’Mijn leven. Sven Nys’, a book about cyclocrosser Sven Nys.

I know, the book ‘Mijn leven. Sven Nys.’ is in Dutch so a lot of you won’t be able to read it. Still, I think this book deserves a place on your bookshelf. Mijn leven. Sven Nys.Like I said in a previous blogpost, it made me read again.

Who knows Sven Nys? I think a lot of you do. But I suppose that a lot of people think that he’s just a cyclocrosser with a lot of talent. Well, that’s not completely true. Wait, don’t panic. He is a great cyclocrosser but only because he worked very hard and still does.

In the book you can read that he trained so hard that he sometimes forgot that there is more in life than cycling. After some disappointments in the big championships, he learned from his team that he needed to relax from time to time if he wanted to have a long carreer. That was more than 10 years ago…

Besides his passion another thing that jumps out in the book, is the importance of his team. Not only his teammates in the cross itself, but his family, his son, friends and so on. Without them, he would not be who he is now. They help him to become better. They help him when something goes wrong. Ofcourse he has the legs that need to perform but without the mind and support of his team, he would be lost.

That should be a lesson for everyone. Not only for those of you cycling are playing soccer. All of you need a team that you can count on. You need people that are there in difficult times.

Buy the book.

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Having a stand-up at work?

At work, we started implementing Agile Development two years ago. Until a couple of months ago we used a Scrum implementation, but now we are changing this to Kanban. In this period a lot has changed but our stand-up always had his place. But is the stand-up a useful ceremony? Some say it is a waste of time but others think it is a gift. My idea is that a good stand-up can really make you better as a team. It is a quick and easy way to get an overview of who is working on what topic. Are you stuck? Just ask for help in this short meeting so that the project can move on.
It is true that you should ask for help whenever you need it. But this ‘forum’ is a great way to avoid asking help to the same people over and over. It is an opportunity for the team to manage themselves.

So as you can see, there are several reasons for having a regular stand-up. Why are there still people that don’t see the advantages of this ceremony? Probably because stand-ups can get out of hand pretty quick. Someone who keeps talking, discussions, people are not interested or arrive late. Those are all things that can be avoided with some simple rules. The article 10 Tips for a Great Daily Scrum Meeting provides a nice set of rules that you can apply. First of all everyone should use the same format when they tell wat they are doing:

” Yesterday, I completed…
Today, I will…
The things blocking my progress are…”

But the most important rule to me is “Start and end the meeting on time”. If you wait for someone, you will notice that focus will be lost. People will be watching the clock, because they have meetings or should get back to their work. People that are late should be punished for being so. Waiting for them will only cause more delays in the coming weeks since people think that is no problem. So when you are late, apologize and don’t ask to repeat what was said.

Having trouble to keep your Daily Scrum short and focussed? Try this tip: Let’s Save that Discussion for the Sixteenth Minute. We still use this from time to time.