The Importance of Being Blocked

Despite our best attempts at creating small, cross-functional and autonomous teams, being “blocked” is unfortunately still a common occurrence with many teams. There can be any number of reasons why work gets blocked — it could be internal to the team (e.g. waiting on Product Owner/Manager feedback, environments down, etc.), within the technology function/from other teams (e.g. platform outage) or even the wider organisation (e.g. waiting for risk, security, legal, etc.).

The original production of The Importance of Being Earnest in 1895…with a blocked lens

As mentioned , flow metrics should be an essential aspect in the day to day interactions a high performing team has. They should also be leveraged…

Focusing on flow

As a Ways of Working Enablement Specialist, one of our primary focuses is on flow. Flow can be referred to as the movement of value throughout your product development system. Some of the most common methods teams will use in their day to day are Scrum, Kanban, or Scrum with Kanban.

Optimising flow in a Scrum context requires defining what flow means. Scrum is founded on empirical process control theory, or empiricism. …

Disclaimer: this Post describes one way not the only way to approach product metrics for internal teams

As our move from Project to Product gathers pace, it’s important that not only are we introducing a mindset shift and promoting different ways of working, but by doing so we also need to ensure that we are measuring things accordingly, as well as showcasing examples for others to help them on their journey.

Product Management Training

This week we had a run through from Rachel of our new Product Management training course that she has put together for our budding Product Managers. I really enjoyed going through it as a team (especially using our co-working space in More London) and viewing the actual content itself.

Credits: Jon Greatbatch for photo “This can be for your weeknotes”

What I really liked about the course was the fact the attendees are going to be very ‘hands-on’ during the training, and will get to go apply various techniques that PdM’s use with a case study of Delete My Data (DMD) throughout. It’s something that I’ve struggled with…

Agile not WAgile

This week we’ve been reviewing a number of our projects that are tagged as being delivered using Agile ways of working within our main delivery portfolio. Whilst we ultimately do want to shift from project to product, we recognise that right now we’re still doing a lot of ‘project-y’ style of delivery, and that this will never completely go away. So we’re trying to in parallel at least get people familiar with what Agile delivery is all about, even if delivering from a project perspective.

The catalyst really for this was one of our charts where we…

Authorized Instructors

This week, we had our formal course accreditation session with ICAgile, where we were to review our 2-day ICAgile Fundamentals course, validating if it meets the desired learning objectives as well as the general course structure, with the aim being to sufficiently balance theory, practical application and attendee engagement. I was extremely pleased when we were given the rubber stamp of approval by ICAgile, as well as getting some really useful feedback to make the course even better, in particular to include more modules aligned to the technique.

It’s a…

Ways of Working

This week we had our second sprint review as part of our Ways of Working (WoW) group. The review went well with lots of discussion and feedback which, given we aren’t producing any “working software” is for me a really good sign. We focused a lot on change engagement this sprint, working on the comms side as well (with producing ‘potentially releasable comms’) as well as identifying/analysing our pilot areas where we really want teams to start to move towards this approach. A common theme appears to be around the lack of a product lens to services…

Refreshing Mindsets

This week was the second week of our first sprint working with our graduate intake on our team health check web app. It was great to see in the past week or so that the team, despite not having much of a technical background, had gone away and been able to create a very small app created using a mix of Python and an Azure SQL database for the responses. It just goes to show how taking the work to a team and allowing them to work in an environment where they can be creative (rather than prescribing…

Back to Dubai

This week I was out in the Middle East again, running back to back Agile Foundations training sessions for people in our PwC Middle East firm.
I had lots of fun, and it looked like attendees did too, both with the engagement on the day and the course feedback I received.

One issue with running training sessions in a firm like ours are that a number of large meeting rooms still have that legacy “boardroom” format, which means for little movement during sessions that require interaction. Last time I was there this wasn’t always the case, as…

Team Areas

A tell tale sign for any Agile practitioner is normally a walk of the office floor. If an organisation claims to have Agile teams, usually a giveaway is if there are team areas with lots of visual radiators around their ways of working.

With my trip to Manchester this week, I was really please to see that one of our teams, Vulcan had taken to claiming their own area and making the work they do and the management of it highly visible.

This is great to see as even with the digital tooling we have, it’s important for…

Nick Brown

Senior Ways of Working Enablement Specialist @ Nationwide Building Society |

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