stop websites from tracking you using Firefox 4. This latest release has a Do-not-track feature that lets you tell websites you don’t want your browsing behavior tracked.

By turning on the Do-not-track feature, Firefox tells websites you visit that you don’t want your browsing behavior tracked. Please note that honoring this setting is voluntary. To put it differently websites are not required to respect it.

Turning on the Do-not-track feature in Firefox 4

  • Click the Firefox button at the top of your browser window and click options.
  • Make sure you’re on the Advanced panel.
  • Select the General tab.
  • In the browsing section check the Tell websites I do not want to be tracked.
  • Click OK to leave
Do-not-track feature

Check the Tell websites I do not want to be tracked option