Secret Stories and Agile Analysts

Mike Cohn’s latest post got me thinking about how essential analysis is even in so-called Agile teams. It describes a common situation where backlogs contain ‘add this’ and ‘delete this’ stories.

I really believe this can be helped by a good analyst who understands value and patterns. My comment on Mike’s post goes onto explain that I would add a ‘create this’ story first. 

I’ve found that it’s difficult to add or delete some ‘thing’ that doesn’t yet exist. (Shockingly this holds true in real life also).

This simple step is also pretty negligible in time to a seasoned (aka lazy) analyst and provides our customers with more choice, clear direction and what’s more it can be used at all levels of organisational analysis!

Top 5 Ideas – Intercultural Agile updated

This idea came about as a result of speaking with an interesting guy, Andreas, who is doing his MSc and working in an IT company and starting to learn about and use Scrum. Smart cookie. Anyway here are my top tips for working in intercultural teams and organisations.

  1. Keep an open mind recognise cultures often differ on values, ethics and drivers
  2. Take a broad perspective focusing on people, solving problems and building trust
  3. Be sensitive and consideratewhen in other’s countries, regardless of your role there
  4. Local knowledge for example holidays, festivals, customs, the capacity for chit chat, weather
  5. Local executive sponsorship involve senior people on the ground who can make a real difference
He had pointed out that my previous post included quite stereotypical German traits and I had to agree with a smile.

I believe most of the so called traits of any particular group (or strengths as I like to call them) can be hugely beneficial to teams.  I would add that every team is different and often generalisation in isolation is dangerous.

So what about those German strengths (or stereotypes)?

Detail and structure are particularly good at providing rigor and courage for any team – Agile or not.

However, my previous post’s focus was based on a single intercultural training session and a first foot into German culture. My opinion has certainly matured and will continue to, as I learn more about any team I work with.
Oh! And this particular group did provide great rigor and a lot more besides!

Agile transformation…scary and exciting

Look it up in the dictionary.   Transformation.

trans·form

1.to change in form, appearance, or structure; metamorphose.
2.to change in condition, nature, or character; convert.
3.to change into another substance; transmute.

The use of words like convert and change appear in the various online dictionaries, and when these are applied in the context of change there is likely to be an overwhelming subconscious reaction from most humans.

A really important thing to consider is how change is perceived by all the people involved.  Fear can be one of our biggest impediments to helping people achieve their potential and we often only hear the headline…”agile transformation” .. it sounds like resistance is futile.

In  the sprit of  keeping it simple I suggest we abandon
“transformation” and “transition” into gentler, non-command based verbs,  possibly “renew”  😉  or even better something that is meaningful to the team or teams themselves.

Pig Consulting – An Agile Challenge?

Now my honesty about such an event may be considered career limiting or perhaps a sign of madness, however Agile principles teach us about honesty, trust, respect and courage – I choose to be honest in keeping with what I’ve always preached.

It came to a crunch for me on a sunny morning in one of the most beautiful parts of England.  I stood frozen in terror with a buggered iphone, a most intense fever and a stomach that mimicked Niagara falls.
I was sick, months of tummy terror which saw me turn down a dream Pig role came into play and that was it.  Over.  My body told me I needed a break.

On a positive note the ensuing hiatus has finally gave me space and time to catch up with folks I kept missing due to travelling
– or being ill.  I noticed that my work type facebook friends are all people I worked directly with.

Those were the people I had a relationship with and continued to collaborate with, have dinner with or chat to depending on locations. All of our programs/projects had a clear vision and value – plus all delivered successfully.

I thought some more.  I was a Pig on all of these great experiences!   I even walked away from a few of those fun roles when I felt my usefulness had been reached and because I could.  These folks really got the honesty, trust, respect and courage.  I felt empowered in those roles more than any others.

Here I come farmyard … back to Pig-dom.