Agile2016 – Recap Day 4

Maybe it’s the conference fatigue is setting in a little bit, but today didn’t have the energy that the previous days’ had – and I didn’t even go to the Collective Soul party last night.

Nevertheless, below is the round-up of the information that was gathered today.

The first session of the day was Johanna Rothman‘s Agile Program Management: Measurements to See Value and Delivery session, and I loved it. I had read her books, and it really resonated with me, and this session did not disappoint. I can’t wait to share the video of it with my team.

Loved her definition of what a Program is:

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This piece of wisdom is true; however, notice that she just said predictive measures, not containing time and/or investment. That comes later.

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Below are some of the ways to change measurement thinking and what measurements can be used (this is not measuring change).

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She also shared nuggets of wisdom around being careful what is measured, for example, if you measure Story Points and tell a team to do more Story Points, they just change their points to reflect more, but the output is the same. Do you want Story Points or do you want Working Features?

I loved this idea of measuring completed features:

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Below are some other measurements she suggested:

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Some great definitions of what productivity means in an agile environment.

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Those are just some of the highlights. The entire presentation is filled with so much great information on how programs can be measured.

Unfortunately, I had to step out during the Q&A and also miss the second morning session because of work conference calls, so after lunch at my usual place, I readied myself for the afternoon sessions.

The first afternoon session was Meeting Resistance and Moving Forward with Linda Rising.

She set the stage with the visual concept of a fencing duo that was trading jabs back and forth, one person trying to convince the other person that they were right. Argument, counter argument, until the “opponent” was lying on the ground saying, “I’m so sorry, I was completely wrong and misinformed.”

She then said, “I’m not sure anyone would appreciate being shown how stupid/wrong they are.” And then she got into how one must change in other to be the change the see in the world.

She shared the various cognitive biases like confirmation bias and the backfire effect, and I especially liked the slide on Our Narrative because it sums up nicely the thinking and behavior that we all do – “I’m a better than the average driver.”

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Other tidbits of wisdom shared:

  • There is no scientific proof that Agile is better, but we speak in the rational argument that we’re stating facts. We have stories versus case studies, and regardless, confirmation bias will keep out the information we don’t want to hear; we only pay attention to the parts that we agree with.
  • There is importance in those that disagree; leverage the power of skeptics. If we all agree, then that’s a bad sign.
  • Try to understand others’ point of view.
  • Seek first to understand and then to be understood.
  • When initiating a topic that might face resistance, show some doubt at the vary beginning. The brain will resist the resistance to the resistance.
  • A nice, clear, rational argument is needed when the individual is rationalizing after making the decision to agree.
  • All of us care and want to do a good job.
  • There will always be people in front of us, and people lagging behind.
  • By acknowledging the resistance, it can work in our favor, e.g. “I know you don’t want to agree with this” or “I know you might not want to do this, but” can help with compliance.
  • Or, “I know you have this belief…” or “We share this belief…”
  • When asking opinions, be specific, don’t ask for a high level or general opinion because it will just strengthen the opposing view.

Next, it was a session on Purpose Driven Teams. It was a good session walking us through the challenges and the current state of engagement in the workplace and why it’s important, drawing on the works of David Pink, Simon Sinek and Google.

Some examples of purpose-driven teams, includes the group in Italy that organized a concert to get the Foo Fighters to come play for them (Rock1000)

There was a exercise at the end that helped us find our purpose (using passion, potential and profit) that we could play with our teams. One of the data points that was interesting to me is that Millennials will walk out of an organization within 60 days if they do not feel engaged.

It was a great day, which was capped off by a celebration at the Georiga Aquarium. It was such a soothing way to end a week of conversations and information gathering. For those that wanted to party, there was a band and a hopping dance floor, and for those of us that just wanted to escape for a little while, we could watch this huge tank for hours.



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