Continue reading: Health checks for Teams and Leadership

Health checks for Teams and Leadership

In this blog post I want to share a powerful tool, the Leadership Health Check. It will help you become stronger as a management team and reveal improvement opportunities for how you, as a team of active servant leaders, better can enable the agile teams you support.

But first, let’s take it from the beginning.

One of my favourite exercises in my toolbox as an agile coach is something I learned during my years at Spotify; the Squad Health Check. It’s a retrospectives format, a self-evaluation workshop, in which the teams express how they feel they’re doing on wide variety of topics such as collaboration, value of what is delivered, ability to influence, received organizational support, etc. The result generates insights and commitment to actions of improvement for both the team and the supporting leadership. I love it because I believe it’s a great tool for strengthening autonomy, culture and continuous learning.

More than a year ago, a colleague at Spotify Georgiana Laura Levinta and I created a health check for the leadership of our Tribe (Tribe is a semi-autonomous department at Spotify encapsulating 4-8 teams and with a dedicated set of leaders and managers). Geo and I were inspired by the Squad Health Check, but the goal with this adoptation was to help the Tribe’s managers perform a self-evaluation of their ability to provide active supportive leadership to the squads within the tribe, and to generate a discussion on how they can improve as a team to be able to provide even better support.

Since then, I have together with my current client Casumo, adopted this for their context, culture and beliefs. We’ve run it several times with great success and value, both with the company’s leadership team but also on cluster level (semi-autonomous department). I believe the Team Health Check and the Leadership Health Check both are tremendously powerful; hence I want to unleash them to the wider agile community, hoping that more organizations will find them valuable and useful. Or at least be inspired by them, and then try something totally different.

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Continue reading: Remote or Distributed Retrospectives

Remote or Distributed Retrospectives

Meaningful inclusive retrospectives are possible with distributed teams. Let’s talk about the basics you need to have in place, how you can facilitate a distributed retrospective, and what to look out for. This guide is based on the retrospective format that we used at LRF Media. The retrospective participants included 5 team members at the office in Stockholm, one person working from home, and 2 people working at the Kraków office.

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Continue reading: The three states of working agreements

The three states of working agreements

You may have read about this elsewhere, but a recent event led me to write this. I feel that the working agreements concept is not given the attention it deserves. Working agreements are about making your culture explicit. It is desirable to have them visualised on your Scrum board as a constant reminder. Question is, when do we remove them from the board so that they don’t cover the whole board? My answer is, when the third state is reached, “internalised”.

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Continue reading: How to facilitate a lightweight project retrospective

How to facilitate a lightweight project retrospective

room-setupLarge group retrospectives are long, large, unwieldy facilitations. So much so that they’re typically done only at the end of a project. Holding a 1-2 day retro every few weeks for a large project is neither practical nor responsible, but continually improving the project is also important.  So, how do you hold light-weight retrospectives for large groups, while making sure that you:

  • Have a common understanding
  • Identify issues and strengths
  • Reach a group agreement on action points
  • Ensure that the group feels that they received a high return on time invested

This retrospective combines different techniques and technologies to achieve these results.Continue reading

Continue reading: Constellation retrospective

Constellation retrospective

constellationThis is a strong retrospective for bringing issues up to the surface. Instead of just one person expressing an issue as a positive or a negative, the whole team feedbacks about the importance of the issue. The team then decides which issues to tackle. The retrospective also exposes issues where there is not common view, and highlights areas of alignment. It also allows the team to ask tough questions in a safe environment.Continue reading

Continue reading: Slides från session Agila Arbetsmetoder @ SAST Q20

Slides från session Agila Arbetsmetoder @ SAST Q20

Otroligt kul att se hur många som fick plats i ett konceptrum i Aula Magna under våra presentationer under SAST Q20! Vi pratade först om kontinuerlig förbättring och sedan om working agreements. Slides hittar du nedan. Kontinuerlig förbättring Working Agreements På Crisp har vi en hel del gratis material och guider, bland annat en Toyota

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Continue reading: Facilitating from the Back of the Room at Spotify

Facilitating from the Back of the Room at Spotify

Last week Jimmy Janlén and I held a shortened version of our course Training from the Back of the Room for our former colleagues at Spotify. Actually it is not “our” course, but Sharon Bowmans. It’s based on her books about how create a more engaging learning experience in the class room, especially when training adults.

“I really liked the whole setup of this course – a really well organised and inspiring day. Wow :-)”

Jimmy and I are certified trainers of this course. We use the techniques when we do training. But we have also experienced how useful they are in other coaching and facilitation situations, such as workshops and retrospectives. Almost any meeting can be made more engaging and with longer lasting result with the set of tools TBR provides.

We have chosen to call the shortened training Facilitating from the Back of the Room, since that is what we agile coaches do most. 16 persons from the Spotify Agile Guild showed up this beautiful day in a corner room on the 17:th floor in High Tech building with amazing views over Stockholm city. We have to admit we were a little nervous at first. Would this actually make sense to coaches? It did.

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Continue reading: Team barometer (self-evaluation tool)

Team barometer (self-evaluation tool)

Sometimes it’s hard for a team to know if they get tighter and better as a team over time. This is a tool that allows a team to learn just that.

Team barometer (self-evaluation tool) in a nutshell

The barometer is executed as a survey in a workshop. The survey consists of 16 team characteristics, packaged as a deck of cards. Team members vote green, yellow or red for each card in the meeting (or before the meeting as an anonymous survey). Once all cards have been run through, the team reflects and discusses the results. You can, if you want to, run through the exercise in thirty minutes, but I recommend to set aside an hour.

Click here to download the cards.
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Continue reading: Ett upplägg för en heldags affärsplanering

Ett upplägg för en heldags affärsplanering

Nyligen så hjälpte jag till med att planera och facilitera en affärsplanering hos en kund. Då jag tycker både utfallet och genomförandet var väldigt bra så kommer här en beskrivning av vad vi gjorde och de olika övningar vi hade. Det var en relativt stor grupp som samlats föra att genomföra den årliga affärsplaneringen, vilket syftade till att utifrån företagets övergripande mål finna vad denna avdelning skall göra under året som kommer. Alla som varit med på dessa tillställningar vet att de kan vara rätt tunga och inte alltid kopplade till medarbetarnas vardag. Jag känner dock att detta tillfälle bröt traditionen, mycket på grund av att de aktuella cheferna fokuserade på att jobba kring det positiva och möjligheter i stället för problem och hinder.

Det var en grupp på 30 personer fördelade i två olika linjegrupper, och huvudmålet var att finna förändringsåtgärder för året som kommer. På vägen mot det målet, en väg som var lika viktig som slutmålet i sig, jobbade gruppen kring sin historia, arbetade fram en mission och sedan en framtidsbild om var de vill vara fem år framåt i tiden.

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Continue reading: Retrospective using Jimmy Cards

Retrospective using Jimmy Cards

I had taken on to facilitate a retrospective for my colleagues’ team. They wanted a different retrospective than the usual. So we borrowed Crisp’s office and used Jimmy Cards!

The group was around 15 persons from two teams. They all knew each other well which I believe is crucial as the questions on the cards can be challenging.

In this post I’ll give you the recipe which Jimmy and I came up with for this particular retrospective.

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Continue reading: Guest blogging at TV4 Digital Media

Guest blogging at TV4 Digital Media

I have just, as a guest blogger, posted a new post at the blog owned by the development team at TV4 Digital Media; “Några övningar vi gjort under retrospektiven”. It´s a post, in swedish, describing a few retrospective exercises we have done during the last sprints. I’m contracted by TV4 Digial Media as an Agile

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Continue reading: Micro agile

Micro agile

When we develop using agile principles we have learned to "do the simplest thing that can possibly work". What happens if we apply this thought to agile methodology itself?

In my experience the three most important components in a successful application of agile methods are:

  • Joy
  • WIP limit
  • Regular retrospective
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Continue reading: Emo-lines

Emo-lines

If you coach a scrum team but you’re not around to observe them during the sprint, how do you know how they felt about it?

Use Emo-lines

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Continue reading: Perspective of Retrospective

Perspective of Retrospective

Scrum received some criticism today in Computer Sweden. The article featured an interview of Ken Schwaber and our guy Henrik Kniberg. Tobias Fors from Citerus was giving the comment that Scrum lacked support for retrospective. I am not sure if he was quoted correctly.

I am in the belief that Scrum has three roles, three artefacts and three meetings. Of the latter, there is one you should never skip.

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