TL;DR: Team Building Mental Models
Team building has always been a challenge, not just since the advent of agile frameworks and the resulting emphasis on self-organization, engagement, and achieving a valuable objective. This post covers four team building mental models — or concepts — that have proven useful in understanding the context of creating agile teams: from Taylorism to Tuckman to Lencioni to Dan Pink.
Nicole Forsgren, Jez Humble, and Gene Kim latest book Accelerate: Building and Scaling High Performing Technology Organizations [advertising] describes the factors that drive high-performing tech organizations, derived from the data that has been aggregated with the State of DevOps Report since 2014.
“Accelerate” [advertising] is a must-read book for anyone involved in building agile organizations and teams. It lays out a path to success based on a statistical analysis of data. It also puts an end to the popular narrative that ’becoming agile’ is somehow a fuzzy process. The data shows that there are patterns at all levels that successful agile organizations share.
In other words: becoming agile can be data-driven. (A hypothesis that I shared in How to Measure Agility of Organizations and Teams—The Results of the Agile Maturity Survey earlier.)
Mastery Autonomy Purpose — Synopsis
Master autonomy purpose — in this article, I present a slightly different way of viewing agile maturity, through Dan Pink’s lens of Mastery, Autonomy, and Purpose; as a simple and useful way of fostering conversations and ensuring all relevant perspectives are considered.
TL;DR: The Reverse Retrospective
Are you—as a scrum master or agile coach—experiencing more communication kerfuffles with “your” team? Is its speed of improvement stalling? Are you under the impression that the team is slipping back into old habits and patterns? Maybe, it is time to run a reverse retrospective where you share your observations with the team.
Learn how to run a reverse retrospective to realign with your scrum team.
TL;DR: Agile Audit
Supposedly, becoming agile is a journey, not a destination. This is a convenient narrative if the viability of your consultancy depends on selling men and materiel. The fuzzier the objective of an agile transition the less likely there will be an agile audit addressing the return on investment question the customer might have.
Moreover, a fuzzy objective such as ‘we want to become an agile organization’ is probably the reason for applying the same methodologies indiscriminately to every organization—a one size fits all approach for agile transitions.
However, what if not every organization embarking on a transition to agile practices is meant to become a teal organization or a holacracy? What if being late to the agile transition party is instead a deliberate choice than a manifestation of hubris, ignorance or leadership failure?
Read more on why feedback loops in the form of an agile audit are beneficial for organizations and teams alike.
TL;DR: Use Burn-Down Charts to Discover Scrum Anti-Patterns
A burn-down chart tracks the progress of a team toward a goal by visualizing the remaining work in comparison to the available time. So far, so good. More interesting than reporting a status, however, is the fact that burn-down charts also visualize Scrum anti-patterns of a team or its organization.
Learn more about discovering these anti-patterns that can range from systemic issues like queues outside a team’s sphere of influence and other organizational debt to a team’s fluency in agile practices.