Wednesday, December 7 – cold. cold cold cold. Overcast. Did I mention cold?
Good thing we’re still inside the Dorint Sansoucci in Potsdam.
Last night’s award dinner and party was a tremendous success. The winners of the Software Testing World Cup were announced (see yesterday’s blog post for that.) What ELSE was announced was the Most Influential Agile Testing Professional Person (MIATPP).
The winner of the 2017 MIATPP was Maaret Pyhäjärvi (@maaretp)! Terribly pleased with this announcement. Congratulations to Maaret! Well deserved.
This morning Michael Sutton is warming people up for the first keynote of the day. This will be Diana Larsen (tweets at @dianaofportland) whose topic is Liftoff: Start and Sustain Successful Agile Teams.
(Umm, internet access is toast right now, what’s up with that?)
Diana opens with the recognition that the in open space events, the right people for the discussion are those that are in the ones that are in the room at the right time.
And we’re having a reprise of the issues I did not mention in yesterdays keynote – man – loads of challenges with sound this morning – and internet access.
When Diana got into “Agile” she hung with some of the XP guys and have been engaged ever since. Do you use some form of Retrospective in an Agile team? Yeah. She wrote the book. Literally – Agile Retrospectives.
The point of the “Liftoff” book was to help teams get to where they want/need to be – so they can achieve Successful High Value Delivery
What the customer wants and accepts;
That creates value for the business;
In a timeframe that fits the customers’ needs;
Easily maintainable and supportable;
Leaves the team members with increased capability and eager to work on the next deliverables.
Thus people can deliver useful, high quality software and where the team learns enough to employ what has been learned in the next project. Thus, we need to avoid deathmarches – because, well, at the end of a deathmarch, we’re… ummm… dead.
Are we really ready? Do we know what we need to do to drive to a scenario where those things actually happen? If so, we’re ready for a Liftoff.
Now, if you’ve launched and having problems, it might be wise to stop and relaunch. After all, many of the stories, anecdotes, etc., presented by the “experts” are actually relaunches of the original effort.
Teams a Complex Adaptive Systems (CAS)
One challenge is that teams are collections of individuals, within a large collection. Hence they are a system. Specifically a complex system (that is a very specific term, I’ll try and post a link to a definition when the dust settles).
In addition to being a Complex System, teams are ADAPTIVE – they change! They adjust and adapt. THIS IS A HUGE POINT when getting ready for liftoff.
One aspect – are the teams really cohesive? Do they work well TOGETHER?!?!
Promote Team Cohesion with Liftoff Design
Group Cohesion is a multi-faced process
Conditions for CAS?
What Containers do you want to establish?
What DIFFERENCES will show up?
Set the conditions PROPERLY for team learning –
How? Remember these are HUMANS! (duh) Keep the team emotions ALIVE! People will learn best when their emotions are engaged! Appeal to the sense! A dill boring lecture is generally a terrible way to lean for most people.
Do it for real – learn by doing it. Keep people interested by having them do the work and learn to master the real work! Exercises are OK to start, but get to the real deal QUICKLY!
Keep stuff obvious – “Start Obvious, Stay Obvious” – make sure people can get a quick grasp of what is going on and needed.
Focus on the flow – no really. This is what will help drive learning.
When you are able to do this, THEN – Keep the setting first!
Choose Liftoff Activities (Pete comment -wisely)
Get the executive sponsor involved and ENGAGED – They can help explain the greater purpose and goal. You may consider “typical” Sprint 0 types of activities. (Pete note – I’ve seen this work really well, when guided properly)
Training Boot Camps might be of value – Consider both Retro & Future-spectives, etc., etc.,
No matter what else – DO include Collaborative Agile Team Chartering (this is a must!)
Integrate Purpose (Inspire)
Get people involved EARLY who can help guide those things – Produce Management, Sponsor, Facilitator, etc.,
This is where we let people know that this is worthy work, that this is something these people should invest their time and energy to act on this work. We can talk about
Product Vision (how will someone’s world change? What is the effect?)
Team Mission (what is the nature of the work that will need to be done to make that happen?)
Mission Tests (examine and TEST the mission – then write some tests that will help us measure and engage in the tasks at hand? Are we on track?
Alignment– This is how we commit to doing the work TOGETHER!
Simple Rules guide a system (pretty much all systems) and guide cohesion.
Core Team – why have people been engaged to be part of this team?
Working Agreement – stuff like, “What is DOD?” “What are our core hours?” “How many meetings will we have & how frequently?” – Stuff that actually guides the work.
Context – This is the piece that is usually most ignored.
How does this team fit with the needed work and how does this work with the team, the effort – and how does this work/team/effort fit into the broader system of systems
Go ahead and say Resource – really
Committed Resources can be work space, tools, training, servers, etc., etc., Plan for that
LOOK FOR RISKS! (have the team help with this so they understand better what they may be facing. THIS IS A BIG DEAL.
The Charter –
This is a living document, not a dust collector or door stop!
Help teams build the energy & momentum to help teams get thru the liftoff. It can be hard. Don’t make it any harder than necessary.
And we’re over time!
Break now – then I present!