Self-selection helps Agile teams pick themselves. And it’s spreading: Since we shared our Self-Selection kit in May 2014 we have heard about successful Self-Selection events from companies from all over the world.
Urban dictionary: rat-hole
To digress in an extensive way. To divert the conversation to a topic that is not only unrelated to the topic at hand, but a topic that will likely have no immediate resolution either.
As a facilitator of a group discussion, a conversation or a workshop session it is important to keep a group focused on the topic at hand but sometimes it can be difficult to tell the difference between a rathole and a valuable sidetrack.
Recently, someone from the small but perfectly shaped nation of Iceland asked me the following question: “When watching your InfoQ talk on portfolio Kanban I noticed that you talked about measuring autonomy, mastery, and purpose as they are defined by Daniel Pink.
I have been searching the web for a tool, a questionnaire or survey, that could help me measure those without success for a while and am therefore interested if you could share with me how you do it. Is that something you could do?”
This is a sample agenda for a sprint planning meeting. Depending on your context you will have to change the details, just make sure the outcomes stay the same.
Inspired by our squadification event, Australia Post set out to try self-selection for themselves. 60 people were asked to figure out who should be in which team and choose who they wanted to work with. Read our interview with Andy Kelk, Australia Post’s Head of Technology for Digital Mailbox , who made it happen!
Gojko Adzic is becoming something of a celebrity around Wellington these days, and this week he’s back to deliver more bites of wisdom for a hungry Lean and Agile community.
Nomad8’s Rachael Tempest Wood and Anthony Boobier were lucky enough to talk with him recently and you can hear the conversation in the podcast below.
Even with high performing teams sometimes there are common themes coming up again and again in each retrospective. Much like a tight spot in a muscle that keeps lingering around (until we get a good massage) those issues keep coming back until we pay them enough attention to make them disappear. Use the “Deep tissue massage retrospective” to massage out your team’s sore knots!
Five insights I gained in four years of Kanbanfor1
It is four years since I started experimenting with Kanbanfor1 and two years since I first presented the concepts and Snapper’s story of adopting personal Kanban at Agile 2012. I have been using, coaching and presenting Kanbanfor1 and have run a number of workshops with people within and outside of IT. In this article, published on InfoQ, I will tell you about the top 5 Kanbanfor1-related insights I have had during the last four years. Continue reading The Ubiquitous Need for Kanbanfor1 – my article on InfoQ
I recently worked with a team of content writers, where we had introduced Kanban to help with the flow and consistency of delivery. The cycle time of work had reduced, but it was still high and as a team they seemed a little flat. They knew ‘what’ they were doing as individuals, but not the context of ‘why’ they were doing it.
My Agile Australia and Agile 2014 talk “Portfolio Kanban – Seeing the Bigger Picture” just got published on InfoQ.
It can be easy to forget what a Product Owner or Scrum Master actually do. A poster with a role description can come in handy so, based on popular demand, here are the beautifully designed ones we use at Trade Me.
Doing too many things at once can slow an entire organisation down. Every successful organisation will have more great ideas than they have capacity to build, and it is tempting to start too many of them at the same time.
Agile maturity and benchmarking models. I have a problem where they are used for comparison of where a team should be in their agile practices adoption; a one size fits all approach where teams must conform or they aren’t doing ‘agile right’. This approach is a fixed repeatable answer that conveniently ignores the question.
My goal for the next couple of years is to become an awesome public speaker.
And here’s why:
Let them be in control of the way they work …
After having been though a day of letting people self-organise into squads David Mole, Trade Me’s head of projects (and my Agile partner in crime) and I are often being asked how we kicked off the new squads and how we make sure they work in a disciplined but creative way.
It’s common among Agile teams to use some form of voting to make decisions, and that’s especially true for retrospectives where the team as a whole decides what to fix next.
Over the years I have facilitated many retrospectives and had the opportunity to vote for many things, over that time some patterns emerged.
… getting more stuff done
At Trade Me we want to measure the overall health of Tech (that’s our team of 125 designers, developers, testers, BAs, and Squad Masters) to identify trends and to know if we are getting better (or worse!). We know that when we measure something it is a strong way of saying “This matters” which is why we put a lot of effort into deciding which metrics to collect.
So, you want to choose some teams? Well, you came to the right place…
Spotify’s Scaling Agile at a Glance
Spotify’s whitepaper on how to structure an organisation with Agile tribes, squads, chapters and guilds has been the most inspiring and interesting idea to come out of the Agile scene in the past three years.
For anyone who has read the excellent paper we have created a one page infographic on how it all works. Continue reading Spotify’s Scaling Agile with Tribes, Squads, Chapters & Guilds at a Glance
Total Squadification – Large Scale Self-Organisation
I fundamentally believe that organisations get the best results when people can choose what they work on and who they work with. In that spirit Trade Me decided to let people self-organise into small, cross-functional teams called squads.
I recently ran a “get to know your team” session to help a team with lots of new members to better understand each other’s history, motivations, likes and dislikes.
… or Team Closure within a Project Closure
Projects come to an end, which means that a team that has been working closely together, may well be torn apart. This can lead to a sense of loss associated with disbanding some strong team relationships; especially if the team has reached the fourth ‘Performing’ stage of Tuckman’s model of group development.
The Big Estimation Debate
There have always been, and no doubt always will be debate over estimation; the pros and cons, behaviour anti-patterns and the how and why of it all.
Here are the slides for my presentation “Portfolio Kanban – Seeing the Bigger Picture”.
I had a great time at AgileWelly last night – thanks everyone for coming along and for all the lovely feedback!