Fostering a culture of effective communication

When I was a child I was captivated by TV commercials. As I got older I began resenting them because of how they were able to get into my head. Yet throughout my life I have always been fascinated by how effective they were. I mean in the end they were just a very short communication. I think this has influenced the way I revere the power of storytelling. It is invaluable to the way I practice Program Management.

Effective communication is glue. It can be what holds an organization together or what allows it to fall apart. Tragically, most…


The most fundamental difference between Waterfall and Agile is that rather than waiting until the very end of a very long project to deliver value to the end user, Agile delivers small, shippable increments of value from the very start that can be learned from quickly and improved.

Yet, there is no instructions manual on how to identify a valuable shippable increment to develop in each sprint. That’s a skill that is learned and refined over time. But there is a place to start. …


Scrum is a powerful framework used to rapidly develop products and features. It’s the essence of a start-up. It’s everything you admire about productive teams. To me, it’s magic. Scrum teams get their superpowers from swarming.

If your team is not swarming in each sprint, then you’re not actually practicing Scrum. It’s the cold hard truth. I’m sorry to break it to you. Sure, you can use the Scrum framework to give your teams and projects order, but that’s all you are going to get out of it — maybe some order. …


Traditionally in business management, the Cost of Delay is something that is calculated based on how much revenue would have been gained, or how many new customers acquired, if this feature or product could have gone to market X many days sooner.

Yet there are other kinds of Cost of Delay lurking in your organization. Look at it this way. You hired a plumber to fix your sink. She set aside up to 3 hours for you. Now imagine that once she gets to your house, you find out that your bathtub drain is also clogged and you ask her…


This June, I kicked off Scrum development with a newly-formed team focused on creating a custom newsroom planning tool. I’m the program manager for The Wall Street Journal’s editorial tools program. Most of the team members either had little experience with Scrum or had been exposed to what we in the industry lovingly call “Scrumbut,” when a group practices Scrum in name but doesn’t adhere to the core principles.

So it wasn’t without some challenge that I introduced Scrum to the team, who doubted the need for the intensive grooming and planning sessions. There was worry that by starting off…

Marina Guvenc

Agile Leader

Get the Medium app

A button that says 'Download on the App Store', and if clicked it will lead you to the iOS App store
A button that says 'Get it on, Google Play', and if clicked it will lead you to the Google Play store