July 2014 Meeting

Stellenbosch Lean Coffee – 24 July 2014

Improv in Agile

  • What is improvisation?
    • Made up in the moment… No script
    • Baking vs Cooking
      • Baking is specific, based on a recipe… like scripted theater, where we execute according the the script or recipe.
        • e.g. waterfall
      • Cooking is more ‘in the moment’ collaboration and problem solving. Can be more creative.
        • Agile and its feedback loop
    • Improv Actors deal with
      • Uncertainty
      • Pressure
      • Need for collaboration
  • Improvisation applied to Agile Teams
  • Types of exercises for use in Agile Teams
    • Improv exercises in the retrospective can also be beneficial (e.g. describe this sprint).
    • Silent Stop/Start exercise (Jolt)
      • Need to be aware of ’emtpy spaces’
      • Need to be alert to others’ intentions
      • This allows us to collaborate
      • When the trigger to stop/start is silenced, the team still carries on
      • Indicative of a ‘self-organising’ team
  • Benefits of Improv
    • Helps develop the pre-frontal cortex
    • Reframing of problems
    • Mindfulness of what is going on

The role of emotions in Agile Teams

Proponent: Burgert Kirsten of Playing Mantis, Psychologist & Improvisational Actor

  • Question: How have we experienced emotions in Agile Teams?
    • Emotions in this environment may be difficult to determine, as devs/engineers are usually very introverted.
      • Unless they’re mobile developers or involved in UI/UX, in which case they tend to be more extrovert.
    • Emotional lows and frustrations in various ceremonies
    • Emotional highs when we realise that we have a voice and a say via the retrospectives.
    • Resistance to process when Agile is imposed, by policy, as the methodology to use.
    • Through the retrospective (properly run) the resistance turned to support and enthusiasm.
    • Unhappiness when Agile Methodologies are not followed properly or used as a micromanagement tool.
    • Fear: As in fear of public demos.
      • In some companies, all of management participates in the demonstrations, which is intimidating
        • Is this ok? Should there be an audience at the demo other than the development team and the product owner?
        • What is the purpose of demos?
        • How do we remove fear from the demos?
      • Stand-ups where everyone, bar the president of the company, is present.
        • These should be only for the development team. I.e. Only the people doing the work.
        • Negative emotions are triggered when the focus is on what the person did with regard to the task, and not on the task itself.
  • Some insights shared by Burgert Kirsten
    • We are geared to
      • Seek rewards and pleasure
      • Avoid pain and threats
        • Emotions within a team dynamic can be considered in terms of the acronym SCARF:
          • S for Status: If status is threatened
            • Fear of judgement causes negative emotions and resistance
          • C for Certainty: Lack of certainty
            • Causes negative emotions and resistance
          • A for Autonomy: Lack of autonomy
            • No choice, micromanagement are causes of negative emotional responses.
          • R for Relatedness: Not being able to relate to others
            • Not knowing other people.
            • If you don’t know someone, you tend to see them as a foe. When a connection is made, only then can we see them as a friend.
            • Meaningful relationships at work. Lack of, causes negative emotional responses.
          • F for Fairness: The perception of fairness
            • Feeling of being treated unfairly causes negative emotional responses.

Gathering & Refining Scope

  • Gathering is done with Tech Lead and Product Owner
    • Don’t overthink or over-engineer stories
    • Over thinking tends to be wasteful.
  • Mind mapping has been used to determine the scope of a user story
    • First expand the mind map with everything you can think of. Include everything that may pertain to the user story.
    • After the expansion, choose the minimum set of features that will make the user story implementation acceptable by the product owner.
  • Where do we gather scope?
    • After Product Owner has discussed with client, Product Owner engages with Development team in Backlog Grooming Sessions.
    • After sufficient backlog grooming has taken place, Sprint planning I is where the Development Team and Product Owner agree on what is in scope.
      • Pareto Principle
        • Law of the Vital Few
        • Roughly 80% of the effects come form 20% of the causes.
        • 20% of your implemented features will satisfy 80% of clients’ requirements.

What is an epic?

Burn-up Charts

  • As opposed to a burn-down chart, which is viewed at every stand-up during a sprint, the Burn-up chart is viewed at the end of every sprint, and shows the progress in terms of a longer term release plan.
  • It depicts the number of story points that are in scope for the release target, along with our current status in terms of the ideal, a trend line indicating whether we meet the target or not based on current velocity.
  • Can be used instead of ‘gantt charts’ in order to communicate project status in terms of the release target to customers.
  • Reference to a Google Doc Template for a Burn-up Chart with sample data:

Backlog Grooming

  • Frustrations
    • Not enough of it
    • Not enough detail in stories
    • Ungroomed stories popping up out of the blue, bypassing groomed stories
      • Adressed by means of increased collaboration
      • Clear up uncertainties on the spot with Product Owner
      • Causes delays within the sprint and has a definite impact, so it must be avoided.
    • Backlog Grooming must be focused and with clear scope.
    • Roles within the grooming must also be understood and each role must contribute whatever their role entails.
    • Following a half-baked approach to either Scrum or Kanban is not ideal. Understand the roles, ceremonies and artifacts and use them effectively… at least for a number of sprints before ‘chopping and changing’.
    • Frequency?
    • Regularity?

Hello world! Stellenbosch Lean Coffee has arrived!

Welcome to Stellenbosch Lean Coffee! Our community’s purpose is for its members – Professionals from Technology Development industries – to engage in knowledge sharing and mutual learning from each others’ experiences in the innovative and fun way proposed by the inventors of Lean Coffee.

We thank the founders of the global Lean Coffee ‘movement’ for hosting our sub-domain, and viewers of this page are strongly encouraged to look at what other cities and towns in our global community are doing with their Lean Coffees. We hope to be contributing to this forum as we engage in our own discussions and share our results.

In coming posts, we will be sharing information about the regular Lean Coffee Meetings that we’ll be having in Technopark in Stellenbosch. Our meetings take place monthly, at this stage, on the 4th Thursday of the month, from 14:30 – 16:00.

For now, here is a mind-map of our meeting held at Entersekt’s offices in Technopark, on Thursday the 29th of May 2014, and joined by participants from Entersekt, Stone Three, Attix 5 and Polymorph.

Technopark Lean Coffee - 29 May 2014

Participants in past Lean Coffees held in and near Technopark Stellenbosch included Agile Enthusiasts from the above named companies, as well as from Jasco Enterprises, Capitec Bank, General Electric, iQRetail, IMQS, and Interfront.

Welcome to everyone! Enjoy the journey! If you have ideas, suggestions or comments on any of the posts you see, please feel free to share.

Promoting Knowledge Sharing Among Industry Peers!