Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Examples of Visualizations

Perhaps someone has already thought about the human brain's propensity to match patterns... if this has happened - would we see a patten in this behavior?  If there was a patten, you think someone would have written a book on the subject.

Five of the most influential data visualization of all time  by Andy Cotgreave, Tableau Software.

The Periodic Table of Visualization Methods (aside: why people abuse the notion of the Periodic table of elements is puzzling to me - it's not just a table with iconic status - it's a predictive model in action; ... meanwhile, back to the visualization methods...) awesome chart with wonderful pop-ups to explain all the visualization methods.

So let's just go right ahead and include the predictive model of Mendeleev's table.

Example of the Periodic Table style applied to Scrum by my friend and colleague KaTe.
by Kate Terlecka
Agile Fluency model by Larsen and Shore - a intro video by James Shore: Your Path through Agile Fluency.

When you're into visual info, books on work processes, wonder and humor... you need a crateful of grateful - bet ya can get it at www.getlit.me here's a sample of Todd's book review info graphics.
Succeeding with Agile Governance

The author Niels Pflaeging has quite a few illustrations in his writings about organizational structures.

Want to visualize what that conference call really looks like - watch this video.

from Tripp and Tyler

Visualize the 5 SOLID class design principles.

Visualize what an org. chart should look like (if it was to be a useful tool; rather than an ego booster):

The secret to Walt Disney's Creativity - an Organigraph.

Visual.ly presents an interactive graphic depicting various sorting algorithms.

Big O notation cheat sheet. "This webpage covers the space and time Big-O complexities of common algorithms used in Computer Science."

The Cockburn project classification scale is a wonderful visualization for viewing projects as a group of activities and then deciding what process might fit around that project well.  I was very impressed the first time a saw Alistair's work on this, and it has stood the test of time.

Brian Marick's testing quadrants -- from a presentation by Lisa Crispin & Janet Gregory (see their book Agile Testing).

Linux (unix) performance management tools and the OS architecture stack.

Read Also:

Why Humans are Obsessed with Circles

Monday, February 24, 2014

Fail Better - Exhibit in Dublin

I really should go to Dublin to attend this event:

Fail Better - Dublin Science Gallery

"The goal of FAIL BETTER is to open up a public conversation about failure, particularly the instructive role of failure, as it relates to very different areas of human endeavour. Rather than simply celebrating failure, which can come at great human, environmental and economic cost, we want to open up a debate on the role of failure in stimulating creativity: in learning, in science, engineering and design."

The Scientific Process - the desire to disprove.

Can You Solve This?
Watch this video (Can You Solve This? by Veritasium) to see the scientific process in action (well it takes a while for the people to become scientific... but they do).  My guess is that you - like me - will fall into the fallacy of confirmation bias at the first opportunity.  A phenomena referred to as the black swan fallacy.

So scientific processes have a little trick up their sleeves called the Null Hypothesis.  The null hypothesis, or default answer, is generally assumed true until evidence indicates otherwise.  How often do you use this process to mutate your software development process?  How do you protect yourself from the confirmation bias during your process improvement experiments?  Do you see this null hypothesis at work in the TDD process of proving a unit test fails before the implementation code creates evidence to indicate otherwise?

France is Bacon
Since this scientific process is not very natural for us humans; it leaves me to wonder how we learned this process.  One common answer is Bacon!  Francis Bacon to be precise - Voltaire called Bacon the father of the experimental method.

Be careful with a southern US accent when you communicate Francis Bacon - you may create this mental model.

And now for some serious fun - Hank Green's song I F***ing Love Science.

"...it's a process, not an ideology..."

Thursday, February 20, 2014

National Culture Studies

I wonder how one defines culture?  Do we define culture at a human scale or is it typically at a social scale?  What happens when we look at culture at various scales?

It appears to me that there are three basic scales for culture; the national scale, the corporate scale, and the group scale.  When we find another social intelligent life form there will be another scale we can study - the planetary scale.  But until then, let's just stick with three spheres of culture.

Investigating some tools for national cultural studies... there is an App for that.

CultureGPS (Lite version and Professional $25)

Based on Hofstede's 5D Culture Model

  • Power distance index: "Power distance is the extent to which the less powerful members of organizations and institutions (like the family) accept and expect that power is distributed unequally." 
  • Individualism / collectivism: "The degree to which individuals are integrated into groups". (note: "The word collectivism in this sense has no political meaning: it refers to the group, not to the state"). 
  • Uncertainty avoidance index: "a society's tolerance for uncertainty and ambiguity". 
  • Masculinity / femininity: "The distribution of emotional roles between the genders". Often renamed to Quantity of Life vs. Quality of Life. Masculine cultures' values are competitiveness, assertiveness, materialism, ambition and power, whereas feminine cultures place more value on relationships and quality of life. In masculine cultures, the differences between gender roles are more dramatic and less fluid than in feminine cultures where men and women have the same values emphasizing modesty and caring. 
  • Long-term orientation / short term orientation: it describes societies' time horizon. Long term oriented societies attach more importance to the future. They foster pragmatic values oriented towards rewards, including persistence, saving and capacity for adaptation. In short term oriented societies, values promoted are related to the past and the present, including steadiness, respect for tradition, preservation of one's face, reciprocation and fulfilling social obligations. 
  • -- from Wikipedia article on Hofstede's Model - there is a 6th dimension, not in the app: Indulgence versus restraint. The extent to which member in society try to control their desires and impulses.

Robert House founded the GLOBE study in 1993, and based his research upon Hofstede's work. It created 10 cultural clusters based on similarities in the responses.
  • Anglo Cultures
    • England, Australia, South Africa (white sample), Canada, New Zealand, Ireland, United States 
  • Latin Europe
    • Israel, Italy, Portugal, Spain, France, Switzerland (French-speaking)
  • Nordic Europe
    • Finland, Sweden, Denmark 
  • Germanic Europe
    • Austria, Switzerland, Netherlands, Germany 
  • Eastern Europe
    • Hungary, Russia, Kazakhstan, Albania, Poland, Greece, Slovenia, Georgia 
  • Latin America
    • Costa Rica, Venezuela, Ecuador, Mexico, El Salvador, Colombia, Guatemala, Bolivia, Brazil, Argentina 
  • Sub-Sahara Africa
    • Namibia, Zambia, Zimbabwe, South Africa (black sample), Nigeria 
  • Arab Cultures
    • Qatar, Morocco, Algeria, Egypt, Kuwait 
  • Southern Asia
    • India, Indonesia, Philippines, Malaysia, Thailand, Iran 
  • Confucian Asia
    • Taiwan, Singapore, Hong Kong, South Korea, China, Japan
Similar projects include Ronald Inglehart's World Values Survey and Shalom H. Schwartz's Survey of Values.

National cultural studies are the macro view of people, what about the micro view of people and cultural, say at the organizational level -- what does science have to offer as models at the 1000 people order of magnitude?  There are plenty of organizational development text in the airport book store that will teach you how to change your company culture within one airplane ride.  John Kotter's Leading Change shows up in every book shelf, so you might as well start there.
 He's also the guru of org. change models: see his 8 step model.  They are less about culture and more about changing within the cultural boundaries.  As most org-developmen change agents will tell you the best way to change a company culture is to start a new company.

End of nations: Is there an alternative to countries?  Nation states cause some of our biggest problems, from civil war to climate inaction. Science suggests there are better ways to run a planet.

Well in the agile software development space the best resource are:
The Reengineering Alternative: A plan for making your current culture work by  William Schneider.  And based on his work several agilist have written extensively on the cultural aspects of organizational change with respect to agile transitions/transformations.  My favorite set of articles is by Michael Sahota.

Agile Culture, Adoption, & Transformation Reading Guide

Michael collected all those awesome thoughts and resources into a book on InfoQ: An Agile Adoption and Transformation Survival Guide: Working With Organizational Culture.  I wonder if anyone has done a mash-up of Schneider's model with Hofstede's or House's models of national culture.  As organizations move toward globalization and diversification these cultural aspects become much bigger players in the merger and acquisition hungry corporate environment.

Competing Values Framework
Pete Behrens of Trail Ridge Consulting has some wonderful work associated with leadership and culture of organizations based also in part on Schneider's cultural model.  I've attended Pete's workshops and enjoyed the deep insights he and the collaborative participants have offered.  He's in the process of adopting the Competing Values Framework for his clients.

An interesting article on How Different Cultures Understand Time by
Richard Lewis of Business Insider.

Discussing company values and culture with one of my personal coaches the other day I had an epiphany.  Many companies expend quite a bit of energy espousing their company values.  Printing brochures and banners, holding the one time executive lecture on values at the beginning of the yearly planning cycle, which proceeds the budget cycle, where the values will be dismissed in a land grab movement to control the limited resource (budget) viewed with a zero-sum mental model.  She noted that when companies pay the platitude game with their values, rather than walking the line (as Johnny Cash would sing) and implementing the values, the tendency is for the company to instill in the workforce the opposite of the espoused values.  I've been wondering what the term for these negative values would be -- don't know if we have a word for that?  I see this in many of the companies I've worked with,  for example a company professes to be a collaborative culture.  Yet when individual actions and behaviors are observed there is so little collaboration (as I define it) and more behaviors of decisions being made outside of the meeting called to discuss and make the decision by a select few (or just the one commander) and then an implied consensus achieved by the silence in the room when the solution is presented.  This typically results in a subsequent passive aggressive behavior about the decision/solution by the people that didn't get included in the decision making in-group.  Creating an in-group/out-group culture, that needs to learn to collaborate, so there is a force of talking more about collaboration, yet little action to effect those behaviors.

At this nano level (the person or small work group / team) culture is best described by various psychometric assessments.   I love to call these "tests"; yet the psychometric police will throw me in the psychometric hot-box for disparaging their tools and techniques with such inaccurate terminology.  And given my disdain for all the engineers abusing terms like technical-debt I really should learn the proper term - assessment - for these instruments.  Perhaps it is my years and years in our broken educational system that focuses upon testing as it's primary measure of delivering value that leads me to joust with the good people of the social sciences.  That and I'm very competitive and want to get all the answers right!  I know this because of my tests/assessments (which I scored 100% correct on all the questions) and it said I was competitive.

Which assessments measure culture at the nano level - well at this level it's not really called culture any more... the phenomenon is better described by behavior assessments.

The DISC instrument is a very good assessment of behavior.  Target Training International has several assessment tools to look at behavior, world view,  personal skills - competencies, motivators, and emotional intelligence.  DISC is an old assessment that has been in the public domain for years and has many variants some good, some bad.  TTI has evolved this instrument and has enhanced and studied it to bring one of the best behavior assessments to market.  When used at the team level the DISC as well as other tools may be used to enhance team performance.  Creating and nurturing a team culture of learning.

I'm studying the DISC language and tools with the hope of understanding my self better, and being able to communicate more effectively with those people that have a harder time relating to me (and of course me relating to them).  I hope to use this tool set with teams in the future.  So in the spirit of agile transparency -- here's my assessment results.

Do you need a Product Manager AND a Product Owner?

Research on the Scrum Product Owner role and compare and contrast to the traditional Product Manager role.  The Pragmatic Marketing framework may help to distinguish the PO role from the larger sphere of influence that a traditional product companies view of a product manager.

Many Product Managers are familiar with the Pragmatic Marketing framework.  How does this framework interact with the Agile mind-set and the Scrum framework for product development?
Here's a mash-up using the Pragmatic Marketing framework as a base map and the overlap of the Lean/Agile/Scrum view of the space.  (Note: the PM framework link has nice interactive description pop ups of each cell in the framework.)

One of the best blog series I've found is by Roman Pichler - The Product Owner on One Page.  Don't let the title fool you, he has many articles linked on that one page.  Or you could buy his book:  Agile Product Management with Scrum.

A list of responsibilities of each role may help to distinguish between the two roles:  read The Product manager vs. Product Owner article on The Big AHA! blog.

A good paper from Agile 2009 by Rich Mironov   The Agile Product Manager / Product Owner Dilemma.  Here's Mironov's view of the Product Manager role.
What Does Product management do? - Rich Mironov - Ethiosys

See Also:

Is your PO role working for the business?
Learn Scrum - a video series includes the awesome video Product Ownership in a Nutshell by Henrik Kniberg
8 Mistakes You'll Make in your First Product Management role - Rich Mironov

The First Org Chart

Real leaders know how to draw an org. chart.  When did the leaders ego grow so big as to invert the  diagrams purpose and meaning?

The first organizational chart (How information design solved a big problem for the Erie Railroad in the telegraph age) was a tree form describing the people and roles of the Erie Railroad with the executives at the bottom.

Erie Railroad Org Chart

By 1917 the org chart had mutated to the now traditional pyramid shape.  See Wikipedia article.

A better alternative to the org chart is the Organigraph.  "The organigraph shows how companies really work. It uses symbols like stars, funnels, tubes, links and chains—in all, there are six speciļ¬c symbols that represent how a company actually works." -- Building Business Value Blog  Here's an example:

The secret to Walt Disney's strategy Organigraph.

So do you see how the first Org Chart was both an organizational chart and an organigraph?  And why it may have provided great informational value.  Here's Enron's organigraph - it reminds me of an attack cell.
Enron's Organigraph

Today’s most disruptive organizations are beginning to organize around a new pattern: the ability to evolve in real time.  Holacracy -- Agile Squads -- Self Organizing framework.

"Once upon a time, there were no line graphs or bar charts. Then, in 1786, the Scottish engineer and economist William Playfair published 44 of them. The Commercial and Political Atlas, a sprawling examination of British trade and debt from 1700 to 1782, utilized charts to explain business over time—a dramatic departure from the tables then commonly used to display data."

A 19th-Century Cartographer Crammed All of Human History into this Map

It presents important events from the beginning of time as rivers flowing into and out of each other.
By David Doochin June 06, 2016 via Atlas Obscura

Data viz isn’t just a modern-day craze. Designer Manuel Lima, author of The Book of Trees, discusses the origins of the tree diagram.

Thursday, February 13, 2014

Scary and Exciting - Emotion Tracking

This tech is so exciting it scares me... tapping into human emotions.... the feedback loops that could be developed.... the opportunities to learn....  endless!

Affectiva, a startup, is announcing the launch of its mobile software development kit (SDK) for tracking emotions.

"The company says it can analyze a user’s emotions by tracking their facial expressions, and it uses that technology to measure the effectiveness of ads. With the new SDK, mobile developers will be able to add these capabilities to their apps as well." -- TechCrunch Anthony Ha

"This means Affectiva’s technology could be embedded into consumer products — a spokesperson suggested via email that the possibilities include healthcare, education, and gaming apps."  -- TechCrunch Anthony Ha

See  -- TechCrunch Anthony Ha article

How could we use this tech (SDK) to nurture better teams?  Reinforce positive sharing and interaction behaviors for a group of people (geeks) that love to interact with the confuser (mobile or desktop) but may be on the light-gray end of the autism spectrum?

Saturday, February 8, 2014

Restaurant Simulation Kanban

How would you visualize the value stream of a restaurant?

A great teaching example for a team wishing to start Kanban.

How do you like to visualize the concurrent activities of beverage service and meal preparations?  I like to see them stacked (not sequential).

Hat tip to Derek Wade of Kumdio Adaptive Strategies for the simulation.

This Kanban works very well for the front of the house, but what about the back of the house (the kitchen in restaurant lingo)?  What would the kitchen's kanban board look like?

See Also:

Why I Use a Paper Kanban Board - Johana Rothman

How Personal Kanban Changed My Life -LeadingAgile

Which Agile Process Should You Choose? A comparison of Kanban, Scrum, XP, & other processes.

Thursday, February 6, 2014

XP is the Mac of Agile

XP is the Mac of Agile   by The Agile Warrior

"When Apple released the Macintosh it changed the face of computing. Graphical user interfaces, drag and drop icons, clickable menus. Since it's release, the personal computer has never been the same. The same thing happened with the release of XP. Like an earthquake, it shook just about everything we traditionally believed and practiced in software delivery down to it's core.  And then both failed."

"In this article [Jonathan Rasmusson] would like to explore why Scrum has become so popular, the challenges this popularity brings to Agile, and why, like the Mac, [Jonathan doesn't] think we've heard the last of XP."
"One reason [Jonathan] believes Scrum has grown so popular, is because unlike XP, it struck the right balance between maintaining the status quo and change."

… read more …  http://agilewarrior.wordpress.com/2014/02/03/xp-is-the-mac-of-agile/

Uncle Bob Martin explores the history and contribution of the Extreme Programming (XP) movement in the early and continual evolution of the Agile Software Development industry in his Xmas 2013 greeting (his 12 practices of XP song at the end is a treat).
Clean Coders