Category: General

Collaboration Superpowers Podcast

Collaboration Superpowers Podcast

I enjoyed the interview with Lisette Sutherland for the Collaboration Superpowers Podcast.

The focus of Lisette is on collaboration between people working remotely. She has a ton of ideas on how to make remote work successful.

Lisette is the author of a great book: Work Together Anywhere: A Handbook on Working Remotely—Successfully—for Individuals, Teams, and Managers.

Check out the podcast and let me know what you think!

Graphic design of the header by Alfred Boland (reused shamelessly from the Collaboration Superpowers website)

The Matrix of Principles

The Matrix of Principles

The Matrix of Principles is a reflection tool to capture how stakeholders understand Deming’s 14 Management Principles.

Reflecting on the management principles enables the team to share their beliefs on management, to share their views on where the organization is, and to identify areas for improvement.

Follow the few steps below

  • Take a blank sheet of paper, or use a whiteboard,
  • Draw a 2×2 matrix,
  • The horizontal axis represents your agreement with the principle. On the right, you agree; on the left, you disagree,
  • The vertical axis represents how the principle is applied to your organization. “Applied” at the top, “not applied” at the bottom,
  • You will now position Deming’s 14 Management Principles by placing their numbers on a 2×2 matrix. Each team member uses a different color.
  • After placing each principle, the facilitator asks the outliers to explain their position.
  • The facilitator asks the group if it inspires some ideas for the team.

You can use the tool as a self-reflection one. As a facilitator, it is useful to try the exercise first by yourself to be able to pick the principles that will most resonate with your team.

There is one assignment per chapter in the book Changing Your Team From The Inside. The Matrix of Principles is the assignment from the chapter two.

The practice is available in the Open Practice Library. You can find other great practices in the library and you can even contribute to it!


On The John Poelstra Show!

On The John Poelstra Show!

I was on The John Poelstra Show last week, and as John said: It was a great conversation. John is energetic and supportive, and I enjoyed the way he guided the conversation.

One part, I really enjoyed, was the transition he made between his question about waterfall project management and the reference to the book Ego Is The Enemy. It helps me realize that I was not exactly kind and moderate in my previous answer, and I wondered at that moment who was really speaking.

John gives the highlights of the conversation in his post.

The podcast is available on Spotify, and, of course, your favorite podcast listening tool.

Let me know what you think!


Back to School

Back to School

For a lot of people, September means that we are back to school! Or maybe that we are not in school anymore, and so we need to take care of our learning path. I learned a lot from your feedback on Changing Your Team From The Inside. Keep that coming! It is very useful! I am working on a revision of the book that will be available by the end of October.

If a friend sent you this message, you can subscribe to the mailing-list following the link, yes you will have to scroll a little bit.

The planning of my trip to Europe is nearly done. I will be traveling to Germany, Switzerland, and France. I will be speaking at Agile Rennes on November 23 and 24, and Agile Grenoble
November 14 and 15. Add the sessions to your agenda!

As it is two agile events, people asked me if I will speak about agile. The answer is yes and no 🙂

If you read the UncleBob’s post reacting to Martin Fowler’s keynote at Agile Australia, you can see that the tension is about values and principles. The roots of the agile movement were about team members having the autonomy to deliver excellent work. Uncle Bob (Bob Martin) wrote in a sort of conversation with himself:

“But aren’t Scrum Masters kind of like project managers?

Heavens no! Scrum Masters are coaches, not managers. Their role is to defend the values and disciplines. Their role is to remind the team of how they promised themselves they would work. The role was supposed to be shared by the team, not usurped by managers. Every few weeks a new team member would volunteer to act as coach – if needed. The role was supposed to be temporary. A mature team doesn’t need a permanent coach.”

And yes, I have seen that level of maturity happening more than once. The frameworks, the tools, the practices, are useful things that you can use and improve along with your transformation journey.

About framework, I love the approach Agnostic Agile, and I encourage you to have a look at the principles.

“As experienced agile practitioners and as people responsible for agile change and transformation, we should recognise the importance of being agnostic with agility at any level. This means one size does not fit all, one framework is not the answer, and the ‘what’ and ‘how’ should be suited to customer context and to a wider strategic vision.”

As usual, I will be happy to hear from you, please answer to that message, or send me a message on Twitter or LinkedIn. I will be happy to answer your questions or read your feedback.

Thank you!

PS: Your comments, like and share are really helping the message to reach more people. Please, help me share those articles on

Project Aristotle – A Conversation Starter

Project Aristotle – A Conversation Starter

In Measure What Matters, John Doerr speaks about the quality prized by Andy Grove: collective accountability, fearless risktaking, measurable achievements. John explains that Google studied 180 teams using five questions. The internal project code name was Project Aristotle.

The results? Standout performances correlated with affirmative answers to these questions:

  • Structure and clarity: Are goals, roles and execution plans on our team clear?
  • Psychological safety: Can we take risks on this team without feeling insecure or embarrassed?
  • Meaning of work: Are we working on something that is personally important for each of us?
  • Dependability: Can we count on each other to do high-quality work on time?
  • Impact of work: Do we fundamentally believe that the work we are doing matters?

A few weeks back, I decided to test the five questions with a team during their quarterly face to face meeting. I used the length of the meeting room as a scale and identified graduations with sticky notes on the wall from zero at one end of the meeting room to ten on the other end.

I asked everybody to stand up and explained the rules. I will ask questions, the more you agree, the closer to ten you need to be, the more you disagree, the closer to zero you need to be.

We started with a few questions just to warm-up the group and to have opportunities to clarify the rules. And then, I began to ask the five questions.

First one about structure and clarity, two people moved to five and six, all the others looked at how the boss will react, and one ask a clarifying question: When you say “our team,” what do you mean? I clarified, the team is the people that are in this room now. The rest of the people are moving between seven and nine.

I am now asking a few clarifying questions asking them to explain their position on the scale. I also encourage them to ask questions. The newcomer in the team suggested that it could help us to use Objectives and Key Results (OKRs) as he was doing in his previous company. An interesting conversation followed, and I am capturing on sticky notes discussion topics for the rest of the meeting.

We continued with the other questions, and people moved faster to their graduations (even with their manager in the room). The conversations focused on what the people need to give a better grade, which gave us plenty of topics to cover in the meeting, restructuring the agenda to better fit in what was essential to the team.

The exercise was useful as it raised the awareness on some aspects that were missing to “really” called this group of people a team.

Try it and let me know!

What a Month!

What a Month!

Last month on July 1st, and thanks to your support, I published Changing Your Team From The Inside. It has been a great month! (If a friend sent you this message, you could subscribe to the mailing-list following the link).

I learned some of you organized several book discussion clubs. It is fantastic to see the book selected for discussions! It will give me a lot of suggestions to improve the future editions of the book. As a reminder, whatever version you choose to purchase, you are entitled to get all the forthcoming revision of the electronic version.

The question I would like to ask readers is: “What do you need to give the book a 5-star rating?

As you probably already know, ratings help readers to pick their next book, so if you can rate the book on,,, and, you will help me!
And of course, if you can send me or publish a review that will help me to improve the book, it will be even better!

I published an article, What is the top requirement for high-impact teams, on, please tell me what you think using the comments or by dropping me a note at Sharing and liking the article will help me too.

Several people already purchased the team edition of the book, and I am scheduling the discussions with the different teams. I will report back on the blog, what we learned from the conversations. The last post is On Consultants reacting to the Steve Jobs talk recently published by the MIT Sloan School of Management.

As I live in Boston, I am available for talks in the area, in North America, or further away. I announced a few weeks back the travel to France in November, I will speak at Agile Grenoble and Agile Rennes, and the trip will give me opportunities to meet with other people, organizations, and companies. Let me know if you are interested! Also, If you attended one of my talks in the past years, please provide a testimonial on SpeakerHub!

As usual, I will be happy to hear from you, please answer to that message, or send me a message on Twitter or LinkedIn. I will be happy to answer your questions or read your feedback.

Thank you!

On Consultants

On Consultants

The MIT Sloan School of Management recently published a talk that Steve Jobs delivered at MIT in 1992. During the speech, he discussed how consultants, are missing a big part of learning that you can only get when you own “something over an extended period of time.”

As a consultant, you will drop by, make some recommendations, and swing to the next company without really seen the results of your ideas.

I have been a consultant for quite some time, and when I was not a consultant, I have seen how consultants were engaging with their client. I have to agree with what Jobs said. Without having skin in the game, the ones who pay the price of the recommendation are the customers, not the consultants.

Don’t get me wrong. I am not advocating for consultants staying for a long time in the same place, as it doesn’t change the issue. When a consultant stays for an extended period, he or she will become part of the system, and so part of the problem.

When I was working with teams, I always tried to explain using a quote from Nanny McPhee: “When you need me, but do not want me, then I must stay. When you want me, but no longer need me, then I have to go.” I am not sure I remember who gave me the idea to use that quote… I would guess it is Olaf Lewitz.

With Laurent, we tried to use an approach in which we will have more skin in the game. We proposed to customers two different prices: one was at the high end of the consulting rates, the second was half the rate with a mention that we will invoice 5% of the benefits provided by the mission. We never found a customer who chooses the second option. I understand that the approach could have dramatic side effects of aiming to get the benefit in the short-term without having to care for the long-term consequences.

When I changed back to an internal position, I always insisted on being part of the team, and share not only “change,” “transformation,” or “improvement” goals, but real business goals. In doing so, I need to care at the same time for both the short-term and the long-term, and my natural tendency to welcome change avoids that the complacency of accepting the status quo.

Either you are consultants, or you hire or work with consultants, what do you think?

November in France!

November in France!

Thanks to Aurélien Morvant (Kokan) I will be back in France for two weeks at the end of November. I will present a session around the book Changing Your Team From The Inside during AgileTour Rennes (November 23-24, 2018).

I already planned a few other visits to companies and organization to present the book, but as we have five months to prepare, my calendar has still a lot of openings.

I am open to present during other events, for companies or organizations.

The session could be:
– A 30-minute talk followed by Q&A,
– A 50-minute talk followed by Q&A,
– A 90-minute interactive session (for a group of 30 people max),
– Or something we could define together to fit your needs.

Please contact me if you are interested in organizing a session!

The Story Behind The Book

The Story Behind The Book

Earlier this week, I announced the availability of the first edition of Changing Your Team From The Inside. I said in that post that I would tell you the story behind the book.

Back in 2013, I started to think about writing a book about the connection between agile and open source values, principles, practices, and tools. I thought that it would be an inspiration for large IT teams to transform their organization considering the different services they are running as open source projects in a community of distributed developers. As There are still quite a lot of projects that are maintained by one or two individuals, I thought that it would be an excellent opportunity to bring in open source communities practices that will value the work of a team, more than the heroic behavior of individuals. I delivered presentations on that topic, like in 2014, at the OpenStack Summit, in Atlanta, with Frederic Lepied, or in 2015, at the Open Stack Summit, in Vancouver, with Nick Barcet.

During the work on this project, I was struggling with different audiences, and I concluded that it was not the right angle. I aborted the project to work on a more individual-based approach.

A discussion of their values and principles with one of the companies I was working with at that time brought another insight. One of the founders said: “the most important thing is, we want employees to be happy, and with that, we will have happy customers.” This simple sentence drove a lot of research on happiness, so much research, that at some point I even thought that I would write something on that topic. Thanks to Julien Dubois, I keynoted the Drupal Developer Days in 2015 with “Happiness is Coming,” and that well received!

I continued to work around that idea during the next two years, bringing some of the content in several conferences and using it in my day to day work. Working with a company heavily invested in leading OpenStack to success, to provide enterprises with cloud capabilities for their on-premises infrastructure was an excellent source of learning. With Mark McLoughlin, we delivered a presentation in 2016, at the OpenStack Summit in Austin, to cover the idea of the flow of work going from the upstream company to the customers of the product based on the different projects coming from different communities. We wanted to send the message that whatever company you are working with, you don’t wear two different hats, a company hat, and a community hat, you integrate both responsibilities in your day to day work.

The OpenStack community was also a great source of learning with great people like Colette Alexander who founded the Stewardship Working Group to support the technical leaders in the community in the development of their leadership skills. We enjoyed a leadership training provided by ZingTrain in Ann Arbour. (What? A deli delivers training on leadership?)

The travel to Ann Arbour gives the opportunity to Emilien Macchi and me to visit Menlo, the company founded by Richard Sheridan, the author of Joy Inc. I am telling that to highlight that the quest for happiness was significant in that journey of building high impact sustainable organization.

I became progressively convinced that companies needed Transformation Manager because the transformation is not a small improvement. Transformation supposed that you will entirely reconsider the way you work. I started to work on the book. I also began to work on defining the role of a person like this in my company. It slowly became clear that it was not working, we were falling back on the “change agent” role, or the “agile coach” role, or the “improvement person.”
If you are familiar with the 14 management principles of Deming, you know the sole idea of having a person in a transformation manager role is breaking the last one of them:

“Put everybody in the company to work to accomplish the
transformation. The transformation is everybody’s job.”

Like quality should be built in the product and not assess after the fact, the transformation should start from within.

People are the source of change.

The beliefs of people define the value of the organization they are working with. People can change their organization from the inside. And so, I think I found the right angle, providing ideas of approach people could use to foster the change in their organization.

The rest is in the book: Changing Your Team From The Inside.

I am eager to hear from you about what’s working (or not) for you!


I heard back today from Claude Aubry the author of the great book on Scrum in French:

The approximate translation is: I finished the book Changing Your Team From The Inside and I highly recommend it. Very inspiring.

Thank you Claude!



The First Edition Is Available

The First Edition Is Available

The first edition of Changing Your Team From The Inside is available! Check-out which version is the right one for you!

Thank you very much for your support along the way.

What I feel today is quite complex. At the same time, I am happy with a sense of accomplishment, AND, I am worried that it could be not good enough to be out in the world.

You will tell me!

I have to say that a very long feedback loop is not ideal. I am even discussing the importance of short feedback loop in the book. I will tell the story behind the book in a longer post during the week.

I need you to tell me what you would need to give to the book a five-star review. You know that people base their choices on reviews and recommendations, right? I need you to be honest even if you think it is brutal. Maybe I will cry a bit. I need you to tell me what you really think because I will use your feedback to update the book.

Of course, all customers will have access to all the updates of the electronic versions! So you will not only get access to it, you will help all the other readers and me! A big thank you for that!

If you are subscribers to the mailing list, you can ask for a 25% discount. For the electronic version, you have to lower the price down to the minimum. For the paperback version, drop me a note, and I will send you the coupon.

Thank you!

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