Network structure – first Q&A

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2011.06.27_organizational_charts-600x584Previous post (Network Structure – Why?) raised some questions among people i distributed this draft to. Basically it was about how exactly it could work in a real world? Some people also indicated that you need to have lots of leaders in order this would work… I guess it’s true.

Link to a v0.2 document. Feel free to comment.

It’s too many POD roles for me

When POD is starting all roles can be merged in a single person (in various situations there might be a need to get resources to kick it off or set initial plan for early value delivery and etc.).

And when value is proven (customers and stakeholders understand and support it) it most probably will start growing as the result it might be difficult for one person to have all required skills and perform all necessary activities (product management, transparency, communication with others, hiring, technical excellence, education and etc.)

So POD is just a cross-functional software development team, isn’t it?

No, not at all. These are not cross-functional software development teams – these are cross-functional value delivery (or product development) teams. As you know product development is much broader activity than software development and involves other practices that must be implemented and skills that might be missing in development team only.  POD is responsible for meeting consumers needs and make sure their experience is awesome.

If it’s platform POD technical “sales” skills are needed to explain how deliverables should be used by other developers or PODs. If it’s closer to market and delivers directly to end users – people involved in marketing and sales and client support should be involved on a daily basis.

How cooperation among PODs will work and why?

Motivation to cooperate depends on business model – what company is doing

  1. In Adform case it’s the same product we are working on and all PODs are mutually dependent and are more valuable together rather than competing alone in a niche market.
  1. In a project based companies where PODs might work on very different types of projects or business domains. Reason for collaboration might be completely different (e.g. knowledge sharing on same technology and etc.)

Who is responsible for metrics and measurement?

Public metrics and measurement are key part of Transparency. POD Lead depending on his pod context must define, track, adjust them and make decisions based on them. Why POD Lead?

Because he has an intent to create something or solve a problem or improve clients lives and etc and he kicks off pod (you cannot kick off something if you don’t believe into that.) and must want and know about the progress first of all.

POD Keeper seems to be just an SM

It depends on a POD size. In a small team (< 5) SM can perfectly perform this role. When POD grows roles responsibilities might change and become broader.

e.g. following analogy comes to my mind that might explain:

POD Lead – CEO (knows what to do); POD Keeper – CTO (knows how to do that).

Normally a lead will try to find someone who will help him to build something as it’s very difficult to alone.

Freedom, Command and Control, Scrum, Kanban are tools that wise people will choose at the right moment of POD evolution.

Who “closes” the POD?

POD Lead, Keeper and Sponsor based on metrics and deliverables must be able to make a decision when it’s not reasonable to spend effort here.

Agile Saturday X – Metrics

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Continue sharing notes from Agile Estonia event – Previous post about Staff Liquidity

  • Lagging metrics – the ones you can’t affect [e.g. weight]
  • Leading metrics – the ones you can affect [e.g. what food you take]
  • The best way to influence the team is to visualize the data
  • Avoid vanity metrics. Use AARRR metrics: Acquisition of customer; Activation – are the active? Retention; Reference; Revenue
  •  Don’t use metrics as target
  • Make sure everybody understands what is behind this data and how it’s gathered
  • Use balanced set of metrics, e.g. Revenue, Ability to do more work, Happiness of employees, Happy customers
  • Keep in mind the cost of metrics gathering. Will you be able to make decisions based on that?
  • Metrics expire!

Last part is going to be about improving the whole value chain. It was very interesting keynote by Mattias Skarin.

Team metrics: who and why needs them?

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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

Metrics game?

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

Sample table:

Area/Team Team 1 ….. Team X Start Current Finish
Area 1 +11 -9 50 Previous + ((T1 + … + TX)/# of Teams) 100
Area 2 -1 +11 100 ….. 300
Area 3 -1 -9 60 …..


And this is how your visualization might look like:
teams metrics

Shout out: Metrics

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If you think about metrics as a way of being tracked than you will always find a way how to game it…

Try to see it as a measure of self improvement, like a sportsmen who are measuring certain things to understand when they reach peak performance!