Sigao is on the Move

“I think there’s going to be companies that shut down because of coronavirus and don’t open back up,” he said. “There’s going to be companies that make it to the end. Then there’s going to be companies that figure out how to expand and grow and are not looking at just surviving, but how can we come out ahead. Scrum training that we do prepares companies for that. So we think it’s even more important given the world we’re in … to help them be faster and better.”

Chris Sims
(Birmingham Business Journal Article, July 15, 2020)

COVID19 has forever changed the world. We have to move forward and learn how to exist. First, we must keep people healthy. Next, we must learn where we can pivot and always push to keep ahead of the market.

While many are moving out of office space, Sigao is moving into it. We aren’t bringing everyone back (we will make fact-based decisions that put our team first). But, we cannot stay idle either. We are making choices now that will allow us to adapt to an ever-changing market. Flexible space in a beautiful community gives us the ability to grow and change as we continue to learn more about how to thrive and fulfill our mission of improving lives.

We love #Birmingham and are investing in it. This space allows us to continue our platform of investment in our community. It will serve as an anchor that offers us an ability to deepen our human-centric approach to coaching, training, and development.+

How will this help us

As part of the move, we are creating a media studio that will allow us to build our virtual learning and content creation platforms. These platforms (such as Chris is Agile ( and Sigao ( will allow us to help our community learn the skills needed to practice the lightning-fast pivot.

Additionally, we have built a world-leading virtual training platform focused on Scrum and Agile (Check it out here). This space will allow us to evolve our partnerships with programs like InnovateBirmingham. It will enable us to serve more markets and create engaging educational experiences that empower learners to develop their careers and grow their companies.

More to come…

This is the first of three huge announcements we will be making this month. The BBJ article hints of an exciting, senior leadership hire, and a deepening of our partnership to the Licensed Scrum Community. We can’t wait to make those announcements, but, for now, we are looking forward to this move and seeing what comes next for Sigao, our community, and the world!

In case you missed it, here is the Birmingham Business Journal article that offers more details around our move!

A statement from our CEO

To our team members, including those of color. To our customers and clients, and to a community that is hurting, scared, and looking for a path forward:

I want to be unequivocal. Sigao, its founders, and I, as CEO, stand in solidarity and fully support the movement for Black lives.

Systems that marginalize human beings that are in the minority are against our core values, the core values of Scrum, and are against human decency. It is incumbent on those that have a voice to speak for those that do not. It is incumbent on those that have a platform to stand up for justice for every human and clearly state that white privilege must end, and justice and freedom must be equal for all.

For those that are marginalized, that are afraid to live your life and be yourself for fear of violence and retribution, we hear you and stand up for you. There can be no priority higher than that of freedom, mercy, and justice for all.

For those that do not understand the fear of the marginalized, we challenge you to stretch yourself and find opportunities that challenge you to grow.

For those that do not understand the damage that systemic racism has caused to our country, we implore you to educate yourself and seek that understanding. It is not ok to be “not racist.”

For our company, our nation, and our world to move forward and find peace, we must be actively anti-racist. We must be willing to identify racism in ourselves and understand that if we are not better today than we were yesterday, and better tomorrow than we are today, then we will fail as a people.

Fred Shuttlesworth once said, “Some men may little note or soon forget what we say here: but the nation will never forget what we did here together. We were not satisfied with the few scattering cracks in the Segregation wall and decided to effect a major confrontation with evil.”

As such, words are not enough. Sigao is actively working with our team, our partners, and industry experts to find tangible ways that we can effect change. The tech industry has long been a catalyst for change. We must and will use that ability to drive positive change. We are listening to those that understand to learn how we can best guide our company in ways that multiply our impact on the world around us.

Things will never be like they were yesterday, nor will they be like they are today. Change is inevitable and unwavering. We must find peace by finding value in everyone and understanding that we are in this together.

We ask our community to join us in one voice — “We support the movement for Black lives. We support the movement for equality and justice for all.” We will stand and move forward together, and we are better off when we do that.

Be safe, grow, and use your platform for good.

Chris Sims
CEO – Sigao

AgileKit : Meet The Brand

Welcome to AgileKit – an interconnected framework of Agile tools designed by agile coaches, scrum masters, and product owners to support Agile teams in product planning and construction.

AgileKit is an internal project we’ve been developing over the past 2 months. While developing core concepts for the applications as a whole, we started to notice the same ideas pop up:

  • Simple
  • Easy
  • Functional

When it came time to Brand, we took these same concepts into account.

First, we started with the color: “blue.” Yes, we understand the cliché of the color blue and tech. However, blue is the favorite color of most, if not all people.

“It’s nature’s color for water and sky but is rarely found in fruits and vegetables. Today, blue is embraced as the color of heaven and authority, denim jeans and corporate logos. [However, blue] has more complex and contradictory meanings than any other color. These can be easily explained by pinpointing by the specific shade of blue. Most blues convey a sense of trust, loyalty, cleanliness, and understanding.”

After searching through what seemed like a never-ending wasteland of blue’s, we finally found – the one. #296BFF embodies what we hope to convey about AgileKit: constant inspiration, serenity, and dependability.

Once the color was decided, next came the last and arguably most challenging aspect, construction of the mark itself.

AgileKit Logo Development

We went through a handful of ideas before the final mark really started to take shape.

First, we started with curly brackets and an icon of sorts inside. Then, we tried various versions of combining ‘ak’ into useful shapes – that went into a steep free fall ending with the genuine realization that it just wasn’t going to work. But that’s ok – We went back to the drawing board and decided a more stylized, and fluid shape was going to fit the AgileKit brand best.

Probably couldn’t explain just how the concept came about, it was more of a vague idea, out there in the ether. However, It started with this illustration of a sprint cycle.

Typical Sprint Cycle


And so it began.

AgileKit Brand - Designing the Mark 1

AgileKit Brand - Designing the Mark 2

The original idea was to have swooping lines to indicate direction. After several revisions, we noticed the mark moving further and further away from the core idea and beginning to get too messily detailed. Therefore, we decided to take several steps back and add more curves, instead of sharp lines – and thus, the final mark was created.


AgileKit: The Mark

AgileKit: The Mark Wireframe

The mark’s interpretation is up to the viewer, it could be a water drop, a planet, a blob, a blob with another blob, or our personal favorite – a very stylized version of a sprint cycle. Our hope is, regardless of what you actually see, you know it’s the simple, easy, and dependable software of AgileKit.


Living out our purpose with Dream on 3

Kurt Cherry on University of Alabama campusThis past weekend was a great reminder for me about why the Birmingham business community is so special.

Kurt Cherry, an 18-year-old from Charlotte, North Carolina, may have been the biggest Alabama football fan who had never attended a game at Bryant-Denny Stadium. That all changed on homecoming weekend when UA partnered with Dream On 3 to give Kurt the trip of a lifetime.

Kurt’s energy and enthusiasm are infectious, and his smile brightens any room that he’s in. He’s an authority on just about any sport–quoting facts and figures from football, baseball, basketball, and hockey–and he also lives with autism, which creates special challenges in his life.

How Sigao and the Birmingham tech community got involved

Dream On 3–think Make-A-Wish but for children with special needs–arranged for Kurt and his caregiver to fly to Birmingham. When our team heard about his trip to see the Crimson Tide take on the Missouri Tigers, we wanted to be a part of making the event even more special for Kurt.

But we weren’t the only ones who wanted to help. Renaissance Birmingham Ross Bridge Golf Resort & Spa and INFLCR provided accommodations for Kurt, his caregiver, and the team from Dream On 3 that accompanied them. In addition, Mercedes-Benz U.S. International in Vance loaned the team a van for transportation from Birmingham to Tuscaloosa for the weekend. Knight Eady provided an enormous amount of swag–athletic wear and other items–that was waiting in Kurt’s hotel suite upon his arrival.

Even one of our clients, Easter Seals Greater Houston (Texas), wanted to help. Sigao provided Kurt with a top-of-the-line iPad, and the folks at Easter Seals provided an assessment from BridgingApps,  that will help Kurt find tools and resources specific to his needs and interests.

The trip of a lifetime

Also, when I tell you that Kurt attended the UA Homecoming game, I’m kind of downplaying it. Kurt and his caregiver, Joe McLean, toured campus on Friday before the game, attended Nick Saban’s weekly radio show (and got to meet him!), and then they were included in the Saturday parade, riding with Jim Gibbs in a 1949 Ford pickup truck.

Kurt’s biggest surprise of the weekend was when Dream On 3 founder and CEO Brandon Lindsey surprised him with sideline passes to the game.

We got to meet Kurt, Joe, Brandon, and the rest of the team from Dream On 3 on Friday afternoon, and it was an amazing experience to spend time with this young man, to see and share his enthusiasm for not just football, but also life in general.

What it means to us

When we say that Sigao’s top priority is people, it’s moments like this that come to mind. We’re grateful for the opportunity to help Kurt in a small way, and also grateful for the wonderful business community we’re a part of. Yes, we all want to make money. That’s what businesses do. But, as this experience reminded us, making money is not everything that a business can or should do.

We have a responsibility to our fellow man, to be good citizens and decent people. And when we do that, we find opportunities like this one.

Watch our video below to hear from our team members about what Sigao’s experience helping Kurt’s dream come true meant to them.

Agile Feedback from McLeod’s Perspective

Understanding your customers’ needs is critical for success, but getting there can be complex and time consuming.

We’ve gotten to know McLeod Software, one of the largest software development companies in Birmingham, AL, as a coaching client. McLeod is a leading creator of transportation and trucking management software for carriers, brokers, 3PL providers, and shippers.

McLeod User ConferenceMuch of McLeod’s success comes from listening to their customers and providing software solutions for their problems. On Oct. 3, they gathered more than 60 key customers for their Executive Advisory Council to gain greater understanding of their needs and generate input into their road-mapping process.

Sigao has worked with McLeod since January as they’ve transitioned their development methodology from waterfall to Agile. McLeod’s product managers didn’t want to leave any process untouched, so they brought Agile thinking into their EAC process and received a lot of positive feedback.

Here are some lessons learned from McLeod’s successful process.

It can be difficult to gather feedback from large crowds

McLeod used a crowd-voting platform to reduce a large group of possible features to a smaller, more focused group. This gave everyone an equal voice and ability to focus on mission-critical areas.

Long requirements-gathering sessions can be painful

McLeod provided opportunities to move around, injected humor throughout their meeting, and even provided “fidget items” like Slinky toys and pipe cleaners. Participants focus better through complex meetings when they’re allowed to move around and create.

Quiet people can easily hide in a crowd

When learning from your customers, you want to hear everyone. McLeod encouraged citizen note-takers to jot down any idea on a sticky note, then shared those ideas with the crowd. Everyone had a voice.

Developers can’t deliver everything in every release, so choices must be made

McLeod used a voting currency and MoSCoW prioritization to help developers find the functionality that will provide the highest value. This information will be combined with complexity estimates to build a product roadmap.

Moving forward with Agile

McLeod Gathering User FeedbackThese are just a few techniques McLeod used to create a successful platform for gauging customer feedback. As they continue to grow their Agile methodology, they will iterate on these ideas, increase the volume of their user voice, and reduce time-to-value for customers.

McLeod will host another mid-year Executive Advisory Council in 2019 and will no doubt have more innovation to offer their attendees.

If you want to learn how to develop better requirements from your users, reach out to us and let our coaches offer their insight.

BridgingApps Helps Families in Texas with Transition Tool

I’m excited to share that a project we worked on, the TexasYouth2Adult Transition Tool, with BridgingApps is nearing launch.

Texas Youth2Adult is a resource for young adults with special health care needs (and their families) as they transition from youth to adulthood. This is an important program that will help a number of families in Texas, and BridgingApps hopes it will eventually expand to other states.

If you’re interested (or if you know someone who would be), you can sign up for updates on their site.

Sigao in the last planning session for TY2A
Sigao in the last planning session for TY2A

BridgingApps, part of the Easter Seals Greater Houston, focuses on helping children and adults with disabilities reach their highest levels of physical and cognitive development by providing access to educational and therapeutic tools that allow parents, teachers, and therapists to effectively use mobile devices and apps to target and improve individual skill development.

It’s a joy to work with an organization that’s truly making a difference in peoples’ lives, and we’re happy to congratulate BridgingApps on their pending launch.

The ‘why’ behind Sigao Studios

Let’s start at the beginning: Why are we here?


We founded Sigao Studios in hopes of creating something bigger, and now that we’re growing rapidly (we’ve tripled in staff size just this year!), it’s more important than ever for us to remember the basics and think back to our purpose.

Simply put, that purpose is “to create an environment that fosters relationships that allow people to grow and feel valued, so that customers and employees can achieve their goals.”

Our top priority as a company is people — not money, tech, or even Agile. Relationships are what drives our decision-making, our growth, and our overall business. The other founders and I wanted to build the company that we wanted to work for, and we are continually striving to define what that actually looks like.

So what does that mean for our customers and our employees?

We want you to leave us better than when you started. We’re committed to empowering you so you can accomplish your personal and professional goals. We want you to succeed and grow. We promise to do our part to build growth-focused relationships that are lasting, transparent, candid and purposeful.

Of course, there are two sides to every relationship, so we can’t do this without your help. If you partner with us, whether as a customer or an employee, we want you to join in our vision and help keep our focus on these goals. If you ever see a decision that doesn’t seem consistent with that, we welcome you to hold us accountable. We make each other stronger through these relationships.

Sigao has had an exciting journey over the past two years. We’re thankful for the relationships we’ve forged and excited about the ones that are still to come.

Interested in being part of our vision? Learn more about our services here, or check out our current career opportunities.

Getting into the Flow of the Holiday Season with Dynamics 365 and Microsoft Flow

I’m excited to announce that we have an amazing new Dynamics 365 client. We were contacted this last week from a representative of none other than Santa Claus himself. It seems that Old Saint Nick is a bit of a tech nerd and has really wanted to streamline his mail room floor operations. Recently Santa and Mrs. Claus came across WordPress and thought it would be a great platform for them to use to build a letter writing system to help more children to easily send letters to Santa. 

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SQLSaturday #652 – “I Like Big Data” for $400 meets Atlanta, GA

I’m excited to have the opportunity to speak at SQLSaturday #652 in Atlanta, GA on July 15, 2017. SQLSaturday #652 will be my fourth SQLSaturday to speak at, and I’m loving getting engaged with the SQL community through SQLSaturday and PASS (a not-for-profit organization that supports data professionals who use the Microsoft Data Platform).  SQLSaturday Atlanta is a large event with over 60 sessions and a host of wonderful speakers from all over. Topics will range from the administration and maintenance of SQL server to indexing and advanced T-SQL all the way to topics like mine, CosmosDB and NoSQL databases.

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Build a Better Developer Team by Increasing Employee Engagement Webinar

I’m excited to announce that I will be speaking in an upcoming webinar hosted by APN Consulting entitled “Build a Better Developer Team by Increasing Employee Engagement.” This employee engagement webinar is on July 7 at 1PM EDT and you can register by going to APN Consulting’s website. Registration is free and open to anyone interested in learning how to skyrocket your team’s performance.

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An Introduction to CosmosDB Graph API

In this post, I highlight the first Sigao Studios Academy video, a new YouTube offering from Sigao Studios. In this video, I summarize CosmosDB’s Graph API. CosmosDB uses Apache’s TinkerPop and its Gremlin language to add graph database functionality to its massively scalable data as a service offering. TinkerPop can be found in a host of other graph systems including Blazegraph, ChronoGraph, Hadoop Giraph and others. Its powerful graph traversal language, Gremlin, allows you to quickly traverse a database and derive information from the underlying data.

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