This week was really, really interesting. The things that happened on
the board and within the team was good but what happened with our
interactions with others was both unexpected, a bit though and also
important. I’ll try to describe both things without revealing to much
details about people and events.
Speaking of that, I got a comment about being this transparent with our
work and there’s probably other thinking about it as well. Yes, I can
see you. I can read your mind.
You will give me $10000 Just kidding.
But I have asked the team. I have checked the cards. There should not be
anything too controversial on there. And finally, and most important, we
are striving to introduce a greater degree of transparency and openness
in our organization. I think it’s very important that we are transparent
with our work. For us and for others that will follow us.
The last blog post got attention and that scared us at first. Dare we
write what’s really happening? Yes - this will be our experiences, as
they happen. It’s just us. But I think and hope that it will be
interesting to follow.
We left the board as it was on the Friday and started the week by
reminding ourselves about what we talked about on the retrospective:
- Limit the number of items in Doing to max 14
- Classify new items in S, M or L in effort.
The board looked like this when we started the week:
Pretty soon we realised that we rather than use the limit as a max we
filled the Doing column to the limit all the time. This caused a problem
in more than one way, since it did not only hurt our focus and the lead
time for the items. But also we started to have a hard time, actually
see items. Here you can see how things is hiding under each other.
To make some more room we moved all the items from the Done-column over
to a **very** simple report. Here's the first version of it:
One thing that is recurring and ruins our flow is that we have to wait
for a lot of things. We have created a waiting column (Tunggu in
Indonesian) but often it's full of items (7 is our "record" so far).
To get some more control over what happened we decide to do two things
with items in the waiting column:
- First each item needs a sticky attached to it that state the reason
for our waiting, or blockage
- Secondly, each day we put a little dot on the waiting sticky to show
how long we have waited. This creates a urgency to do something about
the things that have been waiting for ............ number of days.
Here is how the Tunggu-column looked one day:
Note that the Waiting-column is part of the Doing-column. The items in
there is just waiting for someone and still takes up our attention and
focus. So with 6 items in Waiting we only had 8 items to work with.
The week ended early since 3 out of 5 members had to go to Jakarta. We
decided to run the retrospective on the Thursday instead. Looking
through the board we found that one item had been waiting a very long
time. It had to do with reporting from the hospitals. We suspect that
it's tricky and complicated and hence set off a couple of hours next
week to see if we can do something about that.
We also added a new criteria for putting items in the Todo-column: They
need a "definition of done" so we know what we're supposed to do with
them. Preferable we can answer "When this is done we have ...".
Some items are such in nature that we don't know the definition of done
when we start (investigations for example). We agreed to put timeboxes
for them instead. One example was the timebox we put in place to find a
simple way to do reporting.
Finally, oh I longed for this, I went up to the board and change our
Work in process limit from 14 to 12. And then asked the team:
> What does this mean for us?
And to my joy and surprise one of the team members said, without missing
> That means that we will have to cooperate more to make sure that the
> things we focus on moves across the board as we have decided.
Told you this was an awesome team!
### Transparency and culture
I cannot pass this week without mentioning something about culture and
how we hit a some walls during the week. We, Team Yayasan, have
Transparency as our guiding star and try to strive for more transparency
(with**in** the Salvation Army I might add, we're not exposing ourselves
outwards... oh well this blog maybe then). This is news and very scary
to a lot of people around us.
During the last week we had a couple of encounters where we thought we
asked simple, non-threating questions but was met with very strong
reactions of protection and blaming others. Strange in our eyes. We also
became a bit sad about this.
But on the Tuesday we had a chat around this in the team. We agreed that
as long as we think that we are doing the right thing by pushing for
more transparency, and we have the blessings from people above us - we
could press on. Some resistance was expected. We just have to stand
together and keep pushing.
I also went to a higher authority and asked if we where going down the
wrong route and should back off. We shouldn't.
I firmly think that transparency only brings good things in it's tracks.
I'm sure there's a limit for it somewhere (legal of course) but I have
yet to find it. It's in any case a great guiding star and our team will
keep going for it.