Category: Insider Voices

19th May 12:30-1:30



(Wednesday) 12:30 pm – 2:30 pm


Cisco Webex



so hi everyone welcome to the atlantic festival 2021 we’re back again for our seventh year

0:57and are running a packed event across five days with over 40 events and 60 plus speakers um i hope you’ve

1:04managed to join some of our previous sessions earlier this week but if not don’t worry i’ll show you some slides at the end of

1:09the sessions we still have to go for the rest of the week and you can follow us on twitter at

1:14atlanticfest and use the hashtag atlantic so we’re all about what’s of interest to

1:20our tech community of innovators and practitioners along ireland’s western seaboard what we call the atlantic gateway these

1:27events are supported by the tech community to enable the sharing of expertise and knowledge

1:33my name is taran schuller and i’m delighted to be as your event moderator today i am a scrum master and i’m currently

1:39working in a limerick based company called neet solutions who are going through an exciting agile journey alongside a lot

1:45of growth in the company and i’m also a member on the itex digital women’s forum committee

1:52i’ll be tracking your questions today uh so if you just want to jump to the next slide there’s a view of where to find

1:58the q a it’s to the bottom right of your webex screen just click on the ellipsis and

2:04you’ll see the q a there before we get started i’d also like to thank all of our sponsors who have

2:09contributed to this year’s atlantic festival to make it another great success in a

2:15moment we’ll hear from belinda waldorf who will be talking about agile leadership and teams are you doing agile or are you

2:21being agile and what is the difference belinder is the founder of being agile

2:27and an associate with guru team island helping teams improve the agility and perform enhance their performance

2:34and well-being she is also the founder of software cornwall a not-for-profit that supports

2:39kids into tech careers and the growth of the tech community in cornwall as one of atlantic’s initial kick-off

2:46sessions two weeks ago belinda collaborated with itag and guru team to teach secondary school students about

2:52being agile for education and that was introducing agile practices for students to assist with planning

2:59prioritizing to get their study and revision done and belinda is also the author of the

3:04book be an agile in business which is to discover faster smarter leaner ways to work

3:11this was shortlisted for the practical manager category at the chartered management institute book of the year

3:16awards and i’ll paste a link to belinda’s book in the chat a bit later on

3:21so please keep those questions coming in on the q a function and use the chat function to answer any

3:27questions belinda has for you as she goes through her chat we’ll use time at the end of the call to

3:32answer your q and a’s uh while i pass the balloon the call the ball over to the lender

3:38let’s get warmed up in the chat so can you tell us in the chat where you’re joining in from today

3:50so i see some chats coming in here a lot of galway a lot of limerick

3:58um oh hi joe and uh nessa i can see you’re there

4:06shane and steve like a few familiar names new names that’s brilliant hi everyone

4:13jungkook i i so wish i was there with you i’m in um sunny cornwall um so

4:19uh down in uh the far south west and uh it’s um i miss

4:26coming to galway i’ve got to say um and dublin flying into dublin and hope to be back soon

4:33that’s brilliant so from all over which is great

4:39yeah so it’s over to you then belinda right brilliant lovely so um

4:45what we’ve got i think as um as uh taran mentioned we’ve got the q a section so as we go

4:51through if you want to put in any kind of questions or thoughts and then um at the end of the um presentation

4:58we’ll do a bit of q a um we also will use chat a bit as well

5:03in the um session but i’ll i’ll give you a prompt on that before we um before we do that so um welcome

5:10everyone um this is my first time on webex as well so i find it like i’m clicking about a bit

5:16apologies but i think i’m with it so um as um so lovely introduction

5:22thank you so um as um taran mentioned i work with um i’m associate with guri team um and i

5:29come over to ireland or came over to ireland a lot before lockdown to work with teams um and now really working quite

5:35virtually with teams as well which is really great um i’m really around kind of um

5:41being agile and being a doll as a team and so um today i guess what i want to

5:48do is i want to kind of um do three things i want to um help kind of look at our awareness as

5:56kind of agile leaders or just agile individuals generally um i want to kind of i’m going to pick

6:01up on a couple of the key challenges that i see with teams um quite often so with each team i

6:08work with this is kind of a current uh common theme that i see and then we’ll finish with a bit of a game that

6:14you can take away and that you can take some of this forward with your teams um in the offices and uh remotely and

6:22together afterwards um so i hope that all makes sense um why we’re here i guess so so this is

6:28one of my favorite slides hopefully everybody can see the deck and this um little graphs of um what i planned and

6:35what happened and and i think you know so relevant at the moment but i think it’s

6:40tough you know at the moment for us all because there’s so much change in uncertainty

6:46and um you know being agile being able to be adaptive and and manage that change is is

6:52is absolutely you know never been more relevant really um and as leaders um or as as members of

6:59teams then um you know it’s even more important if we’re the people that are kind of leading that forward

7:05um so in terms of um the title and agile leadership um

7:11being agile and doing agile um what i kind of mean by that is this

7:16kind of difference between um the the methodology and the processes

7:21and the practices and the tools that we’ve got that we use within our teams which are really you know effective and

7:28and good at kind of recording our time and our work and things like that say jira or trello or whichever tools you

7:34might use and um for those of you who are in dev so i work with technical and

7:40non-technical teams i should add so um you know there’s lots of agile

7:45practices and tools that we use within dev but also more broadly and but when we think about

7:50being adult it’s more that kind of behavior and attitude that we’ve got

7:56towards um what’s happening um with our teams with our projects with our organizations so

8:02it’s more about that kind of attitude that we take and the values and the beliefs that we hold

8:07and how that kind of informs our mindset and our culture so i i work with lots of teams that are

8:13doing agile really well but they really want to kind of enhance that and and take that step forward into kind of

8:18being more agile and so i’m going to start with a little bit of a kind of

8:24um quiz in that sense um or a little game um i’ve i’ve played this quite a few

8:30times at um big conferences where i’ve got lots of people in the room and i kind of do a stand-up sit-down thing which won’t obviously work

8:36online and but what i’d like you to do is i’m going to present you with a list of things

8:42and and i just want you to have a think about those things as i kind of go through them

8:47and see if you kind of recognize them and say maybe you recognize them in yourself

8:52or your team or organization that you’re working at the moment or even organizations that you’ve

8:58worked with previously and so i’m not going to ask you to to respond at this point but just

9:03thinking to yourself you know yeah this is something i recognize or no it’s not

9:09so um i’ll read through the list and just as i say to yourself just think do i do

9:15this or no so um do do delay delivery until things are completely ready

9:23uh do you insist on perfection so can you be a bit of a kind of i really want to make it perfect

9:29um do you find yourself haggling over precise wording sometimes when you’re talking to people

9:35and do you ever insist on everything being written down so absolutely things have to be written

9:41down before we can take them forward and something i am going to say i am

9:46incredibly guilty of is prioritizing unimportant tasks i’m i’m really easily distracted by

9:52shiny things um so if i was answered this that would definitely be a yes on my list

9:59um insisting on doing everything through the channels so whether that’s kind of following

10:04particular policy or procedure um but making sure that we’re insisting on doing everything through the right

10:11channels um referring matters for further studying consideration say if somebody’s got a great idea and

10:18that you know tend to go forward for further study further consideration planning that sort of thing

10:24um and um teams that are really big teams largest possible so always over five

10:30people so um i’m conscious i can’t really see many faces so if anybody does want to

10:36turn on their video then do feel free and i’m hopeful that you’re all kind of sat

10:41there deliberating and thinking um about this list so um i don’t know if

10:47anybody kind of might know where i might have found this list from or anybody come across it before

10:53and what i’ll do actually i will keep chat open just in case um anybody wants to kind of add into the

11:00conversation um but yeah you might be surprised where i came across it i came across it quite

11:06a long long time ago and it really got me thinking and it was something that really helped

11:12me when i was kind of becoming a leader to just raise my awareness so

11:18um at this point if i’m doing it online in a conference pretty much everybody stood up because somebody is

11:24you know everybody kind of has got one of these things on their list and so it might surprise you to find out that

11:31this is from um a simple sabotage field manual so this is a field manual that i

11:38discovered and got it probably coming up like eight ten years ago now and where it when it was declassified by

11:45the cia and basically it’s a manual that they put together to um help basically people that were

11:53um trying to help the allies um and they might be working in an area where it’s controlled by the enemy and

12:00these this is basically a guide to help you to sabotage productivity in

12:05the workplace but without getting caught so these are like these little tips and tricks

12:10throughout this that they go through and they’re like you know these are things that you can

12:16do to actually sabotage productivity without getting caught without it being kind of cooled out and if it is called

12:22out that you can kind of um you know kind of shake it off so if you then there is if you if you

12:29search for this sabotage field manual online you will find it you can it is quite an amusing read

12:35and the kind of more business section is um towards the end um and you can see like people make

12:42speeches insist on doing everything through channels so the point of this really is just to

12:48kind of get us thinking about you know our own behaviors and things that we do sometimes and

12:54and certainly in some instances we do need to make sure that these things happen you know

12:59if we’re working in medical healthcare e-health for example then things do have to work you know it is important um but it’s

13:07you know in a lot of cases you know some of this can be over the top um in terms of what we need to how we

13:14need to kind of manage and need our teams excuse me um so hopefully that’s got you

13:21all thinking a little bit um i came across a metaphor as well

13:26um and uh i had a sudden realization actually a couple of um evenings again that i

13:31just suddenly remembered that they’re not called roundabouts in ireland you don’t call them roundabouts you call them traffic circles i think

13:38um i i even had the thought of yes there are definitely roundabouts in ireland because in the usa they don’t generally

13:44have roundabouts so um double check everybody do um so if this was a nice metaphor that was

13:52shared um in a slightly different context but i thought it worked really nicely in leadership as well um and it’s this idea of whether

14:00you’re a kind of traffic light kind of person or a roundabout kind of person so if we think about i

14:06would say yeah thank you roundabouts oh yeah her roundabouts as well so uh rotaries oh okay i just learned

14:12something new thank you ray last night um so the idea of this is just thinking

14:18about the kind of nature of traffic lights and roundabouts so like traffic if we take traffic lights

14:24they’re actually quite commanding control like you’ll do as you’re told so when it’s red you stop when it’s green

14:30you go um and it’s very much you know if you imagine the traffic lights are

14:35um you know your your piece of work the tool that you’re going to use to navigate this piece of work eg

14:42a junction and the cars or your team is how are you actually helping them to

14:48manage that piece of work how are you managed to get through that so is it kind of more traffic light

14:54approach you know i’m going to tell them what to do when and highly controlled situation or is it

14:59more of a kind of roundabout situation so actually what we’ve done there is we’ve kind of given drivers a set of

15:05kind of rules and guidelines about how to navigate that roundabout and then really

15:10pretty much trusted them to be able to navigate it themselves without bumping into each other

15:16yeah so we can kind of think about agile leadership being more of this kind of roundabout metaphor where actually we’re

15:22giving our tools that we’re giving our teams the tools and the support and the environment that they need to actually kind of get the job

15:29done without having to overly control them so i hope that kind of metaphor makes sense

15:35um if we think about in a kind of slightly more kind of detail is i tend to kind of go okay so that kind of theory

15:42um x so if you’re not familiar with the kind of theory x theory why say that kind of traffic like again that kind of mentality that

15:49attitude would be you know people need to be told what to do people won’t do it unless they’re told

15:55and and we need to come on and control the situation it needs to be micro managed we’ll direct

16:00them you know the the highest paid most important person in the room their opinion is what matters um

16:08versus the kind of roundabout which is more the theory why everybody’s doing the best that they can

16:14with the tools and the environment and the resources that they’ve got available to them

16:20and really as that leader i’m here to kind of serve them and make sure that they’ve got

16:25the tools and the environment and the resources that they need to get the job done and so i’m much more of this kind of

16:31facilitator role and i’m mentoring i’m coaching i’m sharing my knowledge and skills or i’m

16:36helping the team to work out for themselves and we’re very much led by value

16:42no value for the customer value for the stakeholders um rather than that kind of steering

16:48group type model and and the difference in these two is quite amazing really in that sense of

16:54you know unfortunately if we do take this kind of theory x command and control type approach what we can do is

17:00we can put our teams into this kind of mindset of what we call learn helplessness where actually they just

17:06sit back and wait to be told what to do so there’s no kind of feeling of being able to challenge or

17:12safe to kind of do what they want to do they’ve got to stop and they’ve got to wait and then you start to see things like work

17:18to rule and not in my job description and things like that because people are kind of you’re you’re basically you’ve trained

17:24them by behaving in this this this kind of traffic light way you’ve actually trained them to do that

17:29and they won’t do anything else whereas in this kind of more roundabout we’re actually really encouraging people

17:35to take that power themselves and enabling them so they can be self-managing self-organization

17:42self-organizing and then we’re really there as leaders to help them to do the best job that they can and so

17:49again i kind of hope that makes sense and if we kind of compare you know if we go back

17:54and compare that list that we were looking at and then we take a look at some of the agile

18:00principles so let’s go right back to the the kind of core manifesto and and principles of agile is i’ve just

18:06picked out a few of those principles that are really relevant around leadership and really kind of add to that so

18:12you know this this emphasis on working collaboratively working together rather than individuals and getting that environment

18:20and that support needed and then really trusting the team to get the job done you know so and then having

18:28conversations so some of the stuff that we’ll look at kind of next around conversation is key to effective communication

18:35and how working solutions are are the primary measure of progress um creating a sustainable pace to

18:42maximize the performance they will pick up on a couple of challenges um

18:48there that around um the team so that’s one of the key challenges that i face um but really recognizing that the best

18:54solutions emerge from if we can make our team self-organizing they’re more efficient more productive

19:00and and their improvement of well-being as well so they’re happy teams as well as productive teams which

19:06which is hopefully what we all want and yeah absolutely the psychological safety there is

19:11is really important so and and and finally and what we’ll

19:17finish with um um after the next section is this looking at are we really regularly reflecting and

19:24tuning our teams and and helping our teams to to make sure that they’re in the best environment that they’ve got

19:30the best support and resources available to them you know um based on budgets and time

19:37scales and things obviously and so just like that piece really

19:42around kind of agile mindset or are we you know are we really acting and behaving in the best way

19:48that actually allows our teams to be agile and are we being agile ourselves um as leaders in terms of in terms of

19:56how we’re how we’re acting and how we’re working with our teams and so again any kind of thoughts on

20:03that and any questions we’ll pick up on at the end so feel free to type those

20:09into the q a um or um i think um taran’s keeping an eye on both the chat and the q a as well

20:17um so prioritizing it prioritization tongue twister and um

20:23estimation is probably one of the key things and in terms of when i work with teams say

20:30all types of different sorts of teams so um this is from kind of big tech

20:35organizations teams working within big tech organizations three two completely non-tech teams so i’m doing

20:42some work with durham um cathedral at the moment for example around and um

20:48and you know so that was a very different no technology involved at all there um but you know it’s a common theme that

20:55i see around teams finding that prioritizing estimating and planning is a real challenge and for

21:02them and their team so i want to play a little game i’m going to give you and we’re going to play an estimation game which we’ll use

21:08chat for um so what i’m going to do is i’m going to give you something to estimate and then what i’d like you to do is kind

21:15of type the number into chat but don’t press go for a second i’ll just give everybody kind of ten

21:20seconds to put their numbers in if you like and then i’ll say go and we’ll all go at the same time

21:27and then i’ll ask a couple of questions again afterwards and then just again if you want to use chapter feedback that’s

21:32great um so um it’s a really kind of simple task

21:38um so um what i’d like you to do is estimate in minutes how long to make a

21:44cup of tea so if we were estimating a task as a team imagine we’re a big team and we’re going to estimate how long

21:50in minutes to make a cup of tea so put your number into chat and then i’ll give it a couple

21:57of seconds and then um go for it cool so hey so we’ve got some numbers coming

22:04through so you guys should be able to see these as well so um so great scroll back up so we’ve

22:10got a five and eight a four ten minutes three minutes seven

22:15minutes ten minutes uh four five six one point five

22:21three four eight four four six four gosh there’s loads of us brilliant three

22:26seven fours and threes more five three three three seven god quite diverse four and two

22:32three so i think the lowest there was one and a half and i think the highest was ten

22:40nice comment sean you get a better gold star for that actually i’ll give you a gold star for that one

22:45um i’ll come back to why in a minute so actually while um if those of you kind of estimated one

22:52and a half or two can you and and those of you who estimate quite high as well any of you would like to um

23:00like just kind of give a quick overview of you know your one and a half minutes or your 10 minutes what’s involved what

23:06did you do just give me a quick or give us a quick overview of what you did or even if it was a five or seven or

23:12just a couple of people just uh strong tea yeah excellent uh malarkey yeah assumptions again another gold star for

23:19you six minutes so plenty of brewing time on that one by the size of it

23:25um so you had to run to the shop saying

23:31so was that ten minutes then i’m guessing that was one of the higher estimates um

23:36that you had because you had an extra task 30 minutes brilliant bull kettle put a teep bag in

23:44add hot water enjoy i’m on the way they’re open again over

23:49here i don’t know how it stands over there with you at the moment but they’ve just opened back up over here uh

23:5610 minutes uh phil kell ball the kettle get the tea from the press and do the pot put see in the pot at the

24:02obviously using a pot as well as that takes pic brilliant get cup of tea property fabulous so

24:09i think so first observation is actually we’re quite diverse with that um with those estimates so one and a half

24:16minutes three to ten um without introductions nice point yeah five minutes

24:21um so we we’ve got quite if i mean one and a half ten minutes

24:26there’s not a massive difference but if i scale that up and say days or weeks you know is that task going to take one

24:33and a half days or is it gonna take ten days that’s quite a difference isn’t it or even hours you know that’s quite a

24:39difference so we’re quite diverse with our with our estimations there and so i’ve got a couple more questions

24:46for you so again feel free to answer in chat just so we’ve got a bit of a conversation going this when i do this

24:52in my courses and usually this we kind of open up conversation now which is really good fun but we’ll use chat today

24:58because there’s lots of us um so um what i’d like you to do is just

25:03tell me where were you so when you took yourself off and i asked you supposed to make making

25:09a cup of tea um you all have gone somewhere and you know your your brain will have kind of gone

25:15what’s the best experience to inform me of this you know what previous experience have i got that will give me an idea of how

25:21long this task is going to take um so just think about where you so was it for me to say answer me

25:28or someone else i suppose are the two options there um or you can give a different one so

25:34let’s just see who people um who people made it for

25:41me sorry i’ve done those questions like that i would have not yet me me me me it’s i’ve got to say it’s

25:47always the same answers i’ve run this quit and this kind of game a number of times before

25:53and um it always um it always um has the same and where were you where you were at

25:59home all over the office this is a slightly off question now because lots of us are at home

26:04so but we’re at home in the office yeah everybody’s at home and just finally what did you make so

26:12did you make tea or did you make something else maybe you made coffee or hot chocolate or something like that

26:18so let’s just let’s say tea green tea i’ll allow that okay tea tea excellent tea with milk cool

26:25tea oh you’re a good lot okay anybody that’s that lemon ginger tea that’s

26:32still teal i’ll let that count it’s a tea

26:40so usually you’re all very good i’ve got to say at barbai okay

26:46but usually there’s um yeah nessa saying ness has played the game before so

26:52she knows um so he’s got a bit of an inside track on this and so most of the time and you’re all

27:00very good i’ve gotta say but generally there’s always somebody that either makes coffee or they make hot chocolate

27:06and so in that instance what i usually do is is kind of say okay well just remember

27:12that you know i asked you me you i asked you to make a cup of tea or estimate making a cup of tea you’ve

27:18estimated making a cup of coffee so maybe i asked you for a website and you’ve built me an app

27:24you know so actually you’ve not really you know you’ve kind of gone off scale based on your own assumptions

27:29and and people are picking up this you know what are your assumptions pretty much we all default to our you

27:36know i’m making a cup of tea for me i’m at home we’ve gone back to our kind of um

27:41kind of comment based common experience perhaps in making tea and by the sounds of it apart from um

27:48sorry i’ve lost track of the name everybody kind of assumed that we had tea bags we had milk we had sugar we had

27:54a kettle that we could boil we had access to fresh water we’ve made all these assumptions about

27:59you know the tools and resources and the environment that we’ve got around us so really this is really just to kind of

28:06point out how diverse that we can be when it comes to just estimating something as simple as a cup of tea

28:12so when it comes to our kind of accuracy of estimation when we’re doing our tasks

28:19and whatever work that might be you know if we can be so diverse when

28:24we’re down here so on this this is kind of just a simplified process complexity type um graph um

28:33if you think about this axis as as the what and this is the how so when we’re close to agreement on what

28:39we’re doing and how we’re going to do it and we’re certain about how we’re going to do it things are quite simple and we can predict them

28:44and we can get a kind of quite accurate estimation but you know we all know how and what a cup

28:51of tea is but we’re still massively diverse in our estimation so if we think about how that impacts as

28:57we get you know a lot of you guys tech teams you’re working constantly in this kind of complex

29:03environment where it’s not entirely clear what we’re doing or how we’re going to do it or maybe we

29:09know what we’re doing but we don’t know how we’re going to do it estimation becomes really difficult and challenging

29:16so we need to be kind of mindful of that and again aware of that when it comes to it and this is where this kind of conversation is

29:22really critical to actually open up that discussion even as simply on a on a chat discussion

29:28when i run this with um teams um when i run this with teams i always

29:34time it so it’s just before the break so what i kind of then say is i kind of go um i can’t remember the names again

29:41but if i flip through you say you know okay so if we were gonna have a break now you know d you’ve got four minutes pack check

29:47you’ve got ten minutes oliver you’ve got three minutes michael you’ve got you know it just again makes you think

29:53and often people go off make their cup of tea and come back and go it did take longer than three minutes or i forgot about this so you know that

30:01actual kind of practice is really interesting so something that you can play with your teams um and just kind of as a bit of an

30:07icebreaker come to in kind of prioritizing an estimation just to get us give us help us get a bit more of a

30:14shared kind of view and get those conversations started so

30:19i think often teams feel like prioritizing estimating is a challenge and it is

30:24um absolutely i think the other thing that really comes through when i’m working with teams is workflow

30:30management um and how agile is often kind of taken

30:36as an approach where we’re really fixing our work for two or three weeks um and we’re doing that work and then

30:42we’re planning our next batch of work but again the majority of teams that i work with

30:48can’t do that because they have a degree they have that mix of you know their plans scheduled

30:55day-to-day work but then they also have ad hoc stuff coming in at them so whether it’s

31:00urgent important requests or new items going on the backlog of conversations or side projects they’re working on

31:07and or stuff that that you know they’re improvising because you know we’re up here in chaos you know

31:13we’re up here something’s happened and so we’re having to respond to that quickly so actually this kind of

31:19planning our whole sprint doesn’t really work and um we need to kind of give ourselves

31:25you know some slack and some capacity for the different aspects of our work that

31:31we do so agile can be really powerful for helping us to kind of visualize that and get a better view

31:37of you know how much work is planned how much work is unplanned and we can start to estimate how much

31:44unplanned work we might get and and then actually be able to build in slack for that and

31:49actually you so again coming back to that kind of being agile and doing agile you know we might be doing agile in

31:55terms of planning our sprints but are we actually kind of reflecting on those and working out well actually we’ve got a

32:00bigger you know we’ve got too much ad hoc work on at the moment we need to manage that or

32:05we’ve got this big project coming up so are we actually kind of building that back in and making sure that we are building

32:12this kind of sustainable pace for our teams so you know our boards and our and our

32:19tools can really help us to visualize that kind of reality of what is actually happening the real-time picture

32:25um and what i find is actually teams operate

32:30they operate better around a capacity of you know planning kind of 60 70 80

32:36of their week and allowing that kind of 20 30 slack for that ad hoc work for that

32:42learning improvement for that rework um for those other areas because

32:48otherwise you know we i i used to say we’re not barry poppins bags as teams you know you

32:53can’t just keep throwing stuff at us and expecting it to disappear into the bag so you know that impact actually of

33:01overburden in teams i’ve met team leaders that will always over plan a sprint so they’ll always

33:07over plan their sprint so this is how much work i think they can get the team can get done i’ll give them

33:12an extra bit as well to make sure that they’re 100 productive what you’re doing is you’re actually

33:18putting your team into perpetual failure so they can never win every sprint they

33:24can’t get the work done so that becomes you know actually quite a hit on morale

33:29so it’s much better in my view to plan for that for that extra capacity and

33:36actually allow the team then to do extra if they do get all the work done so we’re still performing but we’re doing it in a kind

33:43of pull way rather than a push way um and that really helps to you know if we’re we’ve always got stuff left over a

33:49sprint and we’re having to re-plan that and re-prioritize it and you know that adds complexity to the

33:55planning we need to build that slack and we also need what what i always encourage teams to have is

34:01a bit of an inbox a bit of a control point um where we can really look at that inbound work and decide whether we do

34:07need to drop everything and do it or whether it can wait um and also then

34:13you know if if that slack isn’t used you know that gives the team time for opportunity

34:18to review to reflect to improve to upskill to do lots of different things in terms of using their time

34:24productively to to actually improve the team performance and rather than just always just

34:30fire fighting in terms of their day-to-day and getting the work done so and that kind of slack an inbox i

34:36mentioned there so you know here this is the canvas i use with teams when i’m introducing agile so

34:42you’ve got your kind of backlog on the left hand side and your sprint on the right so here you know we’ve got some plan

34:48work we’ve started our sprint we’re doing our agile training today um but during our sprint we’ve got these

34:54kind of two ad hoc requests come in we can now you know using the inbox we

35:00can make a bit of a decision whether that’s our daily stand up or whenever that might be is to actually say okay so where you

35:07know is this task important and urgent if it is we’ve got some slack here within our sprint to actually take that

35:14work on if we didn’t we’d have to go hey guys we’re not a mary poppins bag if you know you want to bring that in then

35:21we’re going to have to stop doing something so we can start to make sure we’re getting that balance but if we

35:26built ourselves some slack we can actually bring that in and say this one okay this isn’t urgent

35:31this isn’t important so this will go into our backlog and we’ll think about that next sprint so it just gives us a control point

35:37because what i do see is a lot of teams where you know things come in and they just

35:43get added to the they get added and then they get bumped and then this stuff never gets done

35:48because you know we’re too busy dealing with the ad hoc requests and which are a massive disruption and

35:53interruption as well so we can really kind of use you know the board to

35:59to raise our awareness and give us a bit more kind of um visibility um and and really kind of

36:06give us an idea of you know how we can plan our our sprints better and how we can kind of build in

36:12those additional things that we need to do to change and improve and those ad hoc projects and so you

36:19know most teams i work with tend to have you know a mix of projects or a mix of things that they’re working

36:25on they’re not just working on one project or one product development they’re actually doing a mix of roles or

36:31a mix of things so it can be a really kind of useful way to to really make sure that we’ve got that

36:37mix right um just in time commitment yeah that’s a

36:43nice way of putting it as well so um how are we doing time-wise not too bad see um

36:50the last thing i wanted to share with you um because hopefully this has um you know

36:56got you thinking about some things got you thinking about you know how can we um implement this within the team or

37:03actually how can i take this back to the team um and um again another thing that i see

37:10teams doing but not doing particularly well is is regular retrospectives

37:15um and when i say not doing them well is because what often they’re doing is

37:21they’re doing the reflection piece but they’re not doing the learning or the actionable improvements taking

37:28away so they are looks kind of reviewing what’s going well and where it could be better but they’re not really

37:34implementing stuff to to to to to to improve um that

37:40what’s going well or mitigate against the things that they’re finding challenging and so um again this is a bit of a kind

37:49of doing agile being agile thing so um this is a slide from a talk creating great class it’s a company i

37:55worked with years ago um and um they we we basically uh used agile to

38:02visualize and what was happening within the organization and they’re basically like a

38:08design and produce toys and so each one of these post-it notes represents a toy

38:13and this is a design department and i introduce agile to them and then i came

38:18back a few weeks later and i was like how’s it going um and the uh design um

38:25team leader oh it’s absolutely brilliant brilliant you know the board’s looking fabulous you know come and have a look coming up

38:30look the only thing is we need a bigger waiting box um and i kind of went oh okay like let’s

38:38see you know so and this is not an understatement this this kind of animated slide because

38:43um this was really what was happening basically they had their backlog of work they had stuff

38:50they wanted to do stuff they were doing nothing had got done everything had ended up in waiting and

38:56pause and their response was a bit of a doing agile response in my view in that like we need a bigger waiting box

39:02whereas actually the being at our response would be well why is everything getting stuck in waiting what is our board showing us

39:10that we can now actually respond to and kind of say okay why is this happening what’s going wrong

39:15here and how can we do it better next time so that kind of subtle difference between you know okay we’re using the

39:21tool but are we actually listening to what the tools telling us and responding to that

39:28and so i play a game with teams and this is and i wanted to share with you um so

39:35um this is basically called retrospective sailing then you might have come across a couple of versions of it so this is my kind of

39:41style version of it um and um this is a bake from a conference i did a

39:46couple of years ago so we had a workshop at the conference where we basically used our boats to do a

39:52retrospective on the conference itself so again i think you know retrospectives are

39:58great in terms of reviewing our agile process but actually retrospectives are great for improving lots of things

40:04across the team and across the organization using the different stakeholders and again you know

40:10agile tools are great and it’s about working out where we can use them to give us that kind of knowledge and

40:15feedback that we need to be able to make things better so the way the boat works um is what you

40:22do is if you’re all in person get a big sheet of paper and literally draw a boat and if you’re not i’ve got a template

40:28and you can do it on google slides or jamboard or um you could do it and do it as a i

40:34kind of often facilitate it through a slide um and so you draw your boat on our boat

40:40is our mission so on in this sense we’ve got the sunshine ship um and their mission at the conference

40:47was to learn to network to um share my crazy ideas with people

40:52to meet others in the industry to level up get out the office um and uh it’s uh take share

41:00share of sharing learnings back at hq i think that one is as well so we’ve got our mission for our bait what we’re

41:05actually kind of reflecting on and and why um what we wanted to achieve

41:11um and then we’ve got our sales so what we do is we add our sales what’s going well

41:16um so here we’ve got our refreshments a good amount of people and the format of the

41:22workshops the aircon do you like what they’ve done there what’s putting wind in our sails the aircon

41:27friendly people practical sessions and you can see that we’ve also scaled these sales so what we’ve done is

41:34on a scale of one to ten how big is this sale so practical sessions massive sale taking us forward

41:40slack channel just a two out of ten so a smaller nice sale but not a massive main sale

41:46for our boat and then what we’ve got down the bottom here is we’ve got what could be better what are our

41:52challenges so what are the anchors what’s holding our vote back um and again so we’ve identified

41:58these and we’ve scaled those on a minus one to minus ten sorry that’s minus ten to ten

42:03and it’ll just be one um so on a scale so minus one is a minor

42:09impediment you know you say not enough cake not enough chocolate cake is a minus one on this boat um

42:15and it was really good cake of course hey um and um then we’ve got kind of bigger anchors

42:21which is uh two men too much choice of good talks and workshops you know minus seven too many sessions

42:28and so that’s a slightly bigger anchor for people at the conference they they can’t choose

42:33so this is really great because we can get our team to map out what’s what’s putting the wind in their

42:38sails what are the anchors holding them back and then get a gauge of how big those sales are and how big those

42:44anchors are and and the scaling is really the key because the yellow post-it notes then

42:50are a plus one improvement so these are small actionable things that we can take away that we could do say in our next

42:57sprint that don’t look to raise that minus seven to a plus seven but just aim to turn that minus seven

43:03into a minus six what could we do that’s small that’s actionable to just raise that anchor a notch and

43:10indeed what could we do to enhance these sales what could we do more to to make our refreshments even

43:16better to improve the variety of our talks even better to perhaps engage more on slack so we

43:22can turn that two into a three and so these are really key takeaways then that we can take from our

43:28boat and we can put them into our backlog as tasks in our slack for that

43:33that improvements and change that if we get a chance within our of our sprint that we can get

43:39those and we can start working on those tasks so hopefully that makes sense as a game

43:46um and i really do encourage you to you know just use the metaphor if not you know drawing the boat

43:51actually using that metaphor is really powerful and a nice way to create a kind of safe to

43:56challenge environment so where people feel quite safe to kind of say actually this isn’t you know this could

44:03be better because what we’re doing is we’re reflecting with the benefit of hindsight so we’re not saying what if we

44:08mess up what did we get wrong whose fault was there we’re saying actually with the benefit of hindsight you know

44:14what could have gone better next time what are some of the challenges that we’re facing that potentially collectively we could

44:21we could work on together so um when i i do this with teams you know i have a slide that i use so we can

44:28add our mission and then we add our sales and we can add our plus one improvements

44:33so there’s uh you know we can scale they say prioritize an estimation like say often comes

44:39and comes up on boards ad hoc requests always comes up on boards technical issues often are those

44:45challenges as well but again you know the team the collaboration the flexibility of remote

44:51working so you know some things can be sales you know wow it’s brilliant being flexible

44:56being able to work from home and work from you know work the hours that i want to

45:01but also it can be a bit of an anchor because the comms and the collaboration has broken down a little bit because

45:07we’re all we’re all distributed so we can really use this to kind of look at our own teams

45:12and whether it’s our agile processes or whether it’s actually more broadly things within the team

45:18um and then remembering you know these plus one improvements we want to take these improvements

45:24forward so these improvements will land in our inbox and we’ll make a decision on okay

45:31you know is this something that we want to action you know this sprint and it’s something small and actionable

45:37that we could get done this sprint and make a difference or is this something that actually you know it’s not so urgent not so important

45:43so let’s put it in the backlog and we can look at how we can build that in with our other mix of work when we’re

45:49planning our next sprint so i think this is that kind of key part

45:55really is what i don’t see is teams taking those improvements forward in small actionable ways

46:02and actually doing this can have a really big impact quite quickly and really help to do things like create a

46:07bit of slack so you know where the team is working 110 and they just don’t have time for this

46:12stuff is actually looking for those small wins that we can just raise those things up a little notch and just create a little

46:19bit of slack for the team that then enables them to start to build on that so you know eventually they go from

46:24110 plan to kind of 70 70 planned and 30

46:30unplanned um slack and ad hoc time for them so i’m conscious of time i’ve talked a

46:36bit more than i wanted to so this is my last slide so um really i just wanted to flash this up as

46:43well so that um this kind of new routines and behaviors because i think often when i work with

46:48teams especially leadership teams this is quite challenging stuff and it can be quite uncomfortable and quite

46:55new so just raising your awareness so you know when you can catch yourself you know getting shiny

47:01getting distracted by shiny unimportant tasks that actually you’ve got a new level of

47:07awareness you become conscious of that so you know it will just take a bit of time to kind of make that habit

47:13so you know we’re all pretty used to waving at the endothelin because i was waving as you all came in because it’s

47:18just default wave when i see a face now um but yeah you know take this on board and take this kind of agile

47:24approach to agile so there’ll be you know something i hope in this talk that you can kind of take

47:29away and perhaps you’d like to share that on chat in a second when when we open up questions

47:35um that you know what’s that one little key takeaway from this talk that you could actually take forward put into

47:41your sprint and um be able to action over the next couple of weeks and to get that momentum so take an

47:48agile approach to being agile is my point really lots of small think big act small in that sense so

47:55um and yeah just on that quick close um and i see nessa’s popped up on video

48:02as well so um she’s waving um that um i as i as i say i do do sessions with

48:08teams um through guru and so if you want to have a conversation they tend to be quite custom

48:13so um from kind of out the box type introductions and and sessions to really kind of what’s

48:20working really nicely at the moment it’s just kind of refresh refresh and reflect sessions and really

48:25make to measure for your team so get in touch with nasa if you want to chat more and indeed if there’s any

48:31templates or any of these slides that you quite like then give me a shout and i’m happy to send over like the canvas or the boat

48:38template for you so you can use it um and uh and my contact details are

48:43here as well so you can find my book and you find me on twitter and different places so and i will stop there so that we have

48:50got a few minutes for q a um i hope you enjoyed the talk do let me know on chat i’ll open up the

48:57chat again and um and we’ll open up the q a as well um so uh that’s

49:05brilliant sarah yeah oh great i’m glad you enjoyed it