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Photo of Toby Thompson running a class in Wellington
7 Habits of Highly Effective Trainers
Having been in the business of helping organisations upskill their teams for many a year, I've seen my share of trainers, good and not so good. And I've been lucky enough to work with some exceptional trainers, who seem to have the knack to both lift the competence and simultaneously inspire their classes. So what's the secret sauce? Here's my take on what makes a truly effective…

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Agile team member working on a laptop in a dark office
The Darker Side of Agile adoption
Most organisations I have come across that are attempting to adopt Agile are generally looking for improvement.   That improvement could be in the way that they deliver, how quickly they deliver, improving on existing processes, or providing a way which will help staff feel motivated about what they are building.   All are worthy aspirations - why not desire to become better?  However, a darker…

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Agile team member looking out an office window
Be careful what you say – you might just get it
"Agile without automation is just waterfall. " This was a statement made to me in an online chat discussion a few years ago, that had me challenging what that might mean and the implications it might have.  Agile as an umbrella label is made up of different approaches to working such as Scrum, Kanban, Lean and so forth.   Agile is about shortening the feedback loop, engaging business throughout…

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Agile team members working on an Agile wall
Notes on story walls – longer term planning
I have been writing about story walls and how agile teams might use them to manage their work. But some agile teams feel rushed because although they can see what needs doing today, they don’t know what is coming next. So in this article, I will extend the idea of using a story wall to look into the future. A release planThe most common approach to extending the story wall in agile teams is to add…

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Cracked concrete slab
Business Analysis: Turning gloop into concrete
Business analysis is often seen as a technical skill. The business analyst builds process and data models, writes precise requirements, makes requirements traceable, estimates the effort involved, and so on. These are what we refer to as hard skills. But a business analyst has another set of responsibilities. The business analyst needs to be able to uncover what it is that stakeholders actually…

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Business man talking during a meeting
Less is more
I have to confess, I’m a bit of an Audi fan.   Recently I had the opportunity to participate in their  “Audi Ice Experience”, at the Southern Hemisphere Proving Grounds just out of Queenstown NZ. Trying to race against the clock and control the high spec’d vehicles in snow and ice was a lot of fun. One of the vehicles I got to drive was the new TTS, with its “virtual” cockpit and its blistering…

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