2012 Year In Blogging

As a WordPress, and Jetpack user, I had a 2012 annual report generated for me. A quick summary is:

  • 30 posts
  • 528 views on Feb 2nd.

The top 5 most-viewed posts were:

  1. Kanban, Flow and Cadence
  2. What is Cadence
  3. The Science of Kanban – Introduction
  4. Running the Ball Flow Game
  5. The Anatomy of an MMF
I find it interesting to see those older posts in the list. You can find the full report here, including other fascinating facts!

Upcoming Rallying Adventures

As a coach with Rally Software, I get to work with an amazing group of people on a variety of projects. I’d like to highlight a few of those which I am particularly looking forward to at the moment.

RallyON Europe


RallyON is an event we have hosted in Boulder for the last few years, as a way of bringing together our customers and friends to share experiences and learn from each other. Its been hugely successful, not to mention fun, and I’m excited that we are able to host a version in Europe for our more local customers and friends. We’ll be in London, October 11th, and Dean Leffingwell is also attending as well as giving Scaled Agile Framework training the same week.

For more details, and to register, have a look at the event website.

Kanban System Design Training


At Rally, I’ve been able to work with a variety of organisations, while always applying Kanban Thinking.  My colleagues have too, and its been rewarding to be able to share our individual learnings and collectively come up with better ideas than I certainly could not come up with on my own. Typically, our Kanban specific work comes in the for Kanban System Design workshops, helping collaborative groups apply Kanban Thinking to their contexts. We are now ready to take a similar approach, but as a public training class, and the first one has just been scheduled which I’ll be teaching in Amsterdam, November 28th-29th.

For more details, and to register, have a look at the course page.

Agile for Business Book


I’ll say some more about this in another post tomorrow…

Speaking at Lean Agile Scotland

How could I not attend a conference named after me? OK, maybe not named after me, but at least relatively local.

How could I not attend a conference being held on my birthday? OK, I could also spend my birthday with my family!

I will be at Lean Agile Scotland, however, which is being held September 21-22 in Edinburgh and I’ll be talking about “Understanding Kanban Thinking”.

If you want to go, I have a code which gives a discount of 10% on the ticket price. However, this will expire on the 6th of September. Let me know if you want the code, and then go to http://www.leanagilescotland.com/tickets and and follow the eventbrite steps.

CALM Beta Boulder

Keep Calm And Carry On

CALM Beta is the follow up to CALM Alpha, held near Reading, UK in February of this year. It will be held August 1-2 in Boulder, Colerado.

CALM (Cynefin, Agile and Lean Mashups) was conceived by myself, Simon Bennett, David Snowden, Steve Freeman and Joseph Pelrine, who all had the vision of exploring ways of growing the application of cognitive and complexity science to meet the challenges facing modern organisations, and in particular, those adopting Agile and Lean ways of working. The goal of CALM is to grow a community of thinkers, practitioners, and researchers who further the application of these sciences in Software Development as well as in the larger organisation. We want to use the experience of the real-world application of principles, based on validated theory, to help both theory and practice co-evolve.

CALM Beta will be the next iteration of an event to further this goal. The hope is to make the event participatory, with as much attendee contribution as learning. Building on the experience gained at CALM Alpha, the intent is to amplify the positive patterns and dampen the negative patterns. We will add more structure, encourage narratives and focus on creating deliverables.


Day One: Come prepared to share your war stories.  We will work as a group to gather data on our successes and failures and then use Cyenfin tools to make sense of when our methods support and fail us.

Day Two: Building on what we discovered on Day One, on Day Two we will break into two streams – one (tutorial) focussed on learning more about Cynefin, Agile and Lean with respect to gaining insights into the methods we currently use, and the other (developmental/exploratory) stream for those interested in using this data to develop and extend Lean and Agile methods.

At the end of the event we will come together to share our discoveries.

Additional Detail

CALM Beta is being run as a not-for-profit venture. Registration includes the 2 days, with lunch provided. If funds allow, breakfast and/or some evening refreshments will be also provided. Numbers will be capped at 50 to keep the event personal.

Accommodation will need to be booked separately. We are currently trying to secure a block booking at a discounted rate to ensure we can keep the conversations going on into the night!

As a part of registration we’re asking you to also complete the following questions. Shared here to help you start thinking…

  • Why do you want to attend CALM Beta?
  • What experiences will you bring to CALM Beta?
  • What new insights do you hope to gain at CALM Beta?

Register Here

Trains, Shopping and the Risk of Release Dates

I was recently on a Q&A panel and fielded a question about how to deal with fixed date and scope projects. My response has evolved into a blog post which has just been published on the Rally Coaching Blog. Take a look and find out what the question has to do with trains and shopping!

I won’t be at #LKSE12, and…

I posted last week about the fact that I’ll be at the Lean Software & Systems Conference (LSSC12) in Boston soon. Well, there’s another smaller but similar conference coming up, which unfortunately I can’t be at. Why only blog about conferences I’m going to? This is one I would be at if I could, so here are the details.

Lean & Kanban Southern Europe 2012 is the 1st conference of its kind in the region, being held in Madrid, May 9-10. Speakers include many who also be at LSSC12, along with local practitioners talking about their experiences and learnings such as Brickell Key nominees Erika Weiss & Oscar Garrido. There will also be a track full of Spanish language content on Day 2. I don’t speak Spanish, but I highly recommend it!

I’ll be at the Boston Lean Party #LSSC12

I’ve just been putting together my personal program for LSSC12. This is the main US Conference put together by the Lean Software and Systems Consortium, which will be in Boston from May 13-18. Its definitely my favourite conference of the year and always gives me new insights and new ideas by bringing together a really diverse set of people from all areas and disciples.

David Anderson has written a couple of good blog posts if you want more info – there’s still time to register!

I have a session on Wednesday May 16, 4:20pm – 5:00pm @ Harborview 2 with my Rallt colleague Larry Maccherone where we’ll be introducing some of the great work Larry has been doing with metrics and data visualisations.

I hope I’ll see you there – let the Boston Lean Party begin! This is what I expect I’ll be doing the rest of the time.

Kanban Thinking on SPaMCAST

I recently gave an interview with Tom Cagley who puts together the Software Process and Measurement Cast, and talked about what I am calling Kanban Thinking. The result has just been published – have a listen and let me know what you think.

SPaMCAST 174 – Karl Scotland, Kanban Thinking

Cynefin, Agile & Lean Mashups

IMG_05742012 certainly started with a bang for me (lets hope it doesn’t end with a bang!). After a relaxing Christmas and New Year, I was up at 6am on January 2nd to head for Almens in the Swiss Alps, and an intense few days with Simon Bennett, Steve Freeman, Joseph Pelrine and Dave Snowden. We gathered at Joseph’s house to discuss a common interest, namely how do we apply complexity science, and in particular the Cynefin framework, to Agile and Lean development.

Early on, Simon suggested the name CALM, and it stuck almost immediately. I like it for a couple of reasons. Mashups invokes the idea of “a creative combination or mixing of content from different sources”. That’s exactly what we want to do, and its the creative aspect that particularly appeals to me. A Cynefin, Agile and Lean Mashup will inevitably be created contextually. CALM also subtly counterbalances the XP extreme notion. While that’s not an intentional focus, I find it a mildly amusing reference.

My interest in Cynefin began back in around 2004 when Dave first spoke at XPDays London, and while back then I wasn’t smart enough to realise the full implications, fortunately others like Steve and Joseph were. I met Dave again at ScanAgile in 2009 and last year at the LeanSSC and ALE conferences. Simon also gave a great talk linking Scrum and Complexity more concretely at Agile2011, and I that’s when I finally figured out how Cynefin could match my interest in exploring the underlying theories behind Agile and Lean, and more specifically Kanban Thinking.

My personal goal for being involved in the meeting was to move Cynefin, and complexity science, from being something which is used as a justification, to something which provides meaningful explanation, and ultimately to new application. To keep the industry advancing, and to be able to apply Agile and Lean principles in increasingly challenging organisations, we need theory informed practices, as well as learning from our current success by evolving practice informed theory. In other words we need to take a scientific approach, which ties in nicely with my recent presentations on the Science of Kanban, which should make it to a blog post soon.

The primary outcome of the CALM meeting was the creation of CALMalpha. This is a two day residential conference to be held on the 16th and 17th of February 2012 at Wokefield Park in the United Kingdom. The alpha represents the notion that this is an initial safe-to-fail experiment where we hope to explore the subject in more detail, as we seek to find coherence, coalescence and convergence around what we do in the future.

More detail, including prices and booking information, can be found on the eventbrite page. I hope to see you there!

Presenting at Agile2011

I’ll be at Agile2011 again this year presenting a couple of sessions. Here are the details if you’d like to come along and take part.

Flow Games

Designing a Kanban System for the Enterprise

Note that while the program page for “Flow Games” suggests that we will play a selection of games, the final time constraint of 1 hour means that Eric and I will probably only be able to play one game, which will be the Ball Flow Game. Fortunately, there is another similar session (Lean Fundamentals with Michael Sahota) which will run the other games we had in mind, so we encourage you to go along to that if you want more!