Archive for the ‘mindset’ Category

What if you would use #agile 2.0  to build a car and create one in iterations?

23 people, who never build a car, have put a working car together in 2.5 hours. They did not get instruction how to build it, they did get test explanations…

  • OO in manufacturing …
  • publishing code of the car on github and ask developersin the world to make a change…
  • they reduced documentation by pairing
  • they film every demo
  • every thursday, the team gets to play with the cars…
  • automated crash tests
  • 100 dollar houses with a door, a shower etc…
  • When you buy a wikispeed car, you can be the ProductOwner of your car and change the priorities…
  • The future of car manifacturing: R&D will be part of the line
  • Our computer tests are so similar to actual tests, we don’t have to do fysical tests anymore
  • we practise radical trust: our shop is always open.
  • extreme finance: We try to have enough money in the bank for the next week …

Lets look at:

If you like what you saw, please donate 10 dollars to this project.

Ask me again if agile can be used outside software…

I guess wikispeed is one of these companies I want to visit as part of my RemoteCoaching tour

Hé ALE people: what if building a wikispeed car at #ale14 would be the kids program?

if you like the idea: vote for this 

 

 

 

One of the things that had a big impact on me and the relations (love, friendship and children) I had, was the aspect of an Emotional bank account. (Not to be confused with emotional accounting)

Gradually I used that idea in more parts of my life. I started to pay more attention to positive messages and ignored the negativity around me. When I was at a party and people around me, went into complaining mode (I’m sure you know people like that) I zoom out, loose attention and eventually go to the bathroom.

It’s not that I want to ignore reality, I prefer to focus on either the good parts or see what I can change about the negative situation. “just complaining” make me sad. Oh yes I know that complaining is part of the responsibility process and we can’t prevent it. It’s just that I want to move of that island as fast as possible.

When I was young, my default reaction was to play the devils advocate, and on social media I still have the same tendency. Problem with that, is that this gives too much attention to negativity. (And yes I am well aware that playing the devils advocate is creating negativity on its own)

Recently I have started playing a different game.

Let me introduce to you, the social media bank account.
Everytime I like, share or post, a message that talks about how bad or negative the world around me is, that bank account goes lower.

Everytime I like, share or post a message that talks about how great the people around me are, my bank account goes up.

yes, I know that most people have the tendency to mostly positive statuses on their FaceBook acocunts. I’m not talking about that, I’m talking about these repost about politics, about how screwed up our enterprises are, or how …..

From now on:

  • everytime I see someone posting about yet another nutcase beating up some lovely gay person, I’m going to post a message similar to the Dad who wrote a letter to his son.
  • Everytime someone send a message that she has a rough day, I’ll send some energy & hugs or connect that person to a Gandhi Hugger

 

I’m sure you can come up with better idea’s then this, so please join me, in creating a positive social media bank account

Because you and I got what it takes to make it, …

 

THANK you

 

To not always look for these video’s & stories, when I need them, I started a Tag on delicious.
It’s called PositiveSocialMediaBankAccount 

 

I wrote in my last blog post about creating habits. For me, agile is all about creating the habit of improving; ourself, our team and our company.

This video is a nice example of Karen, who is obsessed. She says she is obsessed about dancing. I would add and obsessed about becoming better.

 

If you like the video, check her website on how she did it. A nice example of agile, outside IT.

 

 

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At the start of 1990, I listened to a life concert that U2 gave in the Point Depot in Dublin. (I just found this back on YouTube, I did not even know there was a video footage of it. I only had this on tape)
During that concert Bono said “

It’s your future. The only limits are the limits of your imagination. Dream up the kind of world you want to live in – dream out loud. At high volume! That’s what we do for a living.

I was 18 and that statement made a high impact on my life.  I was happy to see Dream out loud came back in the lyrics of Acrobat. He actually added “don’t let the bastards grind you down” which is an important part of living your dream.

That last sentence, helped me during multiple periods in my life to break with people who prefer to remind the people around them that they should not dream. If a bastards keeps trying to grind me down, my best way is to break with them. Life is too short to be surrounded by people who limit their lifes and mine.

The limits sentence I tweaked a bit and it became my company tag line:
We are only limits by the limits of your imagination.

Next video does the same thing.
It reminds me of
– Bono’s message,
the 7 habits of highly effective people
– for me the best session from ACCDE10: getting out of your comfort zone

Thank you Vincent Vanderheeren (and his wife Maaike) to bring this video to my attention.

PS: And one of these people living her dream is Bonnie.
She moved to London to study and ended up kickstarting teastorks
If you like Tea. check out their kickstarter project. Only 23 hours left to support her.

This is blogpost III on work retrospectives.

At one of my clients, we are doing one week sprints.  Changing the way a team works every week, sometimes feels overkill. People want to see the effects of what they have.  For this we have decided to also try another kind of work retrospective.

A discussion workshop.

We don’t plan any actions in this one. We discuss some common statements. Actually common statement about agile that have been personalized for this team.

This was the format:

A) Checkin

mad, glad, sad, afraid

 

B) Discussion workshop

B.1 5 minutes explaining six different statements

  • we learn enough

  • it’s better to finish then to start

  • it’s important to be predictable

  • the quality of our work is excellent

  • in our team, we tell eachother everything

  • retrospectives are very useful

 

B.2 5 minutes silent sorting the statements: done by the full team, without SM or PO.

 

B.3 Divide team + SM + PO in two groups.

 

B.4 Take first statement

 

B.4.1 5 minutes of finding arguments

group nr 1: finding arguments why the statement is true

group nr 2:  finding arguments why the statement is false

 

B.4.2 Change groups (one person stays behind)

B.4.3 5 minutes of finding arguments

Group nr3 : finding arguments why the statement is true

Group nr 4: finding arguments why the statement is false

 

B.4.4 select your prefered position for this discussion. (might be the opposite of what you think yourself)

B.4.5 10 minutes of group discussion

 

B.5 second statement

repeat steps of B.4

 

Yves why do you still call this a retrospective, isn’t this just a workshop, training exercise?
Good question. I think it’s in between. We did this at the moment of a retrospective. We started by a check in that was very much related to the last sprint.
Second, as this is not yet a mature team, discussions are an important part of creating the team.
Discussions about more generic topics, instead of full force on hot issues in the team are more safe. So for me, it’s is part of improving the team. The big difference is that the improvement happen as part of the retro, that is why I put this inside my series of work retrospective.

Yves what is lacking, is a real conclusion/next step/action based on this exercice.
True. For the public version we want to play at conferences, we will experiment with an audience voting on who was the best debater.
Do you have a better idea how we could add a next step to this?

Last week I blogged about how I helped a team decide if they wanted to split.
This week I will write about how I helped teams to do their split. By now, I have been using this technique with multiple teams, their sizes vary from 40 till 7.

Warning:
If you want to use this technique, I want to stress that it’s crucial that the team itself wants to split. I was myself part of a group where this technique was used, when we were not convinced that the split was needed. That was a disaster. If you don’t want to take the time for a team to decide if they need to split, you might as well decide on the split yourself.
Update: ok disaster was a little harsh. One of my teammembers told me, it did work, yet we spend a lot of time discussing after the fact and a few people where really hurt. I’m convinced we lost more time after the split then we would have if we discussed before. For me as a coach I learned a lot, as a participant, not really.
F ex not everyone realized that the groups needed to be resplit. (there was a real need, yet not everyone was aware of it.)

Please read my previous post, to have an idea how I did that in one occasion.

Ok, by now your team has decided that they want to split. In a lot of cases, they will come back to you and say, please help us, we don’t know how to split our self up.
In most cases, what they mean is: make the decision for us.

Or to put it more bluntly: “I don’t like to say to person X I prefer these other people over you.”

People have told me, they did not like that, as it made them think of in school they had to select someone for sport or other activities. As someone who was bad at most sports and frequently selected last, I can see people don’t like that.

This technique is different, it does not let one person select, and there is no one selected first or last. Also this technique won’t help you as a manager or coach to select your dream team.

The team does not want to do it. You can’t either.

With this, you will help your team to self–organize in multiple sub-teams.



What you need: a large empty room.
I have used meeting rooms where we put all the tables and chairs to one site.

Then I ask the team to walk around in silence.
I ask them to feel the atmosphere. I tell them that won’t give them any criteria to decide. I also tell them I will not ask them to discuss criteria. The reasoning behind that, is that when you discuss criteria, you are looking for an agreement up front, and then people will come up with lots and lots of criteria they want everyone they agree upon. Which only slows down the process and usually does not help. (If you disagree, please read on, and at the end I will explain how I solve this.)

I ask them to form groups. (In some cases they agreed up front in the decision part about splitting up, how many teams they want. Yet I have seen teams split up in a different number and feel ok with it.)

I tell them that the way we will select teams is by physically standing together.  As long as they are not happy with the TOTAL result they should be moving.

That simple? Yes that simple. Yet as most simple things not easy.

How long does this take?
I have seen a team do this in less then 30 minutes and another team needed a few days for it.

How many facilitators does this need?

2. One to help the group stay quite and sometimes facilitate some questions. And one to talk people who have a hard time.

Does this get emotional?
yes. This is why you need a second facilitator that can have a person chat with people for who this becomes to emotional.

Does this guarantee the best team split?
No, not at all. Yet I know this is a much better split then any manager of coach can come up with.

What if there are some real constraints on how to split up the team, like every team should at least be able to do x?
For that I trust the people of the team. I know that there are multiple spoken and unspoken rules that these new teams have to follow. When you start discussing these rules -especially the unspoken ones- you have discussion and create separation in the total group.
When you don’t discuss them. The people that care about a certain rule, will not be happy with the end result. These people will keep moving. In the end, everyone will be happy, even if people might not agree on all the rules that everyone individually had for herself.

If you prepare people for the split, won’t people create alliances before? 

Cool question invented by a member of  my group, (the one that did not receive time to understand they needed to split)

For me this does not really matter. The fact we walk around and feel, these things will become very explicit.
When we see everyones pre created alliances, two thing can happen.
– Things won’t change: this basically means that the pre-split alliances are accepted by everyone. >> Great.

– Things do change:
Now people see that the created alliances don’t make sense for everyone. This might make people mad (remember the emotional part?) At least the not followed alliances are also very visible to other in the alliance (and outside).
Making things visible, make it possible to deal with.

Did the question to split came from the team?
I think this has been partially answered by my first post. Yet maybe not enough.
One of the teams had an external customer refusing to work with a sub-team. To reorganize the team was a team decision for them. The team were I explained the process of deciding, there I was hired to see if I could help the team splitting. I have no idea who came up with the original idea. Yet it was 100% the decision of the team to split. If they would have said no, it would have been no split. One of the things I guaranteed also was that after x time (x decided by themself) we would reevaluate the split. (That evaluation was also positive and I will post  that as a third post).

Could you give a few examples when things get tough?
Good question. yes I can and will.
1) It’s their fault
In one of the teams, the original problem that let to the desire of splitting up, was not solved after one of the moments that people stopped moving. (They wanted to split up a sub-team that customers complained about. And these people where still together, now with a few more people. )  When I asked if everyone was happy, one person complained that the people where still together and that they boycotted the process. I told him that although it was true that these people where together. I disagreed that it was only their fault. As everyone had been moving. So if everyone really wanted the split, they should all behave like it.
This seems to be typically. People prefer to put the blame on others, yet they don’t see how their own behavior had also on influence.

2) It does not work. Yves, you have to choose the team split…

This was a funny or maybe sad reaction. The team where this reaction came, they had been discussing before about the reasons for changing the team. One of the main reason that came up why the last set up did not work, was done my boss and the person who was in my job before. When someone said: “it does not work” (and multiple other were nodding)
I looked at them. I could not find my words. I looked at them for a full minute, and then I said something like: I don’t understand. You wanted another team split, as the previous one was done by x & y. And now you tell me I have to do it?
No. I refuse to. I have told you when I started, that I would give you tools that would help you to take decisions on your own. I could not explain then, what I ment. Well this is one of these tools.
When I said that last sentence, I looked around. I could see in their eyes, that it clicked. They started to walk around and some time later, they ended up with a team I would never have selected. Later a few team member told me, that was the moment she first understood what a self-organizing team really was about.

 

The last few weeks, I was discussing about the concept of thoughtleaders.

For me the idea of a thought leader, is that one person has a brilliant idea, she spreads that idea and she creates a tribe of people following that idea.
Our current culture is one of worshipping these people and they are instant famous (for 15 minutes or for eternity)
I personally have a few problems with this.

  1. I don’t like the worshipping part. As humans these are not better or worse than other people.
    It actually puts a lot of pressure on these people and for some people it even creates the impression that they are god. We have seen a few examples of brilliant people who did stupid things on a personal level. I think our system of worshipping is partly to blame for that.
  2. What is worse for me, is that this is a very limiting model.
    It means that only brilliant people can come up with idea’s: bummer for me, I’m not brilliant. And bummer for you, 50% of the people their IQ is below average.
    (Ok sorry, of course not my readers, you are all above average )
  3. I believe that most ideas are actually created by networks of people.
  4. The ideas created by many people are of higher quality then when they are created by one person.
  5. On top this all, you can’t copyright an idea, so for me it’s wrong that one person can dictate how their idea should be used.

That last point is interesting to think about, because one if the side effects of this is the law of raspberry jam: The wider you spread it, the thinner it gets. Many thought leaders, try to counter this point by dictating that you can only do x their way. And yes, I have seen enough people trying to change something before they understand it, to understand why ThoughtLeaders ask this.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

All of this has inspired me to think, there should be another model, instead the model of thought leaders, we should have ThoughtJockeys.

What is the idea of a ThoughtJockey, well one part is, its created by a bunch of people. So Instead of me telling you what it is, I point you to a document that was a created by a bunch of people. I want to encourage you to:

1 read it completely

2 Adapt the parts that you think should be adapted

3 If you agree or if you changed something, please add your name to the contributors list.

Yves, wait are you tell me the full internet has editing rights?

Yes

Isn’t that insane? What about the hackers, spammer etc?

That’s why I call it an exercise of trust.
I want to see what happens, and where it takes us. And yes, when (not if, when) we will take action. Let’s for now see what trust can create.

As my father wrote a few years ago, most laws are created by a bunch of people over many years and that make them much better then just ideas of one or 2 people.

Please check with me, what’s happening….

www.ThoughtJockey.org

Standing on the shoulders of giants

Have a look at this picture. I took this during ALE2012. It was a local spectacle offered by the organizers to make us think about being agile.

It is a powerful metaphor, it inspired me to lots and lots of stories.

Today I want you to look again at the top. Do you see who is at the top?
is it:

No. It’s the smallest kid. Being an agile coach, I can be biased and say it’s because he is the most flexible, agile person.
Tonight I don’t even want to go that way.

Do you know what needs to happen for him to reach the top?

  • The full team needs to trust it’s gonna work. Yes I saw them multiple time starting over, until it was fine for everyone.
  • The small kid, is probably the one with the least experience, so for him to reach the top, he has to listen to the people with more experience.
  • I assume that some people at the bottom, used to be the little kid. They have moved on and they had to accept that they will never reach the top again. Yet thanks to their experience, their group can now maybe create bigger statues.

And once he has reached his top spot, that’s not the end. I saw them moving as a group, the kid high up in the air.

Standing on the shoulders of giants, that’s how I feel in the communities I flutter  around:

  • I trust the people I work with.
  • Like the little kid, I’m not the smartest person in my world yet I listen to the smarter people around me.
  • I have no idea if I will ever reach the top, or if my job is to support the people reaching higher…

Standing on the shoulders of giants.

For me, working as a change agents, is

  • NOT about being the smartest person.
  • NOT about who is the best author
  • NOT about the person where most people listen too

 

It’s about knowing when to listen to who and also knowing when to  move on and drop idea’s whose expiry date has long been gone…

I have no idea any more what they said, yet this post is inspired by what Liz Keog and Elisabeth Hendrickson said in their acceptance speeches for the Gordon Pask Award about standing on the shoulders of giants.

 

 

With agile going mainstream more and more entrepreneurs, are looking for new ways to organize their company.
When a company goes agile, it has an impact on the company culture.
Some of the smart managers I coach, ask me:

  • what’s next?
  • where can I look for examples of companies that don’t work the traditional way?

This is a list of books & documents about companies that are working in a less traditional way.

Although not a book (yet), the most amazing company I know is /UT7. read the /UT7 story at Infoq
A
nothe rblogpost about how Buffer works as a Distributed company

If you are not in a mood for reading, you might want to watch this video about how open source projects survive poisonous people

Update:
Scott Berkun also wrote an interesting book about the year he worked at WordPress
The Year Without Pants: WordPress.com and the Future of Work

Update 2:
In the year 2014, I want to learn by doing. I would like to join companies with creative (aka non standard structures or ways of working) and help them a week or so. (If they work distributed maybe even longer)

Yves lots of people don’t have the time to read these books. True, will you give me links to articles about these and other companies in the comments?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

In 1998 I became independent. As I work usually at my clients side, I have invested a lot in computers, yet almost nothing in my local office. I bought a desk from IKEA and used some second hand desk I got from friends & family.

About the time we first started talking about changing our house, I read about a standing desk. For someone who was a former DJ  and now sitting most of the time, that appealed to me. As a DJ I had a standing desk 😉

I was not sure about standing, I’m not as young as I was when I was DJ-ing all night.
Then I came across the idea of a walking desk.

The idea, is that you walk about 1.6 miles (2.4 km) an hour, while working. The theory behind, is that our body is more made to walk then to sit still. The minute I saw this, I was immediately sold. That is what I wanted in my home office.

When we started to discuss the plans of new house, I mentioned that to my architect. At that moment I was convinced that I should first have my new office and only then invest in a walking desk. Fast forward to the moment I saw the blog post from Peter. Peter is the ceo of Leanpub, the company behind the tools we used to produce our book: who is agile.

When I saw the video, it struck me. I was doing BDUF. I was designing an office for a walking desk, without knowing how it worked. I told Els (my wife) the same day, I’m going to buy the walking desk now. With that experience I will know how I should arrange my new office.

At the start of the x-mas holiday I went looking for a treadmill in Belgium that I could use in my office. In the US, there is treaddesk. Unfortunately no information to buy it in Belgium.

I finally ended up on a website with lots of treadmill and prices. (Tip for websites of shops: If you don’t show your prices online I don’t consider you a serious choice.)

As I had never run on a treadmill (yes, I am ashamed to say, that in all my staying in hotels, I never made use of these facilities.) I did want to go to shop to try out the different types.
I explained what I wanted to do, the shop owners had never heard of a walking desk. Yet they were very helpful. They explained what parts I had to de-assemble (or better not assemble when setting up the treadmill.)

I selected the T830 treadmill from DKN technology

Peter his second video, convinced me I also wanted an adjustable desk. I wanted such a desk, so that I can both walk and sit at the same desk, without having to touch my setup.
I only found one company (Steelcase) that delivers such a desk in Belgium.

After almost 2 months of working on my initial setup (2 normal tables on top of each other) my adjustable desk arrived. Already now, I know that this is how I want to work.

What about typing and mouse movements?

A lot of people ask me if I can really type or work with a mouse that way.

Check out our 2013 new years video. I finished the last 2 minutes while walking. And that was in the first week of having my treadmill.

This text has been typed while walking. If you might see spelling mistakes, this has more to do with my knowledge of English then the walking desk.

Actually, the last month I sometimes felt I had a problem standing. And then I realize I had been standing for 10 minutes and I had forgotten to turn on the treadmill.

Remember these “I will be 5 minutes at my computer and then you look up 3 hours later” moments?  I typically don’t turn on my treadmill for that. Now after 10 minutes I realize it’s taking longer. And then I make a conscious decision: stay on my desk and turn on my treadmill or actually stop working.

Other advantages?

I can focus on work much longer as before. (25 min VS 3 hours)

Want to know more?

Here is a video I shot from my computer, while walking

Here are some pictures of the walking desk in multiple setup’s.

Do you really move more?

I have a Fitbit One stepcounter since the 24 December.

Since then I stepped 800.858 steps.

That is 588 KM in 55 Days. (Remember most of day I am working at client side)
Yes not all these steps our on my treadmill desk. I still walk while waiting for my train.

Yet I know that before I had a walking desk. I NEVER arrived at 10.000 steps a day. Now I am almost never below 10.000.

Side effect: I never was a runner. I never had either: the energy, the courage and the times I tried it, I never had the physical condition. Since I have my walking desk, my condition has improved so much that it’s actually possible for me to go for a run.

Why do you do it?
It’s NOT  my intention to loose weight.
As a child I was always very very very thin (I weighted 27 KG – yes 27- when I was 11)
As a adult I’m weighting +80 KG.
In both occasion, people were telling me I should watch my weight.  They told me I had an unhealthy weight. In both occasion they had reasons. I have stopped listening to these people. I don’t care about my weight.
(When I burned down my parents house, I have learned that what people think of me, does not matter.)

So why do I walk while working?
I walk at my desk, because I’m convinced that my human body is not made to sit, at least not for + 8 hours a day.
Articles like this one confirm my bias.

 

What do I have on my desk:

 

Thinks to improve

  • a real Laptop stand
  • Docking station
  • a monitor arm to easier position my screen.
  • a huge powered USB Hub
  • Move the lift buttons to the middle of the table. Now I can’t reach them from the other side (Done)
  • More light around my screens, to give me eyes more rest
  • a small network hub for extra pc
  • I know that DKN has an tablet app. It would be nice to find one that supports the T830. Now the treadmill display is below my desk. Not a big problem, yet a little annoying.
  • a better piece of wood to put on my treadmill and below my chair. (I never use my chair)

 

Ideas for the new home-office

Install the treadmill in the ground

Articles that mention walking desk

 

 

 

 

 

 Examples of people on treadmills

 

People who disagree

Other related topics

Where to buy one

 UPDATES :

  •  69  days  > 1.029.401 steps     755 KM.   +/- 14.919 steps a  day
  • 104 days > 1.563.040 steps  1.148 KM.   +/- 15.029 steps a day
  • 188 days > 2.841.964  steps  2.092 KM.  +/- 15.117 steps a day
  • 202 days > 3.118.535  steps  2.294 KM.  +/- 15.438 steps a day
  • 279 days > 4.125.382 steps 3.048 KM.  +/- 14.786 steps a day
  • 342 days > 5.059.533 steps 3.730 KM.    +/- 14.794 steps a day
  • 363 days > 5.433.411 steps 4.004 KM       +/- 14.968 steps a day
  • 497 days > 7.250.225 steps 5.332 KM       +/-  14.588 steps a day
  • 903 days > 12.352.475 steps 8.996 KM +/- 13.679 steps a day 15.267 floors
  • 1106 days  > 15.398.485 steps 11.221 KM +/- 13.923 steps a day 18.820 floors

 

No wonder I’m much fitter. As I don’t care about my weight, I don’t track that. (Although my wife says I lost some weight.)

If you have a fitbit yourself, you can connect with me, and we can encouraging, stimulate, push eachother to keep stepping.