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First thing we do is Review

I'm working with a wonderful team this week in a unique "kickoff" or as we call it in our vernacular a team launch.  Here I have a mental image of an aircraft carrier with a plane on the flight deck, cocked and locked in the steam powered slingshot.  The flight control officer drops a flag and pow the team takes flight off the deck and into the air - easy, peasy.

A new experiment I've tried in this launch is the one hour iteration.  We have been working day in and day out all week.  However I've set a cadence of one hour iterations.  We start promptly on the hour, work in the iteration for 50 minutes and break for 10 minutes (yes you're thinking of tomatoes).

I've started each iteration with a mantra, "First thing we do is Review."  After 3 days the group is now doing this with out my prompting.  Heck just yesterday, they even started 1 minute after the hour because I didn't stand up and start the meeting promptly.  Yes, I was sitting calmly watching the clock, waiting, like a viper ready to strike.  I had decided when to act (5 min past the hour).  But one of the team members reminded me of the time to start, and with just the slightest encouragement, off he went and started the meeting with a review.  It's a proud moment when the plane makes it off the deck for the first time.

Yesterday I also broke cadence - slightly by accident but heck I'm a consultant - I've learned the art of turning my mistakes into learning moments for the group.  During one iteration we didn't end on time - we ran 5 minutes past the XX:50 mark, so I announced twice we would start at 10:05 AM.  I got into trouble with the team at 10:02 for not starting on time.  Explained that I had adjusted their schedule and announced it - ah-ha it's their "fault" for not listening.  No, it's my fault for breaking cadence!  But it is a teachable moment.

Now do you think they will see the fractal nature of this workshop and the Scrum cadence of a Sprint, of the Daily stand-up meeting where the first thing they say will be a review?  Then a plan for the day.  I've got a game I want to play with them - a metaphor for this - and like the viper I'm ready to strike.

I hope I've put enough steam in the launch piston - I see the flag dropping.

See Also:

Liftoff: Start and Sustain Successful Agile Teams by Diana LarsenAinsley Nies 

Patterns in Nature - is there a fractal nature to the universe?





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