Great article by Mike Griffiths: http://leadinganswers.typepad.com/leading_answers/2015/10/agile-talent-management.html
Great article by Mike Griffiths: http://leadinganswers.typepad.com/leading_answers/2015/10/agile-talent-management.html
I had the privilege of attending Scrum.org‘s 2-day seminar on Scaled Professional Scrum. The Nexus, a connection or series of connections linking two or more things (direct translation from Latin a binding together), is the recommended scaling framework. The purpose of the Nexus is to manage dependencies between 3-9 Scrum Teams towards “reification”, to make an abstract idea real or concrete. This is ensured mostly through a single Product Owner, single Product Backlog, integrated (Nexus) Sprint Planning, Review and Retrospective and the addition of a Nexus Integration Team whose membership is made up mostly of Scrum team members internal to the Nexus, but often also includes other support personnel. The structure is very similar to LeSS, but perhaps even less prescriptive and is certainly much less prescriptive than SAFe. This is probably my favourite thing about the Nexus – the fact that it has just enough structure to be a model for scaling Scrum, but is light and flexible enough to accommodate all of the nuances that “just depend” on your situation. Like the other two above-mentioned scaling models, it places emphasis on the need for strong technical practices, continuous integration and the synchronization of events to facilitate integration. There is flexibility around synchronization, in that if the Nexus Sprint is 4 weeks in duration and teams within the Nexus want to do 2 or even 1 week Sprints, the model accommodates – as long as all of the teams’ work is combined into a fully integrated (reified) increment of potentially shippable product by the end of the Nexus Sprint.
How much documentation does it take to run a project with ten people working for six months? For some organizations it takes way too much:
This binder (about 3 or 4 inches thick) is all the documentation associated with such a project. In looking carefully at the project, creating the documentation took far more time than the time spent on designing, writing and testing the software. Yet, the documentation does not produce any value. Only the software produces value. The Agile Manifesto, asks us to focus on the outcome (working software) and to make tradeoffs to minimize the means (comprehensive documentation).
The Agile Manifesto asks us to challenge our assumptions about documentation. In many work environments, documentation is an attempt to address some interesting and important needs:
Documentation is usually heavier (more comprehensive) the more the following circumstances exist in an organization:
What if the software itself could address the needs that often documentation is used to address? Let’s look at them in turn:
In my recent training programs as research for this article, I have surveyed over 100 people on one aspect of documentation – code documentation. Every individual surveyed is either currently coding or has a coding background, and every single person had the same answer to a simple scenario question:
Imagine that you have just joined a new organization and you are about to start working as a software developer. One of the existing team members comes up to you and introduces himself. He has with him a piece of paper with a complicated-looking diagram and a full binder that looks to be holding about 250 pages. He asks you, “you need to get up to speed quickly on our existing system – we’re starting you coding tomorrow – would you prefer to go over the architecture diagram with me or would you prefer to review the detailed specifications and design documents.” He indicates the one-page diagram and the binder respectively. Which would you prefer?
(I’ve put up a Survey Monkey one-question survey: Code Documentation Preference to extend the reach of this question. It should take you all of 60 seconds to do it. I’ll post results when I write the next Agile Manifesto essay in a month or two.)
The fact that everyone answers the same way is interesting. What is even more interesting to me is that if you think through this scenario, it is actually almost the worst-case scenario where you might want documentation for your developers. That means that in “better” cases where documentation for developers may not be as urgent or necessary, then the approach of just going to talk with someone is a lot better.
Documentation and Maps
The problem with documentation is the same problem we have with maps: “the map is not the territory” (quote from the wisdom of my father, Garry Berteig). We sometimes forget this simple idea. When we look at, say, Google Maps, we always have in the back of our consciousness that the map is just a guide and it is not a guarantee. We know that if we arrive at a place, we will see the richness of the real world, not the simplified lines and colours of a map. We don’t consider maps as legally binding contracts (usually). We use maps to orient ourselves… as we look around at our reality. We can share directions using maps, but we don’t share purpose or problems with maps. And finally, maps assume that physical reality is changing relatively slowly (even Google Maps).
Many times when we create documentation in organizations, however, we get confused about the map versus the territory.
Agility and Documentation
Of course, code is a funny thing: all code is documentation too. The code is not the behaviour. But in software, code (e.g. Java, ASM, Scheme, Prolog, Python, etc.) is as close as possible to the perfect map. Software is (mostly) deterministic. Software (mostly) doesn’t change itself. Software (mostly) runs in a state absent from in-place human changes to that software. Software (mostly) runs on a system (virtual or physical) that has stable characteristics. The code we write is a map. From this perspective, documentation becomes even less important if we have people that already understand the language(s)/platform(s) deeply.
This essay is a continuation of my series on the Agile Manifesto. The previous two essays are “Value and Values” and “Individuals and Interactions over Processes and Tools“.
The Product Owner Simulation that I shared last summer has some minor updates based on a stronger emphasis on product vision. In particular, two 5 minute exercises before and after the Product Box exercise help to frame the concept of product vision and make it stronger.
The Scrum Alliance just announced through a press release the Added Qualifications [PDF] program. From the release:
The Added Qualifications program will begin by first offering courses in Scaling Scrum Fundamentals. Those interested in earning an Added Qualification in Scaling Scrum Fundamentals will need to hold at least one of two foundational certifications, Certified ScrumMaster® or Certified Scrum Product Owner®.
More information can be found on the Scrum Alliance Added Qualifications page.
Through World Mindware, we will be introducing courses over the next months to help you achieve these new Added Qualifications.
The Real Agility Program is an Enterprise Agile change program to help organizations develop high-performance teams, deliver amazing products, dramatically improve time to market and quality, and create work environments that are awesome for employees.
This article is a written summary of the Executive Briefing presentation available upon request from the Real Agility Program web site. If you obtain the executive briefing, you can follow along with the article below and use it to present Real Agility to your enterprise stakeholders.
At Berteig Consulting we have been working for 10 years to learn how to help organizations transform people, process and culture. The problem is simple to state: there is a huge amount of opportunity waste and process waste in most normal enterprise-scale organizations. If you have more than a couple hundred people in your organization, this almost certainly affects you.
We like to call this problem “the Bureaucratic Beast”. The Bureaucratic Beast is a self-serving monster that seems to grow and grow and grow. As it grows, this Beast makes it progressively more difficult for business leaders to innovate, respond to changes in the market, satisfy existing customers, and retain great employees.
Real Agility, a system to tame the Bureaucratic Beast, comes from our experience working with numerous enterprise Agile adoptions. This experience, in turn, rests on the shoulders of giants like John Kotter (“Leading Change”), Edgar Schein (“The Corporate Culture Survival Guide”), Jim Collins (“Good to Great” and “Built to Last”), Mary Poppendieck (“Lean Software Development”) Jon Katzenbach (“The Wisdom of Teams”) and Frederick Brooks (“The Mythical Man-Month”). Real Agility is designed to tame all the behaviours of the Bureaucratic Beast: inefficiency, dis-engaged staff, poor quality and slow time-to-market.
Studies have proven that Agile methods work in IT. In 2012, the Standish Group observed that 42% of Agile projects succeed vs. just 14% of projects done with traditional “Bureaucratic Beast” methods. Agile and associated techniques aren’t just for IT. There is growing use of these same techniques in non-technoogy environments such as marketing, operations, sales, education, healthcare, and even heavy industry like mining.
Real Agility Basics: Agile + Lean
Real Agility is a combination of Agile and Lean; both systems used harmoniously throughout an enterprise. Real Agility affects delivery processes by taking long-term goals and dividing them into short cycles of work that deliver valuable results rapidly while providing fast feedback on scope, quality and most importantly value. Real Agility affects management processes by finding and eliminating wasteful activities with a system view. And Real Agility affects human resources (people!) by creating “Delivery Teams” which have clear goals, are composed of multi-skilled people who self-organize, and are stable in membership over long periods of time.
There are lots of radical differences between Real Agility and traditional management (that led to the Bureaucratic Beast in the first place). Real Agility prioritizes work by value instead of critical path, encourages self-organizing instead of command-and-control management, a team focus instead of project focus, evolving requirements instead of frozen requirements, skills-based interactions instead of roles-based interaction, continuous learning instead of crisis management, and many others.
Real Agility is built on a rich Agile and Lean ecosystem of values, principles and tools. Examples include the Agile Manifesto, the “Stop the Line” practice, various retrospective techniques, methods and frameworks such as Scrum and OpenAgile, and various thinking tools compatible with the Agile – Lean ecosystem such as those developed by Edward de Bono (“Lateral Thinking”) and Genrich Altshuller (“TRIZ”).
Real Agility acknowledges that there are various approaches to Agile adoption at the enterprise level: Ad Hoc (not usually successful – Nortel tried this), Grassroots (e.g. Yahoo!), Pragmatic (SAFe and DAD fall into this category), Transformative (the best balance of speed of change and risk reduction – this is where the Real Agility Program falls), and Big-Bang (only used in situations of true desperation).
Why Choose Transformative?
One way to think about these five approaches to Agile adoption is to compare the magnitude of actual business results. This is certainly the all-important bottom line. But most businesses also consider risk (or certainty of results). Ad-Hoc approaches to Agile adoption have poor business results and a very high level of risk. Big-Bang approaches (changing a whole enterprise to Agile literally over night) often have truly stunning business results, but are also extremely high risk. Grassroots, where leaders give staff a great deal of choice about how and when to adopt Agile, is a bit better in that the risk is lower, but the business results often take quite a while to manifest themselves. Pragmatic approaches tend to be very low risk because they often accommodate the Bureaucratic Beast, but that also limits their business results to merely “good” and not great. Transformative approaches which systematically address organizational culture are just a bit riskier than Pragmatic approaches, but the business results are generally outstanding.
More specifically, Pragmatic approaches such as SAFe (Scaled Agile Framework) are popular because they are designed to fit in with existing middle management structures (where the Bureaucratic Beast is most often found). As a result, there is slow incremental change that typically has to be driven top-down from leadership. Initial results are good, but modest. And the long term? These techniques haven’t been around long enough to know, but in theory it will take a long time to get to full organizational Agility. Bottom line is that Pragmatic approaches are low risk but the results are modest.
Transformative approaches such as the Real Agility Program (there are others too) are less popular because there is significantly more disruption: the Bureaucratic Beast has to be completely tamed to serve a new master: business leadership! Transformative approaches require top-to-bottom organizational and structural change. They include a change in power relationships to allow for grassroots-driven change that is empowered by servant leaders. Transformative approaches are moderate in some ways: they are systematic and they don’t require all change to be done overnight. Nevertheless, often great business results are obtained relatively quickly. There is a moderate risk that the change won’t deliver the great results, but that moderate risk is usually worth taking.
Regardless of adoption strategy (Transformative or otherwise) there are a few critical success factors. Truthfulness is the foundation because without it, it is impossible to see the whole picture including organizational culture. And love is the strongest driver of change because cultural and behavioural change requires emotional commitment on the part of everyone.
Culture change is often challenging. There are unexpected problems. Two steps forward are often followed by one step back. Some roadblocks to culture change will be surprisingly persistent. Leaders need patience and persistence… and a systematic change program.
The Real Agility Program
The Real Agility Program has four tracks or lines of action (links take you to the Real Agility Program web site):
Structurally an enterprise using Real Agility is organized into Delivery Groups. A Delivery Group is composed of one or more Delivery Teams (up to 150 people) who work together to produce business results. Key roles include a Business leader, a People leader and a Technology leader all of whom become Real Agility Coaches and take the place of traditional functional management. As well, coordination across multiple Delivery Teams within a Delivery Group is done using an organized list of “Value Drivers” maintained by the Business leader and a supporting Business Leadership Group. Cross-team support is handled by a People and Technology Support Group co-led by the People and Technology leaders. Depending on need there may also be a number of communities of practice for Delivery Team members to help spread learning.
At an organizational or enterprise level, the Leadership Team includes top executives from business, finance, technology, HR, operations and any other critical parts of the organization. This Leadership Team communicates the importance of the changes that the Delivery Groups are going through. They lead by example using techniques from Real Agility to execute organizational changes. And, of course, they manage the accountability of the various Delivery Groups throughout the enterprise.
The results of using the Real Agility Program are usually exceptional. Typical results include:
Of course, these results depend on baseline measures and that key risk factors are properly managed by the Leadership Team.
Not every organization needs (or is ready for) the Real Agility Program. Your organization is likely a good candidate if three or more of the following problems are true for your organization:
Consider that list carefully and if you feel like you have enough of the above problems, please contact us at email@example.com. or read more about the Real Agility Program for Enterprise Agility on the website.
New Agile Certification Training
Our new premium offering: the Certified Real Agility Coach course is delivered in an unusual format of 40 days (yes, forty) spread over one year. This in-depth, advanced training program is designed to help people with experience on Agile teams to become fully-capable independent Agile coaches. Worried about the time commitment? A substantial portion of the course is delivered as on-the-job training and a significant number of course hours are outside regular working hours… and the schedule is flexible to accommodate participants’ unique scheduling needs. Spots are extremely limited for this course. Reserve your spot now! (Contributes all the training hours required for the Certified Scrum Professional designation. As well, if you do not already have the CSM and CSPO designations, you will receive free enrolment in either or both of those courses once your registration has been confirmed.)
Since Travis Birch and Mishkin Berteig have become Certified SAFE Program Consultants, we are now offering the Leading Safe 2-day course for project, program and functional managers, change agents and department leaders. Learn about the Scaled Agile Framework; one the most popular enterprise Agile frameworks. SAFe combines Scrum, Extreme Programming and Lean to effectively allow larger groups of people to execute programs while interfacing effectively with traditional corporate governance. Do you have 25 people or more working on a program? Then the Leading SAFe training is for you!
New Agile Introduction Courses
Scrum and Enterprise Agile for Executives is a half-day workshop designed to help you solve one of the biggest problems organizations have: how to become more Agile? Using the tools and techniques of the Real Agility Program, participants will be guided to make effective long- and short-term plans for increasing productivity, innovation, quality and customer satisfaction. This workshop is delivered by Mishkin Berteig who has helped numerous executives at organizations large and small with successful Agile transformations. Just $250 per person!
Travis Birch, a Partner at Berteig Consulting who has years of experience helping Agile teams reach award-winning levels of performance, is going to be delivering two of our new offerings:
Choosing an Agile Career is a one-day workshop designed to help people who don’t yet know how they can best fit into the most important revolution sweeping the corporate world. Should you be a ScrumMaster? A Product Owner? An Agile Coach? Something else? Ideal for people who have been asked by their executives to sort out their career path in a newly Agile organization or department. $450/person with an early-bird discount available for some dates.
Kanban: Gentle Change is a deep-dive immersion into a critical process-improvement and teamwork technique Learn how tools for making work visible can improve productivity, throughput and efficiency.. Ideally suited for team leads, project and functional managers, HR managers and process improvement managers. $450/person with an early-bird discount available for some dates. Counts as 7 PDUs with the PMI and contributes to the Agile Certified Practitioner designation.
Of course, we continue to offer our extremely well-received (often sold out!) Certified ScrumMaster and Certified Scrum Product Owner training courses. These courses are immersive, intensive, and designed to help you to become great ScrumMasters and Product Owners.
Please see our complete 2015 Agile and Scrum course schedule here! Most of our courses are held in the Toronto area which has a great international airport, fantastic food, amazing entertainment, and is just generally a fun place to come for a bit of training and a bit of sight-seeing. Some courses are also offered in other cities including Vancouver, London Ontario, and Waterloo. Most of our courses are also available for in-house private dates. Please contact firstname.lastname@example.org for more information about group discounts, corporate savings programs or in-house private offerings.
COMING SOON We are working to offer Certified Scrum Developer (CSD) training as a complement to our already successful Certified ScrumMaster and Certified Scrum Product Owner training courses. The CSD course will help technology professionals learn the critical Agile engineering and teamwork practices that are absolutely required to make Scrum successful in delivering software products. This training is highly technical and participants are expected to already be strong software developers.
Although Agile methods are very popular (particularly Scrum), there are still many organizations or departments which may not yet have official support for adopting Agile methods formally. In some cases, management may even be hostile to the concepts and practices of Agile methods. If you are interested in Agile, you don’t have to give up hope (or look to switch jobs). Instead, here are some tips to start using Agile methods even in hostile environments.
Some Agilists claim that the retrospective is actually the key to being Agile. In some ways, this is also the easiest practice to introduce into an organization. Start with “easy” retrospectives like “Pluses and Deltas” or “Starfish“. These are retrospectives that can be done in 15 minutes or half an hour. Try to do them with your team weekly. If you are are a team lead or a project manager, it will be easy to include this as part of an existing weekly status meeting. If you are “just” a team member, you might have to get some modest amount of permission.
So why would it be good to do a retrospective? Because it’s a high return-on-investment activity. For a few minutes of investment, a team using retrospectives can become aware of dramatic opportunities for improvement in how they are functioning. Here are a couple more articles about the importance of retrospectives:
Although I strongly recommend starting with retrospectives, sometimes that’s not the best way to start. Myself, my first formal Agile environment, I started with the Daily Scrum. Another time less formal, I started with Test-Driven Development. In both cases, starting with a single practice, done well, led to adding additional practices over a relatively short period of months. This gradual adoption of practices led, in time, to attracting positive interest from managers and leaders. This is the practice-by-practice approach. Start with a simple Agile practice that you can do without asking anyone for permission. Make sure it is a practice that makes sense for your particular environment – it must produce some benefit! If you are technical contributor on a team, then practices such as refactoring or test-driven development can be a good place to start. If you are more business-oriented, then maybe consider user stories or one of the Innovation Games. If you are responsible for administrative aspects of the work, then consider a Kanban board or burndown charts.
It is important to get the chosen practice done consistently and done well, even when the team is struggling with some sort of crisis or another. If the practice can’t be sustained through a project crisis, then you won’t be able to build on it to add additional Agile practices.
Sometimes you get an unusual opportunity: a project that is funded but hidden from the bureaucracy. This can happen for a variety of reasons, but often it is because some executive has a pet project and says (effectively): “make it so”. This is an opportunity to do Agile. Since there is little oversight from a process perspective, and since the overall project has a strong executive sponsor, there is often a great deal of freedom on the question of “how do we actually execute.” There can be challenges as well: often the executive wants daily insight into progress, but that level of transparency is actually something that Agile methods can really support. In this case, there is no need to ask anyone on what method to use, just pick one (e.g. Scrum or OpenAgile or XP or Kanban or Crystal or…) and go for it. Don’t talk about it.
The “just do it” approach requires that you have some influence. You don’t have to be an influencer, but you need connections and you need charisma and you need courage. If you don’t have at least two of those three, you shouldn’t try this approach. You have to do things and get away with things that normally would get people fired – not because they are illegal – but simply because they are so counter-cultural to how your organization normally works. Here are a few comments on Stealth Methodology Adoption.
There’s nothing like working with a band of rebels! If you can find one or two other people to become co-conspirators in changing your organization, you can try many lines of action and see which ones work. Getting together for lunch or after work frequently is the best way to develop a common vision and to make plans. Of course, you need to actually execute some of your plans. Having people to work with is really part of the other tips here: you can have co-conspirators to help you launch a practice-by-practice Agile transformation, for example.
But, like any rebellion, you really need to trust those you work with in these early stages. Lacking that trust will slow everything you do possibly to the point of ineffectualness. Trust means that you have, for some time, a formal vow of silence. Not until you have critical mass through your mutual efforts can you reveal the plan behind your actions.
Read “Fearless Change”
I can’t recommend this one enough! Read “Fearless Change” by Mary Lynn Manns and Linda Rising. This is a “patterns” book. It is a collection of techniques that can be applied to help make organizational changes, where each technique has its own unique context of use. Lots of research and experience have gone into the creation of this book and it is a classic for anyone who wants to be an organizational change agent. Patterns include basics such as “Do Lunch” to help build trust and agreement with your ideas for change or “Champion Skeptic” to leverage the value of having systematic, open criticism of your change idea.
Don’t Call it “Agile”
This isn’t really a “tip” in the sense of an action item. Instead, this is a preventative measure… to prevent negative reactions to your proposals for change. The words “Agile” or “Scrum”, while they have their supporters, also have detractors. To avoid some of the prejudices that some people may hold, you can start by _not_ calling your effort by those names. Use another name. Or let your ideas go nameless. This can be challenging, particularly if other people start to use the words “Agile” or “Scrum”. By going nameless into the change effort, people will focus more on results and rational assessment of your ideas rather than on their emotional prejudices.
A minor variant of this is to “brand” your ideas in a way that makes them more palatable. One company that we worked with, let’s call them XYZ, called their custom Agile method “Agile @ XYZ”. Just those extra four symbols “@ XYZ” made all the difference in changing the effort from one where managers and executives would resist the change to one where they would feel connected to the change.
Get Some Training
Okay, some blatant self-promotion here: consider our Certified Real Agility Coach training program. It’s a 40-week program that takes about 12 hours/week of your time for coursework. The next cohort of participants starts in June 2015 and we are taking deposits for participants. This training is comprehensive, top-notch training for anyone wishing to become an organizational change agent focusing on Agility.
Over the many years that I have been teaching Scrum (since 2005!), I have had a diagram of Scrum as part of my slides and/or handouts. The diagram has gone through several major and minor changes throughout that time. Here is the progression from oldest to newest:
This diagram was used in some of my earliest slides when I first started delivering Scrum training. It is bad. It is woefully incomplete. But, here it is:
I knew the first one was bad so after not too long, I created this next diagram as a supplement that was meant to show the whole Scrum process all in one page. Similar to other Scrum “cheat sheet” style diagrams. I used this diagram until about 2008 when I got some very good feedback from a great trainer, Jim Heidema.
The changes I made were small, but to me, significant. Changing from a “mathematical” language of “Sprint N”, “Sprint N+1” to a more general language of “Current”, “Future” was a big deal. I really struggled with that. Probably because I was still relatively new to being non-technical.
This fourth diagram made some minor formatting changes, but most importantly added “Backlog Grooming”. It’s funny how long I talked about grooming in my classes before realizing that it was missing from the diagram. I used the previous diagram and this diagram for a couple years each before making a rather major change to create the next one.
A couple years ago I realized that I wasn’t really talking about the Scrum values in my classes. I started to introduce them in some of my other handouts and discussions, but it still took a while for me to reflect those values in my diagram. I had also received a lot of feedback that having two Product Backlogs in the diagram was confusing. Finally, I realized that I was missing an opportunity to use colour more systematically. So, a major reformatting, systematic colour coding and the addition of the Scrum values was my next change.
Branded Diagram (ug.)
In a rush, I added some logos to the diagram. Just made it gross, but it’s badness, combined with feedback about said badness, actually inspired a major change for the next version.
Literally just a week ago, I was showing my brand-new branded diagram to a bunch of people who really care about design and UX. The very first comment when I handed out the diagram was: “wow, you can really tell this wasn’t done by a designer!” Well, that got me thinking deeply about the diagram (again). So, here is my newest, latest and greatest (still not done by a designer) version of my Scrum diagram!
I would absolutely love constructive feedback about this latest diagram. Of course, if you like it, please let me know that too! The thing I like about this is that it is a way of looking back at almost 9 years of my teaching history. Continuous improvement is so important, so I welcome your comments! If you have your own diagrams, please link to them in the comments – I would love to see those too! In fact, it would be really cool if a bunch of people could make little “Evolution of a Scrum Diagram” posts – let me know if you do!!!
This simulation exercise rests on the idea that people learn a lot better by doing something than by talking about it. My Product Owner classes were getting great reviews, but I really felt like there was something missing compared to my ScrumMaster classes which have a full-day ScrumMaster simulation exercise. It took a little while to figure it out, but this article describes in detail how I do the simulation for the Product Owner class. I’m sure it will evolve and get refined from here since I have only used the simulation twice so far.
NOTE: Permission to use this exercise / print associated materials is granted with a simple request: please link to this page on your blog, in a LinkedIn group or Google group, like it on Facebook etc. or write a comment in our comments section!
Pre-requisites: None! No prior Scrum or Agile knowledge or experience required.
Audience: Product Owners, Business Analysts, Project Managers, Product Managers and other people responsible for business results and who interact with a Scrum team.
Timing: This simulation takes at least 7 classroom hours. I usually run it from 8:30am to 5:00pm with a one hour lunch break and two 15 minute breaks during the day.
Room Setup: Round tables with 4 to 6 chairs at each table. Materials distributed to each table.
Agenda (with facilitator’s notes):
NOTE: Permission to use this exercise / print associated materials is granted with a simple request: please link to this page on your blog, in a LinkedIn group or Google group, like it on Facebook etc. or write a comment in our comments section!
For a little while last year I was using a quiz in my Certified ScrumMaster courses that was deliberately designed to be super hard. Why? Because if anyone could answer it correctly before the end of the class, I would give them their certification early and allow them to leave. Not a single person out of several hundred was able to do it.
So… want to give it a try? I’ve got two files here. One is the quiz without answers. The other is the answer key. Let me know if you have any questions!!!
CSM Class Test – Super Hard! (PDF, 1 page)
(Please, give it a try before you even download this next piece!!!)
CSM Class Test – Answer Key (PDF, 1 page)
This test was first created by me and one of my close colleagues, Julien Mazloum from Outsofting. We were trying to make the CSM class something that the Chinese audience would really appreciate culturally. It worked well, up to a point. The main problem was that some of the questions were too subtle for people for whom English was their second language. That said, when I used it in my North American courses, still no one passed it! In fact, the best score I ever saw was 25 correct out of 30.
One of our big plans this summer is to have a selection of advanced Scrum and Agile – related training courses. We are delivering some of them ourselves, but we are also bring in outside experts for others.
Here is the course list at a high level:
– a 1-day “Advanced ScrumMaster” course
– a 1-day “Advanced Product Owner” course
– a 1-day “Managing for Success” course
– a 1-day “Enterprise Agile” course
– a 2-day “Agile Engineering Practices” course
– a 2-day “Agile Coach Training” course
Our schedule for these events will be finalized in the next few weeks. If you are interested in any of these courses, please pre-register here. Pre-registration will give you a guaranteed spot and a discount of 10% above and beyond the early-bird registration price.
In a recent post, Mishkin outlined the Leadership Team component of the Real Agility Program. While the Leadership Team track focuses on developing leadership capacity for sustained transformation, The Execution track focuses on launching and developing high-performance project, product and operational teams. This track is the one that most of our clients use when they run Agile pilot programs and is a critical component of getting quick wins for the organization.
Groundbreaking works such as The Wisdom of Teams (Katzenbach & Smith), The Five Dysfunctions of a Team (Lencioni) and Drive (Pink) have served well to distill the essential requirements of high-performance teams. Scrum, Kanban, and OpenAgile are proven frameworks that optimize the value of teams and create the necessary working agreements to help teams reach that high-performance state.
The Delivery Team track of the Real Agility Program creates new, cross-functional, multi-skilled, staff-level teams of willing individuals. These teams are responsible for delivering value—business results and quality. Individuals are committed to the performance of the team and the organization. Teams develop the capacity to self-organize and focus on continuous improvement and learning. A team is usually composed of people from various roles at the delivery level. For example, and IT project team might be composed of people whose previous* roles were:
* These roles do not get carried into the new delivery team other than as a set of skills.
The track begins with establishing pre-conditions for success including executive sponsorship, availability of team members and management support. Team launch involves a series of on-the-job team development workshops designed to enable the teams to create their own set of values, working agreements and high-performance goals. Teams are guided in the creation of their initial work backlogs, defining “done”, estimation and planning and self-awareness through the use of a collaborative skills matrix. The teams are also assisted in setting up collocated team rooms and other tools to optimize communication and productivity.
Qualified coaches assist the teams to overcome common issues such as personal commitment, initial discomfort with physical colocation, communication challenges of working with new people in a new way, management interference and disruptions and appropriate allocation of authority. This assistance is delivered on a regular schedule as the team progresses through a series of steps in the Execution track process. Usually, these steps take one or two weeks each, but sometimes they take longer. A team that needs to get to a high-performance state quickly might go through the entire program in 10 or 12 weeks. In an organization where there is not the same urgency, it can take up to a year to get through the steps of the track.
The coaches for this Execution track also help management to resist and overcome the strong urge to manage the problems of the teams for them. In order to develop through the stages of team development, teams need to be effectively guided and encouraged to solve their own problems and chart their own courses towards high-performance.
The goal of the Execution track of the Real Agility Program is to help the team go through the stages of forming-storming-norming and set them up to succeed in becoming a high-performance team. Of course, to do this requires some investment of time. Although the Execution track is meant to be done as on-the-job coaching, there is a 5% to 20% level of overhead related to the Real Agility Program materials themselves.
See also the article on the Recommendations component of the Real Agility Program.
In his book “Crossing the Chasm“, Geoffrey Moore describes the difficulty of creating a popular new product due to a conceptual “chasm” between the first people who adopt a new product and those who come later. He describes five types of people in relation to how they adopt new products:
This product adoption behavior also applies to new ideas in general, and of course, to Agile Transformation [Agile Transformation vs. Agile Adoption] in particular.
Implications of the “Chasm” Model
An organization attempting to do an Agile Transformation [Kotter’s 8-Step Change Model] should understand how to use this model to ensure long-term success. This diagram illustrates the concepts (click on it to see it full size):
First, the organization should start the transformation by finding the innovators and early adopters. These people can then be recruited to run the initial pilot projects. They will be enthusiastic and will typically adapt themselves to the new behaviors and thinking patterns required by Agility. If they are properly supported by managers, they will also be successful – at least within the bounds of a limited pilot environment. Success here will mean that the pilot projects deliver value, use feedback effectively, and the participants (team members and stakeholders) will be happy with the results.
In this stage, it is best to avoid putting people on the teams who are from the early majority, late majority or laggards groups. These people will tend to drag on the results of the pilot projects. This is a common mistake in running a pilot program and leads to discouraging results. One way to help filter between these two groups is simply to ask for volunteers for the pilot projects. Innovators and early adopters will be much more likely to volunteer for a new initiative.
After the pilot projects have shown some good results, the next step is to go the general roll-out. In this step, you are now working with the early and late majority. These people need much more substantial support for a change of this nature. They will require intensive training, and hand-holding in the form of coaching and mentoring. This hand-holding can come partially from your innovators and early adopters. Some of the participants in the pilot projects will have the desire to share their success. From these, you need to carefully select and prepare a few who will act as internal coaches. If you are a small organization or if you wish to do your transformation quickly, you will likely need to hire coaches from outside your organization as well.
The early and late majority require evidence of benefits and reassurance that risks are minimal or can be mitigated. This evidence partially comes from your pilot projects. However, this may not be sufficient. There are two other important sources of evidence for this group: the leadership team and external experts.
The leadership team must be committed to the change to agility and can demonstrate this commitment by doing their own management work as an agile team. The exact details of the agile process do not need to be identical to that of the staff teams, but it should be recognizably similar. As well, this “Agile Transformation Team” must make itself very visible during the general roll-out. This can be done with communication and by taking up visible residence in a central conference room or bullpen. As well, this Agile Transformation Team must work diligently to remove obstacles that are raised by staff teams during the general roll-out.
The second source of evidence comes from external sources. Published case studies are one valuable source. However, there is a huge value in a visible management investment in external support from recognized experts. This can be in the form of training, coaching, consulting as well as informal “lunch-and-learn” meetings, town hall meetings and the like. When engaging experts, it is imperative that the Agile Transformation Team act on their advice otherwise the early and late majority will take that as a sign of hypocrisy.
The final stage of a roll-out is to deal with the laggards. For the most part this is a do-or-die proposition for these people. Either get with the program and engage like a committed employee or leave the organization. If your organization is large enough, you will likely have observed some of these people leaving the organization in the general roll-out.
For some organizations, this transformation process can take many years. An organization with thousands of people should expect to be working on the pilot projects for at least a year, the general roll-out for at least three years. Often it will be longer. Good luck on your agile transformation effort!
We have an upcoming three-day agile training seminar in Toronto on December 7-9, 2011.
In this unique seminar, we will be offering a practical view of three important Agile methods: OpenAgile – used for general agile project management and agile teamwork including projects and organizations doing any kind of work. Scrum – used for software new product development and IT project management. Kanban – used for teams doing operational work.
This seminar contributes towards three certification programs: the Scrum Alliance’s Certified ScrumMaster program, the OpenAgile Team Member level and the IPMA/PMAC Agile Project Management certification.
For more information: http://www.berteigconsulting.com/UpcomingAgileScrumOpenAgileSeminars
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