Ranting and raving about agile metrics

I have been discussing things like team metrics and measuring performance at work and I have been thinking about how these things work in an agile context. Sometimes I see measurement as an obstacle, where it is not aligned to what we want to achieve (empowerment, value creation, customer focus) and sometimes I see measurement as core to any agile approach (inspect and adapt, sense and respond to the outside world). Is the world really different, now that we are “agile”? In my first job, back when the Pyramids were new and nobody talked about sprints or burning charts up … Continue reading Ranting and raving about agile metrics

One goal or many

The tennis is on in Australia and I guess people are being distracted by a lot of things that have nothing to do with the game. I assume though, that the players are staying focused on playing the best game that they can – and hopefully winning if they are good enough to have a chance. That bit is similar to work at the moment – there are so many distractions going on around me that I think I could spend the whole day doom-scrolling. However, I am likely to be more successful (and happier) if I can be a … Continue reading One goal or many

Measurement and The Paper Factory

When I was a schoolboy, I used to catch the train to school. Every day I walked past a paper factory, or it might have been a warehouse (I don’t really know exactly what they made, I assume it was exercise books, big rolls of paper and stuff). There was a big sign next to the front gate that proudly displayed the number of days since the last injury had occurred in the factory. It was actively maintained, so I would walk past one day and the sign would say “185 days since last injury,” then the next day it … Continue reading Measurement and The Paper Factory

Improvement goals – verbs, adverbs or adjectives?

It is a new year and so I am returning to my blog, which has been neglected for a couple of months. Perhaps I should set myself a typical goal to keep me focused, something like Write 2 blog articles a month; or Publish 2 blog articles by the end of February 2022 These are action based goals and the outcomes are pretty clear. They might even be smart goals because they are pretty specific and they can be measured. In fact I can even predict that I will be 50% complete in attaining the second goal by the time … Continue reading Improvement goals – verbs, adverbs or adjectives?

Coaching people at work. How can I learn it?

When I first started work, many years ago, people spoke a lot about “leader as coach,” and “Self-directed careers.” The idea that any team leader and any senior technician, administrator or artisan was also a teacher of others became ingrained into my expectations myself and those that I worked with. Similarly, the idea that we were all responsible for our own careers meant that everyone was a leader. This gave me an awesome start to what has been a divergent and luck driven career, because it meant that I was being taught leadership, learning and teaching from the first days … Continue reading Coaching people at work. How can I learn it?

Storytelling at work. How can I learn it?

I like to think that I am a good storyteller. I use stories in teaching, coaching and in presentations. Some of my skill comes from my education at school and some from being surrounded by good storytelling as I grew up. But what if I wanted to learn about storytelling now, as an adult. Where should I start? I was talking to someone this week and I realized that while I frequently seek to learn more about storytelling, I don’t really know the best source for learning about it, because I have simply stumbled through material that looked interesting to … Continue reading Storytelling at work. How can I learn it?

MVP Meeting ROTI (return on time invested)

I have been telling people that if they go to meetings, which most of us do, then they should get value from those meetings. This is even more important in agile where the processes and tools (meetings, workshops, ceremonies, rituals or whatever you call them) are supposed to support the individuals and their interactions. It is NOT supposed to be “the individuals are a bunch of tools who need to make the agile processes work.” With this in mind I have been telling people that each meeting should have a positive ROTI (Return on Time Invested). I have even shared … Continue reading MVP Meeting ROTI (return on time invested)

3 step agile as defined by school kids

We are in lockdown at the moment and I am eves dropping on my daughter’s (online) class while I work beside her. The teacher is explaining a new activity to a group of 9 and 10 year-olds. It is a complex new topic (It sounds like graphic design and history of Sydney combined but I am not sure). They haven’t done before and they are trying new technology to help learn it because they are not in the same location (Google Slides with shared comments). It sounds like a challenge to me – they need to learn a new way … Continue reading 3 step agile as defined by school kids

Are tough questions good questions?

I am gradually reading through a great book called “The power of making thinking visible.” It is meant to be a guide for teachers who want to improve thinking in the classroom, but it is also a great guide for structures that coaches can use for the same purpose at work. What follows is me making my own thinking about some concepts in the book – so flaws in the thinking probably represent the maturity of my thinking here rather than a flaw in the content of the book 🙂 One of the ideas hidden in some of the techniques … Continue reading Are tough questions good questions?

Forcing functions for good and evil

I sometimes question whether I should focus more on coaching the team or changing the environment to unleash the team. Choosing between the two can be a real dilemma for me. However, there are some coaching tools that are useful in both helping the team grow AND creating space to support that growth in the organisation. A “forcing function” is one of those things. The name is bit obscure and like all good ideas in agile coaching, they are used to mean different things to different people at different times, to ensure that any smart curious person can remain confused … Continue reading Forcing functions for good and evil