Now You Can Do the Mushy Stuff Too

Jim Highsmith said, “At the core, I believe Agile Methodologists are really about ‘mushy’ stuff… about delivering good products to customers by operating in an environment that does more than talk about people as our most important asset but actually ‘acts’ as if people were the most important, and lose the word asset.”

This simple but profound idea is the motivation behind Process Second. Process Second is a software development process that focuses on UP essentials, manages development using Scrum, and gives teams the ability to achieve organizational goals by using their strengths. I started developing the process in January and most of the high-value stories are done!


The project has a weekly release schedule so if you have a People First account – Now you can do the mushy stuff too.

Optimize It: Manage Iteration

Managing the iteration is a daily activity that begins when iteration planning completes, and ends when evaluation begins. It is the team’s responsibility to manage all aspects of the iteration’s internal activities. Transparency is the key to success. But it is inevitable that team members who are Strong or Strong(ER) in Development Process and Process Performance will be looked to for leadership when things get tough. And they almost always do.

Strengths at Work: Development Process, Process Performance

Daily Decisions

What Did We Do Yesterday?

Each Developer on the team discloses the tasks they worked on and/or completed yesterday.

What’s Are We Going to Do Today?

Each Developer on the team discloses the tasks they plan to work on today. Developers should take on tasks that put their unique strengths to work as much as possible. Occasionally, there will be tasks that no one on the team feels Strong about. When this happens, just do the task and get it over with. If this happens too frequently, it may be time to recruit another Developer to fill this gap.

What Are the Obstacles?

Each Developer on the team reports obstacles they are facing with specific task(s).

Update Status Boards

Truthfully, everybody on the team is NOT going to care about status boards and reports. Everybody doesn’t have to. But somebody does. That is why we have team members who are Strong in Process Performance and/or Development Process. Agile Master, if team members are sluggish about updating the boards (especially if it is electronic) offer your services. It isn’t their strength; it is yours.

Determine Adjustments

Remove obstacles as quickly as possible and keep a keen eye on the Burndown Chart. Way ahead? Consider adding a Spike or a related story. Way behind? Consider removing items or splitting items. This is a team decision best led by team members Strong(ER) in Process Performance; the Product Owner must be in agreement to all decisions made.

StrengthsFinders Themes at work: Achiever, Activator, Adaptability, Analytical, Arranger, Belief, Command, Competition, Consistency, Context, Developer, Empathy, Harmony, Learner, Maximizer, Positivity, Relator, Responsibility, Restorative, Self-Assurance, Strategic, Woo,

Agile Master; Somebody Has to Care

The Agile Master (aka Scrum Master) has to care; this is key to successful agile adoption. The Agile Master has to care because if they don’t, nobody else will. First, they must care about Development Process. Someone who cares about Development Process is motivated to make sure their team has everything they need to perform their roles with excellence. Second, they should care about Process Performance. Someone who cares about Process Performance is motivated to execute project schedules on time and on budget. Of course a person who performs the Agile Master role may care about many other things than these. That is what makes them unique and able to perform other roles on a project.

AgileMasterStrengthsDevelopment Process

The Agile Master must be Strong or Strong(ER) to be able to successfully lead/mentor a team in the use of agile principles and practices. If the Agile Master is not Strong, i.e. the team is just starting out, pair up with an Agile Coach. They will help them Get Strong(ER).

Process Performance

The Agile Master should be Strong or Strong(ER). People who care about being on time and on budget are more willing to lean/lead towards flexibility when it comes to trade-offs concerning schedules, resources, and features. It is OK if the Agile Master is not Strong if someone else on the team is Strong, and especially if the Product Owner is Strong(ER).

Agile Problems

I have found that organizations pursue agile initiatives from two directions. Organizations want to be agile because they have software engineering problems to solve (e.g. staff turnover, buggy software, brittle software) or they want to be agile because they have business problems to solve (e.g. customer dissatisfaction, loss of revenue, loss of market share).

Agile Problems

I have also found that no matter what direction you start, once you have one set of problems fixed, the other raises its ugly head begging for attention – even if you didn’t have recognizable issues before. An inescapable side effect of becoming agile in one area is that it creates and/or magnifies problems in the other.

I was recently talking to a friend who is helping to lead the agile adoption in their organization. They said that their organization is consistently executing 3 week sprints that include enough testing to produce potentially deployable increments. YEAH! They said that their organization is ‘priming the pump’, i.e. grooming the product backlog during sprints to prepare for the next sprint (or two). YEAH!

But, they also said that their organization is now struggling with a bloated backlog of requests and issues. BOO! Business problems have raised their head – What should we work on next? What features are important and which ones aren’t? Can you reject requests? How?

I rarely start an organization out with hierarchical requirements. A flat product backlog that supports feature grouping is usually sufficient to start an agile adoption. Yet, within most innovative organizations, there will come a time when a top-down requirements management strategy will become necessary. Frameworks like the one proposed by the Scaled Agile Framework (SAFe) were developed for just this purpose.

I Really, Really Want You to Win!

Sprinkle SALTI am the agile coach who drives the team to win. I will never let you rest on your laurels. Certain of my faith in you, I’ll keep pushing you to do better. “Do you really think this is the best you can do?!” But I’m not simply cheering or scolding you from the sidelines. Instead I draw on my own expertise to help you. I am thrilled to be the one who offers you the secret trick, the new technique or the mind-flipping insight that allows the penny to drop. You know I want you to learn, and you know I want you to act, and this combination is compelling. I really, really want you to win, and I’ll never let you off the hook.




The Agile Coach helps you “Put your Strengths to Work”

People First presents “Ask the Agile Coach”

This new feature gives you direct access to the Agile Coach who personally (and privately) empowers you to put your strengths to work in the SDLC. The Agile Coach will drive you to win. Certain of their faith in you, they’ll keep pushing you to do better. “Do you really think this is the best you can do?!” But they are not simply cheering or scolding you from the sidelines. Instead they are drawing on their own experience and expertise to help you. They are thrilled to be the one who offers you the secret trick, the new technique or the mind-flipping insight that allows the penny to drop. When you interact with the Agile Coach, you will know they want you to learn, and you will know they want you to act.

The Agile Coach really, really wants you to win, and will never let you off the hook.

Agile Coach Page

My Strong(ER) Team

As a project leader, you want the strongest team possible for the project at hand. Now the Optimization Report gives you the ability to create the Optimal team. The composite score is the key. Select a Product Owner, a Scrum Master and developers until all the strengths required for your project are visible in the composite score. Now you, and your team, know they have everything they need to get the job done – on day one!

As a manager, you want to develop your team for the long-term. Now the Manager Optimization Report lets you to drill into the Strengths Report of each individual in your department so you can SEE the goals they set for themselves and you can SEE how they are rating their successes. Now you can help them do more of what they do best (their strengths) and you can help them avoid their weaknesses. You can help them get Strong(ER)!

See Salt Productions/Products for more information