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They say you can’t teach an old dog new tricks. I am more than 45 years old and I am trying to prove them wrong. Let me explain.


When I was a spring chicken, I wanted to be like all the cool kids. And what the cool kids were doing was drinking alcohol. So I tried my best to start drinking and become one of them (cool kids, I mean). I failed miserably. That failure has doomed me and ever since, I have been uncoolest person you will (n)ever meet. There is no other conceivable reason for my un-coolness. That’s my story and I’m sticking to it.


Until the day I attended an Evidence Based Management workshop facilitated by Ken Schwaber at During a break in class, I asked Ken a question and his comment triggered a full-blown mid-life crisis that changed the course of my life. Ken caused me to reevaluate my life choices and get into the alcohol making and drinking business!


Ken challenged us to apply empiricism and evidence based thinking to Agile training, coaching and consulting in three steps…

  1. Transparency: Visualize the time and money invested on Agile training, coaching and consulting.
  2. Inspection: Compare the measurable business benefits (or lack thereof) our investment created to the target business benefits we intended to create.
  3. Adaptation: Learn from any undesirable deviation and either…
    • Increase the efficacy of our Agile training, coaching, consulting, or…
    • Decrease investment in our Agile training, coaching, consulting because empirical evidence was indicating it was wasteful, ineffective and unacceptable.


In that moment, I had a very embarrassing realization – I came face to face with my inauthenticity. I realized that I train and coach organizations to practice evidence based management and hypothesis driven delivery, yet I do not apply those ideas to my own work. That was when I made the only possible decision – I resolved to start making and drinking my own alcohol. And not just any alcohol – dog champagne.


I resolved to fix my inauthenticity by making and drinking my own dog-champagne. Going forward, I would no longer offer Agile training, coaching and consulting if I could not be a role mode by practicing what I preach to my students, teams and clients. It has been a long a bumpy ride since then, but I feel I might be onto something. If you would like to learn more, please read this White Paper – Evidence Based Agile Learning for ROI and watch the webinar at the end of this blog to get a sense for our thinking.

You will learn…

  • The paradigm shift needed for business outcome-based Agile training and coaching
  • 5 characteristics of results-based Agile training and coaching programs
  • 6 types of measures needed to maximize the ROI of such programs
  • How we applied these ideas to coach a team of Product Owners at a real client
  • How to get more information


So here’s what I wish for you…

  1. If you are an Agile trainer, coach or consultant, I hope these ideas will help you discover and develop better ways to model the behavior you teach. I hope you will start making and drinking your own unique brand of dog champagne.
  2. If you are an Agile student, team or organization, I hope these ideas will help you challenge your Agile trainers, coach’s and consultants to raise the bar of their performance. If they don’t know how to perform at a higher level, tell them to start here until they can figure out a better way. If they are unable or unwilling to do either, fire them and find someone else. You deserve better.

Either way, I wish you nothing but the best. Scrum On!