Previous post about Decision making can be found here. Let’s continue comparison.
Long term vs Short term planning
When you watch teams playing serious tournaments every game is not played like the Finals. In addition world-class teams participate in more than one tournament. Do you think it’s possible to win Bundesliga, domestic Cup and Champions league when you plan only one game ahead? If you don’t “save” your players and “force” them play at maximum level in every game you will not achieve such results.
For sure football coaches care about every game, but trend is more important for them. Last game might be an exception or just a bad luck. As the result all games are analyzed keeping in mind the whole tournament: how many games are played? how many games are left to play? what is the result of recent 3 games? ant etc.
What you can often see with software teams that sprint results are discussed without taking into account the whole roadmap. This leads to short-sighted actions or local optimizations, which is not necessarily the best choice. Good Scrum Masters must bring attention to this and make sure everybody recalls that team wants to win the “tournament”. What is your “tournament”?
Either i was lucky when was playing football at young age or it happens everywhere, but even kids coaches analyze games afterwards. So i bet that professional teams also do that. Game analysis is the only way to improve and learn from mistakes. And I was really surprised when found out how much time and effort is spent on that in football (including various kind of software and hardware that gathers necessary information). Of course various visualizations and statistics are not the ultimate answer to all the problems, but in good hands it can give you very good insights on how to continue.
No (powerful) retrospectives is the first signal that team is not improving, stuck or fell into a comfort zone. It means that Scrum Master is not doing his work and not focused on improvement. To have powerful retrospective team needs input, problems or results visualization, but it’s often teams are scared of any kind of metrics. Because of often abuse, when metrics are used by management to decide on salaries and bonuses, but not as additional information for the team to notice where to improve.
Football vs Software Development
Is it because football has predefined rules all these good practices are in place? Is it because Scrum is incomplete we have so many things depending on team’s maturity and Scrum Master’s experience? How do you handle that?
p.s. full presentation is available here. I will go through it in further posts.
Why do I need metrics?
I am not working very close with teams on daily basis recently and it’s not so easy to gather information in order to take actions or discuss priorities. But I need data to have an overview on important areas in the department, foresee problems and understand how I can help.
What do I want?
Teams’ metrics can be useful only if you seek this:
- Visualize problems and discuss when noticed
- Focus on trend, not absolute value
- Foresee the future
- Take actions proactively
- Keep the balance among areas
Don’t forget, metrics are needed to get better. So, treat it as a game.
Elements of the game:
- Evaluate initial state of each area
- Set goal for each area
- Each team every Retro of Retros tells if certain area improved (+11), unchanged (-1), worsen (-9)
- What does it mean: improved, unchanged, or became worse? It doesn’t matter how teams decide since trend is important, not absolute number
- Metrics must be actionable. You must agree on rules and take actions. Sules samples:
- if something doesn’t change/reduces 3 times in a row, all teams must help team which has most of the problems
- if something doesn’t change/reduces 5 times in a row, each team must include improvements into sprint as high priority
- Discussion must take place
- Everything can be changed at any moment if you find it not valuable
If you find first two elements difficult to implement, you can omit this for the first version
One simple, but important NO
Don’t map these metrics to any reward/bonus system
||Previous + ((T1 + … + TX)/# of Teams)
And this is how your visualization might look like:
While I was in a ITSpring conference in Minsk I participated in interesting assignment during talk of startoplan.ru owners. This assignment again showed me the power of visualization.
Assignment itself is very simple:
- Draw your team/company in 1 year (in silence, not shapes but something meaningful). You have 15 minutes
- Give your picture to a neighbor
- Facilitator start asking simple question – what is missing on the picture? And the fun begins 🙂
These guys’ findings after doing this assignment hundreds of times are following:
- 90% of people forget money. It means that money is not a motivator and no one cares about that?
- If there are money on the picture it’s completely unclear where do they come from and why clients are paying
Btw, I was missing money in my picture too, you can see it below 🙂
Do you have the same findings after playing similar games?
i found a very interesting resource – Lumosity, which states that – “Lumosity is a fast, fun and effective way to take care of your brain.” 🙂 Sounds really cool.
This stuff is design by scientists, so i think it is worth trying 🙂 My current BPI (whatever it means) is 958. Let’s see if it improves after playing these games … 🙂
At least I hope it will :))