Top 5 Agile change tips 3 - Let them change how they work

This is the third post on my top 5 ways of making sure that your agile change initiative succeeds.

This is the list - in order of importance:

  1. Get a great “Or else”-reason for doing this change
  2. Sit together
  3. Let them change how they work (this post)
  4. Support the initiative
  5. Use visualised data to improve

3 - Let them change how they work

You need to open up and let go off the wheel. An agile transformation is, if anything, a culture shift. Towards autonomy and from top level steering. This should go into the agile transformation too. In effect this mean, in the words of all agile coaches, to take it to the team.

The guys that are going to live in this environment - they are the ones best equipped to know what to do about it. Hey - they...

Read More

Dear Marcus ... there''s no "but" to follow. '

I’m turning 40 years old today. This is a letter to Marcus 60 years old. Or maybe a new version of my 20 year old self, if I ever invent a time traveling machine.

If you’re not me you can still read it of course. But then think of that wrote this to myself. It’s pretty self-focused. Don’t think badly of me for that. Instead write one of these for yourself. Very inspiring actually!

Dear Marcus (future and past),

today 2012-10-09 you turned 40 years old. You are in a place of your life that you wouldn’t dream of and never planned to. I thought I’ll sum it up for you if you ever forget it (chances are!).

The main point is that there is not “but…” in your description. Everything is like it is and there’s no ominous but that throw it all over end.

You have Elin in your...

Read More

Top 5 Agile change tips 2 - Sit together

This is the second post on my top 5 ways of making sure that your agile change initiative succeeds. But this is not ideas made up in my head (MY GOD - the horrors…) but things that I’ve tried and failed miserably with. Over and over. And learned a lot from.

This is the list - in order of importance:

  1. Get a great “Or else”-reason for doing this change
  2. Sit together (this post)
  3. Let them change how they work
  4. Support the initiative
  5. Use visualised data to improve

2 - Sit together

Now that I’ve got your attention from the last scary post… We turn to a much much simpler thing. But it’s still super-important, entering number 2 on my top 5 change tricks.

Are you ready? Pens out? Here we go:

Sit together!

There. You read it here first. I’m giving...

Read More

Top 5 Agile change tips 1 - Get a great or-else-reason

This is a topic I rant talk about quite a lot nowadays it seems. I feel like a old LP with a scratch (just that analogy probably date me pretty good I guess). But I do it because I see it missing from a lot of agile change initiatives, big and small. And they are then doomed to fail.

Just to be sure - I make no claim of being the inventor of this; I’ve picked it up here and there and everywhere. Not even sure where any more. Half Lean, half agile, half rightshifting and half the Kanban Method I guess. For whatever I’ve learned I’m eternally grateful. What I’m saying is this; if anything strike you as good it was probably invented elsewhere. If it’s bad - it’s probably me.

In this posts I wanted to quickly write down some ways of making sure that your...

Read More

Improving presence of a remote worker in our team

At my current client I am assigned 3 teams. Two of them have everything set up for a great team; they are seated together, they have a full time product owner, they have a great spirit and are all around great guys. These teams have a electronic board with Greenhopper on Jira.

Then there’s another team. They also have all the things they need to succeed with a full time product owner, great spirit and a clear vision and goal. Awesome developers. Their product owner is seated in Germany and we are in Sweden. They have opted for a physical board.

I’m all for physical boards whenever possible so I really wanted them to succeed with that board. In doing so I have been setting up one end of the technologies to get a remote worker included a agile team.

It will never be the same thing as...

Read More

Applying Switch framework to Meetings are not real work - part III

This is the final post in my series on the problem that a lot of people sees meetings as not being real work. I think this has to do with the meetings being bad and badly conducted. So we need to improve on the quality of the meetings to make them more interesting feel worthwhile.

In these blog posts (I and II) I have applied the Switch Framework on how to make meetings better and more interesting to attend.

In the previous two posts we’ve talked about reasoning with the Rider (our logical side) and tried to get the Elephant (our lazy, subconsious part) over to our side. In this post we’re trying to smooth the path that they are walking down to make the change journey even easier to take.

Let’s go!

Tweak the environment

The reasoning under this heading is that...

Read More

Applying Switch framework to Meetings are not real work - part II

This is the second post in my series where I try to apply the Switch framework to the problem of people thinking that meetings aren’t not proper work. Read the first post here.

When we left of we had done some reasoning with the Rider of the Elephant to try to appeal to the logical side of things; we tried to find people holding great meetings and copy them, make checklists for good meetings and best practices that we could follow and even pointed to a bright and wonderful future where every meeting was great.

This post talks to the Elephant - the subconsious that is run by primal forces, it’s lazy and rather just do what is fun. We need a totally different approach here. Keep in mind the size of the Elephant - it will go the other way if it wants to.

Find the feeling

Read More

Applying Switch framework to Meetings are not real work

Who’s up for a meeting? Whoopie - another meeting!

Experienced that? No - didn’t think so either. Most of us hate meetings, and sadly not without reason many times. But a thing that really bugs me is when this culture is classifying meetings as non-work. In our business there seems to be lot of people (cough developers cough) that think that the only real work is pushing down the keys on a keyboard. Preferably writing code.

This can take strange expressions sometimes; we seems to think that writing long, emails and sending them back and forth is work but not sitting in a meeting and clear stuff out instead. Strange indeed.

And furthermore - we want to meet more. We want to have a lot of frequent face-to-face interactions. This is in the core of agile and common sense. In fact - it’s my best tips to becoming...

Read More

Simple where-do-we-spend-our-time visualisation

I have a confession to make; i think i’m turning into a data-guy. No, not a computer-guy - I’ve been that a long time. Rather it’s that boring dude that keep asking for numbers, measurements and saying “yes, but how do you KNOW that” all the time. But I’m on a program to recovery from some of the boredom-parts. It’s called Simplicity and Visualisation.

To be a little more serious I think that collecting data and then do small experiments based upon them rather than you feelings is the way to make controlled, continuous improvements. This is all very Toyota Kata (or rather Kanban Kata or even the scientific method) like but that’s exactly where I’m aiming.

  • Establish a target condition or goal
  • Make sure you really know where you stand today. Gather data to be sure
  • Take small experimental steps towards the goal
  • Measure and evaluate against your goal...
Read More

Working to the Cake-limit

When team transition from an iteration-based (i.e. Scrum) to a more flow-based (i.e. Kanban) approach to software development they often stand 3 big risks; no planning, no retrospectives and no celebrations. Which, when you look at it, just leaves work work work.

Exactly - I wouldn’t want that either.

In this post I’ll show you a little trick I picked up to handle the last one; no celebrations. I know I’ve stolen it from somewhere, but for the life of me I cannot remember where. Please enlighten me and I’ll attribute you accordingly. [UPDATE] I picked this thing up from Joakim Sundén (see comments). Yet another thing he has thought me. Thanks dude! In iteration based approaches to software development there’s a natural end point, goal for the current work; the end of the sprint or iteration. That’s one of the really great things about Scrum I think....

Read More