Monday, April 29, 2013

What's in Your Play Book?

Thinking on Jay's suggestion at his presentation (DFW Scrum, AgileFest!) to create an Agile Playbook; I'm wondering why scrum masters don't do this more often.  Well, guess what?  It's very good advice.  The authors Chip and Dan Heath give this very advice in their new book Decisive: How to Make Better Choices in Life and Work.

Why do teams continually over estimate the number of stories they can complete (potentially shippable tested working software) in a sprint?  There are many reasons.  But what play would you run next sprint if you were the team?

If your team already has an agile mindset, then the natural play will be to reduce the amount of work they are bringing into the sprint.  The result of this play is to return the team to a consistant delivery of value.  Resulting in a predictable velocity.  This predictable velocity will be used for projecting the release scope or date.

The problem for many teams is they do not posses an agile mindset.  Therefore this play appears counterintuitive to them.  So of all the plays they could run, which will move them toward an agile understanding and give them feedback?

Which play do you run in this situation?

Sunday, April 14, 2013

Workshop at ROW Conference

I presented at the Results Oriented Web Conference in Dallas last week.  It was a very nice conference with lots of interesting people.  I had fun with my presentation, The Marshmallow Design Challenge.  Turns out it was finger licking fun.

Finger licking FUN!

Marshmallow Design Challenge
A winner - 26 inches tall.
Wondering what this fun exercise teaches?  Watch the TED video to find out.  Spollier Alert - it's more fun to experience it and then watch the video.



Next time I'm bring one of these:

From Amazon

See Also:  Agile Games Video of Marshmallow Challenge


How-To Guide for Planning AgileFest!

One of the suggested improvements for our AgileFest! 2013 was a  "How-To" document for planning a conference.  So in the nature of an experiment in gathering some "validated learning" I'm going to post a rough draft of this future book here.  If it gets some interest, hits, comments, suggestions then I'll turn it into an eBook.
Since this page will be an on going effort to create a draft, outline, sketch, etc. of the whole how-to guide, you may want to revisit this page in a week, and again in a month.
First, creating a conference is an Agile project, so treat it like any other agile project.  Hold several visioning meetings and workshops.  Insure that you and the core group explore your vision of the conference, understand the explicit goals, and try to uncover the hidden agenda of the conference drivers.  Don't kid yourselves there are alterative motives - everyone has some, so get them out in the open.

Define what a success will look like.  Define what a failure will feel like.  Now simply create a set of actions that will move along this continuum toward success.  At this point you should be dreaming big.  There will be plenty of time to reign in the dreamers.  Wait until later, or you might just kill the conference right here and now.

How will you reduce the risk of putting on a conference that no one attends?  One way is to partner with a group that already has success, and is looking to expand their reach.

An example of this is Version One's Agile Palooza events.  Version One builds community via these partnerships with clients and host wonderful events.

"AgilePaloozas are the ultimate community events. They’re fun, low cost events that bring internationally recognized coaches and trainers into communities for a day of learning and advancing agile methods. These events are about serious agile learning in a fun atmosphere."

"The world of agile changes fast and AgilePaloozas are specially-designed to keep you in the know."

We partnered with VersionOne in 2012 for our first event.  Building upon this success we then created AgileFest! 2013.  An event so similar it was astounding, and also very successful.

AgileFest! Goals
If you are use to agile projects then you must know about backlogs.  Creating a backlog of tasks, stories, and goals for your conference is an early milestone.  If having a template to iterate upon helps you, then use this one AgileFest Backlog (cvs).

AgileFest! Tasks


AgileFest! Improvements and Stories

Please leave a comment if you are interested in the topic or wish to download the backlog of AgileFest stories and tasks.

See Also:
“Serious” Fun at AgileFest!
AgileFest @ Sabre HQ

Monday, April 8, 2013

“Serious” Fun at AgileFest!


[Reprint of article in "The Current" a Sabre newsletter.]

“Serious” Fun at AgileFest!

More than 200 Sabre employees participated in the “sold out” AgileFest! event in Southlake on March 21.

AgileFest! is a one-day conference covering all aspects of Agile software development and was created and sponsored by the Airline Solutions Development Agile Coaches. This year, eight industry experts from around the country hosted sessions to share their ideas about Agile – ranging from the theoretical to the practical.

Luke Hohmann, founder and CEO of Innovation Games, kicked off the morning with the keynote speech in a packed cafeteria. Luke focused on how we can use serious games with our clients to have deeper conversations, unearth priorities, drive innovation and ultimately, deliver better results.
The conference then split into sessions, to allow participants to choose the topic that interested them most.  Options included a session by Eric Nusbaum about creating positive cultures, a workshop on distributed teams by Derek Wade, and a problem-solving activity using LEGOs by Steve Paro. The day was topped off with a “mix and mingle” sponsored by VersionOne.

Planning for AgileFest! began after the Sabre Agile Coaches partnered with VersionOne to bring the one-day Agilepalooza conference to our campus for a private event last March. The goal of this year’s event was to bring some of the brightest Agile minds to Sabre to share their ideas with employees, encourage dialogue about our current state and help move us forward in our transformation to developing software with an Agile mindset and Scrum framework.

Tuesday, April 2, 2013

AgileFest! 2013 Reviewed


Sabre's AgileFest! Lessons Learned Review

A few people that attended AgileFest! 2013 came together to solidify lessons learned at the event.  We created mindmaps of the sessions.  Shared key points the speakers shared in their presentation, and exercises.  Here's our mindmaps.

It was April Fool's day - so we started with an example of how to draw a mindmap in real time.  Will played the Google Nose (beta) Video, and I mapped it as an example.  Darn - didn't get a picture of that map.

The Mission for the Lessons Learned session was to create an artifact for sharing and reflecting.
Mind Map example


Here is the group still talking about the wonderful lessons from AgileFest! 2013.

What's in Your Playbook -- Jay Packlick

Distributed Teams Workshop -- Derek Wade

Intro to LEGO Serious Play -- Steve Paro


Navigating the Sea of Change -- Modesto Hernandez & Derek Lane



Creating Positive Culture to Drive Innovation and Success
-- Eric Nusbaum
(This was 2.7345 minutes of reflection.)
We have Eric coming back for a Reprise May 8th,
because it was so highly rated by the participants.