How focusing on a single metric improved team performance – Guest post by Marcus Hammarberg

This is a guest post by Marcus Hammarberg, author of Salvation: The Bungsu Story, How Lean and Kanban saved a small hospital in Indonesia. Twice. And can help you reshape work in your company. (available on Amazon)

This is the third post on a series by Marcus Hammarberg about how metrics can help engage, motivate and ultimately push a team towards success! (See other blog posts in this series here)

When we first started to work with the Bungsu hospital they were in a devasting situation.

Fast forward 1,5 years and you would see a hospital that was making money every day.

In the end, we turned the hospital from a situation where only the director and her closest staff cared, to a situation where 100 people in the hospital were actively engaged in everyday improvements.

How is this possible? What kind of magic was applied?

How focusing on a single metric improved team performance

Now that we had a metric that mattered to everyone and this truly was the “talk of the hospital”, we experienced a wave of change.

Not surprisingly the first groups to engage was the people in charge of bringing more people to the hospital; the marketing team.

It turned out that making the “number of patients served”-metric visible throughout the hospital, was what was needed to get them activated. But when we did, the lid of their passion and creativity jar was blown off! We started to see real ownership in their behavior. As if The Bungsu was their very own hospital.

Before I knew it, I found myself in a workshop where the two ladies of the marketing department blurted out 25 ideas on how to get more patients. And 3 or 4 of them were really low hanging fruit that we could do the very next day. For example:

  • Go to the nearby clinics and advertise our availability for surgery and treatments that the clinics could not handle
  • Offer free transport from the big hospitals to our hospital for treatments that the big hospitals had a waiting list for
  • Suggest that our freelancing doctors would do all their surgery in our hospital

These were very simple changes that had been dragging on in decision-making boards. Now the decisions were quick to make – because the need and impact were clear to see.

Just a few days after we started to track “number of patients served per day” these actions brought the metric up to a whopping 133 patients served per day! Twice the normal number of patients and a level that has not been seen in a long time.

This taught me, in a very impactful way, how a single metric can transform the performance of a team. In this case, the marketing team.

Do you need the one metric that matters to engage your team? This booklet is for you!

In the Bungsu’s Pirate Code for Visualization downloadable booklet I will go into details on how we made this “one metric that matters” engaging, kept it relevant and ultimately saved the hospital by keeping our focus there – using what we referred to as the Bungsu Pirate Code. Click here to download your guide to using the “one metric that matters” in your own team.

This is a very actionable tool that you can you use today in your organisation to make your visualizations matter to everyone all the time.

The Bungsu Story is a fascinating account of a real-life crisis, and how Agile, Lean and Kanban saved the Hospital from bankruptcy! Twice! Get ready for the journey, it’s going to be a bumpy ride!

About Marcus Hammarberg

Marcus is the author of Salvation: The Bungsu Story (available on Amazon), an inspiring and actionable story about how simple tools can help transform the productivity and impact of an organization. The real-life stories in The Bungsu can help you transform the productivity of your team. Marcus is also an renowned author and consultant in the Kanban community, he authored the book Kanban in Action with Joakim Sundén.
You can link with Marcus Hammarberg on LinkedIn, and connect with Marcus Hammarberg on twitter.

How a single metric can help the team members engage and become a real team – Guest post by Marcus Hammarberg

This is a guest post by Marcus Hammarberg, author of Salvation: The Bungsu Story, How Lean and Kanban saved a small hospital in Indonesia. Twice. And can help you reshape work in your company. (available on Amazon)

This is the second post on a series by Marcus Hammarberg about how metrics can help engage, motivate and ultimately push a team towards success!

When we first started to work with the Bungsu hospital they were in a devasting situation.

Fast forward 1,5 years and you would see a hospital that was making money every day.

In the end, we turned the hospital from a situation where only the director and her closest staff cared, to a situation where 100 people in the hospital were actively engaged in everyday improvements.

How is this possible? What kind of magic was applied?

Click to learn more about how you can help your PO

Keeping engagement when the bad news hit – Becoming a team!

Continue reading How a single metric can help the team members engage and become a real team – Guest post by Marcus Hammarberg

How the right metric, communicated the right way can engage your team. By Marcus Hammarberg

This is a guest post by Marcus Hammarberg, author of Salvation: The Bungsu Story, How Lean and Kanban saved a small hospital in Indonesia. Twice. And can help you reshape work in your company. (available on Amazon)

When we first started to work with the Bungsu hospital they were in a devasting situation. Their finances were at an all-time low after years of decline in patient visits. Their operational permit had not been renewed and they were operating on probation, the staff was disengaged and blasé … oh, and one more thing: the roof of the entire second floor had collapsed.

Still, to my great surprise, not many people were upset, engaged or even cared about the survival of the hospital.

Fast forward 1,5 years and you would see a hospital that was making money every day, had not only an operational permit but also got awards for their services, happy and engaged staff … oh yes, and they had a newly renovated roof.

We didn’t hire or fire a single person during this time – and all the work to save The Bungsu was done by the people in the hospital, I merely acted as a guide for new ways of working.

In the end, we turned the hospital from a situation where only the director and her closest staff cared, to a situation where 100 people in the hospital were actively engaged in everyday improvements.

How is this possible? What kind of magic was applied?

We soon realized that the scary state of the hospital’s finances was not only our number one priority but it was also too vague for the staff when expressed in numbers. Billions of rupiah in deficit didn’t mean a thing for the staff.

First of all, those numbers were unrelatable for the average employee, even if we broke it down per day. Saying “we need 18.000.000 rupias per day” to someone that earns 1.000.000 per month doesn’t spark engagement.

We need 18.000.000 rupias per day!

Secondly, and perhaps most important, the staff in the hospital was not interested in budgets, forecasts or financial plans. They worked with patients! We needed something more concrete and closer to their day-to-day reality.

Armed with those two realizations we started to track “the number of patients we served per day”. We hoped this concrete metric would engage the staff. The numbers of presented were truly awful; our financial target was 134 services sold per day and we were averaging on 60-70. Half of what we needed to be able to improve the financial situation!

our financial target was 134 services sold per day and we were averaging on 60-70. Half of what we needed to survive!

I was shocked but the reaction in the room was something very different. Indifferent, unfocused or the occasional shrug. Almost angry, I got up and added a new line, for the number of patients required to break-even; 120. In my upset mood I blurted out:

Below this line we lose money by having the hospital open and we may need to close it!

That got their attention. The jaws of the 70 people in the room dropped to the floor at once. We now had our one metric that matters and most importantly: everyone understood it.

In the next blog post, you will see how this metric, visualized and understandable not only helped us focus on what is important but also made us into a team.

Do you need the one metric that matters to engage your team? This booklet is for you!

In the Bungsu’s Pirate Code for Visualization downloadable booklet I will go into details on how we made this “one metric that matters” engaging, kept it relevant and ultimately saved the hospital by keeping our focus there – using what we referred to as the Bungsu Pirate Code. Click here to download your guide to using the “one metric that matters” in your own team.

This is a very actionable tool that you can you use today in your organisation to make your visualizations matter to everyone all the time.

The Bungsu Story is a fascinating account of a real-life crisis, and how Agile, Lean and Kanban saved the Hospital from bankruptcy! Twice! Get ready for the journey, it’s going to be a bumpy ride!

About Marcus Hammarberg

Marcus is the author of Salvation: The Bungsu Story (available on Amazon), an inspiring and actionable story about how simple tools can help transform the productivity and impact of an organization. The real-life stories in The Bungsu can help you transform the productivity of your team. Marcus is also an renowned author and consultant in the Kanban community, he authored the book Kanban in Action with Joakim Sundén.
You can link with Marcus Hammarberg on LinkedIn, and connect with Marcus Hammarberg on twitter.

Woody Zuill on measuring success

There are many possible metrics we can use as Scrum Masters to help us understand if we are progressing towards our goals. But do they all matter? Woody discusses metrics and explains his view on why many metrics can actually reduce your chances of success.

About Woody Zuill

Woody Zuill, an independent Agile Consultant, Trainer, Coach, and Guide and has been programming computers for 30+ years. As a pioneer of the Mob Programming approach of teamwork for software development he has been sharing presentations and workshops on Mob Programming for conferences, user groups, and companies all over the world. He is considered one of the founders of the “#NoEstimates” discussion on Twitter.
You can connect with Woody Zuill on LinkedIn or contact Woody Zuill on Twitter.
If you are interested, check the MobProgramming conference.

Ryan Ripley on metrics that define success for Scrum Masters

How we measure success in our roles as Scrum Masters must include some metrics, and must include interaction with the team and stakeholders we work with. Ryan explains his approach and the tools he uses to measure his own success.

About Ryan Ripley

Ryan Ripley loves helping people do great work. He is a servant leader at heart and is passionate about fostering safety and trust in the workplace. Ryan created the Agile for Humans podcast to put the focus back on the individuals and interactions that make agile work.
You can link up with Ryan Ripley on LinkedIn and connect with Ryan Ripley on Twitter.
Ryan also hosts a popular Agile podcast: Agile for Humans. Be sure to check it out!

Cliff Hazel on why targets are bad for your organization

Using metrics to sense what is going on may be useful for certain activities, but the moment they are perceived to be “targets” they easily get subverted and lead to cheating. John Seddon’s I Want You To Cheat is a great book about this topic, and Cliff explains his own view on the topic.

About Cliff Hazel

Cliff Hazel scrum master toolbox podcastCliff Hazel is a coach at Spotify who is trying to learn about how to build effective teams, and how we can create the conditions for them to thrive. His main interests are: Complexity and Systems, Visualisation and Information Radiators, Curiosity and Continuous Learning
You can link with Cliff Hazel on LinkedIn, connect with Cliff Hazel on Twitter and catch him in some conference near you.

Natalie Warnert on how observation can help you uncover the system

Natalie explains her approach to understanding and visualizing the system conditions that affect the teams she works with:

  1. Start by asking “how are the tools, practices and policies affecting the team’s I work with?”
  2. Then take a pen and draw the links between the different observations, do this with the whole team. Expect to hear many different perspectives, and help the team make sense of those different views.
  3. Use also metrics, but not just one. Look at several metrics and ask people to look beyond a single metric, and beyond the metrics. What do these metrics tell us?
  4. Identify possible underlying conditions that affect the team.

Always keep in mind, that this process will be different for every team you work with, each team is different.

About Natalie Warnert

As a developer turned Agile coach, Natalie Warnert understands and embraces what it takes to build great products. Natalie focuses teams on embracing Agile values to build the right product and build the product right. Natalie is currently coaching the Cart/Checkout teams for Best Buy Dotcom and recently earned her Master of Arts degree in Organizational Leadership and Strategic Management.
You can link with Natalie Warnert on LinkedIn, connect with Natalie Warnert on Twitter, read her blog at nataliewarnert.com, and visit her project page Women in Agile.

Marcus Hammarberg on the Water-Scrum-Fall anti-pattern

In many organizations we see teams rushing to adopt Scrum, only to be stuck in the Water-Scrum-Fall anti-pattern. Marcus shares with us one such case, and what he learned from the experience. He shares the metrics that matter in Agile, and why Lean is a perfect complement to the ideas of Agile and Scrum.

Marcus shared with us a discount code for all that purchase his book until October 14th, 2015. Don’t miss it, purchase the book at http://bit.ly/theKanbanBook, and use the code scrumkan.

Marcus is the author of Salvation:The Bungsu Story, a fascinating account of a real-life crisis, and how Agile, Lean and Kanban saved the Hospital from bankruptcy! Twice! Get ready for the journey, it’s going to be a bumpy ride!

About Marcus Hammarberg

Marcus is a Software / agile consultant from Sweden on IT-sabatical leave in Indonesia, working for the Salvation Army hospitals there. And yes, using techniques from agile in that work even in non-software environments.
One of those approaches he is using is Kanban, as Marcus is the author of the book Kanban in Action with Joakim Sundén, don’t forget to go to http://bit.ly/theKanbanBook, and get the book with the discount code scrumkan.
You can link with Marcus Hammarberg on LinkedIn, and connect with Marcus Hammarberg on twitter.

Gil Zilberfeld on the incremental success we must strive for

We often define success as one point in time, an achievement, a breakthrough. However, success happens over time, over many interactions. Success is, in fact, incremental. Gil explains his view on the success in our role as Scrum Masters.

About Gil Zilberfeld

For over 20 years, Gil has developed, tested, managed and designed software products. He’s gone through failures and successes, in different types of projects and companies.
He has trained and coached developers how to write tests for their untestable code. He has worked with testers on complex applications and with very tight deadlines. He’s helped release products that fit customer needs, by testing the waters, and getting their feedback integrated. He has implemented agile, kanban and lean principles and adapted them to fit teams better.
You can link up with Gil Zilberfeld on LinkedIn, or find Gil Zilberfeld on Twitter.
Gil is writing a book on Unit Testing. Check it out.

Matthias Seul on why metrics and the questions we ask are our best friends

When trying to understand the system that affects our performance we can’t stay at the surface level. We need to dig deeper to find the real causes for performance problems. Matthias suggest that we measure our system to find what questions we should ask, and then ask “Why?” to help us understand that system.

About Matthias Seul

Matthias worked 10+ years as software developer and gravitated towards coaching in recent years. He is a tech enthusiast, board gamer, inventor and wild duck. Matthias believes in intrinsic motivation – thus he believes in Agile. He says that “together we can make projects a more fulfilling and successful work environment for all involved”.
You can link up with Matthias Seul on LinkedIn, and reach Matthias Seul on twitter. Matthias is interested in your questions and feedback, and you can reach him via email as well.