Skip to main content

Another Info-Cooler bites the dust.

Built another Scrum task board today for a team.  I first described it on the whiteboard, and a bit about how it worked, how we could choose vertical story and status columns or horizontal - gave them the choice.  We could start with the simplest thing that might work - 3 states (ToDo, In process, Done) and add states if needed (another choice). 
The simplest thing that could possible work.
A Scrum task board (ToDo, In Process, Done).
Tasks flow down the page.

I gave my standard disclaimer - the first version was going to be designed to be thrown away - so bad that they would have to re-do it to make it better.  That's a trick I've learned to sell them ownership of their board.  After a few mock examples on the whiteboard they were getting restless and wanted action.  They bought it.  Sold!

After 6 flip charts got pasted to the wall (3 h. x 2 v.) and a bit of labels and lines - we ran some examples of what it might look like with Story stickies and Task stickies.  Then we played a simulation standup for a few simulated days.  The simulation worked wonderfully.  They got into the make-believe and started adding to the Improv.  I was switching hats - Coach... ScrumMaster... Team Member with a really bad performance record on a task.  They improv-ed some situations and  one or two really great question later we had a team that was going to learn Scrum the old fassion way - by doing it.  No powerpoints, no death by bullet points, just good old Polish hard work and positive attitude.

I did pull out one acronym and we talked about homonyms (I'm from the south so my dialect allows me to pronounce 'pen' == 'pin' - but they are Polish and it all sounds English to them).

T - those
A - awesome
S - stickies
K - keep
S - Sliding to DONE!

That's as close to a slide as we got.

Sorry Rally/VersionOne/etc. - that's a three person team that is not going to use your Information Cooler.

Video at 11.

Queen - Another One Bites the Dust. 

Scrum Task board loaded and in action.
A Polish Impediments list on the right wall.

Most Popular on Agile Complexification Inverter

Where is Shakespeare When We Need Him?

We are desperately searching for a term for people that connotes the best of human kind.  The creative, sensing, combinatorial synergistic, empathic solutioning persons that have yet to been labeled with a role name that works.

Some of the old terms:
Staff, Workforce, Human Resource, My Team, Army, Company

Shakespeare created 1700 words in his time.  He mutated verbs to nouns, and vice-a-versa, transformed verbs into adjectives, and formed words from whole cloth never before heard.  This skill is rare, but there is a poet that can create the term we need in the twenty-first century.

What should this term define?

21st Century Human Resource; the generalizing specialist.

Yes, but what more?  What less?

Suggest your poetry in the comments, let us see if we cannot do 1/1700 as well as The Bard.

By-the-way; who create the phrase "coin a word"?

A TED Play List - How do you create new words
Erin McKeanGo ahead, make up new words! In this fun, short talk from TEDYouth, lexicographer Er…

Elements of an Effective Scrum Task Board

What are the individual elements that make a Scrum task board effective for the team and the leadership of the team?  There are a few basic elements that are quite obvious when you have seen a few good Scrum boards... but there are some other elements that appear to elude even the most servant of leaders of Scrum teams.

In general I'm referring to a physical Scrum board.  Although software applications will replicated may of the elements of a good Scrum board there will be affordances that are not easily replicated.  And software applications offer features not easily implemented in the physical domain also.

Scrum Info Radiator Checklist (PDF) Basic Elements
Board Framework - columns and rows laid out in bold colors (blue tape works well)
Attributes:  space for the total number of stickies that will need to belong in each cell of the matrix;  lines that are not easy eroded, but are also easy to replace;  see Orientation.

Columns (or Rows) - labeled
    To Do
    Work In P…

Situational Leadership II Model & Theory

Have you ever been in a situation where you thought the technique needed to move forward was one thing, yet the person leading (your leader) assumed something else was what was needed?  Did you feel misaligned, unheard, marginalized?  Would you believe that 54% of all leaders only use ONE style of leadership - regardless of the situation?  Does that one style of leading work well for the many levels of development we see on a team?

Perhaps your team should investigate one of the most widely used leadership models in the world ("used to train over 5 million managers in the world’s most respected organizations").  And it's not just for the leaders.  The training is most effective when everyone receives the training and uses the model.  The use of a ubiquitous language on your team is a collaboration accelerator.  When everyone is using the same mental model, speaking the same vernacular hours of frustration and discussion may be curtailed, and alignment achieved, outcomes …

One Dark and Stormy during a Hurricane

I'm from the Carolina's where legend has it that our family commonly just hunkered down in the home on the coast and waterways than to head for inland shelter. Now that's from the old school days of barely improved (read paved) roads. They counted a storms severity by how high on the back porch steps (about 15 - top to ground) the water reached.  I don't recommend this action in todays world of long range forecast and transportation options.

I do recommend a drink or two in a hotel bar, far far away.

This is the week that Harvey came ashore in Texas.  I live on a hill in the little old town of Grapevine outside Dallas and Fort Worth.  And thank you all for letting me know that a storm is coming... I didn't get out and walk Malibu before the rain hit, so I grabbed a hat and we went anyway.  Much nicer walk with the drizzle, I'd say.

I'll raise a glass to you - if you were not smart enough to do the responsible thing, at the last responsible moment.

I do re…

Software Development terms applied to Home Construction

Let's Invert the typically wrong headed view of Software Development project management as a construction project.  We can map it the other way just to see if it works... to have some fun, to explore the meaning of phrases we toss around quite frequently.

Normally Project Management terms come from a construction domain.  We are going to apply the lexicon of modern software to the construction of a home.  We will follow the construction project and meet some of the people doing the work.

This is a very small (8 homes from $600,000 skyward) program in my 30-40 year old neighborhood.

About 6 months ago I saw the programs landing page go up.  It gives casual observers and some of the stakeholders a general idea of the intent of the program.  And most importantly who to contact for additional information if you happen to be interested in their products.

The Refuge program has 8 product projects and has them running independently.  Yet much of their DevOps infrastructure has already b…