Newsletter on Product Development, Agile, Innovation and Large-Scale Scrum.

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Welcome to newsletter 48.  

Interesting Articles
35 Tools for Brainstorming and meeting

This post provides a comprehensive list of 35 tools for brainstorming and meetings.  I liked the way they categorise them and show the evaluation criteria.

I have copied few of them here..

Our Top Recommended Tools for Online Brainstorming and Decision Making in Meetings

After all that, here are the products that stood out from the crowd. We recommend adding one of these to your online meeting toolkit.

#1 GroupMap or Stormz

We loved the ease of use, attractive design, clarity of the process, and excellent reporting provided by our top recommendaitons.

Both GroupMap and Stormz offer a free trial and a monthly subscription option. Occasional users probably won't experience big differences between these platforms. Both are easy to use and generate really useful results. Lucid Meetings customers should consider Stormz, using our integration to ensure the results from your brainstorming session get stored with your other meeting records.

Powernoodle and MeetingSphere are also excellent choices, especially for enterprises and organizations seeking a product that will support a rich virtual facilitation practice over time. Many of the professional facilitators certified by the IAF swear by MeetingSphere.

#2 Google DocsMicrosoft Word Live, or Etherpad

Brainstorming in a co-edited document worked better than we expected, and starting with a product everyone already knows how to use eradicated the learning curve. These are also the only viable option for those of you with accessibility requirements. Finally, free is a very good price!

That said, these products were harder to use with large groups, as participants quickly get concerned about writing over each other's contributions. Importantly, these products do nothing to support your process, so all of the organization and facilitation is entirely up to you.

Free collaborative editors are our top-pick for small teams or traditional facilitators who need to prioritize easy technology instead of high-volume replies or any decision reporting support.

#3 IdeaFlip or Jamboard

Recommended with reservations.
These products support our test process and offer a good alternative to development teams. But they lack the flexibility, power and finesse of our top choices, and didn't provide the reports we were looking for.

#4 Mural or Miro

Recommended for designers and others managing work visually.
Mural and Miro fully support our process as part of a larger, deluxe visual management platform. Neither platform is free nor lightweight, but both can be an excellent choice for teams who benefit from visual collaboration both during and outside of meetings.

In 2020, Mural is our top pick for online design thinking and visual facilitation.

Check out the rest of the tools here


List of Good Books 

Came across this post which I found has some good list of books. Hope you like it...




Large-Scale Scrum(LeSS)

My recent webinar about  5 unique Things about Large-Scale Scrum 

Check out this  youtube link


Overcoming the false dichotomy of Specialization vs Generalization with Scrum

The link to the original article 

Virtually every Team in their first Sprint is confronted with the problem of single-specialization causing work imbalance. What happens? The Product Owner orders the Product Backlog to maximize value. But when the team members are specialized in a single dimension - such as QA, Java development, front-end development - some team members regularly will find themselves with no work related to their area of specialization. Single-specialization inevitably causes work imbalance.

Organizations typically react by applying the following quick-fixes, (1) have people be on more than one team, (2) give additional work to the team, or (3) do work for the next Sprint (e.g. design) or work related to the previous Sprint (e.g. QA). The latter two quick-fixes are easily recognized as they lead to half-done items at the end of the Sprint, often referred to as ‘carry-over’ or ‘spill-over’ work.

Key point: The phrases ‘carry-over’ and ‘spill-over’ are not Scrum. They’re signs of dysfunctional Scrum.

Each of these quick-fixes inhibit well-oiled teams and reinforce responsibility at the level of individual members. For most organizations, Scrum entails a change in teams from individual responsibility (of my area of expertise) to a team-shared responsibility (for all work required to achieve the goal of the Sprint). Scrum makes this explicit by having a role: ‘Team’ – a single role of multiple people, rather than roles of team members.

original post

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Upcoming Events
Look forward to public courses in Brisbane, Melbourne, Sydney, Perth and India in 2020.  Possibly expanding to other countries. 

I have started online training for Certified LeSS Basics.  I recently completed a few and would be announcing a few more soon. Keep an eye on this newsletter. 

Many might not know that I also offer Certified LeSS Executive training. This is specifically for senior leaders who might be interested in learning the intricacies of management and structure to influence the culture. 

Please reach out:  venky at for further details.

About Empirical Coach

If you are interested in Agile coaching, mentoring and training services, please reach out to me ( We have a team of passionate coaches collaboratively working together and could help. 

Our team has deep expertise in Agile, Lean, Systems Thinking and Complexity science. We look at challenges from different angles and apply tools from various schools of thoughts. This is different from the cookie-cutter approaches you see around.  We are proud to be different.

I have been deeply involved in many of the initial experiments that lead to the birth of LeSS, one of the countable number of people globally.  

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