My name is Tom Howlett. I’m a freelance developer/agile coach and owner of Lean Tomato. I love to help build development teams and coach existing ones to  become more effective. I also still love to code and develop asp.net web applications working with local designers. This blog is the story of my experiences as a developer and Scrummaster over the last 8 years.

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  1. Son Nguyen · · Reply

    Great writing. Not sure you are Tom from Biomni, aren’t you?. 🙂

  2. Yep its me. You can claim the prize for spotting it first! Hanoi Rocks 😉

  3. Good blog Tom. Interesting to read it. We have come a very long way. Well done for getting it to happen.

  4. Whats actually new in the world of Scrum/Agile or have we plateaued?

    1. Mysterious Mr B thanks for your comment!

      I think its slowly evolving and maturing. There seems to be a bit of a move away from more prescribed processes like Scrum to a more evolutionary approach using Kanban, Lean and Systems Thinking Principles. Different approaches work in different situations. You need to get with it man 😉

  5. Hi Tom,

    I have found your blog very useful, I have been a keen agile enthusiast for a few years and have finally pursuaded my company to send me on a CSM training course and the company are comitting to going ‘agile’ in the new year, have you got any tips for getting started on the right track?

    1. Hi Simon, glad you’ve found it useful. If it’s taken 3 years to get on the CSM course I guess you’ve got a tough road ahead. People accept change more easily if it’s presented as an experiment, so I would recommend proposing a small experimental sprint and agree what results would signify success. If your team (but not managers) are already keen on Agile then success should be easy, otherwise you are going to have to do some coaching. Presuming you won’t have the budget for an external coach I would recommend reading “Agile Coaching” by Rachel Davies and Liz Sedley which has lots of good ways to get people engaged.

      Let me know how it goes. If you want to chat about anything DM me on Twitter and we could set up a skype call.

      Good Luck

      1. Hi Tom,

        Thanks for your response, i believe the plans are for a pilot scrum project in Q1-Q2 next year, the team are mixed, there are some that are keen and some who are indifferent to change. I’ve earmarked that as one of the books I want to read. Thanks for your help, I may take you up on the skype call at some point in the near future…



    2. One more thought, you say the company are committing to going ‘agile’ in the new year. I guess the thing to remember is it is a never ending process. It works best if you limit changes to one thing at a time. So basically don’t try introducing TDD, CI, Pairing and Scrum all at the same time! Scrum is good place to start. Once the team starts collaborating and self organising it will give them the courage to work on the others. I would try Scrum first, then pairing as these are the keys to get people really collaborating.

      1. Thanks Tom, I agree, doing more than one thing at once will be very difficult to keep under control, if we can get the basic scrum process working, then we can move onto techniques to use within the sprints.

  6. Hi Tom

    I was checking out your blog following a retweet from Jonothan Pollinger as I have heard a bit about SCRUM but not really looked at it. Nice blog!

    As a wee side note, I noticed the link to your company email at Biomni seems to be appended on to youtr blog URL when you click on it so you I get a 404 error. Though it would be worth a mention.



    1. Thanks Tom, link now fixed

  7. […] A Manager’s Guide To Self Managing Teams Written by: Tom Howlett […]

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