Agile Saturday X - Staff liquidity

Posted on Leave a commentPosted in management

I visited another great event organized by Estonian Agile community - It was pretty much great event with interesting topics. Even though my notes are taken out from the context and include my thoughts also, I still think they might inspire you for new ideas and improvements in your company. I will continue with notes in further posts. Here we go with part 1:

Real Options – Introducing Staff Liquidity
  • Options have value
  • Options expire
  • Never commit early unless you know Why! Commitment kills options
  • Jumping from a cliff. At the very start it’s an option, afterwards it’s a commitment
  • monetize options. You get better price if you commit your arrival. If you want to have possibility to cancel the reservation - price is higher
  • When you start doing something it’s a commitment
  • Decision making: 1) everybody wants to be right 2) people are willing to be wrong rather be uncertain
  • Total uncertainty can be “solved” by bounded uncertainty - e.g. let’s try something for one sprint, validate output and make decision afterwards
  • What can we learn from lions? They sleep 20 hours a day and commit only to good options. They don’t rush and run around like insane. Why do we rush than?
  • Decision making: hierarchy alienates people who make decisions from real action
  • Staff liquidity: Give tasks to least able person (just above his possibilities). It will allow most skilled people to find time for teaching and solving critical situations! Counterintuitive, but it makes a lot of sense!
  • Value stream mapping helps to eliminate waste. 2 biggest wastes in development: bugs and delays.
  • Track queues that form in front of the constraint and gaps that form after the bottleneck
  • Staff liquidity: self score the team to identify weak and strong spots of the team
  • TOC: 1) specify the goal 2) find the constraint 3) prioritize “around” the constraint 4) move staff based on decisions above
  • Specify the work and assign value to it. Manage work, not people
  • Move people to work, not the work to the people
  • Focus on flow of work, not people utilization
  • If it’s a commitment - think how to make this an option
  • Scrum is more about commitments, Kanban is more about options

If you find these ideas interesting i believe you can read more about it here -

p.s. if you decide to share these notes, please use #agilesaturday hashtag as reference to this event

What if New Year in every company…

Posted on Leave a commentPosted in management, quick thoughts

Imagine what would happen if the end of the Month would be treated as the end of the Year? What if most common end of year activities would happen monthly? Would it be better place to work? What do you think would change in your team or company? Here are some of them

  • Evaluating what was good and what was bad during a year
  • Planning (dreaming) ahead
  • Thinking about improvements and changes (either personal or work related)
  • Sharing feedback with colleagues
New Year 2014

Question everything

Posted on Leave a commentPosted in management, personal improvement, quick thoughts

There are tons of books where you can read about power of questions - how they are important, how they can help. Questions are powerful for following reasons:

  • demand answers
  • stimulate thinking
  • give us valuable information
  • put us in control
  • get people to open up
  • lead to quality listening
  • get people to sell themselves

Questions also allow you to challenge the status quo and challenge the team. That’s why it is so widely used in Retrospectives by Scrum Masters.

Judge a man by his questions rather than his answers. ~ Voltaire

But wait… But should you really question everything? Isn’t there a risk to reach highest level of absurd? “Asking Questions” is the most powerful tool to encourage, challenge and affect people. Be careful!

question everything

2 seconds kaizen: actions

Posted on Leave a commentPosted in quick thoughts

When you are running an open space discussion there is often a follow up by each group at the end. Normally each team presents some kind of actions that they are going to implement afterwards. BUT! I recently did one simple thing as facilitator. When discussions came to an end and it was time to present actions i said:

Ok, now I don’t expects to listen to actions suggested by each group, but obviously everybody wants to see the results of those actions. So let’s skipt talking part and next time we meet each group presents results of their actions.

Got very positive comments from the participants. Remember! Actions are not about talking, it’s about doing! So, don’t present actions, just get the f*** out from the meeting room and DO that!


p.s. what 2 seconds improvements do you make?