Krisztina Sajgo-Kalo on a Project Management anti-pattern: leading the conversation

Many Scrum Masters transition from a Project Management position. This transition is not easy. It requires a change in stance (towards facilitation, instead of management) which is not always easy to achieve. In this episode, we talk with Krisztina about one of the common anti-patterns that new Scrum Masters face: they lead the conversation. Listen in to learn about how Krisztina detected and later changed that pattern to one that works much better for the team and delivers better results in the end.

About Krisztina Sajgo-Kalo

Krisztina is a Senior IT manager with experience in several aspects of IT management on different levels as well as methodologies used. Originally from Hungary, she has worked in many countries. First as a tester, then a project manager, test manager, and many other roles.

You can link with Krisztina Sajgo-Kalo on LinkedIn.

Viyoma Sachdeva on the anti-patterns that drive fear

Are the team members afraid? Do you hear a lot of “blame” words, or “us against them” comments? This may be because some of the patterns that Viyoma describes are active in your organization. Listen to this episode to find out what those patterns are and how Viyoma tackled them in the past.

About Viyoma Sachdeva

Viyoma has over 11 years of experience in Software and Product development across different domains and phases of software development cycle. She is a certified Scrum Master and Product Owner and has worked in an Agile delivery model for the last 6 years. Her experience includes many different domains like Marketing, manufacturing, retail and Public sector and she has worked in a patent of Epidemic disease predictions.

Viyoma believes that the Agile mindset and practices are keys to solve complex problems.

You can link with Viyoma Sachdeva on LinkedIn and connect with Viyoma Sachdeva on Twitter.

Viyoma Sachdeva: The “How” is more important than the “How Much”

When defining success we often look for metrics that help us assess the progress of the team. That’s ok, but are you looking at the “how”? How is the team achieving that success is also important? So Viyoma asks 4 different questions that help us ensure that not only are we getting the “measurable” success, but we are also helping the team find their “sustainable pace”.

Retrospective format: 3 questions with written answers

Viyoma’s go-to retrospective format is simple enough. But she uses a practice that helps the team members reflect ahead of the retrospective: write the answers down ahead of the retrospective session. This helps the team reflect with more impact, and come up with solutions that are developed over time, not just the last-minute ideas that many retrospectives end up producing.

About Viyoma Sachdeva

Viyoma has over 11 years of experience in Software and Product development across different domains and phases of software development cycle. She is a certified Scrum Master and Product Owner and has worked in an Agile delivery model for the last 6 years. Her experience includes many different domains like Marketing, manufacturing, retail and Public sector and she has worked in a patent of Epidemic disease predictions.

Viyoma believes that the Agile mindset and practices are keys to solve complex problems.

You can link with Viyoma Sachdeva on LinkedIn and connect with Viyoma Sachdeva on Twitter.

Viyoma Sachdeva on how to help stakeholders engage with the team

“Developing software for the shelf” is a common term that refers to the anti-pattern of developing software that no one uses. In this episode, Vyioma shares with us the story of a team that was doing just that. Creating software that was not used. What did she do? What were the practices to engage stakeholders? How to get the team to care again? Listen to this episode to hear the story and Vyioma’s solution to those questions.

 

About Viyoma Sachdeva

Viyoma has over 11 years of experience in Software and Product development across different domains and phases of software development cycle. She is a certified Scrum Master and Product Owner and has worked in an Agile delivery model for the last 6 years. Her experience includes many different domains like Marketing, manufacturing, retail and Public sector and she has worked in a patent of Epidemic disease predictions.

Viyoma believes that the Agile mindset and practices are keys to solve complex problems.

You can link with Viyoma Sachdeva on LinkedIn and connect with Viyoma Sachdeva on Twitter.

Viyoma Sachdeva on how measuring individuals can destroy teams

The team was being asked to measure individual velocity and compare that with each other’s velocity. Problems ensued! In this episode, we talk about the individual focus, and why that may be catastrophic for the teams. How do we get out of that anti-pattern? That’s the topic of today’s episode, where we share alternative metrics and other tools that can help the team focus again on collective success.

Featured Book: Start with Why, by Simon Sinek

 

 

 

 

 

 

Viyoma uses the lessons from this book in her own work. She found the inspiration and tools to find the “Why” in every situation. Read: Start with Why, by Simon Sinek.

 

About Viyoma Sachdeva

Viyoma has over 11 years of experience in Software and Product development across different domains and phases of software development cycle. She is a certified Scrum Master and Product Owner and has worked in an Agile delivery model for the last 6 years. Her experience includes many different domains like Marketing, manufacturing, retail and Public sector and she has worked in a patent of Epidemic disease predictions.

Viyoma believes that the Agile mindset and practices are keys to solve complex problems.

You can link with Viyoma Sachdeva on LinkedIn and connect with Viyoma Sachdeva on Twitter.

Viyoma Sachdeva’s tip for new Scrum Masters: Experiment to learn what works!

As new Scrum Masters, we are sometimes overwhelmed with all the things that require our attention. It’s ok! You are not alone. When we start looking at the problems the teams are facing it is easy to be driven to act immediately. After all, many of us have been there before. However, there’s an issue with this. First is that we don’t know what the team has already tried. They can tell us their view. So we must first listen. Second, and most important, we don’t know what will actually work. So let’s experiment. In this episode, Viyoma shares how she helped a team learn how to experiment and solved a serious blocker with the team’s help.

 

 

About Viyoma Sachdeva

Viyoma has over 11 years of experience in Software and Product development across different domains and phases of software development cycle. She is a certified Scrum Master and Product Owner and has worked in an Agile delivery model for the last 6 years. Her experience includes many different domains like Marketing, manufacturing, retail and Public sector and she has worked in a patent of Epidemic disease predictions.

Viyoma believes that the Agile mindset and practices are keys to solve complex problems.

You can link with Viyoma Sachdeva on LinkedIn and connect with Viyoma Sachdeva on Twitter.

BONUS: Johanna Rothman explains how you can create a successful agile project

Johanna Rothman is a prolific Agile author with at least 13 books at the time this is being written. She has worked as an Agile manager and has consulted many Agile managers all over the world. In this episode, she shares some of the hard-earned lessons from her very active career. All of that and much more is also available in her book: Create your Successful Agile Project.

We start by reviewing some of the most effective practices that Johanna discovered and developed over her career – and there’s a lot to learn, so dig in!

As an example, Johanna shared how she had little success with Agile Retrospectives until Diana Larsen and Esther Derby’s Agile Retrospectives book came out. Another example is how she discovered the importance of having ~ 1-day User Stories, a practice that I also discovered and wrote about in the NoEstimates Book.

Creating successful Agile teams with Agile Leadership

The cornerstone of successful agile projects are the teams that work on the project. So Johanna devotes a part of the book to the practices that lead to creating great teams and we review some of those in this episode. From the management approach to the setup of the team. All of those aspects combine to either create or destroy the teams we have in the project.

Next, we discuss the aspects of Agile Leadership that can lead to successful projects. Johanna has written many books on this topic alone (from hiring to portfolio management), but there’s one message she wants you to take: Scrum is not enough. Leadership can create the conditions in which Scrum cannot succeed, so we need a new kind of Leadership that Johanna describes in the book, and introduces in this episode.

Start simple, but start NOW

Some companies, teams, and leaders get overwhelmed with all the prescriptive Agile (paradox!) they are exposed to. Johanna has a simpler suggestion: start where you are. In this episode, she describes some of the things you should take into account and several small things you can start with today. So, what are you waiting for? Listen and start acting! 🙂

 

About Johanna Rothman

People know Johanna as the “Pragmatic Manager.” She provides frank advice—often with a little humor—for really tough problems. She helps leaders and managers do reasonable things that work.

She has written many books. At least 13 if my count is right.

She also writes articles for all kinds of places, including Better Software, IEEE Software, and Cutter IT Journal to name just three. She’s keynoted on five continents and is not sure (yet) she wants to go to Antarctica.

Johanna can help you create projects, teams, and organizations that work.

You can link with Johanna Rothman on LinkedIn and connect with Johanna Rothman on Twitter.

BONUS: Barry O’Reilly on What is Hypothesis-driven Development, and why that matters for Agilists

EXTRA BONUS: to get 30% off Barry’s Hypothesis-Driven Development course you can go to www.leanagile.study  and use discount code THIRTYCPOFF before the end of December 2017.

Far too many companies act as if Product Development was a shopping trip: they get a list of things to “buy”, typically Features. Then they create documents explaining that shopping list: Roadmaps, Backlogs, PowerPoint presentations, Post-its on walls, you name it. And then they execute. Here’s the thing: if you act as if Product Development is a shopping trip all you will do is spend a lot of money and get lots of Features you don’t really need.

Barry suggests we treat Product Development differently. He calls it Hypothesis-Driven Development (HDD for short) and includes:

  1. Leadership set an outcome (not a task!) Example: how to increase conversion by 10%
  2. Look for observations: where you try to understand what is happening in the product and to the product you develop.
  3. Set a hypothesis to validate ideas: where you make assumptions and write those down as assumptions. Assumptions should be about how to reach the goal set in step 1.
  4. Create simple experiments: actions that drive results, which you will compare with the hypothesis you created in 3.
  5. Gather the data, learn and repeat: the core process is LEARNING. Therefore, spend enough time on this step so that you generate new observations, insights. Then repeat the cycle.

A fundamental shift in product development

Barry claims that HDD is a fundamental shift in product development. The shift is from doing many things, many small changes, and switches to focusing on outcomes, on results to the business. This means that leadership is no longer accountable for the work, but for the outcomes. And this frees the teams to focus on self-organizing to reach those outcomes, instead of following a list of things that others have dictated.

We go from investing in work to investing in learning. We might use Innovation Accounting, à lá #LeanStartup, or focus on creating Options and benefit from the concept of Optionality popularized by Nassim Taleb in his famous Black Swan book, but also referred to in Commitment, the book by Agile Coaches Chris Matts and Olav Maassen. This different focus will completely change your product development process to maximize the information generated and help you find new avenues for growth in your product.

We don’t do Projects anymore, we run Experiments!

As a result of the shift towards HDD, we stop focusing on big-bang, all-in projects and focus on running smaller experiments that drive the learning that will eventually generate the outcomes we defined. As Barry says in this episode: we go from 1 to 2 experiments per year (projects) to testing many more ideas every month.

But you can’t run that many experiments with the same approach to funding, and management that you used when you ran projects. So we focus on a different management paradigm that Barry explains further. The goal: learn and adapt faster, not produce more features.

As part of that, we need to get familiar with the concept of safe-to-fail experiments that can reliably generate knowledge without causing chaos or confusion in our product development process.

And it all starts with a simple change in product development: define the problem you are trying to fix, not the solution you are trying to create.

If I want to know more about the Hypothesis-Driven Development approach, where should I start?

 

If you want to generate options you may try Teresa Torres ‘Opportunity Tree’ which is a great tool for generating experiment options to test hypotheses https://www.producttalk.org/2016/08/opportunity-solution-tree/

 

About Barry O’Reilly

Barry O’Reilly is a business advisor, entrepreneur, and author who has pioneered the intersection of business model innovation, product development, organizational design, and culture transformation.

Barry works with business leaders and teams from global organizations that seek to invent the future, not fear it. Every day, Barry works with many of the world’s leading companies to break the vicious cycles that spiral businesses toward death by enabling experimentation and learning to unlock the insights required for better decision making and higher performance and results.

Barry is the co-author of the international bestseller Lean Enterprise: How High-Performance Organizations Innovate at Scale—included in the Eric Ries Lean series, and a Harvard Business Review must-read for CEOs and business leaders.

You can link with Barry O’Reilly on LinkedIn and connect with Barry O’Reilly on Twitter.

You can also contact Barry O’Reilly through his site, and sign up for his newsletter to get the latest news about Hypothesis-Driven Development.

EXTRA BONUS: to get 30% off Barry’s course you can go to www.leanagile.study  and use discount code THIRTYCPOFF before the end of December.

BONUS: Karl Scotland on what is Agile Strategy?

Karl starts this episode by describing how he discovered the need to bring Agile to the level of strategic decision making. He tells the story of a team that was, by all measures, successful. They were delivering software, they were achieving their technology goals, but the business was not booming. What was wrong? This was the start of a long journey for Karl. During that journey, he discovered that there were a lot more topics that required an Agile approach. Not the least of which Strategy. Which had to become Agile Strategy.

From Strategy to Business

In the end, the Agile Strategy is nothing more than everything that is required to make the business Agile. We discuss what that means, what are the problems it tries to tackle, and the aspects required from businesses that want to be Agile.

We also discuss the characteristics of strategy, and how we can think of Agile as an enabler to business success.

The Agile Strategy framework: TASTE

In a changing business, we need to have a common and shared language about the ways of working, and the ways of defining strategy. Karl’s approach goes by the acronym of TASTE and tackles the aspects that he sees as being critical to the application of Agile at the business level. In this article, Karl describes those 5 aspects in more detail.

Putting Agile Strategy into practice with simple tools: The X-Matrix by Karl Scotland

How do we help organizations orient towards and Agile Strategy? We help them put it in practice with simple tools. And Karl has some good tools to share with us. He starts with the X-Matrix, a tool to help visualize the TASTE aspects in one page. He then suggests a book to help us understand better what Agile Strategy is about: The Art of Action by Stephen Bungay. And we also discuss the implications that Agile Strategy has on leadership. We refer back to the Scrum Master Toolbox Podcast interview with David Marquet, where we discuss that topic in depth and introduce the Lean Practice of Catchball, a key practice in the deployment of Strategy for Lean organizations. And Karl generously shares with us the templates he has created to support the Agile Strategy work in his clients.

More references and places to look for inspiration

There are many other sources of information and inspiration for those that are helping their businesses become more agile. In this episode, we refer to:

Now it is your turn! How are you planning to make your business agile? Leave a comment below!

About Karl Scotland

Over the last 15 years, he’s been an advocate of Lean and Agile approaches to achieve this, working with companies including the BBC, Yahoo!, EMC Consulting, Rally Software, Cisco, and SDL. During this time, he was a pioneer of using Kanban Systems and Strategy Deployment for product development, a founding member of both the Lean Systems Society and Limited WIP Society, as well as being active in the community and a regular conference speaker. He has been awarded the honorary Brickell Key Community Contribution Award at the 2013 Lean Kanban North America conference.

You can link with Karl Scotland on LinkedIn and connect with Karl Scotland on Twitter.

BONUS: JB Rainsberger on Fearless Agile Adoption

In this special episode, we welcome JB Rainsberger. An experienced Agilist from Extreme Programming background. We start the episode discussing what are the patterns of Agile adoption that work in practice. During that conversation, we discuss also a good way to help others “get” what Agile is about. JB has developed this approach over the years and learned from many failed attempts to “sell” Agile. We also refer to the work by Gerry Weinberg on how to be a consultant to your organization.

Anti-patterns of Agile adoption and why they don’t work

But there are also patterns of Agile adoption that don’t work. We discuss those patterns and whey they don’t work. JB shares his experience with the adoption of Extreme Programming, an opinionated Agile approach that started from the development teams and was popular when JB got started on his Agile journey.

During his adoption, JB discovered and started looking into Theory of Constraints(ToC) as a way to understand the problems in adoption he was facing. Through that process, he learned a method for introducing change in a team that is inspired by ToC, and he shares that method with us in this episode.

Fearless Agile Adoption

We end this episode by reviewing some of the concrete practices that JB uses in his work as an Agile Coach and consultant. His advice is simple: create the motivation for fearless action. Help the teams act despite their fear! Listen in to learn how JB accomplishes that goal.

 

About JB Rainsberger

B. Rainsberger (Twitter @jbrains, http://www.jbrains.ca) helps software companies better satisfy their customers and the businesses they support. He’s an Extreme Programming fundamentalist but in a *good* way. He helps software professionals increase their capacity to deliver value for their employer, their teammates, and most importantly for themselves. When he isn’t wandering Europe helping clients and attending conferences, he helps clients from the comfort of his home in Atlantic Canada, one conversation at a time.

You can link with JB Rainsberger on LinkedIn and connect with JB Rainsberger on Twitter.

If you want to know more about JB’s work you can check his website, or ask JB Rainsberger question on ask.jbrains.ca. Invite your developers to visit JB Rainsberger’s Test Driven Development course. JB Rainsberger blog is at http://blog.thecodewhisperer.com