A problem we were facing recently was that our teams perceived their own progress as not being fast enough and were developing a sense that they were not performing well.
Sometimes it is useful to know how productive we are as an organisation and how our teams compare to teams in other companies. Are we world-class? Or do we still have a way to go until we’re as good as the companies we admire? How are we doing compared to our competitors? And who can we learn from?
Continue reading Benchmarking performance across organisations
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.
Read our interview with MYOB’s Simon Bristow and Alex Barreto, and find out how they made it happen.
Continue reading Self-Selection in 90 minutes: interview with Simon & Alex from MYOB
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.
Continue reading The Rathole Facilitation Technique
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?”
Continue reading How We Measure Work Happiness
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.
Continue reading How to Run a Sprint Planning Meeting (the Way I Like It)
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!
Continue reading Large Scale Self-Selection at Australia Post: Interview with Andy Kelk
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.
Continue reading Gojko Adzic podcast reveals the magic of motivation
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!
Continue reading Deep tissue massage retrospective
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.
Continue reading Profiling what motivates a team
My Agile Australia and Agile 2014 talk “Portfolio Kanban – Seeing the Bigger Picture” just got published on InfoQ.
Continue reading My Portfolio Kanban Talk 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.
Continue reading What do Scrum Masters and Product Owners do?
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.
Continue reading Portfolio Kanban – Seeing the Bigger Picture
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.
Continue reading Juvenile agile maturity models
My goal for the next couple of years is to become an awesome public speaker.
And here’s why:
Continue reading Why I want to be an AWESOME public speaker
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.
Continue reading How We Kick-Off New Squads
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.
Continue reading Are your votes going to waste?
… 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.
Continue reading How we measure output and productivity
So, you want to choose some teams? Well, you came to the right place…
Many people have asked us to share our run sheets and material for the self-selection sessions we have run during the past year. So, by popular demand here’s what we call the self-selection kit.
Continue reading Team self-selection kit
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.
Continue reading Total Squadification – Large Scale Self Organisation
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.
Continue reading Stand by your values!
… let teams self-select!
At Trade Me we’re in the process of getting everyone into small, cross-functional teams (squads) that will persist over time and across projects.
Continue reading The self-organising organisation
… 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.
Continue reading Postcards (from the edge)
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.
Continue reading Sometimes average is good.