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Team Performance Model - by Drexler and Sibbet

Agile Complexification Inverter - Tue, 11/22/2016 - 19:13
Many of you have all heard of the Tuckman model of team dynamics (Forming, Storming, Norming, Performing).  It was created in 1966 and has become the most popular model for describing team behavior.  Is it time to level up in your mental model of team dynamics?  Are you ready for a richer more functional model?



Introducing the Team Performance Model by Drexler and Sibbet



Orientation - Why am I here?
"Orientation is about understanding the purpose of a team and assessing what it will mean to be a member.  you need to understand the reason the team exist, what will be expected of you and how you will benefit from membership.  In a new team, these are individual concerns, because the group is only potentially a team.  that is why these concerns are illustrated as occurring in your imagination at an intuitive level.  As a team leader it is important to provide time and space for people to answer these internal questions themselves."

Keys to when Orientation challenges are resolved:
 - Team Purpose
 - Team Identity
 - Membership

Blocked teams at stage 1 Orientation may show...
 - Uncertainty
 - disorientation
 - Fear




Trust Building - Who are you?
"Trust is a measure of your willingness to work together with others for something important.  Because team members have to depend on each other to be successful, trust is essential in direct relation to how much cooperation is needed to get the job done.  In the beginning of a new team's live, trust involves some risk and uncertainty about dealing with strangers.  This is why the key question is "Who are you?"  An unstated aspect of this question is wondering, "What will you expect from me?"  For a team to work well, you need to accept that you can depend on team members to work together to accomplish the team's purpose."

Keys to when trust challenges are resolved:
 - Mutual regard
 - forthrightness
 - Reliability

When a team is Blocked at stage 2, members may show...
 - Caution
 - Facade
 - Mustrust

Goal Clarification - What are we doing?
Sometimes teams have precise charters that specify what they are responsible for accomplishing.  More often, they are given a broad mandate and nee to make choices about how they will pursue that mandate and translate it into goals.  "What are we doing?"  is a more specific question than the larger question of purpose asked during Orientation.  During this stage of a new team's life, it will need to do research and develop clear understanding of the job that is required, as well as generate agreements about goals and specific deliverables."

Keys to when goal clarification challenges are resolved:
- Explicit Assumptions
- Clear integrated goals
- Shared vision

Blocked at stage 3, members may show....
- Apathy and skepticism
- Irrelevant competition

Commitment - How will we do it?
"When goals are clear and options are identified, your team is probably eager to act.  Attention moves to the question, "How will we do it?"  this stage occurs at the bottom of the "V" in the TPM, the point of the greatest constraint.  This means committing to a specific course of action, making decisions about resources, and being clear about roles.  These are also the indicators of having addressed the "turn".  Remember that the initial stages of team performance involve a good bit of trial-and-error.  Embracing these questions might require backtracking to goals, investing more in trust development, and revisiting initial purpose before you can fully resolve commitment issues."

Keys to when commitment challenges are resolved
- assigned roles
"As your team turns toward implementation everyone will want to be clear about roles and responsibilities. You may have considered these during stage three planning, but now need to commit to what your function, authority, and responsibilities will be in practice.  Role definitions have to be complete enough to cover all the tasks that must be done to accomplish your team goals while minimizing overlaps and role conflicts.  A big part of your job if you are the team leader is to help match goals to competencies, and help people step into roles that will develop their abilities and improve results for the team."

- allocated resources
"In addition to role clarity, your team must deal with another constraint - how to provide for and deploy its limited resources, including time, money, and so forth.  These hard choices usually involve setting aside some useful tasks because the resources are not available to support them.  Indecision in this area breeds confusion and stalls work.  For virtual teams, decisions about tools and communication platforms are essential at this stage.  Teams may have to negotiate with the larger organization to get the kind of tools and support they need.  This is why the TPM intersects the organization "platform" at this stage."

- decision made
"Finally, a team needs to get clear about how members will handle decision making.  Will authority be shared?  How will you stay in touch with one another?  Who can spend what funds?  In a dynamic work environment where plans can change frequently, decision about course corrections are common.  Thinking through in advance how these will be handled moves the team's focus more productively toward implementation and high performance."

Challenges at stage 4, members may show...
- dependence
- resistance

Implementation - Who does what, when, where?
"Implementation involves scheduling and sequencing work over time.  The key question is "Who does what, when, and where?"  A visible schedule, strategy, and / or process liberates the team to move into action confidently.  Conflicts and confusion arise when there is commitment but no clear way forward."

Keys to when Implementation challenges are resolved:
 - clear processes
 - alignment
 - disciplined execution

Team's blocked at stage 5, member may show...
- Conflict
- Nonalignment
- missed deadlines

High Performance - WOW!
"High performance is a WOW state, as a team masters its processes and begins to experience the ability to change goals as well as achieve them.  You can feel when it happens and observe its effects, buy not necessarily control it.  Teams achieve a flow state when trust is high and people have mastered their roles.  In a state of high performance, boundaries and individual limits soften, everything moves together, and everyone responds as if they are part of the whole.  The indicators of that having happened are spontaneous interaction, synergy, and a team that is surpassing their expectation on results.  WOW symbolizes how high performance teams transcend rational processes by working with all the human faculties - spirt, soul, mind, and body."

keys to when High Performance challenges are resolved:
- spontaneous Interaction
- synergy
- surpassing results

When a team is blocked at stage 6, members may show...
- Overload
- Disharmony

Renewal - Why continue?
"Over time the conditions that initially set your team in motion will change.  High Performances is demanding.  Don't be surprised if people ask, "Why continue?"  this key question reminds us that team performance is an ongoing process, and must be renewed by returning to Stage 1 and reassessing if the work is still needed, worthwhile, and has some personal value and meaning.  Spending time on renewal puts your team back in touch with meaning and purpose and refreshes everyone's commitment to keep going.  It also includes learning from what you have accomplished, and building a repertoire of best practices for the next journey on this or other teams.  If your team's work is completed, Renewal is the time to wrap things up, freeing members to move on to new challenges."

Keys to when renewal challenges are resolved:
- recognition and celebration
- managing change
- staying power

When team's are blocked at stage 7, members may show...
- boredom
- burnout

---

This is just a taste of the awesomeness of Sibbet's book on visualizations and exercises to build great teams.  Want to know more - read the book.  You will learn lots about how team move forward and backward toward performance.  And the exercises to work with teams to help them share their understand of where they are, where they are going and what might set them back are very well explained.

Reference:  Visual Teams - Graphic tools for commitment, innovation, & high performance by David Sibbet.

See Also:

Jay W. Vogt of Peoplesworth explains the Drexler Sibbet Model of team building and how it can result in a positive outcome. YouTube
Management 3.0 Workbook
7 levels of Delegation exercise


Sibbet discusses the origins of the TPM - SketchTalk


Categories: Blogs

Team Metrics - Case Study

Agile Complexification Inverter - Tue, 11/22/2016 - 19:13
Let's look at an info-graphic of a beginning team's metrics and use this as a case study in Scrum Team Metrics.


Description of charts:

Burndown chart - a daily count of the number of task units (aspirin is this teams selected units for task estimation) not done.  This includes the task yet to be started, and task in process.

Tasks in Process - a daily count of the number of tasks in process.

Tasks Done - a daily count of the number of tasks that are done.

Stories Done - a daily count of the number of Stories that are done.

Velocity - the empirical measure of Stories that are considered done by the team and accepted as done by the Product Owner during the Sprint Review.

The Back Story on this team:

This team had been attempting to do some form of ad-hoc Scrum / Kanban with little guidance and understanding of the process.  The Kanban aspect came from the company's tooling (RTC) template - not from any real practices the team was implementing.   After some weeks of observations and workshops with the team - they decided to "hit the reset button" on doing Scrum.  Sprint One in the info-graphic is the first sprint right after a week long workshop on learning Scrum practices and principles.  Key to this team's adoption of Scrum is their adoption of a physical task board (see also Elements of an Effective Scrum Task Board).

Observations on Sprints:

Sprint One - Started with many stories from past sprint that were not yet done - as the team had no empirical data of velocity we guessed at how many stories we could complete in the 2 week sprint, and chose 15 stories.  At this point we had 4 product silos where people we working within the silo to deliver the stories - very little cross team collaboration.

Rules siloSprint Two - Tear down the silo walls - the team decided that the original silos of working was harming a long term desire of cross-functional team members - so a removal of the silo walls (tape on the scrum task board) happened.

Sprint Three - Enforced the use of empirical data to constrain the team's selection of how many stories to bring into the sprint (team select top 5 stores and finished all of them).

Sprint Four - Team planed for 30 points of stories but finished early and pulled in additional stories and finished them within the sprint.

Objectives for the Team:

This teams objectives for hitting the reboot button on a scrum implementation was to achieve a consistent level of reliability to deliver value (stories) to the business.  Also to maintain and supporting the existing 4 products line internal organizational clients, and transitioning tacit knowledge from several remote employees to the team and increasing cross-functional capabilities of the team members.

Commentary on Metric Charts:

Burndown - Sprint 1 and 2 task burndown charts show that the team started with around 100 aspirin and discovered between 50 and 100 aspirin more by doing the work - but didn't finish the 15 stories and left lots of stories started but incomplete at the end of the sprint.  In sprint 3 and 4 the team had developed the ability to forecast the proper amount of work to pull into sprint planning and were able to deliver the completed stories.

Tasks in Process - this simple metric showed that the team of about 8 people were consistently task switching.  There are many "reasons" (excuses) for this behavior, and it is a hard habit to correct in this era of high utilization rate driven management.  Just tracking this metric had little effect on the teams behavior - however we had empirical data that other practices (avatars, re-estimating in process tasks, etc.) had a positive effect upon this metric over several sprints.

Tasks Done - this metric is redundant for a team using a traditional sticky note task board.  In general this reflects the sprint burndown.  It does point out for this team that tasks done stalls out when there support tasks flare up, as these support (maintenance and production, M&P) issues require task switching to the more urgent unplanned work.  Reflecting upon this metric lead the team to start tracking the planned tasks separate from the urgent support tasks in our burndown chart for sprint 5.

Stories Done - an interesting trend shows up in this simple to trend metric.  The team was capable of finishing 5 stories, regardless of how many they planned.  In sprint 3 when the team constrained the planning to the empirical evidence (~28 points, 5 stories) they had there first successful sprint (on time, on budget, with planned scope).

Capabilities developed by the Team not shown in these Metrics:

Tasking - working toward tiny tasks.  Within the first two sprints the focus was to develop the ability to task stories.  Several synergic practices lead to this capability - re-estimating each time the task is touched in stand-up; recognizing that task that last for several days are way-too-large;  learning to decompose tasks that are too large; realizing that doing work leads to discovery of new tasks that need to be recorded and added to the board.  See Also: What belongs on the TASKS board?

Single Piece Flow - working on a task until it is done.  Smaller task effect this behavior in a virtuous manner.  Re-estimating each day makes the antithesis of this pattern apparent, and also offers the opportunity for team members to recognize when help is needed.  The use of avatars on the story tasks reinforces the practice of lowering work in process and reducing task switching.

In Sprint 5 the team decided to move from a 2 week time box to a 3 week sprint. The charts also show the support (M&P) tasks tracking independently of the planned tasks and the new chart at the bottom (M&P task vs Planned task deltas per day) indicates the inverse relationship of the priority shifts the team has to deal with.

Next Objectives:

Develop the capabilities to deliver agile release plans and forecast feature release time frames for business coordination with other teams that depend upon the infrastructure product lines developed by this team.

At the team coaching level an objective is to measure cycle time of stories within scrum teams.


See Also:
Metrics for a Scrum Team - 10 suggested metrics and examples
Measuring Process Improvements - Cycle Time by Mishkin Berteig, June 2008
7 Lean metrics to Improve Flow - LeanKit
Categories: Blogs

Exercise: Estimate Number of times you can Fold a Paper in Half

Agile Complexification Inverter - Tue, 11/22/2016 - 19:13


An Exercise in Estimation:  How many times can you fold a piece of paper in half & half again...

I do this exercise when beginning scrum teams start story estimation or task estimation.  While this exercise has a unique twist that is very different than task estimation or story estimation - very few people foresee this aspect of the exercise, so it adds to the ah-ha moment.

Start by giving everyone a sheet of typical paper (8.5 x 11 in the USA - although the size just doesn't matter).  Then tell them the exercise but ask that no one do any thing yet.  First we will estimate.  The task is to estimate how many times you could fold the paper in half and then again in half and repeat... without doing it what's your estimate of the number of folds?

Ask people to call out their estimate, write then on a board in no particular order or fashion.

Typical groups come up with estimate in the range of 5 - 20 folds.

If you want to do math... calculate an average estimate... or just circle the mean value.

Next have the group fold the paper in half and half again up to 4 times - then STOP and estimate again.  Same as last time - call out the estimates and write them down on the board.

Next - fold the paper until you are done.  How many folds did you get?

Now the debrief:  What did you learn in this exercise?  What happened to the estimates - why did this happen?  What generalizations of estimating can we learn from this example?  So when do we practice this re-estimation technique in Scrum?


For BONUS points - how many times do you need to fold paper to get to the Moon?
How Folding Paper Can Get You to the MoonHow Folding Paper Can Get You to the Moon
See Also:

MythBusters episode: Folding a large piece of Paper in Half - What's the Limit
Myth Busters
Moon Scoops - Buzz Aldrin on the things you do not know about the Moon Landings - Late Night



Categories: Blogs

How to lose customers via failure of your core business proposition

Agile Complexification Inverter - Tue, 11/22/2016 - 19:13
MayhemJust last month I receive a congratulatory letter from REI MasterCard - 10 years of a mutually beneficial business relationship ....  until .... chaos ensued (thank you Mr. Mayhem).  So I accepted the opportunity to communicate with my business lender on an incident that made me very dissatisfied with their policies.


Subject: Re: Congratulations on your REI World MasterCard anniversary! Thank you Robert,
     Just to let you know - I’m sure this will interest you - I will shortly be canceling my 10 year relationship with REI MasterCard, because of the quality of service you have just required me to deal with. I’ve got a great payment history and have been using our card to pay bills on line and automagically for years. Recently through my oversight, I forgot to pay my bill on time. So in response to this great customer who always pays his bills and once in 10 years paid late, your organization saw fit to block all payments, causing further confusion and customer / client dissections with your service level. When I called in to rectify the situation your senior rep. could not do anything to help - your policy prevented customer satisfaction. Said policy created even more denied automatic payments for my accounts, creating a snowball of unpaid bills. All from a company that is in the business of extending credit. This is unacceptable. So I will be canceling my relationship and moving to VISA. 
David Koontz, very unhappy customer.Here is the response I received from the Office of the President, US BANK Cardmember Service




One technique for losing customers is to make the very nature of your core business proposition an oxymoronic meme.  Let's use this US Bank - REI Credit Card issue as a case study.

The back story:  I've been a REI Credit Card user for around 10 years, I've built up a very good customer relationship, paying bills on time for those year, sure there may have been a slip through the cracks from time to time, yet my credit score reflects that I'm a very sound risk for credit.

So when a job transition happened in the sprint of 2016 there was much confusion with cash flow and various credit cards transition from one service vendor to another (seems as if Master Card is losing clients to VISA) and Costco moved away from Am Ex.  Lots of changes in the card industry.  These had various impacts upon my personal fincianal life...

Some few years ago I started moving auto pay bills to my REI card (US BANK) we loved the cash back rewards at one of our favorite shopping stores, REI.  So by 2016 almost every bill I get, from water bills to Amazon to Apple App Store to Netflix etc. is on the card.

Now in March, I missed the $30 min. payment to US BANK.  So in silence they blocked all debits and transaction to the card.  There was no communication to me about such a significant event.  However, I get plenty of alerts of various natures, such as payment due, minimal balances, large transactions, etc.  But, for unknown reasons explained by the Office of the President, they are just unable to communicate with customers about this type of event.

I've canceled the card.  Kinda hate to lose the REI relationship, but they have not responded to any inquiries either.  In today's credit industry there are plenty of reward programs to choose from and I've made other arrangements - did all the work to transition payments away from US BANK's card to a USAA Signature card.  Maybe I'll probe that system and see how they respond to a missed payment.

So what would US BANK needed to have done to keep a 10 year customer?  A simple alert - your account has been frozen because of late payment.  AND then been able to recognize a good customer and rectify the issue over the phone - by extending credit and reinstating the account with the promise of the check is in the mail.  After all their core business proposition is extending credit.


Full Disclosure:  I own MasterCard stock as well as Amazon, Apple, Costco, Netflix.

Categories: Blogs

the Failure Bow -or- how to love the experience of learning

Agile Complexification Inverter - Tue, 11/22/2016 - 19:13


I learned this technique from the facilitators of Language Hunting and Where Are Your Keys, they term the technique How Fascinating  and practice it quite a few times each game.



The purpose of the technique is to invert the physiology of failure into a learning moment to reflect upon what just went wrong and instead of cringing and curling up into a safe ball, we open up the body and the mind to learning and the experience of reflecting and allowing the universe to teach us something.

Try it a few times...





See Also:
The Failure bow -DeepFUN by Matt Smith
Go Ahead, Take a Failure Bow by Beth Kanter at HBR

TED Talk:  The unexpected benefit of celebrating failure
"Great dreams aren't just visions," says Astro Teller, "They're visions coupled to strategies for making them real." The head of X (formerly Google X), Teller takes us inside the "moonshot factory," as it's called, where his team seeks to solve the world's biggest problems through experimental projects like balloon-powered Internet and wind turbines that sail through the air. Find out X's secret to creating an organization where people feel comfortable working on big, risky projects and exploring audacious ideas.
Categories: Blogs

Psychometric Assessments - a peek inside the person

Agile Complexification Inverter - Tue, 11/22/2016 - 19:13
What do you think & feel about personality and behavioral assessments?  Are they useful to you?  Can you share them with others to help improve your relationships?  Do you have the courage to put your personality on display for your collaborators to inspect?

Well I thought I'd try to open the kimono to see if it helps me...

I've studied Psychometric assessments and some I find useful, some I feel are just a step to the left from astrology charting.  Yet might not be harmful for self reflection.  I've also found that it takes an expert to explain the tools and reports such that a layperson can understand and make positive use of the assessment and it's report.  And while I've been "certified" is some of these tools/technique I do not practice them enough to be competent - and my pitch is akin to a snake-oil salesman.

Here is my DiSC Classic profile:

DiSC Classic by WileyHere is my Trimetric assessment (DiSC, EQ, Motivation) by Abelson Group


DiSC WheelMotivators Wheel
Emotional Quotient Wheel


Here is my Myers Briggs Type Indicator - Level II assessment:
MBTI Level OneMBTI Level II reports








Here is my EQ 2.0 - Emotional Intelligence:

EQ 2.0 by

TalentSmart, Inc. Here is my Action & Influence report:



Here is my Personalysis assessment:
Personalysis assessment

See Also:
Personalisis assessment ReviewedMBTI Level II assessment Reviewed
Psychometric testing resources

British Psychological Society’s Psychological Testing Centre (PTC) provides information and services relating to standards in tests and testing for test takers, test users, test developers and members of the public.

National Cultural Studies - assessments at the meta level - the personality and behaviors of nations.


Categories: Blogs

HBR:: Why Organizations Don't Learn

Agile Complexification Inverter - Tue, 11/22/2016 - 19:13
A nice article on HBR - "Why Organizations Don't Learn", by Francesca Gino and Bradley Staats; take a look.

They list these reasons:
  • Fear of failure
  • Fixed mindset
  • Over reliance on past performance
  • Attribution bias
The authors then give some strategies for overcoming these reasons for the lack of learning.  Many of these will be familiar to the agile community.

Who else has studied organization failure?  Well I've heard that many academics have studied the failure modes of organizations.  One was John Kotter's 8 Steps model developed by studying the failure modes of organizations trying to institute large scale changes.  Other's have studied how successful large mergers have been after the fact (some would suggest it's on the order of 20% successful).  Some have studied how successful large software development project have been (Chaos Report - it is not a good report).

So what does your leader do to encourage learning at the organizational level?  Is failure even allowed in your department?  If so then it will be discussed and talked about in formal settings and acknowledged by leaders, rather than only around the dark stairways and in hushed tones.

Leader's drive FEAR out of the room!


See Also:
Pitfalls of Agile Transformations by Mary Poppendieck
Knut Haanaes - Two reasons companies fail - TED Talk AND how to avoid them:  Exploration and Exploitation

4 Questions Smart Leaders Always Ask Employees to Improve Their Performance
They're also great for fostering open dialog and developing meaningful work relationships.


Categories: Blogs

Cultivating Collaboration via intense partnerships to solve problems.

Agile Complexification Inverter - Tue, 11/22/2016 - 19:13
Presented at  AgileGames2016 conference in Boston, April 28, 29th.

But not Agile2016 - so you can only see it in the  Microsoft NERD center MIT.
   


I presented this workshop at Agile Camp - Dallas, Oct 19th.


DFW Scrum Meeting Aug. 18th 2015
It’s said that two heads are better than one, in reference to problem solving. We will use Tangram puzzles to simulate this experience, and via structured debriefs of these exercises, discover the powerful behaviors of awesome collaboration, and the negative warning signs of poor collaboration. We will jump right into simulation exercises, come prepared to have FUN and learn by doing.  No lecture - if you want a lecture… go here: http://lmgtfy.com/?q=+collaboration+pair+programming+lectures
Here are some of the resources and exercise if you wish to reproduce this workshop or want to dig further into the science behind collaboration.Presentation Cultivation Collaboration (PDF)  *UDATED 5/8/16*  Spoiler Alert - don't look at the solutions!References on collaboration (PDF)Jim Tamm's TED TALK on defensiveness (PDF)
Categories: Blogs

Retromat:: A well planned Retro

Agile Complexification Inverter - Tue, 11/22/2016 - 19:13
Retrospective at GameStop based upon Corinna Baldaug's Retromat.

Retro process phases: Set the Stage, Gather Data, Generate Insight, Decide what to Do, Close the Retro

REF: http://plans-for-retrospectives.com


Set the Stage: give time to “arrive” and get into the right mood and focus upon the goal
Gather Data: reflect upon what happened, create a shared pool of information
Generate Insight: why did things happen this way? What patterns can we observe?
Decide What to Do: Pick what to work on, plan concrete steps of action
Close the Retro: reflect upon the retrospective, how could it improve? What shall we follow-up upon?


Activities for this Retro:


Quick Questions 
In ONE word – what do you need from the retro?
In ONE word – what is on your mind?
In ONE word – what is you current mindset in regards to your project: are you a:
Explorer – eager to dive in and research what worked
Shopper – Positive, happy if 1 good thing come out
Vacationer – Reluctant, but retros beat regular work
Prisoner – Only attend because they make you


The Four Ls
Regarding the last iteration, individually for each of these 4 questions (one item per sticky) write:
What I Loved
What I Learned
What I Lacked
What I Longed for


Perfection Game
Everyone rates the last iteration on scale of 1 (poor) to 10 (perfect).
Next – make suggestion to raise your rating toward a 10, rate that suggestion using remaining 10 – x points


Circle of Influence & Concern
On a chart of concentric circles… inner to outter circle;
Team controls – direct action
Team influences – persuasive action
System – response action


Sort insight from Perfection Game into circle of influence & concern;
Write possible actions – annotate the item with actions
Dot vote on which action to attempt

The team created this info graphic of their Four Ls exercise using the Circle of Influence & Concern. Stepping back they realized - they are the master's of their domain.

We Control our own Destiny
Feedback Door – Smilies
Happy, OK, Sad
Mark your satisfaction with the retro session on the chart.



Categories: Blogs

On my ToDo book shelf

Agile Complexification Inverter - Tue, 11/22/2016 - 19:13



A wish list of books I'd like to read...

Large-Scale Scrum - more with LeSS  by Craig Larman & Bas Vodde
It describes how we did scrum 10 years ago without the need to think about scaling on a VoIP project at SpeakEasy.  Four teams of around 40 developers (programmers, testers, UI, UX, BA, system engineers, etc.), one backlog, one awesome Product Owner (with a team of help), one deliver of working tested software, on time and on budget.

My current goto resource for how to do Scrum at any scale.





Team Genius: The New Science of High-Performing Organizations
by Rich Karlgaard, Michael S. Malone

"Throughout, Rich Karlgaard and Michael S. Malone share insights and real-life examples gleaned from their careers as journalists, analysts, investors, and globetrotting entrepreneurs, meeting successful teams and team leaders to reveal some "new truths":

The right team size is usually one fewer person than what managers think they need.
The greatest question facing good teams is not how to succeed, but how to die.
Good "chemistry" often makes for the least effective teams.
Cognitive diversity yields the highest performance gains—but only if you understand what it is.
How to find the "bliss point" in team intimacy—and become three times more productive.
How to identify destructive team members before they do harm.
Why small teams are 40 percent more likely to create a successful breakthrough than a solo genius is.
Why groups of 7 (± 2), 150, and 1,500 are magic sizes for teams.


Eye-opening, grounded, and essential, Team Genius is the next big idea to revolutionize business."


Passionate Performance  by Lee J. Colan

This quick read cuts through the clutter to offer practical strategies to engage the minds and heart of your employeees. Learn why this is such a powerful advantage for your organization. Read it and conquer your competition!






Team of Teams: New Rules of Engagement for a Complex World   by General Stanley McChrystal


A NEW APPROACH FOR A NEW WORLD McChrystal and his colleagues discarded a century of conventional wisdom and remade the Task Force, in the midst of a grueling war, into something new: a network that combined extremely transparent communication with decentralized decision-making authority. The walls between silos were torn down. Leaders looked at the best practices of the smallest units and found ways to ex­tend them to thousands of people on three continents, using technology to establish a oneness that would have been impossible even a decade earlier. The Task Force became a “team of teams”—faster, flatter, more flex­ible—and beat back Al Qaeda.
Categories: Blogs

How could we measure Team Happiness?

Agile Complexification Inverter - Tue, 11/22/2016 - 19:13
Do you believe that what you measure you will get?  If so you want to start to measure team happiness.  So what techniques do we have to measure something so ephemeral?


The health care industry has studied measuring pain and have very good data on their ability to measure and administer pain drugs upon a subjective self report.  Maybe we could do the same in knowledge worker teams and work groups.

Team Happiness Net Promoter Score sheetHere's a riff upon the classic Net Promoter Score for measuring team happiness.

 "How likely is it that you would recommend our team to a trusted friend that is looking for a job?"
To calculate the NPS - the continuum is divided into 3 groups; the detractors (1 - 6), the passive (7 & 8), the promoters (9 & 10).  The passive are ignored - they do not promote your objective.  The NET promoter score is the percentage of people promoting your objective minus the percentage of people detracting from your objective.

     NPS = Promoter % - Detractor %  (valid range +100% to -100%)
How does this objective of promoting your team as a recommendation for a friend seeking a job a proxy for team happiness?  I've not met many good people that would shaft a friend by recommending an unhappy team - have you?
Note:  with small populations (like a scrum team) there is high variability based upon a few people's scoring,  another companion metric would be the percentage of people participating in the survey.  Did the whole team play - or do you have a core group that is the in-group?

See Also:
NPS on WikipediaVisualizing Agility: Agile Metrics that Matter by Jay Packlick

Categories: Blogs

Transparency - Two Way Visibility

Agile Complexification Inverter - Tue, 11/22/2016 - 19:13
What does the value of Transparency really mean?
Nextgov: How do you define transparency?
Fung: My definition is quite a bit different from the conventional wisdom about transparency. A transparency system is designed to allow people to improve the quality of decisions they make in some way, shape or form, and it enables them to improve their decisions to reduce the risks they face or to protect their interests. Some of those decisions are about political accountability but some are in private life, like what food to buy or what doctor to go to.-- Archon Fung, professor at Harvard University's John F. Kennedy School of Government who studies government transparency.

Does your company practice fair pay?  Here's what one worker brought to Google and made a difference in transparency at the search giant.
Tell Your Co-Workers How Much You Make!  There's no law against it and it increases the chances you'll be paid fairly.
Does the Agile Manifesto imply some form of organizational transparency? I believe so, yes.  Here's what Jeff Sutherland has to say about the topic, look for the Individual and Interaction section.  Agile Principles and Values by Jeff Sutherland on MSDN.
Scrum's 5 core values list the concept of Openness.  Is this not very similar to Transparency?
There are lots of synonyms - visibility, openness, observable, apparent, etc.
Does this value of transparency imply that the information flows in both directions, up and down an organizational hierarchy, from line-workers to managers & directors, as well as from CEO to directors and wage earners also?

See Also:
Elements of an Effective BacklogGood Journalism is Transparent and Objective by John Zhu

Categories: Blogs

Scrum Immersion workshop at GameStop - Case Study

Agile Complexification Inverter - Tue, 11/22/2016 - 19:13
Here's a overview of a Scrum Immersion workshop done at GameStop this month. A case study example.

Normally these workshops start with the leadership (the stakeholders or shareholders) which have a vision for a product (or project). This time we skipped this activity.

The purpose of the Workshop is to ensure alignment between the leadership team and the Agile Coaches with regards to the upcoming scrum workshop for the team(s). Set expectations for a transition from current (ad-hoc) practices to Scrum. Explain and educate on the role of the Product Owner.

Expected Outcomes:
  • Create a transition plan/schedule
  • Set realistic expectations for transition and next release
  • Overview of Scrum & leadership in an Agile environment
  • Identify a Scrum Product Owner – review role expectations
  • Alignment on Project/Program purpose or vision
  • Release goal (within context of Project/Program & Scrum transition)

Once we have alignment on the Product Owner role and the Project Vision we typically do a second workshop for the PO to elaborate the Product Vision into a Backlog. This time we skipped this activity.

The purpose of the Workshop is to educate the Product Owner (one person) and prepare a product backlog for the scrum immersion workshop. Also include the various consultants, SME, BA, developers, etc. in the backlog grooming process. Expected Outcomes:
  • Set realistic expectations for transition and next release
  • Overview of Scrum & Product Owner role (and how the team supports this role)
  • Set PO role responsibilities and expectations
  • Alignment of Release goal (within context of Project/Program & Scrum transition)
  • Product Backlog ordered (prioritized) for the first 2 sprints
  • Agreement to Scrum cadence for planning meetings and grooming backlog and sprint review meetings

Once we have a PO engaged and we have a Product Backlog it is time to launch the team with a workshop - this activity typically requires from 2 to 5 days. This is the activity we did at GameStop this week.
The primary purpose of the workshop is to teach just enough of the Scrum process framework and the Agile mindset to get the team functioning as a Scrum team and working on the product backlog immediately after the workshop ends (begin Sprint One). Expected Outcomes:
  • Set realistic expectations for transition and next release
  • Basic mechanics of Scrum process framework
  • Understanding of additional engineering practices required to be an effective Scrum team A groomed / refined product backlog for 1- 3 iterations
  • A backlog that is estimated for 1 – 3 iterations
  • A Release plan, and expectations of its fidelity – plans to re-plan
  • Ability to start the very next day with Sprint Planning

Images from the workshop

The team brainstormed and the prioritized the objectives and activities of the workshop.


Purpose and Objectives of the WorkshopThe team then prioritized the Meta backlog (a list of both work items and learning items and activities) for the workshop.

Meta Backlog of workshop teams - ordered by participants
Possible PBI for Next Meta Sprint
Possible PBI for Later Sprints
Possible PBI for Some Day
Possible PBI for Another Month or Never
A few examples of work products (outcomes) from the workshop.

Affinity grouping of Persona for the user role in stories
Project Success Sliders activityTeam Roster (# of teams person is on)
A few team members working hardThree stories written during elaboration activity
A few stories after Affinity Estimation
Release Planning:  Using the concept of deriving duration based upon the estimated effort.  We made some assumptions of the business desired outcome;  that was to finish the complete product backlog by a fixed date.
The 1st iteration of a Release Plan That didn't feel good to the team, so we tried a different approach.  To fix the scope and cost, but to have a variable timeframe.
The 2nd iteration of a Release Plan That didn't feel good to the PO, so we tried again.  This time we fixed the cost and time, but varied the features, and broke the product backlog into milestones of releasable, valuable software.
The 3rd iteration of a Release PlanThis initial release plan feels better to both the team and the PO, so we start here.  Ready for sprint planning tomorrow.



Categories: Blogs

Exercise: Pair Programming Simulation using Tangrams

Agile Complexification Inverter - Tue, 11/22/2016 - 19:13
Yesterday (July, 2015) we did a lunch-n-learn at GameStop HQ on pair programming.  I think it was a great success, largely because we serve food, and I've been told that everything goes better when people are sharing a meal together (and even better with adult beverages).


Are you interested in Pair Programming?  I'll confess, the term is a bit misleading.  I was asked by multiple people if the topic was just for programmers.  No - no it's not just a programming technique. It is also for any kind of knowledge work.  Such as testing, or analysis, or writing stories, or ... yes coding, scripting, excel spreadsheets, etc.



The Agenda: Pair Programming Simulation
Start with a warm up exercise (totally non-related to the topic).  This allows all the late arrivals to find a seat and not miss out on the real start of the session.  I've found this technique (soft start) to be a required technique for companies that have not adopted basic meeting protocols, such as finishing prior to the start of the next meeting.  IF one does not finish on time, how can one start on time?

We used Thiagi's warm up of Buying Happiness

Flipped this lesson.  Although the experiment resulted in a - How Fascinating (failure).  No one actually participated in the homework to read the lesson before the experience session.  We continued without doing any actual lecture.

PDF - Pair Programming - Lessons

Query the audience - to share the common level of people with respect to the domain knowledge.  Ask a few questions - raise your hand if you have heard of pair programming, if you've done pair programming, if you only program in a pairs (every day)?  Look around - these are the experts.  Raise your hand if you are a beginner?  When you read the homework on pairing, you remember that pairing beginners with beginners is an anti-pattern.  So what shall we do about that?

Restructure the seating arrangements, have people select appropriate pair for their skill level.  Don't allow the beginners to sit together and the experts to create a click.

Part ONE.  Pair Drawing.Let's do the simplest thing that could possibly work... everyone has learned to draw/sketch.  Let's use this innate skill to explore pairing basics.

PDF - Pair Face Drawing

Most people are afraid to draw.  At some point in our traditional schooling we are made ashamed of our ability to draw.  With a bit of expert practice many can over come this self imposed limitation.  Here's a TED Talk to start you on the path to recovery.

Why people believe they can’t draw - and how to prove they can | Graham Shaw | TEDxHull
Part TWO.  Lunch.Typically what draws everyone to your meeting... food.  Don't do Lunch-n-Learn with out this.
Part Three.  Pair Puzzle Solving.Let's extend our learning into a harder problem domain... solving a puzzle - Tangrams.

PDF - Pair Puzzle - Tangram SolvingPDF - Cultivating Collaboration - Simulation via Tangrams - or a starter guide to Pair Programming
This exercise can touch upon the aspects of Test-First (TDD) practices.  Typically a topic for another Lunch-n-Learn.

Debrief.A great facilitator does the exercise / simulation just to get to the debrief.  Reflection is the only activity where double loop learning may occur.  Using metaphor and analogy to relate drawing faces or solving Tangrams to developing software is the job of the debrief.


In a large group with many subgroups this can be done by projecting the debrief question on the screen and having the subgroups (tables) debrief themselves.  Extra points given for summaries of learning points or action items discovered.
We did a debrief after each example problem.  Then ran out of time to debrief the whole workshop - but did get Level One feedback on the workshop.  It was a 8 or 9 (out of 10) with a few improvement to make for next time.
            

See Also:

A Week of Pair Programming by Matt Chalice
Two Years of Pair Programming by Matt Cholick
Categories: Blogs

To be a Profession or to Unionize in the Software Industry?

Agile Complexification Inverter - Tue, 11/22/2016 - 19:13

Which form of industry growth would you prefer - why?

Which path leads toward the culture you desire in a software development organization?

This is a wonderful article on the topic - read it and discuss with your colleagues.


Programmers don’t need a union. We need a profession.  BY 
"Unions work best for commodity labor, and I use that term non-pejoratively. Commodity work is easily measurable and people can often be individually evaluated for performance. For example, a fishing boat operator is measured according to the quantity of fish she procures. A lot of very important work is commodity labor, so I don’t intend to disparage anyone by using that term. Commodity work can be unionized because there aren’t large and often intangible discrepancies in quality of output, and collective bargaining is often the best way to ensure that the workers are fairly compensated for the value they produce. Software is not commodity work, however. It’s difficult to measure quality, and the field is so specialized that engineers are not remotely interchangeable. When the work is difficult to measure and large disparities of quality exist, you have a situation in which a certain less-egalitarian (in the sense of allowing top performers to receive high compensation, because it’s essential to encourage people to improve themselves) and more self-regulatory structure is required: a profession.""A profession is an attempt to impose global structure over a category of specialized, cognitively intensive work where the quality of output has substantial ramifications, but is difficult (if not, in the short term, impossible) to measure, giving ethics and competence primary importance. A profession is needed when it’s clear that not everyone can perform the work well, especially without specialized training. Here are some traits that signify the existence of a profession."1) Ethical obligations that supersede managerial authority.
2) Weak power relationships.
3) Continuing improvement and self-direction as requirements.
4) Allowance for self-direction.
5) Except in egregious cases, an agreement between employee and firm to serve each others’ interests, even after employment ends. 

See Also:

Employees at Google, Yahoo, and Amazon lose nothing if they unionize. Here’s why. by Michael O'Church
Categories: Blogs

Hierarchy of Human Needs for the 21st Century

Agile Complexification Inverter - Tue, 11/22/2016 - 19:13
The new and revised edition of Maslow's Hierarchy of Human Needs for the 21st Century.



See Also:

The Starbuck's Test


Categories: Blogs

Topics for Lunch-N-Learn

Agile Complexification Inverter - Tue, 11/22/2016 - 19:13


Brainstorming a list of topics for a Scrum/Agile lunch-N-learn session.



  • Pair Programming - simulation using Tangrams & Face Drawing
  • Practices for Daily Standup - review and discuss: It's Not Just Standing Up: Patterns for Daily Standup Meetings
  • Slicing Stories – resources to slice vertical stories of value
  • Story Writing techniques:  w/ Q&A based upon participants real stories
  • Estimation techniques:  Affinity Estimation; T-shirt sizing -> converting to numbers; Planning Poker (the rule book)
  • Team building tools:  Infinite Loops; Helium Stick; Warp Speed;  Pair Drawing, etc.
  • Definition of Done/Ready exercise
  • Release Planning   How to derive duration with a complicated backlog
  • Agile Library Initiation  Bring books, make the rules, get funding, 1,2,3, GO!
  • Management 3.0 Book Club - join a group reading the best Agile book written.
  • Making Visual Information Radiators - define Radiator/Cooler;  elements of a Scrum board
  • Aspects of an effective Product Backlog
  • Agile Portfolio Planning - tools and techniques; estimation, cost of delay, prioritization, deciding what NOT to do
  • The principle of TDD via LEGO building;  anyone can learn the power of test first development
  • Does you development rest on a SOLID foundation - an overview of the SOLID principles
  • Collaboration Games to understand the customer;   12 Innovation Games;  Other resources
  • User Story Maps technique to achieve higher level understanding of the backlog
  • Launching a Team;  what’s required, best practices, examples and techniques
  • Team Practices:  a collection of quick tools to increase team work and collaboration
  • Learn Backlog Prioritization techniques:  Cost of Delay,  Perceived ROI,  Delivery Order, Gut Feeling, Loudest Yeller
  • Agile Planning - paradigm changes in planning, the planning flame, release planning, road maps, etc.
see also:
http://www.improvingenterprises.com/services/applied-training/lunch-n-learns/
Categories: Blogs

Why Visual Management Techniques are so Powerful

Agile Complexification Inverter - Tue, 11/22/2016 - 19:13


How does the brain process visual clues to the environment and synthesize meaning about an ever changing landscape?  Tom Wujec explains the creation of mental models and why AutoDesk invest in visual management techniques to plan their strategic roadmaps.




Also in one of Tom Wujec's talks on How to Make Toast, he explains another important point of visual management - system's thinking and group work.

Don't worry... the mind will do all the work.  It will fill in the missing details, and abstract the patterns into the concept.  Here's an exercise, Squiggle Birds by David Gray, to experience this.




See Also:

Visual Management Blog

Visual Thinking - Wikipedia

David Gray on Visual Thinking

Ultimate Wallboard Challenge 2010  time-lapse of Vodafone Web Team's board

iPad Interactive Whiteboard Remote

 This is your brain on Media
Multitasking: This is your brain on Media - Infographic by Column Five Media.
Categories: Blogs

The Simplest Systems Thinking Exercise - How to Make Toast.

Agile Complexification Inverter - Tue, 11/22/2016 - 19:13
For many years one example of process thinking, resource gathering, requirements, implementation and acceptance criteria has been the exercise - make PB&J sandwiches.  I've done this with groups to discuss the simple task that we typically overlook as "experts" in sandwich making, that perhaps a 5 year old will find difficulty glossing over the - get bread - instruction.


Here's a TED Talk by Tom Wujec who has analyzed a similar exercise and draws some powerful conclusions from many iterations.  Watch it and then rethink the simple acts in your life.




So tell me again why group collaboration is important when you are solving wicked problems?

See Also:

Visual Thinking


Categories: Blogs

Your Optimistic Bias won't Allow Your Estimate to Improve

Agile Complexification Inverter - Tue, 11/22/2016 - 19:13
When asked, many people wish to get better at estimation by tracking actuals and then assuming that some form of reflection upon those actuals will lead to better estimation.  I've long held a belief that it doesn't happen quite so simply in reality.  There are many assumptions in that proposal that are just glossed over.   Let's list a few (just for fun):  Actuals are accurate and precise representations, time will be allotted to reflections and learning,  people (teams of people) will all arrive at similar conclusions and learn from the reflection of estimate not equal to actual, future behavior will change significantly and quickly, among other assumptions.



Well finally science has something to say about this.  A study: "How unrealistic optimism is maintained in the face of reality" by Tali Sharot, Christoph W Korn & Raymond J Dolan published in Nature Neuroscience (2011) has some fMRI proof that these behaviors are hard to change.

In the study the authors find:
"Unrealistic optimism is a pervasive human trait that influences domains ranging from personal relationships to politics and finance. How people maintain unrealistic optimism, despite frequently encountering information that challenges those biased beliefs, is unknown. We examined this question and found a marked asymmetry in belief updating. Participants updated their beliefs more in response to information that was better than expected than to information that was worse. This selectivity was mediated by a relative failure to code for errors that should reduce optimism. Distinct regions of the prefrontal cortex tracked estimation errors when those called for positive update, both in individuals who scored high and low on trait optimism. However, highly optimistic individuals exhibited reduced tracking of estimation errors that called for negative update in right inferior prefrontal gyrus. These findings indicate that optimism is tied to a selective update failure and diminished neural coding of undesirable information regarding the future."So, is this scientific challenge to your ability to get better at estimation enough for you to quit tracking actual time spent on stories/tasks?  The evidence is that your bias will keep you from learning except in the cases that prove you are faster/better/more awesome than you estimated you were.  Which leads many managers to decide that there teams are sand-bagging and just not as good as "we were in the older days," a different human behavior to study.

See Also:
Your Brain won't allow you to Believe the Apocalypse could actually happen
The #NoEstimates blog by Woody Quill
The planning fallacy, first proposed by Daniel Kahneman and Amos Tversky in 1979, is a phenomenon in which predictions about how much time will be needed to complete a future task display an optimism bias (underestimate the time needed).


Categories: Blogs

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