Skip to content

Feed aggregator

E-Shaped Staff

Leading Agile - Mike Cottmeyer - Wed, 02/22/2017 - 15:00

Because organizations rely on an ever increasing number of technologies, we often wind up with an increased number of specialists on staff.  When departments over-specialize, they develop silos and increase the number of organizational dependencies.  Everything begins to require multiple handoff and things slow down.  To counter silos and increase the flow of value moving through the system of delivery, we often encourage cross-functional teams with more “T-shaped” generalized-specialists. 

Now, I’m currently reading The DevOps Handbook: How to create world-class agility, reliability, and security in technology organizations [1].  For anyone who has read (or currently reading) the Phoenix Project, read this book next. In addition to this, my colleague Jim Hayden recently pointed out a passage that got my attention.  On page 86, there is a table that compares I-shaped, T-shaped, and E-shaped staff. That table is based on a 2012 blog post by Sarah DaVanzo.  It inspired me to make a few changes to the table below and write this blog post.

A comparison of i-shaped, t-shaped, and e-shaped staff

I-shaped (Specialist)

The vertical stroke of the “I” is a depth of skill that allows someone to contribute to the creative process. They can be from any number of different fields to include: a developer, an architect, a tester, or an analyst.  In organizations still utilizing a Waterfall model for application development, one can find specialists in functional phased groups. Having too many specialists can result in an increase of bottlenecks and frequency of ridged handoffs. In short, they create dependencies. These people are insensitive to downstream impacts and unwilling to help beyond their primary job.  You may literally hear them say,

That’s not my job.

T-shaped (Generalized Specialist)

The term “T-shaped person” was coined by IDEO Chief Executive Tim Brown. When recruiting, IDEO assessed candidates based on both their breadth and depth of experience.  In a 2010 interview with Chief Executive Magazine, Brown explained what a T-shaped person is:

The vertical stroke of the “T” is a depth of skill that allows them to contribute to the creative process. That can be from any number of different fields: an industrial designer, an architect, a social scientist, a business specialist or a mechanical engineer.

The horizontal stroke of the “T” is the disposition for collaboration across disciplines. It is composed of two things. First, empathy. It’s important because it allows people to imagine the problem from another perspective – to stand in somebody else’s shoes. Second, they tend to get very enthusiastic about other people’s disciplines, to the point that they may actually start to practice them. T-shaped people have both depth and breadth in their skills.

Since then, in the Agile community, the T-shaped staff member has become synonymous with a generalized specialist.  You may hear someone is a developer by trade but is willing to roll up their sleeves when needed, to help test, clarify user story acceptance criteria, or fulfill some other team obligation.  This will help remove bottlenecks and lessen the frequency of ridged handoffs. These people are sensitive to downstream impacts and willing to help beyond their primary job.

E-shaped (NextGen Specialist)

I note the term “E-shaped” was first referenced in the 2010 DaVanzo post. From there, I’m going to take some liberty to redefine it as the next generation (NextGen) of specialist for an Agile team.

The vertical stroke of the “E” is expertise in a few areas, to allow the specialist to contribute to the team. That can be from any number of different fields, just as we noted for the vertical stroke of the T-shaped people.

The first horizontal stroke of the “E” is experience.  Not only do we want people with expertise in a few areas, we also want experience across several areas.

The second horizontal stroke of the “E” is execution. We need a specialist with proven execution skills.

The last horizontal stroke of the “E” is exploration. These people should always be looking of ways to improve their craft or learn new skills.

If you can locate and employ these next generation specialists, your team will have almost limitless potential.

[1] Kim, G., Willis, J., & Debois, P. (2016). The Devops Handbook: How to create world-class agility, reliability, and security in technology organizations. United States: IT Revolution Press.

The post E-Shaped Staff appeared first on LeadingAgile.

Categories: Blogs

First Steps in gRPC Bindings for React Native

Xebia Blog - Wed, 02/22/2017 - 14:54

When you want to use gRPC in your React Native app there is no official support yet, but that shouldn’t stop you! In this post I’ll show you how we designed an implementation with type safety in mind and successfully called a service remotely from React Native on Android. Read more

The post First Steps in gRPC Bindings for React Native appeared first on Xebia Blog.

Categories: Companies

A conversation about My Personal Agility

Scrum Breakfast - Wed, 02/22/2017 - 11:27
Next week, I will be giving a webinar on My Personal Agility for the Discussing Agile group in India. Yesterday I spoke with host Piyali about the essentials of My Personal Agility. What started out as a way to get more get stuff done has become a way to do more that matters and recognize who you are and who you are becoming.

We talked about how it works and what it can do for you:




Next week in the webinar we'll talk about how you can get started! Have post-its and some wall space ready, because we are going to get practical! You find out about the Personal Agility Webinar Workshop on Discuss Agile web site page. See you there!




Categories: Blogs

Is There Life Beyond Scrum?

Leading Agile - Mike Cottmeyer - Tue, 02/21/2017 - 19:51

When Scrum was first defined, it addressed a number of issues that plagued IT organizations of the 1980s. Functional silos and their key side-effect, cross-team dependencies. Lack of clear communication. Extended lead times. Poor alignment of solutions with needs. High defect rates. More.

To this day, Scrum continues to be a valuable tool for teams and organizations that are operating in a traditional way, or that have achieved a certain level of basic proficiency with lightweight methods based on Lean and Agile thinking. As with any tool, Scrum is useful in situations where its characteristics are helpful, and when it’s applied mindfully and appropriately.

Scrum has helped, and continues to help many organizations get started on their Lean/Agile journey. It’s still an appropriate choice in many situations. There’s nothing wrong with it. At LeadingAgile, we use, recommend, teach, and coach Scrum quite a lot. It doesn’t fit every situation, but where it does fit, it fits very well indeed.

The Scrum cult

Scrum has been phenomenally successful. It may be the single most widely-used method for delivering software solutions, with the possible exception of the venerable and popular Random Method, and the widely-used Random software engineering technique, Copy-and-Paste-from-StackOverflow. But Scrum’s success has led to a curious phenomenon: A sort of Scrum cult has emerged. Scrum is All Things Good. Scrum is The Answer. Scrum is the End Game. There is nothing more beyond Scrum.

When you ask a Scrum cultist where a team or organization might go after Scrum, they look at you as if they can’t process the question. It’s as if you asked a Christian where you go after you’ve died, gone to heaven, and died in heaven. They look at you quizzically, because in their worldview there’s nothing beyond heaven; it’s the “end state.” You don’t “die in heaven.” They can’t process the question. Scrum cultists have the same mentality regarding Scrum. There’s nothing beyond Scrum; it’s the “end state.”

Continual improvement

But to a person who has internalized the idea of continual improvement, there is no end state. Continual improvement is like Jonathan Livingston Seagull, or maybe a really hard video game, in which conquering one level leads to another level. Or you could say it’s like attending school. When we graduate pre-school, we become beginners in elementary school. When we graduate elementary school, we become beginners in middle school. When we graduate middle school, we become beginners in high school. When we graduate high school, we become beginners at university.

When we graduate university, we become beginners in a Masters program or in the work force. As we progress through our careers, we reach numerous milestones in our professional growth, but we never reach a permanent end state. We become beginners again and again, at different levels.

One more metaphor

I sometimes liken Scrum to Forrest Gump’s braces. In the movie, Forrest Gump, the title character wears braces on his legs as a child. He needs the braces to stand and walk. Then the day comes when he’s ready to run. At that stage, the braces are a hindrance. In the film, the title character starts to run, and the braces begin to break apart. Piece by piece, they fall away, leaving his legs free to carry him smoothly.

As an Expedition progresses through the LeadingAgile Basecamps on its Agile journey, it requires guidance and structure appropriate to its level of proficiency with lightweight methods; its ability to apply Lean and Agile thinking in practice. Teams in the Expedition that are burning down a backlog of planned features can benefit greatly from Scum when they are in the early stages of learning Agile. You could say that Scrum helps these teams learn to stand and walk. It adds value at least through Basecamp 3, and possibly further.

What we really want to see is Expeditions, and whole organizations, start to run. When they reach the stage that they’re ready to run, Scrum can be the same kind of hindrance as Forrest’s braces. Scrum practices can fall away naturally as teams learn to achieve the same goals with less ceremony. If we don’t allow the braces to fall away, we’re impeding the teams’ ability to progress.

Scrum practices can fall away naturally as teams learn to achieve the same goals with less ceremony

Cult? What cult? I don’t see no cult!

You may disagree that there’s any such thing as a Scrum cult. Disagreement is okay. But if the observation is valid, then what might have caused the emergence of a cult around Scrum?

I’ll make the personal observation that the vast majority of Scrum (and Agile) coaches have never seen or experienced what can happen once an organization truly internalizes Lean and Agile values and moves beyond the novice level with these approaches. Most coaches introduce novice practitioners to the basics of Lean and Agile (and Scrum), and then move on to another client where they introduce the basics again.

And again and again and again.

The best organizations and the best teams they ever see are those that have managed to achieve a reasonably good level of proficiency with basic, by-the-book Scrum (or some sort of Scrum-like hybrid).

But that’s not the “end state.” There’s more.

Value and overhead

A key concept in the Lean school of thought is customer-defined value. Time spent in activities that directly add customer-defined value to a product is deemed “value add time.” All other time is deemed “non-value add time.”

The distinction is often misunderstood, as it differs from conventional thinking about value. Conventionally, we consider anything that helps us deliver value to customers to be useful and possibly necessary. Things that are useful and/or necessary to get the job done surely are valuable, right? Sure, in the casual sense of the English word, “valuable.”

Consider a financial institution that offers services to customers. All services must comply with government regulations designed to protect consumers and the national economy from errors and unethical actions that might do harm. Conventional thinking tells us the things we do to assure compliance are valuable. We may well invest additional time and effort in compliance activities just to be really sure we’re doing it well.

When we look at the same situation through a Lean lens, we perceive that customers are willing to pay for certain services. They have a baseline expectation that their transactions will be accurate, ethical, and safe, but they don’t think about those things as part of what they’re paying for. They only intend to pay for the service they want. The time we spend in maximizing the direct value of those services is value add time, and the time we spend to support necessary overhead items such as compliance is non-value add time. We may well invest some effort in seeking ways to minimize compliance overhead.

Similarly, customers do not wish to pay us to fix our own bugs. If we create a bug, that’s our problem, not our customers’. Therefore, from a Lean perspective, bug-fixing, remediating technical debt, and production support—even testing—are non-value add activities. A Lean thinker will seeks ways to minimize the time spent on such activities. A conventional thinker might only think about improving how they do these things, rather than looking for ways to eliminate the need for them.

No doubt you can see how this minor shift in perspective helps us identify potential areas of improvement in our delivery processes. Every minute spent on non-value add activities is a minute lost to value add activities. But what does this have to do with Scrum, or with the supposed “cult” of Scrum?

From walking to running

As mentioned above, Scrum was created in an era when certain organizational and procedural problems were endemic to large-scale IT organizations. It was designed to address several of those problems directly. Its three roles—Product Owner, Scrum Master, and Development Team—represented a sharp change from the then-common manager-driven hierarchical organizational structure and “matrix” assignment of so-called “resources” (meaning humans) to multiple projects concurrently.

Many IT organizations needed something like Scrum to help them stand and walk. The Product Owner mitigated the generally poor communication between business stakeholders and the IT organization. The Scrum Master mitigated the generally poor understanding of effective delivery processes on the part of IT staff. The Delivery Team brought together individual specialists from various functional silos to create a cross-functional team, significantly reducing communication delay and misunderstandings.

But that was the 1980s, hanging over into the 1990s. There are still organizations operating as they did in the 1980s, but the industry as a whole has long since moved on. Does Scrum help an organization in which communication between business stakeholders and the IT organization is already good? How about an organization in which the staff understands and uses effective delivery methods? How about an organization in which staff routinely collaborate across individual specialties and are accustomed to transparency? How about an organization that already delivers small batches incrementally and on a short time scale?

In other words…what about an organization that has learned how to stand and walk, and is ready to run?

From a Lean perspective, every role, every artifact, and every event defined in Scrum is overhead. Scrum itself is not what customers buy. It isn’t what they want to buy. It’s a way of delivering what they want, but it isn’t The Thing they want. A conventional thinker will think of ways to “do Scrum better.” And maybe that’s exactly what they should be doing, based on where they are in the journey at the moment. A Lean thinker will seek ways to minimize the overhead of using Scrum, with the eventual goal of making Scrum unnecessary. That’s quite a different goal.

The rub

To outgrow the need for Scrum is a fine goal, but you have to earn it. To earn it, you have to understand the substance of what Scrum is helping you achieve; merely following the prescribed practices isn’t sufficient for that. A novice delivery team can’t arbitrarily discard Scrum, just because they recognize it as overhead. Teams must learn to achieve the same goals and deliver the same value without the overhead of Scrum. Then the braces can fall away.

Scrum cultists will chafe at the word “overhead” here, but the reality is that there’s always some form of overhead in any process. Lean thinkers prioritize “eliminating waste from the process” third, behind “focus on value” and “maintain continuous flow.” They know some overhead is inevitable, necessary, and ultimately all to the good. The trick is to minimize non-value add time while still fulfilling all necessary requirements.

In their book, Lean Thinking, Womack and Jones distinguish between two types of non-value add activity, or muda. (That’s Japanese for “non-value add activity.”) Type 1 muda comprises activities that don’t help in any way and are only performed out of habit. These activities can simply be stopped, with no downside impact.

Type 1 muda could be, for instance, preparing three different status reports about the same tasks in three different formats for three different managers, or entering the same information about hours worked into four different time tracking systems. (But those examples are absurd, of course. Who would do that?)

Type 2 muda comprises activities that are necessary to get the job done, but that don’t directly add customer-defined value to a product. The goal here is to minimize the overhead involved in carrying out these activities. This could include, for instance, governance review procedures to ensure information security standards were followed in developing an application, or functionality built into an application to track data for auditors. Bake the security standards into your development process, and you can dispense with the review step in the delivery pipeline. Build logging into your reference architectures, and you can dispense with any extra effort to satisfy auditors.

The process of the braces falling away piece by piece naturally involves the organization and the teams within it learning to satisfy all the ancillary requirements surrounding the product with a minimum of effort, time, and cost. As these requirements become ingrained in the delivery process, overhead activities to double-check them become less necessary.

Full circle

As an example, let’s home in on one of the factors that Scrum addresses: Predictable delivery. Business stakeholders in the 1980s and 1990s were constantly asking IT organizations “How long will it take to deliver X?” IT professionals came up with various ways to estimate the time they would need to deliver X. Some are formal and some informal, and may be based on experience, calculation, statistics, heuristics, empiricism, or a combination.

Customers won’t place an order for an estimate. They may want to know how long it will take you to deliver a solution, but they don’t expect to pay you just for the estimate. If customers aren’t intentionally buying estimates, then the time you spend preparing estimates is muda.

During the years when estimation was regarded as a core competency of software development rather than as an overhead activity, delivery performance continued to be unpredictable. Sure, some teams boasted that their estimates were always within 5% of actuals, but this was almost always gamed; they padded the estimates enough that they could make their numbers look the way management wanted the numbers to look.

Scrum as such doesn’t define an estimation method, but teams tend to use certain methods more than others with Scrum. A novice Scrum team may estimate User Stories in terms of clock time. This doesn’t do much to improve predictability, but it does help the team get into the habit of decomposing work into small pieces and thinking about what’s involved in delivering the pieces.

As they gain proficiency with Scrum, the team may estimate in terms of ideal time, applying a load factor to their planned capacity to account for interruptions such as meetings and production support issues. Usually, they begin to see some improvement in predictability.

As they progress, the team begins to understand what their Scrum coach meant all these past weeks or months when she told them to stop thinking about time and to think about relative size instead. They shift from time-based estimation to relative sizing of User Stories based on a scale of arbitrary points.

Initially they may peg points to time (e.g., “One point is half a day”), but sooner or later they drop that. Now they see significant improvement in predictability, because they are planning their work based on their own demonstrated delivery performance in the recent past. This is empiricism, consistent with the Scrum approach.

Throughout these early stages, the discussions surrounding estimation serve another purpose: They help build shared understanding about the problem space, the solution space, design considerations, and acceptance criteria. These are among the things a team must learn to do in other ways before they can dispense with story-level estimation.

Continuing to mature in Agile thinking and practice, the team gradually learns to decompose and structure User Stories into reasonably same-sized chunks. Eventually they discover most of their stories seem to be of the same size. They stop using relative points and just count stories instead. This reduces their planning overhead without sacrificing predictability. (They couldn’t have dispensed with estimation in the beginning; at that time, they didn’t know how to achieve predictable delivery without it.)

At this stage, everyone can see approximately how long each User Story takes to deliver. The team has gone full circle, and can now answer the question “How long will it take to deliver X?” directly, in terms of clock time, just the way stakeholders need it to be answered.

A piece of their braces—story sizing or estimation—can fall away naturally. In Lean terms, they have reduced the planning overhead necessary to deliver customer-defined value. Similarly, teams can learn to deliver effectively without other pieces of the braces, too. It may not be intuitively obvious how to achieve this, and that’s why it’s helpful to work with guides who have been there and done that.

The post Is There Life Beyond Scrum? appeared first on LeadingAgile.

Categories: Blogs

How the Product Manager and the Product Owner Role Are Different

Scrum Expert - Tue, 02/21/2017 - 19:28
The notion of product is important in Scrum. Many qualify it as a product development approach rather than a project management framework. The product owner role is responsible that the production of the Scrum team meets the requirements of the customers and deliver value for the organization. This role is often compared to the role of product manager. In his article “Mapping the Product Manager Role to the Product Owner Role”, Sriramasundararajan Rajagopalan discusses if a product manager is the same as a product owner. Sriramasundararajan Rajagopalan starts his article by presenting the responsibilities of the product manager in the product development activities based on the RACI (Responsible, Accountable, Consulted, Informed) approach. The same matrix is build for the product owner. The conclusion of these two analyses is that Scrum adds much more accountability to the product owner role compared to the product manager role. Sriramasundararajan Rajagopalan think that there is a conflict between the main focus of the product manager that is on market research and product strategies and the requirements of the product owner role that need to collaborate heavily with the Scrum team. How can the same person have enough time perform successfully these two activities, especially in organizations where the product manager not only manages one product but a suite of products within a product portfolio? The conclusion of the article is that “It is evident that the traditional product manager may be pressed to manage the expectations of the external client and address the questions [...]
Categories: Communities

Insights into Agile Transformation Success, Part 2

BigVisible Solutions :: An Agile Company - Tue, 02/21/2017 - 18:00
Agility at the Product, Delivery & Execution Levels

Contributors: Mike Dwyer and Richard Lowery

SolutionsIQ is passionate about helping enterprises successfully kick off and execute large-scale Agile Transformations. In our first blog article on this topic, we introduced our five-dimension model for setting up an Agile Transformation for success, and we looked into the first two dimensions: Leadership and Organization. In this continuation of that discussion, we’d like to iterate on this a bit further with the remaining three dimensions of a successful Agile Transformation: Product, Delivery and Execution.

Product

We have observed a direct correlation between the level of investment in the Product Owner role and the overall degree of success in achieving the desired outcome of an Agile Transformation. The correlation between product ownership and Agile product management, however, is not one-to-one, as traditional product and portfolio management roles change in an Agile enterprise. In our findings, enterprises that invest heavily in product ownership and product management skill sets tend to have the most enduring and pervasive success with Agile Transformation. In particular, Product Owners champion the new Scrum roles of the teams they support, which includes embracing the responsibilities of their own role. Some POs also invest in training and coaching people to be successful in their new roles. A solid product ownership foundation is critical because only by getting the basics down can the enterprise unlock certain higher-order capabilities, including portfolio management, product vision and product roadmaps.

These product management best practices are crucial because in many organizations the people fulfilling the Product Owner role have no formal training or background in classic product management. Focusing on creating a clear, effective working relationship between product ownership and product management is another indicator of success for Agile transformation.

Delivery

Delivery focuses on the practices and processes of teams and groups of teams delivering a project, program, or product. This includes how well individual teams and sets of teams are using Agile frameworks like Scrum and Kanban, how Lean is being applied to other aspects of value streams, and the enterprise’s success with Agile scaling patterns and frameworks like LeSS and SAFe.

In our findings, the enterprises succeeding in their Agile transformation pay much attention to getting the core Agile foundations right from the start. This is critical given that key success indicators such as release planning and scaling patterns are all built on top of solid foundations of Agile-Lean knowledge of Scrum, Kanban, and XP. Enterprises that have lasting success with Agile Transformation typically have a small army of highly effective ScrumMasters who are evangelizing both the core foundations of the frameworks as well as the overall goals for that enterprise’s Agile transformation.

It is critical to focus heavily on the Agile Foundations at the team level.  Many enterprises will first introduce Agile coaching at the team level in a pilot program so they can first understand the sets of impediments that are likely to prevent team success. Then when that is understood clearly and the team starts to see change in the right direction, the organization can build upon this success with a much broader team coaching plan. Eventually the enterprise can build in a scaling solution that will allow the organization to have deliver quickly and responsively on a large scale.

One company we recently worked with showed a lot of capability at the Delivery layer and can serve as a model for other organizations to emulate.  The company came to the realization that it was critical to invest in foundational Agile training for teams. They decided to offer Agile coaching for teams and to create a cadre of highly effective ScrumMasters.  In addition, they had dedicated teams with focus and little to no context switching.  These investments in laying down a firm Agile foundation and developing competent Agile teams allows them to execute multi-team release planning events today with a high degree of effectiveness and predictability.

Execution

For every company that has had success with the Delivery side of an Agile transformation, there are just as many who aren’t seeing that success because they haven’t made the commitment to transform into a modern Agile software development shop. This is why we put so much emphasis on technical execution in our Agile transformation strategy. Simply put, Execution is what enables the enterprise to see faster delivery cycles, higher quality with fewer (if any) defects, etc. Other benefits seen include a higher degree of innovation, higher collaboration and transparency, and more dependable delivery estimations. The technical practices that yield these results stem mainly from Extreme Programming (XP), including test-driven development with test automation, refactoring, code smells and technical debt remediation.

In our findings, the organizations investing heavily in test automation are having large-scale success with Agile. They also ensure that:

  • Software engineering best practices such as unit testing are being used all the time.
  • Technical debt is being tracked and time is set aside to remediate this debt.
  • Delivery progress is transparent and radiated to all stakeholders.

Clients seeing the most success have also made investing in their software development and testing environments a priority. In the future, through such an investment, they will be able to use higher-order modern software engineering practices such as Unit Test Driven Development, Acceptance Test Driven Development (ATDD), pair programming, mob programming, and self-organized cross-functional teams. These high-performance practices are made possible directly and indirectly from transformative changes at the organizational and leadership levels. A higher expectation of peer involvement, knowledge sharing and collaboration within teams is a key element of Agile transformation, which gives rise to an improved sense of community that expands well beyond the development teams.

Summary

Looking back on 2016, SolutionsIQ continues to be thrilled by how many of our clients have achieved enduring and pervasive success with their Agile transformations. Very little of that success was pure luck. In every example of success, there was a deliberate and focused strategy for how to establish and execute the transformation to Agile. To this end, we have identified five key dimensions in a successful Agile Transformation strategy: Leadership, the overall Organization, Product and Business, Delivery and Execution. Enterprises that are succeeding in their Agile transformation are putting emphasis on these areas as follows:

 

If your enterprise is about to start your own Agile Transformation in 2017, or you’re concerned that you have not been realizing the long-lasting success you had originally hoped for from your Agile Transformation, consider replicating some of these success patterns as part of your overall strategy and roadmap.

Be the first to get your hands on the white paper “Insights into Agile Transformation Success” — sign up for our AgileUp newsletter!

The post Insights into Agile Transformation Success, Part 2 appeared first on SolutionsIQ.

Categories: Companies

Cost of Implementing Continuous Integration

NetObjectives - Tue, 02/21/2017 - 15:25
Someone in your organization is telling you, "We really need to implement Continuous Integration." They have probably told you many reasons how and why your development organization will be much better, faster, higher quality, efficient, etc. once you have Continuous Integration in place. They are absolutely right - I also am convinced that if you implement Continuous Integration you will gain...

[[ This is a content summary only. Visit my website for full links, other content, and more! ]]
Categories: Companies

Treasure Hunt Retrospective

Growing Agile - Tue, 02/21/2017 - 11:21
Just before our last month end retro, Sam needed to leave the office. I decided to surprise her by planning a treasure hunt retro for when she returned. I wanted to do something a little fun and different for our retrospective, so I decided to incorporate movement around our office between each step. I thought […]
Categories: Companies

Article 6 in SAFe Implementation Roadmap series: Create the Implementation Plan

Agile Product Owner - Tue, 02/21/2017 - 02:02
Click to enlarge.Click to enlarge.

In the sixth ‘critical move’ in the SAFe Implementation Roadmap series, we tackle how to Create the Implementation Plan. This is where the rubber meets the road in a SAFe implementation, as it sets in motion the first real and tangible changes to individual and organizational behavior.

While all steps in the Roadmap are critical, and you want to do your utmost to get them right from the start, creating the Implementation Plan is all about taking an incremental approach, and allowing yourself to ‘plan a bit, execute a bit, and learn a bit. Then repeat.’

In this article, we discuss:

  • Picking the first value stream
  • Selecting the first ART
  • Creating a preliminary plan for additional ARTs and value streams

You’ll also find a handy little tool, the Value Stream Canvas, that will help you capture how things work now, and how they’re intended to work in the future.

Read the full article here.

As always, we welcome your thoughts so if you’d like to provide some feedback on this new series of articles, you’re invited to leave your comments here.

Stay SAFe!
—Dean and the Framework team

Categories: Blogs

Does SAFe apply to small teams?

Agile Product Owner - Mon, 02/20/2017 - 18:20

Recently, I heard from my colleague and long-time collaborator, Juha-Markus Aalto. Back when we were in the Agile working group trenches at Nokia, Juha-Markus was responsible for some of the initial, critical thinking behind what became SAFe. Specifically, he helped define the “requirements metamodel”, which arsm-med-largee the elements and relationships throughout the important system definition artifacts in the Framework. (Epics, Features, Stories, associations with tests and acceptance criteria, etc.) In turn, this helped unlock the ability to scale Agile from the team, to program to portfolio level. I have always appreciated his deep thinking, technologic competence, and humble manner.

Juha-Markus is now in a growth company Qentinel, and is applying his creative thinking as the leader of Product Development . His new team is still at the “S size” but if the company grows as planned, the team will likely grow as well. Even this small team faces the multi-project challenge as it delivers software to several customer specific projects, which requires common planning and portfolio prioritization. Juha-Markus is leveraging the concepts behind SAFe in his S-sized team. Of course, it works. But just how it works is proving to be an interesting topic, which Juha-Markus describes in his new blog post.

We would love to hear your comments on this article, as I think it could provide sufficient benefit to turn into a SAFe guidance article. For that, we require some additional opinions and peer review, so please ‘peer away.’

Stay SAFe!

-Dean and the Framework team

 

Categories: Blogs

Design by contract using GraphQL

Xebia Blog - Mon, 02/20/2017 - 18:20

When interfacing between systems it is good practice to think about the interface design prior to developing the systems. GraphQL can be a useful tool to write down these design decisions using its schema definition language. Even when you are not using GraphQL itself in production. GraphQL’s schema can be used to generate a mock […]

The post Design by contract using GraphQL appeared first on Xebia Blog.

Categories: Companies

Agilia, Olomouc, Czech Republic, March 27-31 2017

Scrum Expert - Mon, 02/20/2017 - 09:00
Agilia is the Central European Conference taking place in Olomouc (Czech Republic) that discusses Agile approaches. Local and international Scrum experts and Agile professionals from the Czech Republic, Slovakia, Hungary, Europe and overseas will provide ideas and inspiration, speeches, case studies and workshops. In the agenda of the Agilia conference you can find topics like “Valuable Agile Retrospectives”, “Clash of Cultures: What Agile Managers Can Do to Survive”, “Enterprise Product Ownership – Field Experiences”, “Leading an Agile Transformation at Scale”, “The Heart of the Team: From the Battle Field to Barbados”, “Creating Winning Teams”, “The Principles of Product Development Flow: Second Generation Lean Product Development”, “Facilitation for Agilists and Scrum Masters”, “How Mindfulness Enables Agile Teams to Create Better Solutions?”, “Practical Tools to improve LEAN and Agile processes”, “Value Planning in a Lean and Agile Way for Managers”, “Nuggets for your Continuous Improvement Journey”, “Retrospective – On a three year large scale agile adoption”, “Agility for the whole organization”, “You are messing up with people’s lives – From burnout to #NoEstimates”, “How to Write Effective Requirements in an Agile Environment”. Web site: http://agiliaconference.com/ Location for the Agilia conference: Olomouc, Czech Republic
Categories: Communities

Neo4j: Analysing a CSV file using LOAD CSV and Cypher

Mark Needham - Mon, 02/20/2017 - 00:39

Last week we ran our first online meetup for several years and I wanted to wanted to analyse the stats that YouTube lets you download for an event.

The file I downloaded looked like this:

$ cat ~/Downloads/youtube_stats_pW9boJoUxO0.csv 
Video IDs:, pW9boJoUxO0, Start time:, Wed Feb 15 08:57:55 2017, End time:, Wed Feb 15 10:03:10 2017
Playbacks, Peak concurrent viewers, Total view time (hours), Average session length (minutes)
348, 112, 97.125, 16.7456896552, 

Country code, AR, AT, BE, BR, BY, CA, CH, CL, CR, CZ, DE, DK, EC, EE, ES, FI, FR, GB, HU, IE, IL, IN, IT, LB, LU, LV, MY, NL, NO, NZ, PK, PL, QA, RO, RS, RU, SE, TR, US, VN, ZA
Playbacks, 2, 2, 1, 14, 1, 10, 2, 1, 1, 1, 27, 1, 1, 1, 3, 1, 25, 54, 1, 4, 6, 8, 1, 1, 1, 1, 1, 23, 1, 1, 1, 1, 1, 1, 2, 6, 22, 1, 114, 1, 1
Peak concurrent viewers, 2, 1, 1, 4, 1, 5, 1, 1, 0, 0, 11, 1, 1, 1, 2, 1, 6, 25, 1, 3, 3, 2, 1, 1, 1, 1, 1, 9, 1, 1, 0, 1, 0, 1, 1, 3, 7, 0, 44, 1, 0
Total view time (hours), 1.075, 0.0166666666667, 0.175, 2.58333333333, 0.00833333333333, 3.01666666667, 0.858333333333, 0.0583333333333, 0.0, 0.0, 8.69166666667, 0.8, 0.0166666666667, 0.0583333333333, 0.966666666667, 0.0166666666667, 4.20833333333, 20.8333333333, 0.00833333333333, 1.39166666667, 1.75, 0.766666666667, 0.00833333333333, 0.15, 0.0333333333333, 1.05833333333, 0.0333333333333, 7.36666666667, 0.0583333333333, 0.916666666667, 0.0, 0.00833333333333, 0.0, 0.00833333333333, 0.4, 1.10833333333, 5.28333333333, 0.0, 32.7333333333, 0.658333333333, 0.0
Average session length (minutes), 32.25, 0.5, 10.5, 11.0714285714, 0.5, 18.1, 25.75, 3.5, 0.0, 0.0, 19.3148148148, 48.0, 1.0, 3.5, 19.3333333333, 1.0, 10.1, 23.1481481481, 0.5, 20.875, 17.5, 5.75, 0.5, 9.0, 2.0, 63.5, 2.0, 19.2173913043, 3.5, 55.0, 0.0, 0.5, 0.0, 0.5, 12.0, 11.0833333333, 14.4090909091, 0.0, 17.2280701754, 39.5, 0.0

I want to look at the country specific stats so the first 4 lines aren’t interesting to me:

$ tail -n+5 youtube_stats_pW9boJoUxO0.csv > youtube.csv

I then put the youtube.csv file into the import directory of Neo4j and wrote the following query to return a row representing each country and its score for each of the metrics:

load csv with headers from "file:///youtube.csv" AS row
WITH [key in keys(row) where key <> "Country code"] AS keys, row, row["Country code"] AS heading
UNWIND keys AS key
RETURN key AS country, heading AS key, row[key] AS value

╒═════════╤═══════════╤═══════╕
│"country"│"key"      │"value"│
╞═════════╪═══════════╪═══════╡
│" SE"    │"Playbacks"│"22"   │
├─────────┼───────────┼───────┤
│" GB"    │"Playbacks"│"54"   │
├─────────┼───────────┼───────┤
│" FR"    │"Playbacks"│"25"   │
├─────────┼───────────┼───────┤
│" RS"    │"Playbacks"│"2"    │
├─────────┼───────────┼───────┤
│" LV"    │"Playbacks"│"1"    │
└─────────┴───────────┴───────┘

Now I want to create a node representing each country and create a property for each of the metrics. Since the property names are going to be dynamic I’ll make use of the APOC library which I drop into my plugins directory. I then tweaked the query to create the nodes:

load csv with headers from "https://dl.dropboxusercontent.com/u/14493611/youtube.csv" AS row
WITH [key in keys(row) where key <> "Country code"] AS keys, row, row["Country code"] AS heading
UNWIND keys AS key
WITH key AS country, heading AS key, row[key] AS value
MERGE (c:Country {name: replace(country, " ", "")})
WITH *
CALL apoc.create.setProperty(c, key, toInteger(value))
YIELD node
RETURN COUNT(*)

We can now see which country provided the most viewers:

MATCH (n:Country) 
RETURN n.name, n.Playbacks AS playbacks, n.`Total view time (hours)` AS viewTimeInHours, n.`Peak concurrent viewers` AS peakConcViewers, n.`Average session length (minutes)` AS aveSessionMins
ORDER BY playbacks DESC
LIMIT 10

╒════════╤═══════════╤═════════════════╤═════════════════╤════════════════╕
│"n.name"│"playbacks"│"viewTimeInHours"│"peakConcViewers"│"aveSessionMins"│
╞════════╪═══════════╪═════════════════╪═════════════════╪════════════════╡
│"US"    │"114"      │"32"             │"44"             │"17"            │
├────────┼───────────┼─────────────────┼─────────────────┼────────────────┤
│"GB"    │"54"       │"20"             │"25"             │"23"            │
├────────┼───────────┼─────────────────┼─────────────────┼────────────────┤
│"DE"    │"27"       │"8"              │"11"             │"19"            │
├────────┼───────────┼─────────────────┼─────────────────┼────────────────┤
│"FR"    │"25"       │"4"              │"6"              │"10"            │
├────────┼───────────┼─────────────────┼─────────────────┼────────────────┤
│"NL"    │"23"       │"7"              │"9"              │"19"            │
├────────┼───────────┼─────────────────┼─────────────────┼────────────────┤
│"SE"    │"22"       │"5"              │"7"              │"14"            │
├────────┼───────────┼─────────────────┼─────────────────┼────────────────┤
│"BR"    │"14"       │"2"              │"4"              │"11"            │
├────────┼───────────┼─────────────────┼─────────────────┼────────────────┤
│"CA"    │"10"       │"3"              │"5"              │"18"            │
├────────┼───────────┼─────────────────┼─────────────────┼────────────────┤
│"IN"    │"8"        │"0"              │"2"              │"5"             │
├────────┼───────────┼─────────────────┼─────────────────┼────────────────┤
│"IL"    │"6"        │"1"              │"3"              │"17"            │
└────────┴───────────┴─────────────────┴─────────────────┴────────────────┘

The United States in first unsurprisingly followed by the UK, Germany, and France. We ran the meetup at 5pm UK time so it was a friendly enough time for this side of the globe but not so friendly for Asia or Australia so it’s not too surprising we don’t see anybody from there!

For my last trick I wanted to see the full names of the countries so I downloaded the 2 digit codes for each country along with their full name.

I then updated my graph:

load csv with headers from "file:///countries.csv" AS row
MATCH (c:Country {name: row.Code})
SET c.fullName = row.Name;

Now let’s re-run our query and show the country fullnames instead:

MATCH (n:Country) 
RETURN n.fullName, n.Playbacks AS playbacks, n.`Total view time (hours)` AS viewTimeInHours, n.`Peak concurrent viewers` AS peakConcViewers, n.`Average session length (minutes)` AS aveSessionMins
ORDER BY playbacks DESC
LIMIT 10

╒════════════════╤═══════════╤═════════════════╤═════════════════╤════════════════╕
│"n.fullName"    │"playbacks"│"viewTimeInHours"│"peakConcViewers"│"aveSessionMins"│
╞════════════════╪═══════════╪═════════════════╪═════════════════╪════════════════╡
│"United States" │"114"      │"32"             │"44"             │"17"            │
├────────────────┼───────────┼─────────────────┼─────────────────┼────────────────┤
│"United Kingdom"│"54"       │"20"             │"25"             │"23"            │
├────────────────┼───────────┼─────────────────┼─────────────────┼────────────────┤
│"Germany"       │"27"       │"8"              │"11"             │"19"            │
├────────────────┼───────────┼─────────────────┼─────────────────┼────────────────┤
│"France"        │"25"       │"4"              │"6"              │"10"            │
├────────────────┼───────────┼─────────────────┼─────────────────┼────────────────┤
│"Netherlands"   │"23"       │"7"              │"9"              │"19"            │
├────────────────┼───────────┼─────────────────┼─────────────────┼────────────────┤
│"Sweden"        │"22"       │"5"              │"7"              │"14"            │
├────────────────┼───────────┼─────────────────┼─────────────────┼────────────────┤
│"Brazil"        │"14"       │"2"              │"4"              │"11"            │
├────────────────┼───────────┼─────────────────┼─────────────────┼────────────────┤
│"Canada"        │"10"       │"3"              │"5"              │"18"            │
├────────────────┼───────────┼─────────────────┼─────────────────┼────────────────┤
│"India"         │"8"        │"0"              │"2"              │"5"             │
├────────────────┼───────────┼─────────────────┼─────────────────┼────────────────┤
│"Israel"        │"6"        │"1"              │"3"              │"17"            │
└────────────────┴───────────┴─────────────────┴─────────────────┴────────────────┘

And that’s the end of my analysis with no relationships in sight!

The post Neo4j: Analysing a CSV file using LOAD CSV and Cypher appeared first on Mark Needham.

Categories: Blogs

Leadership Shootout at the Agile2017 corral

Agile Complexification Inverter - Mon, 02/20/2017 - 00:36
Derek "QuikDraw" Lane & I proposed this session (2 sessions actually) for the Agile2017 conference.  Wonder if you'd like to come play in the OK Corral with us?

SlideShare DeckHere's how it might go down...  Agile2017 Submission # 5835

And if you're interested... comment on this slide deck...  it's not the final answer.  In fact we may be sneaking bigger guns in to the corral under our dusters...

SlideShare deck

Abstract:

Leadership Style Shoot Out :: Which style best works for this context - how will you recognize it?


Where do you Stand

Let's survey the audience's Leadership styles/preferences - we will use a standard reference tool (or maybe just make it up on the fly). Getting the participants up and moving and interacting with each other and the sub-set of leadership styles described on the four flip charts in the corners of the room. We will play a few rounds of the game Constellations. This warm up exercise will most likely bring up some great question on terms and concepts, which we will answer as a group.


Examples of Models & Theories

We will present several models and approaches of Leadership - via Poster Presentations (previous done posters for models of Leadership: Examples: Situational Leadership II, Leader-Member Exchange Theory, Path-Goal Theory, Servant Leadership, etc.) compare and contrast theories of leadership with other leadership approaches: ( Situational, Skills, Style, Trait - also summarized on posters). Gathering insights from participants on experiences with these various leadership styles/traits. Using some famous examples from history and common known examples (JFK, Nixon, Washington, John Wayne, Neil Armstrong, etc).


Review of Literature

We will present a library of books (10 - 30 leadership books) to loan out for the next few days of the conference - participants wishing to come to next session (2 days later) will preform a poster book report on the topics of interest with their small group on the books best topics during the 2nd session. This technique is ripped off from my mentor Sivasailam Thiagarajan (http://www.thiagi.com), I'm sure he will not sue us. This game however is going to require longer than 75 min. to get value - so I'm proposing a radical new idea for conference session - a follow up session scheduled later in the week for the sub-set of participants that choose to participate in this "home-work assignment".

In the 2nd session we will organize the posters - book reviews and give each group/team about 10 min. to present and then a few min. for audience Q&A. Largely dependent on the number of small teams wishing to participate; wishing to go in depth on a topic and learn about that aspect of leadership. Then leave time for a debrief of both sessions.


Information for Program Team:

We are requesting something VERY RADICAL - 2 sessions - for ONE topic - the first session will set the hook: interest a sub set of participants to commit to the second session (the book-review report back poster extravaganza session later in the week).

First session on Monday or Tuesday; second session on Thursday or Friday - link them in the catalog with an "**" and note.

Each session will be independent enough that participant that do not want to attend the other will be carried along with the enthusiastic games of the others that have attended both. Interesting and Learning will be available for all - regardless of attendance of both sessions.


Prerequisite Knowledge:

none really - however we assume many people have been part of a group and have seen many forms of leadership in many different context


Learning Outcomes:

- Awareness of several views of Leadership and Management
- Knowledge of multiple theories of leadership
- develop a lexicon of terms to discuss leadership behaviors
- experience being an emergent leader in a group with a specific objective
- Understanding that styles of leadership change over time throughout history
- Ways to measure effectiveness of leadership (via the fellowship of followers)
- Assessment tools and models to take home and try on your leaders





Categories: Blogs

A look at Six Years of Blogging Stats

Agile Complexification Inverter - Sun, 02/19/2017 - 05:09
What do you get from six years of blogging about Agile/Scrum and your continued learning experiences?

Stats from Agile Complexification Inverter blog site

Well the stats are just one insignificant measure of what one gets from writing about their experience.

The bad artist imitate, the great artist steal.The more meaningful measures have been seeing some of these articles and resources put into practice by other colleagues, discussion that have happened (off line & sometimes in comments or twitter, etc.) with readers that require me to refine my thinking and messaging of my thinking.  Interestingly some times seeing a resource that you have created being "borrowed" and used in another persons or companies artifact without attribution is both rewarding and a bit infuriating.  I like that the concept has resonated well with someone else and they have gone to the trouble of borrowing the concept, and repeating or improving or repurposing the concept.

Let me borrow someone else's concept:  "The Bad Artist Imitate, the GREAT Artists Steal." -- Banksy


Most of all the collection of articles are a repository of resources that I do not need to carry around in my 3-4 lbs of white & grey matter.  I can off-load the storage of concepts, research pointers and questions to a semi-perminate storage.  This is a great benefit.

Categories: Blogs

Book Review: The Wisdom of Teams

Agile Complexification Inverter - Sun, 02/19/2017 - 05:09


Introduction:  What We Have Learned
Originally written in 1993, this edition written in 2003 has additional insights from 10 years of working with teams.  The authors see more pragmatism on the subject, less thoughtless rushes to a fad movement.  Top leaders are seeing that teams also apply to themselves, at the top of the business.  They see the core aspect as discipline, not the management fad du jour.  The discipline for team performance has 6 basics: team size, complementary skills, common purpose, performance goals, commonly working agreements, and mutual accountability.  The desire to be a team is not sufficient - one must have performance centric outcomes as the objective.  Leadership is more important at the beginning - but not the primary determinant of success.  Most organizations have untapped potential in team performance.  The organizations performance ethic makes the difference between one-off success and widespread organizational team performances.
The authors develop an explicit terminology, to distinguish commonly misunderstood phrases when discussing groups and teams.  The Y-Chart (p. XXI) helps explain the taxonomy of groups (Effective Group vs Performance Units; Single-Leader Unit vs Real Team).  They define an abstract Team Performance Curve, noting time as the major factor in achieving high (extra-ordinary) performance.  The decision of which type of team; single-leader unit vs team is dependent upon 3 factors: need for collective work products integrated in real time by two or more people, shifting leadership roles for situational awareness, need for mutual accountability in addition to individual accountability.  Setting outcome-based goals is essential to achieving high performance (as apposed to activity-based goals).  Real teams require more time and leadership capacity than single-leader units.  Process support for multiple team opportunities across broad programs is essential to scale the team success from one-to-many.
Prologue:  A Note About What to Expect
The book notes the obvious concepts but also the subtle nature of language used to describe the concepts are required to be precise in defining the discipline.  The authors find that it is difficult to apply common sense to teams.  Expect failure when: building the team for its own sake is the goal (rather that demanding performance challenges), the discipline of “team basics” is overlooked, many areas for teams are left unexplored in organizations (teams: recommend things, do things, run things), teams at the top of organizations are the most difficult, individual accountability is the norm (as apposed to team/group accountability).
Uncommon-sense findings: strong performance standards seem to spawn more teams than teaming-for teaming sake; high-performance teams are extremely rare; hierarchy and teams go together well; teams naturally integrate performance and learning; “teams are the primary unit of performance for increasing numbers of organizations” (p. 5).
Part One:  Understanding Teams
Focusing on Team Basics - figure 1-1 (p. 8)
Apex:  Performance Results; Collective Work products; Personal GrowthSides:  Skills (Performance results - Collective work products) Accountability ( Performance results - Personal growth) Commitment ( Collective work product - Personal growth)Internal:  Skills - Problem solving, technical function, interpersonal Accountability - Mutual, team size, individual Commitment - Specific goals, common approach, meaningful purpose
Chapter 1:  Why Teams?
The authors have learned that although many executives understood the argument for using teams many didn’t extract the real potential from the teams or the opportunities to use teams.  Many times because of unwarranted assumptions and poor knowledge.Key lessons:
  • “Significant performance challenges energize teams regardless of where they are in an organization.”  Performance is the primary objective.  A team is the means - not the end.
  • “Organizational leaders can foster team performance best by building a strong performance ethic rather than by establishing a ream-promoting environment alone.”  Focus on customer satisfaction performance rather than teamwork performance.
  • “Biases toward individualism exist but need not get in the way of team performance.”  Turn individualism, self-preservation, and self-centered objectives to the benefit of the team.
  • “Discipline - both within the team and across the organization - creates the conditions for team performance.”  “Groups become teams through disciplined action.  They shape a common purpose, agree on performance goals, define a common working approach, develop high levels of complementary skills, and hold themselves mutually accountable for results.”

Teams are made up of individuals with complementary skills - build on strengths, not to cover weakness.  Define clear goals, via team communication. Build real-time problem solving skills and initiative, allow adaptive behavior.  Provide social dimension to enhance work - teams fundamental nature are people interactions.  Fun is part and parcel of the process - encourage it.
Resistance to teams come from 3 primary concerns: ”lack of conviction”, “personal discomfort and risk”, and “weak organization performance ethics” (p 21-23). 
Teams do not solve all problems, they are not the answer to every problem.  They require discipline and practice.  Organization culture may be opposed to teams if a strong individualistic performance is reward in spite of team performance.
Chapter 2:  One Team: A Story of Performance
As a basic unit of performance a team blends the knowledges, skills and abilities of several people strengthening the overall performance of individuals.  Many people having once experienced the power of a high performing team long for the experience again.  Burlington Northern launched the Intermodal Rail era after deregulation in 1981.  Largely the result of a core team of 7 individuals, with an extend group of 45 people.  This team was largely self selective, all were interested in the new prospects of intermodal rail and saw the value even in face of large corporate resistance and hostility.   The team started small and grew as needed, bringing in and fostering the required skills.  A positive attitude that the goal was possible was shared by all.  Hard work and long hours were the norm for the group.  When the group’s proposal was approved but with the worst pilot project locations the group saw the opportunity to prove the concept and jumped right into it.  The core group shared leadership roles and had strong affinity of tacit information on specific skill sets.  They assumed a ask for forgiveness rather than permission attitude, and resolved impediments quickly.  The results was a change in the business model for the industry, intermodal rail is now common place and well established business process for the rail industry. 
Ch 3 Team Basics A Working Definition and Discipline
Teams are a “powerful vehicle for performance” (p. 43)  many companies are embracing teams as a unit of performance.  There are differences in understand of what a team is and what constitutes a performant team.   Teams work well when they have specific results to achieve, and the performance ethic of the organization demans those results.
“A team is a small number of people with complementary skills who are committed to a common purpose, performance goals, and approach for which they hold themselves mutually accountable.” (p. 45)
Small number - in the Agile community we say 7 +/- 2  ( 5 - 9 members).  Reasoning is the tacit knowledge of each other (the group) and the intercommunication of the team.  The larger the number the lower the accountability for success.  Large numbers have logistical problems not seen in smaller groups (space to meet, etc.).  See Also: Choosing the Team Size in Scrum by Agile Pain Relief
Scrum (software development process) offers a way to scale teams to very large (hundreds) numbers.
Complementary skills - we call this a cross-functional team.  A team must have a person with the required skills to solve the problem, and it will take many skills to solve most any complex problem.   Many successful teams realize they lack certain skills, and become self reliant on learning or acquiring the skill set.
Committed to common purpose and performance goal.  Teams must see the purpose for their existence, be motivated to achieve the goal.  The best teams spend significant time discussing their purpose, reshaping it and refining that purpose over their lifetime.
Committed to a common approach.  Agreement on the approach, process to solve the problems is a key,  they may spend considerable time on this issue also. 
Mutual accountability.  Teams must hold each other accountable for the achievement of the goal, the quality of the products, and the process.  They must be capable of defining their own standards for performance and encouraged to raise the bar.  

Ch 5 The Team Performance Curve
A team does not start out at super high performance, it takes time to reach this goal.  Many teams never reach their potential.  Experts say that if a team does reach high-performance that it should not be disbanded but kept together, and given a new purpose.  The performance curve describes this growth to high-performance.
Work groups are not teams, though they may develop into a team.  One difference is the focus either on team performance or individual performance & accountabilities.
Pseudo-teams never agree on purpose, or accountability of the group, they get stuck in rituals and avoid rather than engage each other.

Ch 8  Teams, Obstacles and Endings:  Getting Unstuck
Every team will encounter obstacles, high-performing teams develop tools for overcoming these obstacles.  Teams lower of the performance curve may need help to over come obstacles of all natures.  Teams may become stuck, and not develop the tools to resolve their obstacles, then it is time for serious help.  Stuck teams: lack energy, or enthusiasm, have a sense of helplessness, lack identity, lack purpose, members are cynical, and have a high degree of mistrust.
A weak sense of direction - the team needs to create common goals, take joint responsibility.
Insufficient commitment to performance - team needs accountability for the problem and the solution, based in performance measures.
Critical skills gaps - team needs to hire experts or develop skills.  They must be capable of admitting they need help - identify the type of help and go get it.
Getting unstuck:  - 1) revisit the basic of teams, 2) build on small successes, 3) inject new information and techniques, 4) get facilitation skills & training, 5) change team membership or leader

Transitions and endings will also effect the team, may drop them back into lower stages of Tuckman model of development - allow for that, don’t expect no emotion for losses. 
Categories: Blogs

Mean Time between Disruptions (MTD) a leadership Metric

Agile Complexification Inverter - Sun, 02/19/2017 - 05:09
A rant on Metric's I wish I had written...  so I'm going to just include it by reference and call it my own.

One thousand Words on Metrics

Here's a quote to get you even more interested in clicking that link...
ConclusionIn short, I find most grasping for metrics to be a reliable metric for lack of understanding of human behavior, not only that of those who would be measured but that of those who would do the measuring.If a higher-up wants a metric about a team, say, as an input to their judgment about whether the team’s work is satisfactory, oughtn’t there be some other way to tell?And if I choose nearly any metric on someone else’s behalf, doesn’t that reveal my assumption that I know something about how they do their good work better than they do?Or worse, that I prefer they nail the metric than do something as loose and floppy as “good work”? Well - will you look at that!  Yareev's even willing to apply his own metric to his work.  What a great example of a leader...
Let’s try that againNew metric (expiration = next subhead, privacy = public): I’m 0 for 1 on satisfying conclusions to this post.I’m hardly an expert on human behavior. If I were one, rather than being passive-aggressive and obstructive, I’d have a ready step to suggest to metrics-wanters, one that they’d likely find more desirable than metrics.Instead I have to talk myself down from passo-aggro-obstructo, by which time they’ve chosen what they’ll observe and the ready step I can offer is limited to encouraging them to observe the effects of their observation.Can you give me some better ideas?Here's my very special response to his request for comments.

   I'm wanting to +1 your whole rant, I'd like to nail it to the front doors, I'm thinking about a tattoo, but unsure where on my leader's body it should go...

   I have sometimes fantasied about asking the VP that want's a new metric, if it would be good for us to add one that measured their leadership of our group - I'll call this metric Mean Time between Disruptions (MTD).  MTD is calculated much like the old factory sign that said:
 "its been 1023 days since we killed someone at this factory, please be safe."   So let's start counting (I suggest in weeks) the time between a major disruption to the team.  For this basic metric we are looking at team formation dynamics (your familiar with Tuckman's Forming, Storming, Norming, Performing) and you Mr. VP desire the P word - but it comes after 3 stages of development beyond the F word).

   Let's start at the beginning and count weeks between Forming and ReForming.  You know like when you move a person on/off a team.  When you move the team's physical location, or when you give the team a new objective, then let's reset the clock.

   The metrics I've seen range from MTD = 0 to about 20 weeks for many teams I've worked with.  And Mr. VP says they desire persistent teams.

I would have put it on his site in the comments but I got a very dissatisfied error message from the system when I posted it... (wonder if he has a metric for failed comments?).

Agile in 3 Minutes  a podcast that discusses a journey toward agility (each episode in exactly 3 minutes).  I'm pondering... why does the magic number 3 come up in the Agile community so often?  Personally I feel it has to do with the Book of Armaments, chapter 2, verse 9 to 21; because 5 is right out!



See Also:
Team Metrics - Case Study
How could we measure Team Happiness?
Metrics for a Scrum Team  but don't confuse that post with Scrum Team Metrics which discusses the necessary and sufficient metric Velocity.
Do you really need a Project Management Office? (PMO effectiveness metrics)


Categories: Blogs

Synergic Reading Lessons

Agile Complexification Inverter - Sun, 02/19/2017 - 05:04


Wondering what other books I should read concurrently with the philosophy of this book, Other Minds, on the mind of our alien ancestors. In chapter one Peter is already mashing up Ismael and Darwin, so I feel it appropriate to do a bit of mix-in myself. I'm thinking Seven Brief Lessons on Physics will add spice. To bad I recycled How to build a Mind at Half Price Books.




I've also got to read Coaching Agile Teams by Lyssa Adkins for work's book club. And I may mix-in a bit of LEGO Serious Play, because I cannot get serious about coaching - seems like a play activity to me.




Maybe I will devise a quadrant model of these books. A Venn diagram of their overlapping topics.



Squid Communicate With a Secret, Skin-Powered Alphabet
Categories: Blogs

TrumpCare in its Infancy January 2017

Agile Complexification Inverter - Sun, 02/19/2017 - 05:03
I'm extremely concerned today for my country and this planet.  It appears that history is repeating.
    January 27th -- International Holocaust Remembrance Day.

President Trump bars refugees and citizens of Muslim nations entry into the U.S.A.

The New York Times
By Bundesarchiv, Bild 183-N0827-318 / CC-BY-SA 3.0, CC BY-SA 3.0 de
Four score and four years ago a dictator brought forth on the European continent an evolving plan to rule the world and subjugate the masses.

Now we are engaged in a great resistance, testing whether our nation, or any nations conceived from the learning of our mothers and fathers and so dedicated to liberty, can long endure.  We are met on a great social square of technologic creation.  We have come to dedicate a portion of our wealth, wisdom, and life to those in history that have offered their lives and wisdom so that we may learn and prosper.  It is altogether fitting and proper that we should do this.

But, in a larger sense, we can not dedicate -- we can not consecrate -- we can not hallow -- this square.  The brave women and men, living and dead, who struggle here, have consecrated it, far above our poor power to add or detract.  The world will little note, nor long remember what we say here, but it can never forget what they did here in the commons.  It is for us the living, rather, to be dedicated here to the unfinished work which they who fought here have thus far so nobly advanced.  It is rather for us to be here dedicated to the great task remaining before us -- that from these honored dead we take increased devotion to that cause for which they gave the last full measure of devotion -- that this nation, ruled by law, shall have a new birth of freedom -- and that government of the people, by the people, for the people, shall not perish from this planet.

-- David A. Koontz, human patriot


President Abraham Lincoln's address, on Thursday, November 19, 1863, to dedicate Soldiers' National Cemetery in Gettysburg, Pennsylvania, four and a half months after the Union armies defeated those of the Confederacy at the Battle of GettysburgFour score and seven years ago our fathers brought forth on this continent, a new nation, conceived in Liberty, and dedicated to the proposition that all men are created equal. Now we are engaged in a great civil war, testing whether that nation, or any nation so conceived and so dedicated, can long endure. We are met on a great battle-field of that war. We have come to dedicate a portion of that field, as a final resting place for those who here gave their lives that that nation might live. It is altogether fitting and proper that we should do this. But, in a larger sense, we can not dedicate—we can not consecrate—we can not hallow—this ground. The brave men, living and dead, who struggled here, have consecrated it, far above our poor power to add or detract. The world will little note, nor long remember what we say here, but it can never forget what they did here. It is for us the living, rather, to be dedicated here to the unfinished work which they who fought here have thus far so nobly advanced. It is rather for us to be here dedicated to the great task remaining before us—that from these honored dead we take increased devotion to that cause for which they gave the last full measure of devotion—that we here highly resolve that these dead shall not have died in vain—that this nation, under God, shall have a new birth of freedom—and that government of the people, by the people, for the people, shall not perish from the earth.

"Abraham Lincoln's carefully crafted address, secondary to other presentations that day, was one of the greatest and most influential statements of national purpose. In just over two minutes, Lincoln reiterated the principles of human equality espoused by the Declaration of Independence[6] and proclaimed the Civil War as a struggle for the preservation of the Union sundered by the secession crisis,[7] with "a new birth of freedom"[8] that would bring true equality to all of its citizens.[9] Lincoln also redefined the Civil War as a struggle not just for the Union, but also for the principle of human equality.[6]".

"Lincoln's address followed the oration by Edward Everett, who subsequently included a copy of the Gettysburg Address in his 1864 book about the event (Address of the Hon. Edward Everett At the Consecration of the National Cemetery At Gettysburg, 19th November 1863, with the Dedicatory Speech of President Lincoln, and the Other Exercises of the Occasion; Accompanied by An Account of the Origin of the Undertaking and of the Arrangement of the Cemetery Grounds, and by a Map of the Battle-field and a Plan of the Cemetery)."
 -- Wikipedia, Gettysburg Address
The books title is indictavite of the author's ability to thoroughly cover a topic. Everett's 2-hour oration had 13,607 words.



See Also:
     The Address by Ken Burns - PBS. Did you hear the story about the person that would give $20 bucks to grandkids that learned the Gettysburg Address? Encouraged me to learn it and it's history. History has an interesting emergent property... it appears to repeat, this is a emergent property from a complex system. It is the complex system practicing and learning... Humans as part of this universe's system, are so far (as we know) it's fastest learning sub-system. Our apparent loop duration is currently around Four Score years.Why President Obama Didn't Say 'Under God' While Reading the Gettysburg Address
Lincoln's 272 Words, A Model Of Brevity For Modern Times by Scott Simon

    Germany's Enabling Act of 1933. "The Enabling Act gave Hitler plenary powers. It followed on the heels of the Reichstag Fire Decree, which abolished most civil liberties and transferred state powers to the Reich government. The combined effect of the two laws was to transform Hitler's government into a de facto legal dictatorship."
     Women's March 2017 "A series of worldwide protests on January 21, 2017, in support of women's rights and related causes. The rallies were aimed at Donald Trump, immediately following his inauguration as President of the United States, largely due to his statements and positions which had been deemed as anti-women or otherwise reprehensible."
     Reichstag Fire Decree - Germany 1933  According to Rudolf Diels, Hitler was heard shouting through the fire "these sub-humans do not understand how the people stand at our side. In their mouse-holes, out of which they now want to come, of course they hear nothing of the cheering of the masses."[1].   Seizing on the burning of the Reichstag building as the supposed opening salvo in a communist uprising, the Nazis were able to throw millions of Germans into a convulsion of fear at the threat of Communist terror. The official account stated:  The burning of the Reichstag was intended to be the signal for a bloody uprising and civil war. Large-scale pillaging in Berlin was planned for as early as four o’clock in the morning on Tuesday. It has been determined that starting today throughout Germany acts of terrorism were to begin against prominent individuals, against private property, against the lives and safety of the peaceful population, and general civil war was to be unleashed…[2]
     TrumpCare: In the Beginning by Bill Frist - Nov. 2016, Forbes.  "Yesterday Americans woke up to news of a new president-elect: Donald J. Trump. The immediate question for those whose lives focus around lifting the health of individual Americans is, “What does this mean for health care in America?”
Categories: Blogs

Knowledge Sharing


SpiraTeam is a agile application lifecycle management (ALM) system designed specifically for methodologies such as scrum, XP and Kanban.