Agility Island - for practitioners & coaches in Product Management, Lean, Agile & Scrum artwork

Agility Island - for practitioners & coaches in Product Management, Lean, Agile & Scrum

56 episodes - English - Latest episode: 3 months ago -

Hi, I'm John and I'm passionate about the world of agility, scrum, and kanban. So much so, that I dedicated the last decade and a half of my career to helping organizations and individuals with implementing agility.

Listen to regular nuggets from an active globally recognized practitioner, trainer, and coach in tech and non-tech at the home of authentic agility.

I am a Thinkers360 top 10 agility thought leader, Professional Scrum Trainer and course steward, co-author of Kanban Guide, Professional Kanban Trainer and LeSS Friendly Scrum Trainer.

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What is a "Funnel" in Kanban?

September 19, 2023 14:13 - 1 minute - 2.17 MB

You may have heard of funnels in Kanban - but what exactly are they? How do they work? How do they change the way we work? Check out my definition of workflow video: Access the Kanban Guide in OVER 10 language here: About John Coleman: John Coleman's LinkedIn: ⁠⁠⁠⁠⁠ John Coleman's website: ⁠⁠⁠⁠ ⁠⁠ Looking to get your Scrum/Agil...

The definition of workflow

August 30, 2023 11:21 - 9 minutes - 10.7 MB

Workflows? How are they defined? What policies should you try on your kanban board? Access the Kanban Guide FREE here in over 10 languages: About John Coleman: John Coleman's LinkedIn: ⁠⁠⁠ John Coleman's website: ⁠⁠⁠ ⁠ Looking to get your Scrum/Agility training? Check out my courses at: ⁠⁠⁠ Thank you for listening. ⁠#scrum⁠ ⁠#agile⁠ ⁠...

Sizing: the Do's and Don'ts

August 25, 2023 10:24 - 1 minute - 1.84 MB

#agile #scrum #productowner What are some of the things you should TRY and some things you should AVOID when sizing? Try these tips to take your product backlog to the next level! Articles mentioned in this episode: Monte Carlo Probabilistic Forecasting: The product owner, product leader, product manager and the Scrum accountabilities:

Tom Gilb on eliciting what stakeholders need & solving customer problems, opportunities and threats, the principles of success planning & impact estimation tables

July 28, 2023 16:30 - 53 minutes - 60.9 MB

Tom Gilb joins me on this week's episode of the Agility Island podcast to discuss what stakeholders need and how to solve solve customer problems, opportunities and threats? On the agenda: 1. How can we, as practitioners, be better at eliciting what stakeholders really need, who the right stakeholders are, and how can we solve customer problems, opportunities, and threats? 2. Tom’s Background 3. Review and quality control of requirements 4. Definition of ready 5. Definitions of success ...

Product Management Series: Product Owner vs Product Manager vs Product Leader and the Scrum accountabilities

July 17, 2023 08:52 - 9 minutes - 10.5 MB

Witness the power of collaboration as these roles/accountabilities harmoniously converge to create a winning formula. Explore how Product Owners, Product Leaders, and Product Managers align their efforts, leveraging their unique perspectives and skill sets to drive product success. Learn about their interplay in agile environments and how they contribute to creating customer-centric, market-leading products. Get ready to elevate your product management skills and propel your career to new ...

Product Management Series: What is the difference between product management and scrum?

April 13, 2023 17:46 - 4 minutes - 4.45 MB

Scrum: 1. The accountabilities in Scrum 2. Product owner 3. The role of developers in Scrum Product management: 1. Design Lead 2. Tech Lead 3. Product Manager Is there any overlap? Some. About John Coleman: John Coleman's LinkedIn: John Coleman's website: Looking to get your Scrum/Agility training? Check out my courses at: Thank you for listening. #sc...

What is throughput in Kanban and how do you measure it?

April 02, 2023 12:49 - 4 minutes - 4.2 MB

Throughput is important. But what is it, how do you measure it and what role does value play? Enjoyed this episode? Or perhaps you may have a question? Let's connect on  LinkedIn: or  Instagram:   If you are looking for scrum or kanban training, check out my upcoming courses at:   As always, thank you for listening! #scrum #kanba...

The 1 question to figure out where you are in the product life cycle

February 11, 2023 16:07 - 3 minutes - 3.29 MB

What if I told you there is one 1 question you can ask to figure out where you are in the product life cycle?    Moreover, what if I told you figuring out where you are can tell you the kind of complexities you can expect to deal with?   Ready? Let's go.   Enjoyed this episode? Or perhaps you may have a question? Let's connect on  LinkedIn: or  Instagram:   If you are looking for...

Product Owner Coping Strategies

December 12, 2022 18:29 - 4 minutes - 4.14 MB

Are you a product owner?  Here are some tried and tested product owner coping strategies! 1. Become a developer - 1:33 2. 'Speak now or forever hold your silence' meeting - 2:19 Enjoyed this episode? Or perhaps you may have a question? Let's connect on LinkedIn: or Instagram: If you are looking for scrum or kanban training, check out my upcoming courses at: https://orderlydisrupti...

Product Management Series: Different Types of Product Owner

November 07, 2022 18:01 - 8 minutes - 7.5 MB

What are the different categories of product owner?    This episode goes outlines all the different types of product owners as well as the characteristics/pros and cons of each by considering them against the definition of a product and how you may deliver value.    Join me as I also bust a common myth: product management being taught at product ownership classes.  #productowner #agility #managementconsulting In this episode I drew on my information I gained from my interviews with:  Ind...

Agility Island: What is Large Scale Scrum (LeSS)?

October 07, 2022 13:53 - 11 minutes - 11 MB

In this episode, I take you through what Large Scale Scrum precisely consists of, including a breakdown of the sprint retrospectives, product backlog refinement, and the daily scrum. What are the advantages of scaling? I mentioned the article I wrote, comparing the differences between the 2017 and 2020 Scrum Guide: For a comprehensive study of all available scaling frameworks check out: ht...

Agility Island: Advice I would give my younger self (from an active practitioner and scrum master with 18 years of experience)

August 31, 2022 16:28 - 8 minutes - 8.04 MB

The last 18 years working in a range of different industries (ranging from tech to oil, tobacco, etc) have taught me a lot. Today I share some of the advice I would give the version of myself who was just starting out. Whether you are an experienced scrum master or just starting your career, there's something for everyone in this episode.  From the Kübler-Ross Change Curve to the Tuckman Model, the devastating impact closing down a project can have on a team, what drives our behavior, Execu...

Agility Island: leader vs scrum master (scrum master vs agile coach?)

July 19, 2022 16:01 - 6 minutes - 5.82 MB

What is the difference between a scrum master and an agile leader?  If you start with the scrum master, what should a scrum master be doing?  What would a leader do? the difference in the positions of scrum masters and agile leaders may not be as big as you think it is. Thank you for listening. #scrum #agility #agileleader #managementconsulting #scrummaster    My LinkedIn: My Instagram: ...

Agility Island - Sustainability

July 01, 2022 15:00 - 2 minutes - 2.68 MB

Sustainability should be central to value. Instead of inauthentic greenwashing lets aim to be authentic with our sustainability and truly reduce our impact on the environment. If you truly want to improve your sustainability, consider it in terms of how you prioritize value. --- Send in a voice message:

Setting Expectations In Scrum

June 27, 2022 15:15 - 3 minutes - 3.35 MB

When will it be done? How do we manage expectations in scrum? How do we use Monte Carlo probabilistic forecasting and the importance of throughput.  My LinkedIn: My Instagram: My twitter: --- Send in a voice message:

Agility Island - What is a product goal?

June 24, 2022 09:43 - 4 minutes - 4.54 MB

The 2020 version of the Scrum guide introduced the notion of ''product goal' but big visions can sometimes be hard for scrum teams to wrap their heads around which can in turn affect empiricism.   What is a product goal and how can we go about having one without affecting empiricism?    My LinkedIn: Agility Island Podcast:  #scrum #agile #kanban #productgoal #agility --- Send in a voice message: https://podcasters...

Retrospectives and Techniques

June 20, 2022 12:13 - 2 minutes - 2.18 MB

On today's episode I take you through some of the techniques from Esther Derby and Diana Larsen's book on Retrospectives such as setting the stage as well as I explain why I think improvements should happen on the spot and the importance of doing so on team performance.    My LinkedIn: My Instagram: My Website: --- Send in a voice message:

Constraints, work capability, throughput & flow

June 15, 2022 12:15 - 5 minutes - 5.04 MB

Do you know what your team or team of teams capability to take on work is? How can throughput help? Using real-world examples, this episode aims to outline work capability and throughput.  My social media: --- Send in a voice message:

How do you measure value in scrum?

June 13, 2022 12:30 - 19 minutes - 17.5 MB

What is value and how is it measured in scrum?  In this episode, I walk you through some types of value such as organizational value, market value, societal value and learning value.  I then focus on models such as the WK Kellogg Foundation Logic Model as well as Martin Fowler's Strangler Pattern to further outline the importance of learning. --- Send in a voice mes...

Trust and its impact on the definition of done in scrum

May 31, 2022 16:15 - 11 minutes - 10.4 MB

How does trust impact the definition of done? Does low trust affect the definition of done? How can we work on building trust to help our definition of done? You can't see me, but I am adding something in the air. What is it? Trust. Trust yourself.  Trust your team.  Do the work.  Impact the Definition of Done. For more check out: My LinkedIn: My Instagram: --- Send in ...

What the developers do in the last week of the sprint?

April 29, 2022 15:20 - 6 minutes - 5.49 MB

Do you think work should be handed off once it meets the definition of done? On this episode, I talk about how developers should collaborate with the 'testers' and the important role that plays overall. Tune in, you might find some useful tips.  --- Send in a voice message:

Can scrum and agility be scaled and what’s the best way to do it?

April 27, 2022 11:35 - 15 minutes - 14.2 MB

In this episode, I talk you through some of the different ways and frameworks you can use to scale scrum and agile. The first rule is of course not scale but if you must, here are some ways to do so: 3:27 LeSS - what is it and how does it work? 6:29 Disciplined agile - what is it and how does it work? 7:21 Scrum at scale - what is it and how does it work? 8:21 SAFe - what is it and how does it work? 9:55 Nexus - what is it and how does it work? 11:43 Spotify ING - what is it and how do...

Value and Kanban: isn't Kanban just about outputs? Isn't Kanban missing a trick with value and organizational capability?

April 25, 2022 13:52 - 13 minutes - 12.7 MB

How do we deliver value in Kanban?  In this episode, John starts off by talking about by briefly introducing evidence-based management (EBM) and explains its 4 key values: time to market, ability to innovate, current value and unrealized value.  John then moves on to look at how these values operate in the context of Kanban (2:35) and things that may actually harm your ability to deliver value.  John then goes on to talk about classes of service in Kanban and why in his opinion, intangibl...

Balancing UX with shipping fast in scrum? A deeper look into each box of the Lean UX canvas - are you doing User Experience the right way?

April 12, 2022 14:31 - 16 minutes - 15 MB

Is there such thing as balancing UX with shipping fast in scrum?  Is there even such thing as shipping fast in scrum?  How can we know what is value when we don't know the end-user?    What happens in each box of the Lean UX canvas? --- Send in a voice message:

Daily Flow - dealing with complexity in a Kanban footprint

March 30, 2022 10:31 - 9 minutes - 8.3 MB

How can we better deal with complexity in a Kanban footprint? Join me in this short episode to explore how. --- Send in a voice message:

Daily Flow - a story about story points and an alternative, throughput

March 29, 2022 16:11 - 14 minutes - 13.7 MB

In this episode, I go through some field stories regarding story points - why you shouldn't use them and offer alternatives.  --- Send in a voice message:

Daily Flow: Sizing & Forecasting

March 29, 2022 14:29 - 20 minutes - 18.9 MB

Popular patterns for sizing including "exact" time/cost, relative, right-sizing, and #noestimates. Popular patterns for forecasting include Gantt charts(ugh!), burnup/down charts(hmmm), and probabilistic forecasting(oooo). An emerging trend is with right-sizing and probabilistic forecasting. It's not all sunshine and honey, context matters, and it's dangerous to over-simplify. Let's laser focus on the upsides and downsides of each of these options. Time Stamps: 0:00 Approaches & Their Upsi...

Daily Flow - where does Scrum Master end and agile leader begin

November 09, 2021 09:12 - 17 minutes - 15.9 MB

Timestamps: 0:00 Introduction   0:22 scrum master vs agile coach  1:46 The conversations you might have as a leader/scrum master/agility coach  3:48 What I expect a scrum master or agility coach to do  10:00 What about a leader?  13:17 Some things to consider stopping Watch the video version of this episode here: --- Send in a voice message:

Daily Flow: Scrum definition of done for non-software, Kanban board & column exit criteria

November 03, 2021 10:26 - 30 minutes - 28.4 MB

Let's focus on non-software - let's consider a people recruitment process as an example.    What does "done" mean? Valuable, useful, and usable in Scrum, whatever the organization/team decides it is.  "When someone's need was met" in Agendashift. Maybe a near to exit stage on a Kanban board...   How is "done" different from acceptance criteria for a Scrum product backlog item or subtasks on a Kanban work item?  0:00 Introduction   3:42 The definition of "done"  5:27 Definition of done ...

Daily Flow: Product backlog refinement and why is it encouraged?

October 29, 2021 12:49 - 16 minutes - 15.3 MB

Product Backlog Refinement is an activity in (single team) Scrum, with supporting events for multi-team Scrum in Nexus and LeSS. Why is it encouraged? Is there something equivalent in Kanban?   0:00 Introduction   0:27 Product backlog refinement in Scrum   8:03 How do we obtain a common understanding   9:06  A nerve centre for discovery   15:00 Optional practices  15:11 Misunderstandings of product backlog refinement Watch this in the video format here:

Daily Flow: How do projects and Scrum go together?

October 28, 2021 11:39 - 12 minutes - 11.7 MB

Projects are artificial constructs to get money to get some work done. Key metric include time, scope, and cost. Products don't have scope. Scrum is for product development and works even better with Lean UX and Kanban as a powerful combination. Should we set up Scrum Teams dedicated to projects?  0:34 What is a project?  1:01 Deciding whether to use Scrum or not  3:17 Problems with using Scrum for projects  9:01 Managing expectations  10:12 Scrum teams for each project - good idea? Wa...

Daily Flow - what is LeSS and why is it needed?

October 15, 2021 17:28 - 17 minutes - 16.6 MB

Daily Flow - what is LeSS and why is it needed? --- Send in a voice message:

Daily Flow - all the meetings and no time to get work done

October 05, 2021 09:28 - 17 minutes - 16.3 MB

Are you in an agile team? Does it feel like meeting mania? It doesn't have to be. Timestamps: 0:00 Introduction  0:24 Meetings with agile 2:12 Three questions in the Scrum guide  4:04 The situation to strive for   7:13 Sprint planning  10:15 Product backlog refinement 13:50 Having a chat with key stakeholders Link to YouTube video: --- Send in a voice message:

Daily Flow - a chat with Steve Tendon about constraints in knowledge work

October 01, 2021 11:51 - 31 minutes - 29.1 MB

Daily Flow hosts the amazing Steven Tendon to discuss constraints in knowledge work. This episode is packed with fun anecdotes as well as the story of Herbie.  Join us in discussing Steve's amazing work in his own Tame Flow.  1:48 - Basics of constraints in knowledge work / understanding what is a constraint 2:51 - Story of Herbie 8:53 - Finding the constraint 15:31 - Moving people around 22:33 - Rating behaviour/mental models as a constraint --- Send in a voice message: https://pod...

Daily Flow - what to not talk about at the Daily Scrum, what to not do at the Daily Scrum

July 23, 2021 12:31 - 13 minutes - 12.4 MB

Remember those three annoying questions? Thank goodness they no longer exist in the Scrum guide.   0:00 Introduction   2:05 Five domains to think about when working on problems...  3:49 What to talk about in the daily scrum  5:15 From a flow perspective...  7:58 Getting to know each other   10:57 Answering questions and comments --- Send in a voice message:

Daily Flow - what is Nexus, and why is it needed?

July 23, 2021 11:36 - 26 minutes - 24.8 MB

Nexus is's scaling/de-scaling pattern. It's simple and it's practical.   0:00 Introduction   1:03 The cake metaphor   4:55  A basic Nexus   7:58 Why I like Nexus   10:50 Minimising dependencies   12:49 The Nexus daily scrum   15:47 The 2021 update   18:25 A key distinction between LeSS and Nexus   21:10 Answering questions and comments --- Send in a voice message:

Daily Flow - Scrum - How long should our Sprint be?

July 22, 2021 19:26 - 9 minutes - 8.58 MB

Two weeks is the most popular sprint length for Scrum teams, so we should use that right? What if we have multiple teams for the product? --- Send in a voice message:

Daily Flow - spot the difference - enterepreneurial product ownership & product leadership

July 22, 2021 13:23 - 16 minutes - 14.9 MB

On the Xagility ™ podcast at, Marty Cagan explained his view on product ownership & product management, calling it "CSPO pathology".  Listen to John Coleman's personal opinion on the following:  What does it mean for teams?  What does it mean for entrepreneurial Product Owners? What does it mean for Product Leaders?  What does it mean for training? What does it mean for organizations? --- Send in a voice message:

Daily Flow - a chat with Prateek Singh about Work Item Age

July 11, 2021 14:44 - 22 minutes - 20.8 MB

Prateek Singh is Director, Business Agility at UKG(Ultimate Kronos Group) Speaker, Blogger, and co-host of the fabulous DrunkAgile podcast. DrunkAgile --- Send in a voice message:

Daily Flow - a chat about intent with David Nixon

July 11, 2021 14:15 - 23 minutes - 21.6 MB

intent and Impulse. Why do we do what we do? What is the narrative that sits behind our actions? Understanding the difference between these two terms and their true meaning is a process of reflection and exploration. Two of the fundamentals of personal and professional development. David Nixon’s intent and impulse article --- Send in a voice message:

Daily Flow - "take the time it takes so it takes less time" vs "it takes as long as it takes"

July 07, 2021 16:00 - 10 minutes - 9.55 MB

Nik Antonelli made John Coleman aware of the expression "take the time it takes so it takes less time"; complexity aside, it's about being able to afford to do it twice when one could have done it properly once. "It takes as long as it takes" is a dead-sure sign that work item aging is not being taken seriously, and it's the slippery slope to expedite-mania. --- Send in a voice message:

Daily Flow - time to think

July 07, 2021 15:49 - 5 minutes - 4.97 MB

In another episode, John Coleman talked about "turning off the tap". A few weeks after turning off the tap, work level anxiety can still be high. It can be tempting to re-open the tap before your workload has normalized. Don't.  How often do we pause to walk in nature, to reflect? don't lose that opportunity to finish work that's been in progress for longer than you'd like to admit. sidebar, sometimes work item age is beyond our control. Remember. By switching off, we switch back on. How like...

Daily Flow - Why I love Scrum with UX

July 07, 2021 15:44 - 14 minutes - 13.2 MB

Lean UX was co-created by Joshua Seiden and Jeff Gothelf. Scrum and Lean UX were formally combined in recent years, and John Coleman loves this combination. He refers to it as a heat-seeking missile for value. Find out why.  --- Send in a voice message:

Daily Flow - let's talk about policies

July 07, 2021 15:24 - 12 minutes - 12 MB

In Kanban, explicit policies are visible/accessible to Kanban system members.  Implicit policies are assumptions, and they might not be shared assumptions. Let's talk about policies. --- Send in a voice message:

Daily Flow - Kanban charts basics

June 22, 2021 12:23 - 20 minutes - 18.6 MB

Wouldn't know a cycle time scatter plot if it hit you on the head? You're in the right place to look at that and a few other sleep-inducing charts. What a way to start the weekend! --- Send in a voice message:

Daily Flow - What is Kanban?

June 22, 2021 10:59 - 16 minutes - 15.2 MB

What is Kanban? John Coleman will refer to --- Send in a voice message:

Daily Flow - Turn off the tap!

June 22, 2021 10:37 - 10 minutes - 9.61 MB

Water flow is often used as a metaphor for flow in knowledge work. John often uses the expression "turn off the tap" (incoming work). Is he going crazy? --- Send in a voice message:

Daily Flow - is the application of Scrum as per the Scrum Guide too prescriptive?

June 22, 2021 10:27 - 15 minutes - 14.4 MB

Is the application of Scrum as per the Scrum Guide too prescriptive? Is the Scrum Guide used as a set of laws you need to adhere here to? Should the Scrum Guide rather be treated as a guide that gives the team a starting point but encourages the team to inspect and adapt the framework to better their outcomes?  To request a topic, leave a message at or WhatsApp +447908539437, thank you. --- Send in a voice message:

Daily Flow - sterility, agility

June 16, 2021 20:46 - 10 minutes - 9.89 MB

For some, sterile is a good thing; it means safe and clean. For others, it's kind of lacking in fun. Kanban practitioners can often forget the human side; virtually beating people over the head with work item aging charts, and in doing so they "lose the dressing room". --- Send in a voice message:

Daily Flow - work item types and SLEs in Kanban

June 15, 2021 06:57 - 10 minutes - 9.59 MB

Work Item types are optional in Kanban Guide as per In Kanban Guide, a Service Level Expectation (SLE) is a must for a Kanban board. How about having an SLE per work item type? What could be the upsides and downsides of that? --- Send in a voice message:

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