Does anybody remember laughter?

Does anybody remember laughter?

I’m wondering if the #1 metric for agile teams (individuals, groups, organizations) is joy? Or to quote Robert Plant – Does anybody remember laughter? 


I’ve often reminisced in my classes that I started developing software for the sheer joy of it. I had fun doing it. It was creative. It was something I could do alone and with teams. It was something that created something useful for a customer/requester and I could deliver it to them and see how it delivered value. It brought be joy.

Then somewhere along my journey the bean counters took over. As did the project managers. The folks who micromanaged me, put more stock in estimates than the work. Folks who, in many cases, didn’t have a clue as to what I was doing. They started pushing me for artificial dates and telling me the wrong thing to build. They didn’t listen to me or treat me like I was a partner. I became a software developing cog in their machine.

And, I lost my joy.

Developing software became a job, a chore, and joy-less. I lost the fun.

You’re WRONG, Jeff!

You’re WRONG, Jeff!

I saw this post from Jeff Gothelf.


In which he says that Fixed Time & Scope projects end in one of 3-ways:

  1. We move the deadline

  2. We reduce scope

  3. We implement “crunch mode”, everybody puts in 80-hour weeks till the deadline, burns out, quits and goes to work somewhere else.

I want to respond to Jeff’s thoughts…

First, option #3 is was coined by Ed Yourdon as a Death March. I personally like the imagery that inspires.

Second, I agree 100% with his 3-alternatives. They seem almost as absolute as gravity in software projects.

But he goes on in the article to make the point that Product Management is primarily responsible for these problems.  


Am I the only one who really struggles with the terms:

  • Agile Project Manager?

  • Agile PMO (Project Management Office)?

I see them being used all of the time. I encounter them in adds for open positions and in organizations who are striving to introduce agility. The terminology seems to be pervasive.

But at the same time, if you put on an agile mindset, they seem to be oxymorons.

It’s not the People

And my beef isn’t with the people filling those roles. It’s with the role and responsibilities associated with them.

Here’s another “Test”

One side-effect of using these terms, and I hear it all the time, is the organizations also use the term resources to refer to their people.

Again, this terminology doesn’t align with an agile mindset.

Wrapping Up

It’s simple. Really it is.

If your organizations is moving down the road to aligning with agile principles and the mindset. Then you really don’t need project managers and a PMO.

Instead you need accountable, self-directed, and trusted teams who have a goal and understand the importance of transparency.

And you need leaders who support them, get out of the way, and expect great things. With no real need for “projects and project management”.

Stay agile my friends,


BTW: Here’s an article by Anthony Mersino that not only supports my point, but does a MUCH better job of communicating it. Please take the time to read it - https://vitalitychicago.com/blog/myth-agile-project-manager/

SAFe No Longer - My Final Farewell

SAFe No Longer - My Final Farewell

I saw a note on LinkedIn the other day about the implementation roadmap on the Scaled Agile website. I followed it here -


I found a really nice diagram that reminded me of the children’s game Chutes and Ladders. It had a wavy path for folks to follow in order to successfully implement SAFe.  

As I looked at the diagram, I imagined $$$ at specific points where the SAFe folks (Scaled Agile proper, consulting firms, SPC consultants, tooling firms, etc.) could “cash in” on SAFe training, consulting, and tooling.

In other words, I followed the path and heard an ongoing CHA-CHING in the air!

And as I looked at it closer, it finally dawned on me that SAFe was no longer safe. It was no longer supporting the essence of the agile manifesto. That it had clearly crossed the chasm from agile-focused framework to agile-buzzword and revenue generation vehicle. I guess the realization hit me that SAFe, while perhaps ok for others, was no longer safe for me to support. Which made me feel sad.