Tuesday, March 29, 2016

Fruit salad estimation

As part of a scrum training, I ran a great activity today,

(I am writing very lean, so I won't forget, expect updates soon...)

To learn estimates, I have prepared cards with about 40 fruits, some exotic, some non-fruits (mint, ginger), etc.

- The participants (15) were split to three teams, and I have split my deck to three as well.

First task for each team:
- Could you sort the deck you received by value - hence, if this fruit was cut so it can be part of a fruit salad, what would be its value (consider color, taste, texture, exotic-ness, etc),
I dont ask for a value, just for the order
(- You can use a voting mechanism if you want)
 (3 minutes)

Second task for all the teams: merge the three decks into a big one. so I can have a big deck sorted by value.

Hence: now we have an initial backlog!

At the end of this iteration there was about half the deck that was not sorted - since they considered all these are not worth the effort (a tomato, ginger, etc)

Third tasks for each team:

- Now I split the deck I received to three, keeping the order (if the deck was 123456789....., first team receives 147... second 258.... and third 369...)
- They are asked to estimate the work it takes to cut each fruit in Half-Banana points.
- Hence if cutting a banana is an effort of 2, how much effort is cutting an apple?
(a small retro to see if they leaned something about fruit cutting in this discussion - indeed! a Kiwi is easy to peel with a spoon!)
- Each team gets the estimates of another team to see if they (more or less) agree.

Fourth task:
- Now that you know the effort, would you like to re-work the order?
We tried several ways to work - the one that worked best is this:
We have put all the card on the table in order, and each team member can switch the order of two cards... BUT IN TOTAL SILENCE
worked like magic!!

Hench we:
- created an ordered backlog
- estimated the most relevant items
- did a backlog grooming.

And tomorrow - to finish off:
I'm buying the fruits they chose and we are having a fruit-salad Scrum project... (shhhh... don't tell anyone - it is a surprise...)

Thanks to Lyssa Adkins for the inspiration!

Wednesday, November 18, 2015

Thursday, November 5, 2015

☯ The team-management Koan ☯

How do you manage a self-managed team?

Challenge (extra bonus):
Once you reach enlightenment, please try:
1. Drawing the org-chart
2. Explaining this to HR/Management

Friday, October 23, 2015

✡ Agile and Documentation ✡

... Dedicated to Andrei...

- Next week, I am having lunch with a funny redhead that is converting to Judaism.
- Today, in a meeting, I was asked by one of my managers why documentation is less valued in Agile.
- Yesterday, a friend asked me to blog more.

What's the connection? sit back and enjoy a fable...

- Important: this is BY NO MEANS a post about Judaism or religion, though not religious, the belief-set I feel closest to is taoism, so read it as a taoist tale...


Origin: (you can skip it...)
   On another occasion it happened that a certain non-Jew came before Shammai and said to him, “I will convert to Judaism, on condition that you teach me the whole Torah while I stand on one foot.” Shammai chased him away with the builder's tool that was in his hand. He came before Hillel and said to him, "Convert me." Hillel said to him, “What is hateful to you, do not to your neighbor: that is the whole Torah; the rest is commentary; go and learn it.” [AJWS translation] 


So, setting up the premise:
Once upon a time, in the far away land of Israel (or elsewhere), there were two schools of Judaism, with a very different approach:

 - The house of Shammai, a very strict and righteous school, whose center is the head. Guarding Judaism like a precious stone. lots of processes and rituals, and whose default answer to anything is No, unless proven otherwise (Let's call him the house of Control-centered Project-Management...)

 - The house of Hillel, a very promiscuous school, whose center is the heart, one that in case of a doubt says Yes. (Agile, anyone?)


A certain non-jew was curious about the Torah, and wanted to understand what it is about, who knows, perhaps it is a life changer? in which case he was ready for an adventure.

But he doesn't want to study for a lifetime just to find it was a waste of time (would you?)

So, this poor chap searches for someone smart and serious to explain what is this Torah (the documentation of Judaism?), so he understands and can decide what to do...

- He arrives to the house of the distinguishes wise-man Shammai, knocks on the door, and once (grumpy - I guess) Rabbi Shammai himself opens the door, he asks him for something very strange...

"Could you teach me the whole Torah while I stand on one foot?"
(This part always makes me smile - it is like the Koan of the sound of one hand clapping)

And the answer he received is...  He is being chased away with a broom...


This poor chap is quite determined,though.
He doesn't give up, there is another house just around the corner,the house of Hillel.

-Again, a frap on the door, again the door opens,

This time, it is opened by old-Hillel himself..

And again - the Koan is given: "Could you teach me the whole Torah while I stand on one foot?"

--- What happens now never ceases to amaze me ---

He receives a two (I imagine, even, three) part answer:

0. (I imagine) a big reassuring smile.

1. "What you hate being done to you, don't do to your fellow (wo)men"

2. "The rest is just commentary, now go and read it."

- Once you are spoken to with a smile, and once you know what it is about, the rest is 'just' details, enjoy it as you want.

Or, while we value documentation, we value a clear, sincere, and respectful intention more.


I could talk about user-stories, about a company mission-statement, about the value of a smile and a trust, etc. but I'll stop here.

Hope you liked it!  I would love to know what you think! (*)

(*) If you write a comment, note - the google beast sometime swallows it without a trace, like it did to the previous version of this post, please keep it to re-publish...

See-ya Nextime!

Your scrum'em bear!

Thursday, October 15, 2015

❤ Human side of the issue ❤

One of my retros, a team member said...

- But you, you see everything as a human-interaction issue!

And automatically I responded

- Well, not all, but most...

And than, on the way home, it got me thinking...

Why not all? hence, I searched for the most extreme example...

- How about a code that doesn't compile, it is clearly no related to human-interaction, or is it?

Hmmm..... (I do that when I think...)
Q: Why is non-compiling code a problem?

A: Because it a conflict, between someone who want the code to compile and be functionable, and someone who can't do it. (may be same person, which makes it even more severe)

And when I do my job, I am thinking about these things;
Because when I do my job, that is what I think about...

Wednesday, October 14, 2015

☯ The be-on-time Koan ☯

We all know what ten-o'clock is,
But when does a ten-o'clock meeting start at?

Tuesday, October 13, 2015

☸ What makes me stay ☸

(note: a much better translation is in the comments...)

Head & Example   (Tao Te Ching, verse 17)
The superior of rulers
the people barely feel
it's existence
The lesser rulers
are these
that are respected
and hailed and praised
Lesser than those (are) the rulers
of which the people fear
When you don't believe a ruler
you don't believe his(*) government
Respect fear  contempt and faith
everything starts and ends with the ceaser
Therefore he(*) must learn
The great importance
(that) should be dedicated
to words
In the place
the Tao
the thing
by itself.
Translated from Chines to Japanese to Hebrew (by Nisim Amon) and now English.
(*) feel free to replace with the feminine form (I do).