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Showing posts from July, 2015

Retromat:: A well planned Retro

Retrospective at GameStop based upon Corinna Baldaug's Retromat.

Retro process phases: Set the Stage, Gather Data, Generate Insight, Decide what to Do, Close the Retro

REF: http://plans-for-retrospectives.com


Set the Stage: give time to “arrive” and get into the right mood and focus upon the goal
Gather Data: reflect upon what happened, create a shared pool of information
Generate Insight: why did things happen this way? What patterns can we observe?
Decide What to Do: Pick what to work on, plan concrete steps of action
Close the Retro: reflect upon the retrospective, how could it improve? What shall we follow-up upon?


Activities for this Retro:


Quick Questions 
In ONE word – what do you need from the retro?
In ONE word – what is on your mind?
In ONE word – what is you current mindset in regards to your project: are you a:
Explorer – eager to dive in and research what worked
Shopper – Positive, happy if 1 good thing come out
Vacationer – Reluctant, but retros beat regul…

On my ToDo book shelf

A wish list of books I'd like to read...

Large-Scale Scrum - more with LeSS  by Craig Larman & Bas Vodde
It describes how we did scrum 10 years ago without the need to think about scaling on a VoIP project at SpeakEasy.  Four teams of around 40 developers (programmers, testers, UI, UX, BA, system engineers, etc.), one backlog, one awesome Product Owner (with a team of help), one deliver of working tested software, on time and on budget.

My current goto resource for how to do Scrum at any scale.





Team Genius: The New Science of High-Performing Organizations
by Rich Karlgaard, Michael S. Malone

"Throughout, Rich Karlgaard and Michael S. Malone share insights and real-life examples gleaned from their careers as journalists, analysts, investors, and globetrotting entrepreneurs, meeting successful teams and team leaders to reveal some "new truths":

The right team size is usually one fewer person than what managers think they need.
The greatest question facing good te…

How could we measure Team Happiness?

Do you believe that what you measure you will get?  If so you want to start to measure team happiness.  So what techniques do we have to measure something so ephemeral?


The health care industry has studied measuring pain and have very good data on their ability to measure and administer pain drugs upon a subjective self report.  Maybe we could do the same in knowledge worker teams and work groups.

Here's a riff upon the classic Net Promoter Score for measuring team happiness.

"How likely is it that you would recommend our team to a trusted friend that is looking for a job?"
To calculate the NPS - the continuum is divided into 3 groups; the detractors (1 - 6), the passive (7 & 8), the promoters (9 & 10).  The passive are ignored - they do not promote your objective.  The NET promoter score is the percentage of people promoting your objective minus the percentage of people detracting from your objective.

     NPS = Promoter % - Detractor %  (valid range +100% to -10…

Transparency - Two Way Visibility

What does the value of Transparency really mean?
Nextgov:How do you define transparency?
Fung: My definition is quite a bit different from the conventional wisdom about transparency. A transparency system is designed to allow people to improve the quality of decisions they make in some way, shape or form, and it enables them to improve their decisions to reduce the risks they face or to protect their interests. Some of those decisions are about political accountability but some are in private life, like what food to buy or what doctor to go to. -- Archon Fung, professor at Harvard University's John F. Kennedy School of Government who studies government transparency.

Does your company practice fair pay?  Here's what one worker brought to Google and made a difference in transparency at the search giant.
Tell Your Co-Workers How Much You Make!There's no law against it and it increases the chances you'll be paid fairly.
Does the Agile Manifesto imply some form of organizatio…

Scrum Immersion workshop at GameStop - Case Study

Here's a overview of a Scrum Immersion workshop done at GameStop this month. A case study example.

Normally these workshops start with the leadership (the stakeholders or shareholders) which have a vision for a product (or project). This time we skipped this activity.

The purpose of the Workshop is to ensure alignment between the leadership team and the Agile Coaches with regards to the upcoming scrum workshop for the team(s). Set expectations for a transition from current (ad-hoc) practices to Scrum. Explain and educate on the role of the Product Owner.

Expected Outcomes:
Create a transition plan/scheduleSet realistic expectations for transition and next releaseOverview of Scrum & leadership in an Agile environmentIdentify a Scrum Product Owner – review role expectationsAlignment on Project/Program purpose or visionRelease goal (within context of Project/Program & Scrum transition)
Once we have alignment on the Product Owner role and the Project Vision we typically do a s…

Exercise: Pair Programming Simulation using Tangrams

Yesterday (July, 2015) we did a lunch-n-learn at GameStop HQ on pair programming.  I think it was a great success, largely because we serve food, and I've been told that everything goes better when people are sharing a meal together (and even better with adult beverages).


Are you interested in Pair Programming?  I'll confess, the term is a bit misleading.  I was asked by multiple people if the topic was just for programmers.  No - no it's not just a programming technique. It is also for any kind of knowledge work.  Such as testing, or analysis, or writing stories, or ... yes coding, scripting, excel spreadsheets, etc.



The Agenda: Pair Programming Simulation
Start with a warm up exercise (totally non-related to the topic).  This allows all the late arrivals to find a seat and not miss out on the real start of the session.  I've found this technique (soft start) to be a required technique for companies that have not adopted basic meeting protocols, such as finishing prior…