Friday, April 17, 2015

Topics for Lunch-N-Learn



Brainstorming a list of topics for a Scrum/Agile lunch-N-learn session.


Slicing Stories – resources to slice vertical stories of value
Story Writing techniques:  w/ Q&A based upon participants real stories
Estimation techniques:  Affinity Estimation; T-shirt sizing -> converting to numbers; Planning Poker (the rule book)
Team building tools:  Infinite Loops; Helium Stick; Warp Speed;  Pair Drawing, etc.
Definition of Done/Ready exercise
Release Planning   How to derive duration with a complicated backlog
Agile Library Initiation  Bring books, make the rules, get funding, 1,2,3, GO!
Management 3.0 Book Club - join a group reading the best Agile book written.
Making Visual Information Radiators - define Radiator/Cooler;  elements of a Scrum board
Aspects of an effective Product Backlog
Agile Portfolio Planning - tools and techniques; estimation, cost of delay, prioritization, deciding what NOT to do
The principle of TDD via LEGO building;  anyone can learn the power of test first development
Does you development rest on a SOLID foundation - an overview of the SOLID principles
Collaboration Games to understand the customer;   12 Innovation Games;  Other resources
User Story Maps technique to achieve higher level understanding of the backlog
Launching a Team;  what’s required, best practices, examples and techniques
Team Practices:  a collection of quick tools to increase team work and collaboration
Learn Backlog Prioritization techniques:  Cost of Delay,  Perceived ROI,  Delivery Order, Gut Feeling, Loudest Yeller


see also:


Monday, February 23, 2015

Why Visual Management Techniques are so Powerful



How does the brain process visual clues to the environment and synthesize meaning about an ever changing landscape?  Tom Wujec explains the creation of mental models and why AutoDesk invest in visual management techniques to plan their strategic roadmaps.




Also in one of Tom Wujec's talks on How to Make Toast, he explains another important point of visual management - system's thinking and group work.

Don't worry... the mind will do all the work.  It will fill in the missing details, and abstract the patterns into the concept.  Here's an exercise, Squiggle Birds by David Gray, to experience this.




See Also:

Visual Management Blog

Visual Thinking - Wikipedia

David Gray on Visual Thinking

Ultimate Wallboard Challenge 2010  time-lapse of Vodafone Web Team's board

iPad Interactive Whiteboard Remote

Multitasking: This is your brain on Media
Multitasking: This is your brain on Media - Infographic by Column Five Media.

Wednesday, February 11, 2015

The Simplest Systems Thinking Exercise - How to Make Toast.

For many years one example of process thinking, resource gathering, requirements, implementation and acceptance criteria has been the exercise - make PB&J sandwiches.  I've done this with groups to discuss the simple task that we typically overlook as "experts" in sandwich making, that perhaps a 5 year old will find difficulty glossing over the - get bread - instruction.


Here's a TED Talk by Tom Wujec who has analyzed a similar exercise and draws some powerful conclusions from many iterations.  Watch it and then rethink the simple acts in your life.




So tell me again why group collaboration is important when you are solving wicked problems?

See Also:

Visual Thinking


Wednesday, December 24, 2014

Your Optimistic Bias won't Allow Your Estimate to Improve

When asked, many people wish to get better at estimation by tracking actuals and then assuming that some form of reflection upon those actuals will lead to better estimation.  I've long held a belief that it doesn't happen quite so simply in reality.  There are many assumptions in that proposal that are just glossed over.   Let's list a few (just for fun):  Actuals are accurate and precise representations, time will be allotted to reflections and learning,  people (teams of people) will all arrive at similar conclusions and learn from the reflection of estimate not equal to actual, future behavior will change significantly and quickly, among other assumptions.



Well finally science has something to say about this.  A study: "How unrealistic optimism is maintained in the face of reality" by Tali Sharot, Christoph W Korn & Raymond J Dolan published in Nature Neuroscience (2011) has some fMRI proof that these behaviors are hard to change.

In the study the authors find:
"Unrealistic optimism is a pervasive human trait that influences domains ranging from personal relationships to politics and finance. How people maintain unrealistic optimism, despite frequently encountering information that challenges those biased beliefs, is unknown. We examined this question and found a marked asymmetry in belief updating. Participants updated their beliefs more in response to information that was better than expected than to information that was worse. This selectivity was mediated by a relative failure to code for errors that should reduce optimism. Distinct regions of the prefrontal cortex tracked estimation errors when those called for positive update, both in individuals who scored high and low on trait optimism. However, highly optimistic individuals exhibited reduced tracking of estimation errors that called for negative update in right inferior prefrontal gyrus. These findings indicate that optimism is tied to a selective update failure and diminished neural coding of undesirable information regarding the future."
So, is this scientific challenge to your ability to get better at estimation enough for you to quit tracking actual time spent on stories/tasks?  The evidence is that your bias will keep you from learning except in the cases that prove you are faster/better/more awesome than you estimated you were.  Which leads many managers to decide that there teams are sand-bagging and just not as good as "we were in the older days," a different human behavior to study.

See Also:
Your Brain won't allow you to Believe the Apocalypse could actually happen


Wednesday, December 17, 2014

The ROI of Multiple Small Releases

In a few minutes how do you explain the benefits of multiple incremental releases to someone new to this agile mindset?  I'm convinced that if I try to use words (which is typically the case when caught in a hallway conversation) or even words and a few quick sketches - I will not do justice to the complex concept.  Why?  Because this concept deals with multiple what if scenarios that play out in long timeframes with little feedback.

So needing to have this conversation today, I had the time to do a search for some help.  And I found this wonderful article and video with a voice over explanation.

Business Benefits of Software Release in Multiple Increments

And there is an interactive Wolfram graphic you can play with yourself.


Now with this link and the video explanation (done with a german accent I think, gives it real authority) - I can solve the problem of coming to that shared understanding.

See Also:
Why one should quantify the Cost of Delay (video & article) by Black Swan Farming



Saturday, December 13, 2014

Puzzle Game:: The Impossible Room

My progress in The Impossible Room - iOS app puzzle game by Maruf Nebil.

“Only one room
 Only one way
 Key is alive
 Leave or stay"


Spoiler Alert --- some puzzles are solved below.


Day 1.

Collected Items 
————
paper scrap
lamp shade
screwdriver
tesla book
USB cord


Book Shelf  - opens Screwdriver
-------------------------------------
Aristotle  384 BCE
Roger Bacon  1214 - 1292
Leonardo Da Vinci  1452 - 1519
Copernicus  1473 - 1543
Galileo  1564 - 1642
Newton  1642 - 1727
Faraday  1791 - 1867
Tesla  1856- 1943
Alan Turing  1912 - 1954
Stephen Hawking  1942





 3 Stars - 5 points; ball on one point - 1 missing star;  color of stars & books may signify the overlap of authors lives
shark - pinguen - robot   - got a  USB cord in drawer
(^^^)   <(“)   :|]


Bird - Dog - Elephant - Dolphin   (brown yellow gray blue)
A-Z  4-char
blue red green  3 colors
0-9   7 numbers
4 greek letters -  Theta, Sigma, Psi, Omega
Th, S, Ps, O
9, 200, 700, 800




Picture of sheep man dog house trees clouds
by Egidio Graziani
6 places  (sheep, man, dog, house, tree, cloud)
alphabetical order  (cloud, dog, house, man, sheep, tree)
order in picture  left to right, eye flowing, front to back

buttons rotate in this order:
   cloud, sheep, dog, tree, man, house....










Table with Globe - gave a board with numbers (1-6)
golf ball  micro phone  oscar statue  W
7 letters A-Z
phonic alphabet   Golf, Mic, Oscar  GMOW    GMO  over Whiskey

Globe - six symbols


mirror over 4 drawer chest
drawer 1 top  8 point double ring w 4 push buttons
drawer 2  3 blocks, 7 bundle, CBA, dart board   4 digits
drawer 3  4 x 4 buttons
drawer 4 4 x 4 buttons labeled ABCD  1,2,3,4  (Nice Room)


left side of bed 
clock with one hand
000  000  00
dial lock

above bed - picture of man and sheep  (moves left right up down)  center above bed

right of bed
box 
9 box form letters  two buttons


5 x 7  white gray black buttons on box
empty shelf
box with  cyan red yellow  triangle


dart board  score = 172
triple 18 
double 15
triple 16
double 14
twelve


8 segment clock with 3 hands   3:5:7  =  3/8 : 5/8 : 7/8
big hand on 3
med hand on 5
small hand on 7

Day 2.

Largely learned nothing... except there is a really good cheat site:  AppUnwrapper

Yeah, OK, I used a few of the cheats - but that's not a lot of fun...

Oh - and many of the puzzles have additional clues or items to pick up once opened.  These items/clues are not visible until the lock is opened.  For example a clue written on the back of the door.

Day 3.

I have two games running.  So I took the opportunity to run a few experiments.

I had the Globe open in game A.  In the second game, B, I keyed in the sequence of buttons for the Globe but it didn't open. Then I went over to the picture on the sheep, man and dog and applied the number overlay - POP! the Globe opened.  What does this tell us?  That locks are turned off by default and actions must turn the locks on.  Such as the Globe, which was turned on by the number overlay being applied to the painting.

So... off to solve a 4 equation; 4 variable problem.

The bottom drawer (right of bed):

1) 48 x + 88 y + 2 z + 7 a = 86
2) 55 x + 4 y + 71 z + 86 a = 23
3) 6 x + 87 y + 28 z + 88 a = 4
4) 3 x + 26 y + 81 z + 74 a = ?

OPPS that didn't work out


CBA code is solved by hint
2a + c = 113
a + 2b = 93
b + 2c = 61

a = 47; b = 23; c = 19  -->  192347 = CBA