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Small Aha’s


Small Aha’s

I often feel that we’re looking for very large revelations in our agile teams.

  • In our learning;
  • In our experiments;
  • In our discovery;
  • In our progress;
  • In our delivery;
  • In our experiences;
  • In our journey.

But Joshua Kerievsky reminded me in this article that agile progress, and life in general, is best experienced and measured by the smaller moments. He calls them Aha’s.

But we need to “find them”

I often ask students in my classes to identify any Aha’s they’ve had during the class. I have no magic number that I’m looking for, but I am looking for some self-discovery and inspiration for each individual.

Quite often I get very few Aha’s. Now you might be saying that it’s because I’m a boring teacher teaching less than relevant ideas. And that might be somewhat true.

But I also think the challenge is that we’ve been programmed to look for big, hairy, audacious Aha’s and to look over the smaller, incremental steps. But that's a mistake in my view. Of course, sometimes we advance by leaping a tall building. However, those events are rare. Much more often, we advance with little "baby steps" of discovery and learning. An Aha! if you will.

Josh made me re-realize how important these steps are. 

Wrapping Up

So, the one additional thought I have for Josh’s article is for all of us to be on the lookout for Aha’s.

  • To always look for them;
  • To be ready for and receptive of them;
  • To be thoughtful and reflective about them;
  • And to appreciate the Aha for the positive forward step that they are…

Stay agile my friends,



Fail NOW as a Strategy

Fail NOW as a Strategy

I was at a conference not that long ago speaking and sharing on various agile topics. As often happens, a young man stopped me to ask a few questions after one of my presentations. We struck up a nice conversation that eventually slipped out into the hotel corridors.

We started talking about sprint dynamics within Scrum teams and I happened to mention that I usually coach teams towards declaring their sprints a success…or (pause for meaningful effect) …a failure. That we do this as part of the teams’ Sprint Review, with the Product Owner being the final determinant based on whether the team achieved their Sprint Goal(s).