Results of the agility survey

As you may have noticed i shared a short survey about agility. It contained ten questions about your experience, your view on agile and what you lack. In this blog post i want to summarize the whole survey.

First of all a real big THANK YOU to all who participated! You gave real great input and it was fun to read it. There were absolutely positive answers which showed, that some really want to learn more in special fields. Also there were answers from guys who see agile at a whole or some implementations critical. I honestly appreciate every answer and every participant. You gave me the chance to learn something new! You made me think about stepping into a post Taylorism world. You made me reflecting on how to use the words agile and agility. And it was easy to look up what could come after agile.

One question you brought up was “What are you going todo with the results?“. My short answer: i will publish and share the results anonymised here under Creative Commons BY 4.0. I will contact the participants and will see what happens next. My hope is to find some things i can share with the world in a conference talk. Sure, i already have some ideas, but i want to double check them with real interested humans and fit them to their needs.

Lets dive in by having a short look on the questions, before we look at the results and some visualisations!

The questions

There were the following questions in the survey:

  • How old are you? (possible answers “15-25”, “25-35”, “35-45”, “over 45”)
  • How many years do you already know agility?
  • How many years do you already work in agile organizations?
  • How many years do you overall work in agile roles (e.g. Software Developer, Scrum Master, Product Owner, Agile Coach)?
  • Please describe in one sentence what agility is for you (if you need more than a sentence, feel free ;))!
  • What are your currently biggest challenges with agility?
  • …and where could you need help/directions/food for thoughts/impulses?
  • About which topic would love to visit a talk at a conference?
  • Thank you for participating! Anything else you want to get off your chest?
  • How can i contact you for discussions or some deeper questions? My honest promise: absolutely no newsletter or advertisement!

The answers

The real interesting part comes now: the results! Again the short note: everything here is anonymised. Here is the link to the original answers as exported to a CSV file. For an easier and more readable experience here is an PDF print of the online survey. And as i worked through the material i condensed everything in a TXT file.

To have a better understanding and an overview i created some mindmappish images of the four most important questions about agile/agility:

Conclusion

Again a big THANKS to all of you! I learnt about agility and the way people perceive it. It broadened my view on things. If some of the anonymous participants want to get in touch now or later: feel free!

And as always: thanks for reading! Leave a comment if you liked it or have suggestions!

HERO MODE!

Let me introduce a concept i am using for a while now: the hero mode. It is very similiar to the Responsibility Process and the Karpman drama triangle. But it is a bit simpler and more visualised approach. You always tell yourself a story. About the past, about now and maybe also about the future. Instead of being a victim, you guessed it, you decide to be the hero! Only YOU! It is your responsibility to tell the right story at the right time. If you go for victim, you will be or become the victim. If you go for observer, you will be or become the observer. If you go for outsider, you will be or become the outsider.

What attibutes has a hero? A hero…

  • …has goals (kill a dragon, get the promotion, marry mary,…).
  • …has big goals (free a kingdom, built a great carreer, have a great family,…).
  • …knows self-efficacy.
  • …knows how to reach the goals (if not now, start to look for possible ways).
  • …starts doing.
  • …is hopefully an agile hero and adapts (if the things don’t work out well ;))!

Watch out what stories you tell yourself. Watch out what stories others told you and which you absorbed and now tell yourself over and over. Go and pull yourself out of the swamp by your own hair like the real Baron Münchhausen.

How do you hold yourself clean of bad thoughts about the situation or yourself? Let the world know by a small comment!

Thanks for reading and sharing!

Open the stage for feedback

Knowing the following is absolutely nothing new (see at least one source i found), i feel the urge to remind me, myself and everone else about this small question before giving feedback/:

Are you open for feedback/my observations/my two cents/…?

Why do i remind us all? Its simple: it stops you from doing a belly flop and lets you do a nice plunge into the topic! And you show respect to your counterpart. By giving the chance to dismiss the feedback, you show, that you care about the feelings and energy levels of them. A great side effect is, that if someone is in neutral mood before, she will open up to your feedback, because of getting curious and having the chance to influence the situation. side effect: most people will say “yes”, cause they really become curious.

How do you start your feedback? What motivated you when getting feedback? Leave a comment and let the world know!

Thanks for reading and sharing!

Design Cards!

Gamification is a great thing to get fun and motivation into daily routine. When working on Software there can be long discussions about how to solve a problem or which problem needs more attention. Good, that there are principles like KISS or Divide and Rule. If you’re like me, you will have examples of situations, where the discussion was over and you remembered one of this principles. It would have been marvelous to come up with the right thing at the right time! What can we do about this pitty? Right, train these principles and have something physical, reminding, near the discussions! Luckily there is now something to get this problems solved: the Design Cards from Christian Rehn and Matthias Wittum. They are here to help you memorize and remind you the right things at the right time. Lets have a short look at them:

Different types of principles have different colors.
A very nice box and high quality!

I am happy, that we have those cards now in our team and couldn’t be more keen to see the results in the discussions. For now i can recommend the Design cards fully!

What different types of cards do you have? And what are they for?

As always thanks for sharing and reading!

Switch on wordpress debugging

To switch on the wordpress debugging completely, you have to put this code into the wp-config.php (before the “/* That’s all, stop editing! Happy publishing. */”)

// DEBUGGING:
define(‘WP_DEBUG’, true);
define(‘WP_DEBUG_DISPLAY’, true);

Differences between managing and leading

Frequently the two words managing and leading are mixed up. While it is true, they describe very similar and related things, they differ by the underlying principles.

Managing is the administration of an organisation. So it is part of the outer form. It is a piece of the basic design of an organisation. In the most cases managing needs a formal authorisation and is assigned to different layers of a hierarchy.

Leadership and leading is more general. You don’t need the authorisation of your organisation to lead. You don’t need the hierarchy layer and your position in there to lead. You need the trust of the people you want to lead. You need them to want you to lead. And there can be different leaders for the same group of people to lead. One nice example for such a structure is the Scrum Framework. You got the Product Owner, leading the Team in the “What” and the Scrum Master leading the Team in the “How”. But what you really need for good leadership is the right culture. There must be respect and security for all, the leading ones and the guided ones.

What are your experiences with leading and managing? What is/was more fun? Where came your problems from? Let the world know by a comment!

As always thanks for reading and sharing, i hope you loved it! If not, please give me a hint how to improve!

About pushing donkeys and the magically pulling ones (McGregor X and Y)

Have you ever been in a (work) situation and asked yourself how it comes, that everything feels a bit odd? It is weird, you can’t put your finger on it, its everywhere and nobody seems to do anything on their own. You have to tell everybody what to do, how to do it and especially when. You hear phrases like “THAT was not described” or “that is not my task/my job”. One possible explanation is the following: the world is directly bound to what you and your surrounding thinks what life is. Let us have a closer look on the deepest believes. Here especially the theory of X and Y by McGregor.

X – what is it?

First comes the odd example we started the post with: the Theory X. In this mindset the believe, that the average worker has no fun at work at all, is very strong. If even possible, the motivation has to be extrinsic. Either treats, like money, or threat will do this job. You have to push everyone like a stubborn donkey to do anything. Deeply underlying in this world is the thesis “everybody hates work”. Interesting part is, that after a while in such a surrounding many guys will really hate their work. And they will need to be pushed, because nothing really matters for them.

Y – why is it?

On the other side of the scale there is a viewpoint where everybody is intrinsic motivated. The typical guy loves to work and enjoys the fruits of it. She needs goals bigger than herself. Work is seen as a part of life! With this insights the intrinsic motivation is born and cultivated in everybody.

Z – what comes next?

Not invented or thought by McGregor, but remarkable is Theory Z. Here the leader or manager sees even further and creates the culture very aware into the direction of meaning and moral. On this path failure is seen as natural, a way to learn and improve things and people. The creativity is fostered in every possible way. Everything tends to push not only the team or organisation forwards, but the whole environment forward. This deeper meaning lasts much longer and unleashes more energy than just letting people doing as they think it is best.

Conclusion

There is no completely X or Y or Z environment. As always, if there are individuals, everyone has her own state of mind, her own level of evolution and her own beliefs. This concept of diversity can be found also in books about Spiral Dynamics, Tribes and Tribal Leadership. The most common states can be assumed as the state of the whole system. Also the widespreaded culture in the leadership tells you the main stream.

To identify your peers, carefully look for things in the outer world, like checklists with a signing policy (don’t get me wrong, there are critical environments in which those are necessary – but if they are massive used for really small things, it can be a good pointer). Also develop a sense for phrases people/managers/leaders use. A common example is “you can’t rely on anybody”, “if you want it done well, just do it yourself” or “they are doing what they want”. This shows deeply, the missing trust for intrinsic motivation of others. Find out your personal type. Or at least try it! Ask your peers, what they think, if you don’t have a specific feeling. Be proud of whatever comes out – it is ok to be X, Y or Z. It only is another tool! Don’t blame anybody else for their nature. If you are a good leader, you will learn how to lift people to the next level. If you aren’t able already now!

What are your experiences with cultures and such categorizations? Do you know your characteristic? Let the world know and leave a comment!

Thanks for reading and sharing if you liked it!

Work – you get what you throw in!

You always stumble upon the same problems whereever you work? It doesn’t matter if we are talking about new work or the good old way of working: everything starts with your thoughts, habits, feelings and beliefs. Your inner landscape mirrors in your (micro) reactions. Others can sense these signals and react immediately. The greatest example for this in my life was while hiking with my lovely girl friend in southern France: out of nowhere came a young boy, way behind his parents, who unasked just gave me a high five. We both had a huge smile and felt great. That was a positive example. If you radiate peace, you will probably get more peace. If you believe, that everybody wants to attack you, you will offend your peers unaware. They mostly will not be able to put their finger on it, but they will feel fear and defend theirselves. If you believe, that everybody is able to develop into something even better (have we talked about seeing the best in your peers already? A good upcoming post idea!), they will feel an open culture. The spirit of engagement can swap around and push everybody to try harder.

So whatever is inside of you, be brave, take a sharp look on it and try to see it as it is. Don’t be ashamed of unperfect things, accept them and decide to become a better version of yourself, maybe even the best version possible!

As always thanks for reading and sharing!

Scrum won’t fix any of your problems!

Ahhh, it’s out! Scrum won’t fix your problems. Ok, in some chaotic situations it will bring order into the game (like the speaker in the british House of Commons :)). But everything else it will only show you very transparent. You will have to find the best ways to solve your customer problems and yours. You are in charge to fix your broken culture, the conflicts in and between your teams.

Scrum only gives a frame. You remember how the Scrum Guide starts with “Scrum is a framework for…“. And that’s it. A framework giving you the chance to work with consistency and even more important: transparency. If you do it right, you will end up with an endless stream of problems to solve. Scrum shows them unforgiving. You will have to talk frequently about them. And it divides the problems into “how you work”, “what you achieved (or not)” and “what your next goals are”.

Conclusion

A huge pro of Scrum is the big transparency it brings to your organisation. It helps to develop every part of your process in a human centric manner. And on top it is easy to explain!

Hard thing is, that culture is hard to change. There can be resistance. Unaware values can make things even harder. Often you see high expectations and when people realize not everything will end up in well in a wink, they are disappointed.

What are your experiences with Scrum and the expectations at it? What disappointments did you saw? Which resistance did you realized and how did you got over it? Leave a comment and let the world know!

As always thanks for reading and sharing! I hope you liked it!

Scrum is just another leadership attempt

Lets put a finger on some hard spots: Scrum is no silver bullet! It will not fit in every situation. On top it will not be the best solution for every situation. Whenever the humans in the organisation aren’t ready to accept and internalize the mindsets behind Scrum, it will not work.

Next spot i want to look at is what i call the holy knowledge how it should be. The Scrum Guide leaves much room for the implementations. This is on purpose. There is room for finding the best fitting solutions for every problem you and the organisation encounter. You can’t expect that two randomly implementations of Scrum are exact the same. Ok, you can, but you will be disappointed! No two organisations have the same

  • customers and their needs,
  • employees and their knowledge and needs,
  • roles and rules and
  • relationships and contracts.

Having said this, we must step back and admit, that there can not be a role, event or artefact that has to be exactly as you imagine it or saw somewhere else. Everything may differ. And it is ok! I dare to say everything should differ to fulfill the specific needs.

So lets accept, that Scrum is just an attempt how to solve problems. It is a great one, with many pros. But it is not more than one of many leadership attempts.

What is Scrum for you? Have you stumbled upon somebody stubborn? Let the world know and leave a comment!

Thanks for reading and sharing, hope you enjoyed it!