A Retrospective of 2014 and Futurespective of 2015

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Software Ambition 20152014 was a great year for me. I’ve helped organization to effectively deploy Agile and Lean and improve their ways of working, my first book became a bestseller and I’ve inspired professionals all around the world by sharing useful knowledge and experience on my blog and via InfoQ.  Let’s reflect on what 2014 has brought and do a futurespective to visualize the opportunities of 2015.

Software development organizations are more and more looking for ways to get better results. They need to deliver the right products to their customers quicker at lower costs, increase their customer service, and create an environment where professionals can do great things, often all of that at the same time. I provide services for organizations to do continuous sustainable improvement and deploy good practices that help teams, managers and other stakeholders to collaboratively serve the needs of customers in a better way.

At the end of 2014 I interviewed Jutta Eckstein about using agile retrospectives for organizational change. I asked her about doing futurespectives:

In a futurespective the participants imagine that this objective has been reached. And now a “retrospective” is facilitated after that objective has been reached fictionally. During that “retrospective” the participants define which elements of the (imagined) past helped reaching that objective and which made it harder to make progress.

Let’s do a futurespective to visualize the ambition for 2015 and explore what can be done to get there.

A software development ambition for 2015

Lean SupermanMy expectation for 2015 is that Kanban and Lean practices will be used by most software development organizations. More and more teams are adopting Kanban next to Scrum to manage development and maintenance or support tasks. Continuous delivery and DevOps also come with increased adoption of Kanban and Lean practices.

Slowly but surely teams are recognizing the importance of agile retrospectives, I expect that the value of doing them will be fully recognized by teams and their stakeholders in 2015 and that managers and teams will work together to establish the conditions for doing valuable agile retrospectives.

The main barriers in doing retrospectives effectively often have to do with effective facilitation and the exercises that are used, and with the follow up on improvement actions. Scrum masters and agile coaches rarely receive training on how to do retrospectives and do not know about different kinds of exercises that can be used to do them effectively. Teams often find it difficult to follow up on actions, they lack skills to implement the changes that are needed and to balance ongoing work and improvements. The solutions for doing valuable agile retrospectives are there, 2015 will be the year where more and more teams will adopt them to truly become self-organized.

More companies are starting with large scale agile frameworks like SAFe and DAD. Deploying such frameworks effectively can be challenging, as we have seen for instance with CMMI and RUP, we need better ways for doing changes and improving organizations.

In my view scaling frameworks are powerful tools for agile consultants (both internal and external) to discuss and decide on the way to implement agile principles and practices together with their stakeholders (senior and middle managers, change managers, coaches, etc). Top down deploying a framework “by the book” often causes resistance and will rarely lead to results. Question is if we have learned enough from the past so that history will not repeat itself.

Bestselling book on agile retrospectives

RetroValue NL EN FREnd of 2013 my first ebook was published which I wrote with Luis Gonçalves. 2014 has been amazing year as we reached many thousands of readers of the English edition. Since July the book is also available in print. Many copies have been sold and readers give our book a rating of 4.6 on Amazon and 4.03 on Goodreads.

The book was translated by volunteers into Dutch, Spanish, Japanese, French, Italian, and Chinese, supporting our mission of helping teams all around the world to get more value from doing agile retrospectives. Printed editions can be bought in my webshop. All ebooks are also available as Kindle edition on amazon.com and in all local Amazon shops.

We started translations of our book in German, Portuguese and Russian. These editions will be published in 2015, making the book available in 10 (yes ten!) languages.

We are look for volunteers who want to join teams that translates our book to Turkish and Greek. If you are interested to learn new exercises, work in a remote agile team and get personal coaching from the authors of the agile retrospectives bestselling book then please contact me.

At the end of 2014 I did a tour to promote continuous improvement and agile retrospectives. I visited the Netherlands, Spain, Belgium, France, Germany and again the Netherlands. All of my presentations are available on SlideShare.

I will be visiting more countries and cities in 2015 for keynotes, workshops, tutorials and regular talks. You can see my speaking appearances and conference coverage on my Lanyrd profile. Meet me in 2015 at:

Sharing knowledge and experiences

top100agileblogMy blog has been recognized as a top 100 agile blog in 2014, with 50.000++ visitors and 250.000++ pageviews! Some of the most read posts and pages in 2014 are:

Many more blogs posts will follow in 2015 on topics like  the business value of agile, Kanban and Lean, retrospectives and continuous improvement.

InfoQ-LogoI did many interesting interviews and Q&As in 2014 while working as a freelance editor with InfoQ.com. I am researching the factors that influence the mood of agile teams. For InfoQ I wrote news items on many subjects such as scaling Agile, technical practices and craftsmanship, soft skills, Kanban and Lean, modern management and many more. Some of my best read InfoQ pieces are:

I also worked with many authors as an editor to publish their articles. Some of the great InfoQ articles that were published in 2014 are:

If you are interested to have your article published on InfoQ.com, feel free to contact me!

2015 will be amazing

I’m sure that 2015 will be another great year for me and the people that I work with. My passion is to serve people all around the world with knowledge, experience and practices to help them to become even better in what they do, and to enjoy what they are doing! Let’s work together to make 2015 an amazing year!

Ben Linders

I help organizations with effective software development and management practices. Active member of several networks on Agile, Lean and Quality, and a frequent speaker and writer.

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