My notes from #Stoos

Posted on 2 CommentsPosted in management

Management is DEAD! Or Organize for complexity

  • Build teams with specialties that can deliver value
  • Build silos not based on specialties, but value creation
  • There must be something behind targets, not just numbers (higher value)
  • To achieve best results – focus on people first
  • Through away hierarchical structure, but work only with value creation structure and informal structure
  • Way to success: decentralize decision making, make managers lazy (not doing actual work), managers must support teams & help innovate, empower teams
  • It is not important what is different, but what is common

Random notes

  • How to encourage improvement/innovation? If you make yourself obsolete, you get a raise and/or career opportunities
  • Goal – Give one level up goals to achieve higher overview. One factory manager should care about all factories
  • Communication – Share real stories and messages, it helps to engage people
  • How to keep focus while introducing changes – Find things that require least effort, but give you maximum impact. After you found this – focus on those things!
  • Why projects fail? If root cause is out of the scope of a project (or team, or ..), than it is not fixed. Managers must help team to view big picture and act on these problems
  • Communication – Integrate knowledge sources with decision making. It is often disconnected.
  • Powerful question is the one that kicks off habits and moves to new way of thinking: open, simple, personalized. You can’t predict answer, because questions are difficult, both for listener and who asks that question.
  • Hints for retrospectives:
    • Count to 20 when you are waiting for the answer. If no answer, count to 20 again. (nice :))
    • If you ask bold question and everybody is silent, you must simply ask – “What is going on?”
    • If you want powerful questions to be asked/answered you have to create safe environment
    • Sometimes people are too polite and are trying to frame questions into a lot of words. Questions must be laconic
    • Talking about positive things is a must during retrospectives. you shouldn’t talk only about bad stuff

Culture cracks you would like to hack J


20% of Time for innovation

Posted on 4 CommentsPosted in management

Is it easy to spend 20% of time on innovation and stuff that developers really like to do? I think definitely not and the success is not guaranteed …

  • When can a developer take his time?
  • What restrictions are there about what can and can’t be done in that time?
  • How do people manage their schedules? Should they manage it?
  • Is this time should be tracked?
  • How is it decided what people can work on?
  • How do you stop someone’s project if it’s deemed not useful? Who deems it this? Is there a committee? Peer review?
  • How do projects “graduate” from 20% time?
  • How is overall success of the program judged? $$? Customer value? Engineer happiness?
  • Should developers form a team, or should it be single projects?

But despite all these difficult questions probably it’s worth trying … What do you think?

“The Five Stages of Change adoption”

Posted on 2 CommentsPosted in management

If you ever tried to apply any kind of change anywhere you should have faced certain difficulties. And success of change adoption depends on understanding how people react and what actions are taken. But in any case it’s difficult and requires a lot of patience, communication and trust.

While participating and/or observing various changes I noticed some typical type of people behavior (I am personally not an exception here), but couldn’t explain for myself what is all about…
I watched one of the old “House” series recently … and Eureka!!! I found an explanation for myself, well at least it helps me to understand all the stuff better now. But what is the most important for me – react properly!

They were talking about death and it’s acceptance in that film – Kübler-Ross model: The Five Stages Of Grief. You can read more here.

Well, changes are not necessarily related to death :), but while reading about each stage you can definitely find very interesting analogies. I want to present you my interpretation of each stage:

1. Denial — “I feel fine.”; “This can’t be happening, not to me.”Denial is usually only a temporary defense for the individual. This feeling is generally replaced with heightened awareness of positions and individuals that will be left behind after death.

Most changes are initiated in order to solve some problems. Natural reaction – NO, I don’t have any problems. Everything works fine, I always do like this. Denial can occur due to following reasons:

  • External: You don’t trust a person who initiates the change. Tons of reasons can be here. Change adopter must work on gaining more trust.
  • Internal: Its’ quite difficult to accept that you have a problem. Some people never accept that. Try to be more critical on yourself

2. Anger — “Why me? It’s not fair!”; “How can this happen to me?”; “Who is to blame?”Once in the second stage, the individual recognizes that denial cannot continue. Because of anger, the person is very difficult to care for due to misplaced feelings of rage and envy. Any individual that symbolizes life or energy is subject to projected resentment and jealousy.

When someone initiates a change, she wants to go to the end and reach the goals that were raised for a certain change. As the result “changer” keeps forcing the changes. But… Do you still remember the first stage? People don’t agree that the change is needed, so all your actions will cause an anger: “I told you that everything is ok, why do you keep changing it?!?!” Make sure you keep explaining why you are doing all this and your intentions are good. 🙂

3. Bargaining — “Just let me live to see my children graduate.”; “I’ll do anything for a few more years.”; “I will give my life savings if…”The third stage involves the hope that the individual can somehow postpone or delay death. Usually, the negotiation for an extended life is made with a higher power in exchange for a reformed lifestyle. Psychologically, the individual is saying, “I understand I will die, but if I could just have more time…”

Basically everybody understands that there is no way back. But you will try to get the best out of it like possible trade offs or something. You can event pretend that you accept the change. Everybody must make sure that you are not living in illusion that change has already happened. And stop bargaining, change cannot be implemented partially.

4. Depression — “I’m so sad, why bother with anything?”; “I’m going to die… What’s the point?”; “I miss my loved one, why go on?”During the fourth stage, the dying person begins to understand the certainty of death. Because of this, the individual may become silent, refuse visitors and spend much of the time crying and grieving. This process allows the dying person to disconnect from things of love and affection. It is not recommended to attempt to cheer up an individual who is in this stage. It is an important time for grieving that must be processed.

IMHO, this is the most obvious stage in terms of causes. How do you feel when not able to find a compromise with someone? Little disappointment…  Disappointed people can make crazy things, which you for sure wouldn’t like to happen, e.g. leave a job, work avoidance, dramatic reduction of performance and etc. The most non-desired things can happen during this stage and everyone should be careful here.

5. Acceptance — “It’s going to be okay.”; “I can’t fight it, I may as well prepare for it.”In this last stage, the individual begins to come to terms with his mortality or that of his loved one.

Finally! Everybody accepts the change (make sure you are not in the stage #3 ;)) But do not relax, make yourself ready for another change! Life never stops…

Scrum, Kanban is your goal? – NO

Posted on 1 CommentPosted in management, process

Before implementing any Agile framework like Scrum, Kanban – make sure you understand your goal. Recently was reading one thread in AgileRussia forum with following comment: “I am aiming to achieve SCRUM”. Hm..

Are you sure that process itself is your goal? Sometimes it feels that people are more concerned about the process rather than values they really want to achieve.

Our goal is:

  • happy client;
  • product with a high quality;
  • great work environment;
  • short “time to market”.

It doesn’t matter what process you apply. Use the process only as a TOOL!