Monday, 27 May 2013

The Power of Haka

According to Wikipedia, the Haka “is a traditional ancestral war cry, dance or challenge... performed by a group, with vigorous movements and stamping of the feet with rhythmically shouted accompaniment.” When I attended Dean Leffingwell’s s SAFe Certification course earlier this year, he used a video of the New Zealand All Blacks performing a haka to illustrate “The Power of Ba”. “Ba” being the place teams are in when they become high performing, self organising and energized. If you watch the video I’m sure you will agree that the spine chilling performance is the perfect illustration of what it feels like to be part of a team that has truly reached “ba”, a place where “we, the work and the knowledge are one”.

Recently, there was a reshuffle of people in our scrum teams, predicated on the need to more evenly balance skills and knowledge across the EDW Agile Release Train. This change was unsettling for the teams and I started to think about helping them find their “ba” again.  This lead me to contemplate how I might convince to the teams to invent and perform their own haka.

Monday, 20 May 2013

Can Lean Coffee Replace Management Meetings?

An unexpected takeaway from Scrum Australia was Lean Coffee.

I had the good fortune to travel to Scrum Australia with three of my team members. On day two we decided that a hot breakfast was in order, so we met up at what had become "our place", Strawberry X Cafe. Over breakfast we got talking about our new ideas from the Scrum Australia sessions we had attended, as well as general improvements we would like to make to our ways of working, peppered with random conversations about things to do and see in Sydney!

Three hours later, we were all talked out and one of the guys turned to me and said with a big grin "We just had an impromptu lean coffee!". Having never taken the time to join a lean coffee meetup, I was a big baffled and asked for an explanation.

Tuesday, 14 May 2013

My key takeaways from Scrum Australia

When first invited to Scrum Australia I was dubious, but as I always say, "nothing ventured nothing gained", so I thanked Martin Kearns for the invite and booked my trip to Sydney!

For me Kenny Rubin stole the show. Given I am SAFe Program Consultant, Kenny's views on Economically Sensible Scrum and Strategies for Portfolio Management really resonated with me. Kenny opened with a story about an understaffed restaurant that seated more customers than it could comfortably serve. Customers waited hours for service and everyone who ate in that restaurant that day had a poor experience. He positioned the economically sensible alternative would have been for the restaurant to limit the number of customers it accepts to the number it can comfortably serve. The result, some customers may get turned away, but the customers who do eat at the restaurant that day walk away with a positive customer service experience.