BONUS: The psychology of communicating data with Dan Vacanti

Dan joins Vasco to talk about how we can communicate data when working with stakeholders and the team. He’s joined the podcast previously to talk about #NoEstimates with Vasco and Marcus Hammarberg. You can listen to that episode here

We start the conversation by discussing some of the most common anti-patterns we fall into when communicating data to stakeholders and the team. The first anti-pattern Dan mentions is “assuming that people understand the data you present to them”. 

We discuss why that is often a problem, and the role of rationality when discussing and deciding on what interventions are warranted based on the data that is presented. 

In this segment, we also discuss that the role of data, and presenting data, is to assess what actions might be necessary to correct something, or improve the process we work with. 

The emotions behind our reactions to the data being presented

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BONUS: The art, and science of making prediction with #NoEstimates. With Dan Vacanti and Marcus Hammarberg

We explore a real-life project that Marcus was part of, and how the #NoEstimates methods he used helped him make predictions, even if did not estimate the work to be done.

This conversation started from an article that Marcus had posted earlier on social media. In that article Marcus explained how he had used data, as opposed to estimates to make a prediction of when the project would be finished. This approach still creates a lot of controversy on twitter, even if it has been (at the time of recording) 10+ years since the original discussion around estimates started by Woody Zuill and Vasco Duarte on twitter under the tags of #NoEstimates and #Estwaste respectively. 

As Marcus quickly found out in this project, the rate of progress could not have been predicted easily at the start (if at all). When he first started the project, the progress was swift, but at one point he faced a problem he could not solve for several days. This phenomenon is not new for any programmers in the audience, and is quite common. Also, one of the reasons why using methods like #NoEstimates (as explained in the #NoEstimates book, and in Marcus’ blog post), can help uncover information that estimation would not. 

Dealing with surprises: the information you need to share with stakeholders

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BONUS: Enabling accountability with NoEstimates in government, with Craeg Strong

In this episode, we explore the use of NoEstimates approaches in a regulated and governmental environment. 

When Craeg and his team was called in to the Social Security administration, they were asked to help the Office of the Inspector General (OIG) assess the use of software development methods in an environment where the teams were adopting Agile methodologies, but the overall governance still followed the old school, linear (aka waterfall) methodologies. 

When the OIG is involved, it usually means that the organization being audited needs to prove that they are taking good care of public money invested in their processes. Therefore the challenge was to ensure that the teams were both following the Agile practices they said they had adopted, as well as taking the necessary actions to ensure proper use of public funds. 

Using NoEstimates to increase accountability

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SPECIAL XMAS BONUS: The Joy of Agility, looking at Business Agility with Joshua Kerievsky

As Joshua started to research his book, he discovered many stories of people applying the principles and ideas behind agility to their lives, and their businesses. The Joy Of Agility is a book that collects those stories and explains what agility is really about. And it’s not about Scrum, or any other process framework. 

Joshua starts by telling us a story of a young Richard Branson who, having been left stranded on an airport, came up with an idea to get to his destination while helping other fellow passengers who had also been left stranded. This is a story of a person being resourceful in the face of adversity. Being resourceful is one of those aspects of agility that we often don’t discuss, but is – as Joshua puts it – at the core of Agility.

The art of perfecting your act

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Gonçalo Valverde: A list of questions for Scrum Master self-evaluation

What are some of the questions we can ask ourselves to evaluate our work? Gonçalo shares some of the questions he asks himself, and we discuss how critical it is to evaluate the relationship between the team and the Product Owner.

In this segment, we refer to #NoEstimates, a topic we’ve covered before here on the podcast

Featured Retrospective Format for the Week: The small add-ons that make retrospectives awesome

There are many ways to facilitate great retrospectives. The format of the retro will influence the success of the retro, but so will the small exercises we use for check-in or check-out. In this segment, we introduce shared visual board like Jamboard or Mural, the use of breakout rooms, Liberating Structures, Kudos, the Core Protocols (which have been featured on the podcast before) and small add-ons that make retrospectives awesome for the team!

In this segment, we also refer to the episodes recorded with Dov Tsal

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About Gonçalo Valverde

Gonçalo is an Agile Coach from Portugal working with teams and organizations in their continuous improvement journey. As a keen amateur photographer, he learned that less is more and how constraints help one focus on the outcomes. He’s also a co-organizer of Agile Coach Camp Portugal. 

You can link with Gonçalo Valverde on LinkedIn and connect with Gonçalo Valverde on Twitter.

Gonçalo Valverde: How (not) to deliver bad news as a Scrum Master!

Sometimes things go wrong. And it is at that time that we need our senses to be sharp, and our communication to be on point. In this episode, we learn the story of a project that was about to go bad, but no one was willing to deliver the bad news. When should the Scrum Master be the messenger? Listen in to learn how Gonçalo handled this situation and what he learned for the future. 

In this episode, we refer to Monte Carlo simulation and Troy Magennis’ work

About Gonçalo Valverde

Gonçalo is an Agile Coach from Portugal working with teams and organizations in their continuous improvement journey. As a keen amateur photographer, he learned that less is more and how constraints help one focus on the outcomes. He’s also a co-organizer of Agile Coach Camp Portugal. 

You can link with Gonçalo Valverde on LinkedIn and connect with Gonçalo Valverde on Twitter.

Carsten Lützen: A step by step journey to #NoEstimates

In this episode, we explore the story of a team that started to question the way they did estimates. The PO would use the estimations provided by the team to make a certain number of assumptions and reports that just did not correspond to reality. In the quest to solve that problem, the team started to experiment with different approaches, and naturally evolved to a #NoEstimates approach. Carsten explains the steps the team went through as well as the insights at each step. A self-organized change story on adopting #NoEstimates!

In this episode, we refer to the #NoEstimates book

About Carsten Lützen

Carsten is an Agile Coach at the LEGO Group. Before that a Scrum Master for different teams. He has a deep love of graphical facilitation and professional coaching. Besides his full-time job, he shares weekly tips on YouTube and LinkedIn on Agile, Facilitation, and Coaching.

You can link with Carsten Lützen on LinkedIn and connect with Carsten Lützen on Twitter.

BONUS: Incremental Delivery in Business Intelligence (BI) and Data Warehouse projects with Raphael Branger

Raphael has been a guest on our regular show, and in those episodes, we approached the topic of Agile applied to Business Intelligence projects. In this episode, we dive deeper into the concepts and ideas that Raphael mentioned earlier, and we learn how Business Intelligence projects can be delivered incrementally, and in an agile manner. 

Slicing User Stories to enable incremental delivery

We start this episode with a practice that is critical for Agile teams: how to slice User Stories to enable the delivery of incremental value to customers. We discuss several strategies that Raphael uses to be able to deliver valuable functionality even in the first week of a project. 

Taking into account that usually, BI projects are executed by larger, and more traditional firms, his approach brings clarity and ensures that the team and the customer are able to evaluate the product from the first week. This practice is critical in collecting feedback from customers early on and avoiding producing products (dashboards, in this case) that no one will use. 

In this segment, we refer to a blog post by Raphael where he describes his User Story slicing approach in more detail.

#NoEstimates in BI projects

One of the inspirations for Raphael’s work on slicing User Stories was the #NoEstimates book and a few conversations that he and Vasco Duarte had in the early stages of Agile adoption at IT-LOGIX, Raphael’s company.

In Raphael’s perspective, the focus should shift from “sizing” stories to understanding what might be a good experience for the customer: customer delight; and then validating those assumptions directly with customers by delivering possible solutions very early on. 

As a way to apply #NoEstimates, Raphael started to apply the concept of “timebox” (limited time) to each of the User Stories being developed. His own rule is that a User Story should be developed within 1 or 2 days at the most, which pushes the teams to focus on what is critical to provide value to the customer. 

Timeboxing User Stories to validate assumptions

In this episode, we also explore how Raphael came to the realization that User Stories need to be timeboxed, rather than estimated. He shares a story of a project where the team produced a dashboard that did not get used by the customer (they had metrics). That was a transformative point in Raphael’s approach, leading him to focus on early and often delivery. Which led to the #NoEstimates heuristic that a User Story should be given a timebox. 

In this segment, we refer to the episode about a team that Runtastic that is using #NoEstimates, and how that has helped the team focus, and provide value faster. 

About Raphael Branger

Raphael Branger is a Certified Disciplined Agile Practitioner and a pioneer in adapting agile methods in the context of data and analytics projects. He works as a Principal Consultant Data & Analytics at IT-Logix in Switzerland with more than seventeen years of experience in business intelligence and data warehousing.

You can link with Raphael Branger on LinkedIn and connect with Raphael Branger on Twitter

 

BONUS: #NoEstimates in practice, interview with the Runtastic app team

In this episode, we interview Andre, Fabian and Aleksandar, team members at one of the Runtastic App teams. At the time of recording, they had 5 months of experience with #NoEstimates at the team level, and that led us to explore how they applied #NoEstimates; what prompted them to change their way of working; and many other practical questions related to the use of #NoEstimates approaches in their product development work.

The path to #NoEstimates

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BONUS: The Agile Wire hosts interview Vasco Duarte on #NoEstimates – Jeff Maleski & Jeff Bubolz

This is a BONUS episode on the topic of #NoEstimates. The Agile Wire podcast hosts Jeff Bubolz and Jeff Maleski interview Vasco Duarte.

Some of you might have heard about #NoEstimates, and want to know more, and for others, it might be the first time you hear about it. Either way, in this episode we talk about the origins of #NoEstimates and why you may want to consider it when helping your teams. 

This is a shared episode with a fellow Agile podcast The Agile Wire, where hosts Jeff Maleski and Jeff Bubolz interview Agile practitioners. Both Jeff Maleski and Jeff Bubolz have been guests here on the Scrum Master Toolbox podcast.

About Jeff Bubolz and Jeff Maleski

Jeff Bubolz is a speaker, trainer, and agile coach. He has been a Product Owner, Scrum Master and Development Team member. Jeff has worked with enterprise companies to small start-ups. His goal is to end human suffering in organizations, by nudging people to be the change they want to see in the world.

You can link with Jeff Bubolz on LinkedIn and connect with Jeff Bubolz on Twitter.

Jeff Maleski is passionate about working with and building up both individuals and teams using ideas from Jurgen Appelo’s Management 3.0 and Dan Pink’s Drive. When leading project teams, Jeff strives for empirical based planning and forecasting, continuous learning, and delivering high quality software products that exceed expectations. Jeff believes in leading by actions and focusing on building relationships with others.

You can link with Jeff Maleski on LinkedIn.

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