Category Archives for Uncategorized

Getting Off the Plateau – and becoming 14 times more Agile!

It was a nice problem to have: the Scrum team was performing well, but stuck on a plateau.

At each retro they’d consider what had been working well and what hadn’t, and take some actions to address the problems - but nothing moved the needle very far.

Then the Scrum Master (Chris) tried something new, with dramatic results. You could say it was a 14-fold increase in Agility, in that they went from getting customer/stakeholder feedback once a fortnight to at least 7 times per week. Customers and sales people were delighted to be getting software that really met their needs much more quickly, and relationships improved all around.

How did that happen?

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PI Planning – Remotely

We're getting used to working remotely and running meetings remotely - but what about big meetings like PI Planning? How can we run them remotely, and have them work well?

This is the result of a meetup on this topic - bringing together Agile Coaches wanting to develop their skills at running these meetings remotely, with Judy Rees who has extensive experience of running very large events for multinationals, charities and other organisations around the world.

After some introductions, we had a mini open-space, where we were able to visit 5 breakout rooms in Zoom, each with their own topic and their own section in a Google Doc. The task was to fill in "Challenges" and "What Works" in each topic, and then present back. After that, Judy answered some outstanding questions.

So here's the output:

  • "Challenges" and "What Works" for each topic
  • Video of Judy answering outstanding questions
  • Highlights of the session for people

This will probably make more sense if you were there, but hopefully you'll find it useful even if you weren't.

Good luck with your own endeavours!

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How Niklas resolved a 2 year deadlock in 5 minutes

As CEO of an IT consultancy, Niklas knows how crucial security is to his customers. Yet there was one potential issue he and his team had been grappling with for over 2 years. Despite 20 or 30 attempts, they hadn't even been able to define the problem.

Then he changed tack, and within 5 minutes they had generated a breakthrough. Two weeks later they’d implemented a quick fix to halve the risk, and fully designed a long term solution.

What was going wrong?

How had the team got stuck in a deadlock that had lasted so long?

Basically, they'd been trying to precisely define the problem. When they tried, all sorts of questions had arisen. Is this really a problem? How much of a problem is it? What is the REAL problem? Are (various other related problems) really connected? Why haven't we already done something about it? Was someone to blame? The list goes on - and they couldn't agree answers to any of those questions.

And as Niklas put it, "Our technical people are VERY skilled and where we usually end up is in an endless 'battle of skills' focused on who can best define the problem using knowledge, experience, hearing of what has happened elsewhere, or even only the loudest voice as the ammo. Focus gradually shifts to winning the discussion and the reason for being there in the first place (actually creating some positive change) is forgotten about."

How did the breakthrough happen?

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The Power of a Positive No

What do you do when you’ve got too much to do?

You can work your tail off and get it all done (but at a cost to health, relationships and happiness in general). Or you can fall behind (and let people down).

Its not a great choice, is it?

So let’s step back and see how we get into this situation - and how we can avoid it.

Overcommitment

We end up with too much to do by taking on too many commitments, by saying yes to too many things.

But why? Why don’t we just say no?

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