Agile

The Legend of the 5 Monkeys, the Doctor and the Rose

Chris Lukassen

As Product Managers people look up to us to carry the vision, to make sure all the noses are aligned, the troops are rallied and that sort of stuff. But what is it that influences behavior? And what makes your team do what they do? The answer has more to do with you than with others.

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Scrum Day Europe 2016

During the 5th edition of Scrum Day Europe, Laurens and I facilitated a workshop on how to “Add Visual Flavor to Your Organization Transformation with Videoscribe.”

The theme of the conference, “The Next Iteration,”  was all about the future of Scrum. We wanted to tie our workshop into the theme of the conference, so we had a creative brainstorming session and identified four key elements that we think are important in the future of Scrum.

Scaling: Do Scrum well first, before scaling Scrum.  You should only scale when needed and if the organization is ready.

Done: A “done” increment means actually done, all the way into production. We hope that future Scrum teams will be able to put things into production themselves. We still see a lot of teams with dependencies on other teams for delivering increments to production.

Product Owner: We’re still searching for great Product Owners who understand the product and the market. These Product Owners work well with teams and are empowered, mandated and have a product vision.

Scrum everywhere: We already see Scrum in construction, health care, schools, marketing and many other places. In the future, we see Scrum used everywhere.

Since Laurens is such a great drawer, he sketched out the four elements, and we made a VideoScribe of them. You can find our video here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XKYjWS4H26I

During our presentation at Scrum Day Europe, we demonstrated each of the seven steps required to produce this video. To bring Videoscribe to life, we asked the attendees to suggest a fifth element for the video on the future of Scrum. They came up with “Happiness.”   We then went through the steps to make a video, asking for different volunteers to record a voice over and draw pictures for the message. Here are the results: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uWlSaC3K9Kg

The attendees were impressed and amazed to see that they could produce a very smart looking Videoscribe themselves.  Overall, the workshop feedback was very positive. We also received some tips for improving it, such as showing examples of how real companies have used this method. But because Videoscribes are usually made for internal use only, we could not show these at the conference.  For our next session, we probably  make an example Videoscribe for a non-existing company which is shareable with the audience.

One of our attendees was so inspired by our session that we are invited to facilitate a workshop for her management team!

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Verbal Aikido for Product Managers

Chris Lukassen

"Well eh ok, I guess so" mumbled the student in the training exercise where he was practicing how to say no to feature gluttony. I decided to give the class an additional exercise to awaken their inner diplomat.

“Diplomacy is the art of telling people to go to hell in such a way that they ask for directions.” - W.S. Churchill

All sweet and well, but how do we say NO?

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The Purpose Alignment Model

Chris Lukassen

When scaling Agile/Scrum, we invariably run into the alignment vs. autonomy problem. In short, you cannot have autonomous, self-directing teams if they have no clue what direction they should go. Or, even shorter, alignment breeds autonomy.

But how do we create alignment? And what tools can we use to quickly evaluate whether or not what we want to do is part of the mission? Niel Nickolaisen, chief technology officer at OC Tanner, created the purpose alignment model. I use it with innovation labs in large enterprises to determine what aspects of innovation to keep, and what to leave to others.

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Behind the Scenes: A Minimal Viable Setup for Creating Video Scribe

Chris Lukassen

I'm getting a lot of questions about my previous blog post. Fortunately also about the content, but mostly about how I created the video. So in this episode we will look at the MVP (Minimal Viable Product) version of a video scribe and the lessons learned. This way you can make a better video scribe based on my learnings.

Simple Tools are Key

Simple Tools are Key

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7 Agile Practices You Can Apply in a Controlled Environment

Chris Lukassen

So your teams want to do Agile, perhaps have even started doing so. Now your project managers run around wondering what story points are and why any number of people seem to be attributing hours to their project code. So the question is: what can you adopt easily without turning the Governance of your organisation upside down?

Prince2 can severely hinder your agility

Prince2 can severely hinder your agility, but that is no reason to stop smiling

Is this an ideal Agile way of working? No it's not, but it's a good first step that you can take without frustrating the environment too much. That will make additional steps easier.

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"Tealing" The Capitol using Holacracy, Lean and Scrum

Paul Takken

Something absolutely revolutionary (or should I say evolutionary) is currently unfolding @WaTech. This CIO-department of the State of Washington is transforming towards the first Teal governmental organization in the US and perhaps even worldwide.

C24DFB21-3029-4E3A-BC31-A6C9CEB01A34Invited by initiator CIO deputy Michael DeAngelo, Joe Justice and I visited the WaTech offices in Olympia to observe and coach the Scrum teams applying Scrum, Lean, and Holacracy.  What we’ve seen there can be described best as energizing, accelerating, customer centric and dedicated.   Characteristics you’ll expect from a start-up, not from a governmental organization.

This was exactly what Michael DeAngelo had in mind starting this journey in order to be more competitive with WA-State based companies like Microsoft, Disney, Expedia, Amazon and Boeing by creating an awesome "Smell of the Place".

Ingredients for this tasteful recipe were Agile, Lean and Holacracy.  These methodologies paved the way for a different, more empowered mindset of WaTech employees.

WaTech is using Scrum to enable fast learning and acceleration and stay focussed on the most important Minimal Viable Product (MVP). In combination with the core principle of Lean, how do I create a maximum of customer value with as little effort as possible, a powerful combination was born.

But still, bureaucracy and time-taking decision making would still be there without Holacracy.  How does Holacracy eliminate this?   Holacracy is a system that makes accountability in an organization crystal clear.  Decisions don’t need to travel looking for a home.  They belong to the person who is empowered for the specific role.  As a result, 80% of team members feel empowered and confident they can lift impediments themselves.

hola sergeAnother powerful mechanism in Holacracy which prevents long decision making, is consent.  Unless you have a tangible example how a proposal could cause harm or move the organisation backward, the proposal will be accepted. Currently, an average decision in a governance meeting takes less than 2 minutes. This means a decrease of 93%(!) with the situation before Holacracy.

Step by step but determined, WaTech is moving towards a self-organizing Teal Organization.  WaTech employees feel more empowered, valued and happy.  It's no rocket science to draw the conclusion this a blessing for the citizens of the state of Washington.

Perhaps the most important outcome is team members don't think in restrictions anymore but use their imagination again pushing borders achieving the unthinkable: projects which would have taken 3 years before, are now executed in just 3 months.

The next phase of this transition will be even more exciting and challenging; Leadership from the local government is needed to enroll Agile, Lean and Holacracy in more departments. However, new elections are underway later this year.  Let's see what happens. But I'm convinced the teams we've seen in Olympia would even survive the biggest storm!


Screen Shot 2016-05-21 at 10.12.11 PMCurious about a more in-depth analysis and the current situation @WaTech?  Join our presentation and panel discussion @Agile2016 in Atlanta!  See you there on July 25th!

 

Versnel je team met Scrumban!

Pieter Rijken

Herken je dat ook? Teams die meer dan een half jaar aan het scrummen zijn en sprint commitments maar niet halen? Of maar geen stijgende 'velocity' laten zien? Blijven verbeteren zonder een echte verbetering te zien? Scrumban is het toepassen van de Kanban Methode in de context van scrum en geeft deze teams een weg hieruit door een structuur en principes te bieden.

Veel voorkomende symptomen

In de praktijk kom ik het volgende veel tegen:

  • herhaaldelijk missen van de sprint commitments,
  • het hebben van 2 Definition of Dones,
  • een velocity die over sprints heen hetzelfde blijft,
  • het blijven sleutelen aan het proces zonder zichtbare verbetering,
  • 'deployment' user stories, of 'user acceptance testing' user stories.

Het probleem met het 'snel' repareren van deze symptomen is dat als je de eigenlijke oorzaak niet goed genoeg onderzoekt en deze niet wegneemt, het symptoom in een andere vorm terugkomt. Het komt dat terug maar in een andere vorm en herken je het niet zo snel meer.

Om te weten hoe de Kanban Methode hierbij kan helpen, duiken we een beetje dieper in Kanban.

Kanban Methode principes

De 4 principes van de Kanban Methode zijn:

  1. Neem het huidige proces als startpunt,
  2. Respecteer de huidige rollen en verantwoordelijkheden,
  3. Spreek met elkaar af geleidelijke verbeteringen na te streven,
  4. Moedig leiderschap aan op alle nivo's.

Juist vanwege de eerste 2 punten maakt dat de Kanban Methode uitstekend is toe te passen op Scrum teams: hun huidige manier van scrum doen, is het startpunt!

Met deze principes weten we wel dat het toe te passen is op scrum teams, maar nog niet 'hoe'.

Aan de slag met Scrumban

In de praktijk merk ik vooral dat:

  • het doel of purpose van het team niet helder is voor hen,
  • sterke focus op het 'eigen' werk,
  • een backlog die bestaat uit verschillende soorten werk.

Purpose. Een van de eerste dingen is dat om de focus op juiste dingen er weer in te brengen. Dit doe ik dan door samen met het team het purpose te achterhalen. Voor wie doen we het en wat zijn de behoeften van de klant? Hoe herkennen we dit? Maak het meetbaar. Dit maakt het makkelijker te bepalen hoe we het nu doen en of dit al voldoende is of juist niet.

Soorten werk. Waar komt het werk vandaan? Hoe komt het aan bij het team? Aan wie levert het team het op? Met wat voor regelmaat: ineens, met pieken, via een backlog, terugkerend werk, etc. Wat zijn de kwaliteitseisen en verwachtingen?

Focus op het geheel. Als de purpose helder is, breng ik met het team de keten waar ze onderdeel van uitmaken in kaart. Van begin tot in productie. Hier kun je ook prima afhankelijkheden op andere teams en partijen kwijt. Ook maakt dit transparant dat het doel is dingen in productie te krijgen.

Metrics. In ieder geval beginnen met het meten van 3 dingen:

  1. gemiddelde doorlooptijd per soort werk,
  2. hoe vaak komen verschillende doorlooptijden voor?
  3. hoeveelheid werk dat er in de keten tegelijk onderhanden is.

Met deze informatie bepaal je een eerste verbeteractie met het team waarbij je ook een link legt naar de purpose; je wilt dat deze er beter van wordt.

Hoe pak je het aan? Een stappenplan

Wat hiervoor beschreven is, zijn de eerste stappen in wat bij de Kanban Methode onder STATIK wordt verstaan. STATIK staat voor 'Systems Thinking Approach to Introducing Kanban'. Bij sommige stappen sta je wat langer of korter stil dan bij andere stappen.

De aanpak bestaat erin met het team de volgende stappen te doorlopen:

  1. Doel of dienst van het team: wat is de identiteit van het team?
  2. Onderzoek bronnen van ontevredenheid bij klanten, gebruikers en het team zelf,
  3. Analyseer de vraag van de klant en de mogelijkheden van het team,
  4. Wat voor werk komt er op het team af? Waar gaat het naar toe? Wat zijn de verwachtingen ten aanzien van kwaliteit en snelheid?
  5. Breng in kaart wat er daarnaar met dit werk gebeurt,
  6. Kijk naar de risicoprofielen van dit werk,
  7. Ontwerp het kanbansysteem (met bord)
  8. Doe het!

Met name de eerste 2 stappen zorgen ervoor dat de veranderingen altijd een verbetering van de dienst zullen zijn, of op z'n minst de verwachtingen hebben deze te verbeteren.

Patronen.....

Tot nu toe heb ik een algemene aanpak beschreven die in de praktijk werkt. Voorbeelden hiervan zullen in komende blogs verder aan bod komen.

5 ways to organize Agile teams

Daniel Burm

Do you feel like your teams could be organized better? How to organize teams in an optimal way is a common question in Agile organizations. A question you should always discuss and answer together with the people in the actual teams.

This post provides you with an overview of 5 possibilities for organizing teams and the main factors to take into account. Your main considerations should be based on product complexity and maturity, as well responsibility, coordination efforts and sustainability. Depending on your specific context one will suit your situation better than the other, or maybe you will come to the conclusion you are so Agile you can leave the concept of team all together!

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How to achieve Ultimate Agility?

Paul Takken

World Business teamwork puzzle piecesIn reaction on the Era of Big Transitions we currently live in, many organizations are reinventing themselves as we speak.  How can we survive?  Or rephrased more positive: How can we turn this threat into a unique chance?

Most organizations start with this journey by redesigning their culture, way of work and organizational structure.  But are these building blocks not too rigid and too slow to change?

In my opinion, we should be seeking for smaller building blocks. For example in nature, the smallest building blocks are atoms. Of course, we can’t go back to atoms for redefining the most ideal building blocks for an Agile Organization. But for now, imagine people in organizations are like molecules forming the organization. Small, but not the smallest.

But as we can observe almost every day, people are often not that agile at all. We love what we have and don’t like change. But is this really true? Is this not just our behavior which makes us feel comfortable?  Do we unconsciously as human beings, somehow share deeper needs and values and different types of interaction? Referring to nature’s metaphor again: where are our atoms, our smallest building blocks?

This question challenged my mind for quite a while. Until last month.  As Agile Coaches we went on a Aikido Ki Workshop to experience the physical and mental side of resistance and cooperation.

In Japanese martial art, this Material Energy or Life Force is called “Ki”.  By respecting and connecting with the “Ki” of another person, you will be able to take away the resistance of the opponent.   I’ll bet, this all will sound hazy to the most of you, but it’s actually quite easy to experience.

What to do with this almost spiritual blogpost?

As long as we focus primarily on our personal interest, we will never achieve the purest form of Agility and cooperation. We’re on earth as one collective organism, whether we like it or not, all with one goal: making this world a bit better iteratively.  By Learning, Inspecting and Adapting. Together.  This is where our evolution (read: agile) is all about.

It’s like creating an Internet of People.  It all starts with making real connection with the people around us.  Somehow that’s where it becomes very hard for most Western minds. On the other hand, it’s so logical for us we should create an Internet of Things as the next big step for our prosperity. Food for Thought. Don’t you think?