I thoroughly enjoyed hosting the first of a series of webinars centred around "collaboration". We had people from all around the world listening in :)
In focusing on the importance of collaboration in building a great team, I delved into the five essential skills for successful collaborative relationships:
Awareness of self & others
Problem solving & negotiating
"Collaboration is making joint effort towards a goal" - Vreede, Briggs & Kolfschoten, 2008
As promised we would like to share with you the recording of the session:
There were a couple of questions we didn't manage to get to. Specifically one of the participants wanted to find out where he could find more information on "Magic 21" (aka CDE configuration). I believe the best source for this is here - What’s Magic About Magic 21?
Another participant wanted to know where she could read up on "Conflict Circles". I would recommend checking out this link.
As mentioned in the webinar, I'm a Certified Radical Collaboration® Trainer. The 3-day Radical Collaboration® training is a deeply experiential, transformational course and as such ideally needs to be conducted face-to-face. We will likely only be running this training face-to-face again in 2021. Until such time we can offer this training, we can instead offer a remote 1-day Building Collaborative Skills workshop (Powered by Radical Collaboration®). To learn more about this workshop please contact [email protected].
Lastly be sure to catch my next webinar on "Defensiveness". We'll be posting this on Meetup and across our social media channels soon!
Thank you for joining us and we hope to "see" you next time!
*Follow this link to view upcoming & past webinars on our website*
The agile42 Connect - A Series of Fortunate Events was a great success. We had public sessions running from the 27th to the 29th of July, as part of agile42's Innovation Sprint. Usually every year the whole company, including families, gather together for a week of Innovation. Besides working together, creating new things, supporting ongoing work and services, we most importantly - have fun!
This year we were supposed to go to Canada for our Innovation week, however COVID-19 forced us to change tack. We instead went virtual and decided to make some parts of the Innovation Sprint public. We miss not being able to see each other in person, but what can we do?
In this blog post, we will share the Panel discussion with you as well as the other 3 webinars we ran this week.
Help us to help!
This year, we chose a needy charity, Nutrition with Love & Kindness, where those taking part in the #agile42Connect event could donate. This charity converted their venue kitchen business to provide 12000 nutritious meals a month to vulnerable families during this COVID-19 crisis.
Funds raised will enable them to keep providing 12000 meals a month to the local community. Good nutrition improves immunity and creates stronger, healthier, happier humans. With just €8.00 you will feed 1 person for a month.
Please donate and help those in need!
Let's start with the Panel discussion. Through out the week, in the back of our heads, was the thinking around "The NEW NORMAL". What is the new normal? Or is it just the normal? The Panel discussion was about pandemic effects, market changes and what might happen next. The panelists discussed their various challenges, how they've adapted their way of working and insights into how companies can try weather the storm.
If you want to see how your organization is handling the changes we are facing, the challenges and how work is moving on, you can test your organizational culture with OrgScan Starter summer offer. The summer offer is valid until August 15th 2020.
Tuesday started off with a session in the morning by Bastian Wilhelms, one of the founders of sipgate. At sipgate, Bastian has been driving the change to an all-in agile, decentralized and mission based organization since 2009. He is a Senior Advisor to the Product Leads at sipgate and helps set the vision for success with Scrum as well as sipgate’s overall company strategy.
He gave us very interesting insights into how work has been continuing at sipgate, as well as how to find and establish meaningful metrics for any recurring fee business model. He also delved into story-telling techniques.
Please find the recording of this session below.
Tuesday ended with a session together with Richard Sheridan who gave us a virtual tour of Menlo Innovations. Richard shared Menlo’s history, culture and practices – and how they're rebuilding a joyful culture in our new normal of today. It was nice to be able to take part in the largest (so far!) virtual tour of their company. Some of our agile42 colleagues actually visited Menlo a few years ago, and now we had the chance to hear how Menlo works today.
The stories which Richard shared are something that we all can relate to, and if you missed this session, please find the recording below.
Wednesday was the last day of our public webinars. The day started off with a presentation by Yasmin Akay and Lena Natus. Yasmin is the Managing Director of Divimove’s Production and Strategy Studio, Europe’s leading digital studio and home of digital content creators. Lena is a consultant at Divimove, and her role is Company Culture and Organizational Development. She is also an actress. This session was about Human Behaviour consuming entertainment content and interacting with it.
They spoke about Social Media, different platforms, what to think about, how to try out new things, to be human, to breath and to listen to the audience you are trying to target. This session was incredibly valuable to all of us trying to build images of ourselves online, as well as branding our companies.
Have a look at the recording here!
Last but not least, I want to thank everyone that took part in our #agile42Connect event this week. We had many new faces join the webinars along with our valued regulars.
A big thanks to all of our guests, some of whom even took time out from their vacations to join us! It was a pleasure to hear your thoughts and ideas on the "New Normal". As the guests donated their time for free, we really hope that you can make a donation to Nutrition with Love & Kindness!
A big thanks to all at agile42 for the fantastic virtual Innovation Sprint. 2020 will be the Innovation Sprint we will never forget. We're also sure our "fun day" on the 30th July will be just as memorable!
We are pleased to announce that the webinar that took place on July 2nd, held by agile42's own Andrea Tomasini and his friend and colleague in leadership, Richard Sheridan from Menlo Innovations, was a great success.
We had people joining the session from all over the world, asking these two thought leaders great questions, and interacting with us in the chat.
The webinar kicked off with Richard giving an introduction into how they have been tackling the "new normal" at Menlo Innovations. Letting everyone in on stories about how they shifted to operating virtually and how they are maintaining social connections in these difficult times.
Andrea then gave an introduction into how agile42 changed their way of working, not only internally, but also with their clients. There was a need to adapt quickly and agile42 managed to steer the ship in the right direction. He also shared how proud agile42 is of their clients, the way in which they pivoted their way of working whilst taking into account the safety of their employees. Andrea's presentation focused on ORGANIC Leadership, and how this framework can help organizations lead in this "new normal".
Below you can see Andrea's notes from the webinar:
The focus of the discussion between Richard and Andrea was also about the safety of people in organizations. They stressed that it's important to ensure all employees have what they need to be able to work from home, stay safe and cope in this "new normal". It has not been easy for agile42 and Menlo Innovations, as both Richard and Andrea mentioned, however staying strong together is key.
We had a number of requests to record the webinar, and as usual, we did :-). If you missed the webinar, or you would like to listen again and share it with your network, you will find the recording below! It is available on YouTube.
Andrea also discussed the ways of measuring how the organization is performing. Survey fatigue was mentioned plenty of times in the chat. Employees are tired of doing surveys on a regular basis and struggle to see the value. agile42 has created the Organizational Scan, OrgScan for short, which uses the patented SenseMaker® technology. It shows your organizational culture, your main leadership styles and what your organization values by collecting 100% anonymous data from you and your colleagues. Through including micro-narratives and a patented design that cannot be gamed, the OrgScan offers real data, unlike an interview or a questionnaire which is influenced by the personal situation or the mood of the contributor.
If you are interested, please have a look at the Starter Kit, and get in touch! The Starter Kit is a perfect way to get started and experience the value of the OrgScan. The OrgScan is a fun way to describe what you see and feel in the organization, without the feeling of filling in a survey.
If you would like to take a look at the books Richard and Andrea have written, you can find the links to these in the original blog post, introducing this webinar.
This week the “Meet the Coach” webinar series delved into the interesting topic of “Prioritising with Cost of Delay”. The presentation went really well and we had many people listening, once again. It makes us happy to see so many people returning to our webinars, with new faces joining all the time. We hope to see you all again soon!
Whether it is for large initiatives or items on the product backlog, prioritising work is something many organisations are struggling with. Some choices will have different impacts for certain stakeholders. Often it is hard to keep things objective, since there are opinions, ego’s, status and emotions involved. Ordering by value is not always as linear as you would expect. In many cases we are comparing apples with oranges, for example how do you compare an initiative to attract new users with quality improvements?
In the webinar we looked at different aspects related to comparing items and I explained the concept of Cost of Delay and how it can be used as a prioritisation technique. Below you can find some of my suggestions from the webinar.
If you missed out on the webinar, don’t worry! We have the recording available for you. Feel free to share it around with friends and colleagues. The recording of the session is available on YouTube.If there is anything we can help you with regarding this topic, feel free to contact us.
As mentioned in the webinar, if you want to learn more about Cost of Delay, or how to work with stakeholders, how to make choices and how to be a good Product Owner – join a training with us!
In this training you will learn the theory of the Scrum Framework and work through tools to enable great Product Ownership. The CSPO course is appropriate for aspiring Product Owners, business analysts, managers, project managers, and organizational team leaders seeking a deeper understanding of the Product Owner role, and how to improve Product Ownership in their organization.
If you are already a CSPO, take the next step and deep dive with Advanced Certified Scrum Product Owner training . All upcoming trainings can be found online. Please bare in mind that in order to receive an A-CSPO certification it’s required to hold a valid CSPO certification with Scrum Alliance and validate at least 12 months of work experience specific to the role of Product Owner (within the past five years).
We run all our trainings both remotely and in-person! If your organization would prefer a private training, we can even look at customising the training for you. Get in touch and we can discuss the best solution!
And don’t forget about the coaching. At agile42 we do a lot of role coaching, and the support we can give your Product Owners will help their daily work.
I have shared the slides used during the webinar below:
Here you can learn more about the Business Value Game. The Business Value Game is a tool for estimating the Business Value in software development projects, it helps Product Owners and Stakeholders in sharing information related to Business Values in a relatively short time. It avoids anchoring by asking each Stakeholder to play their estimate card so that it cannot be seen by the others and then all cards are exposed at once.
Here you can order the Planning Poker Cards. Planning poker is mostly used to estimate the effort or the relative size of tasks in software development. The members of the project team come together and estimate each item in a few rounds using the planning poker cards until the team reaches consensus on the size of each item or task.
The empirical evidence agile42 has gathered from multiple client engagements, supports the theory that ideal characteristics of a leader are based on archetypes, ideal types of what an organization should look like and their underlying culture. This has led us to observe a very strong relationship between leadership attitude, organizational design, and organizational culture.
The idea behind ORGANIC agility is that there isn’t any right or wrong leadership behavior, but rather there are behaviors that one can master, and can be appropriately called upon in specific situations within a specific culture: if a leadership behavior doesn’t correspond to the cultural expectations of the people involved, it will very likely cause a negative emotional response, and potentially increase motivational debt.
In this webinar I gave an overview of different archetypes that are expressed under specific conditions and bring leadership behavior, organizational design and organizational culture together. We also explored some methods within the ORGANIC agility framework, that allow you to recognize the archetype to which an organization can be mapped at a given moment in time, and provide guidance for transitioning to a different archetype, while increasing coherence between culture, organizational design and leadership behaviors.
If you missed the live webinar, I have great news for you!Here you can find the recording of the session, available on YouTube. Please have a look at it and feel welcome to share it around with friends and colleagues.
During the webinar, I mentioned the Archetype Assessment as a part of the ORGANIC agility framework. The archetype assessment is a service we provide either virtually or in-person, and it is an engaging and meaningful activity that reveals what people think about the way leadership achieves results in your organization. It allows groups and leaders to express what combinations (archetypes) they see themselves operating in, what expectations they have of one another, and how they can make changes without alarming and disappointing the people they work with. The aim is to support cohorts going through any sort of change, whether intentional (such as an agile journey) or unintentional (such as a merger). Change creates friction and both leaders, and the people they work with, struggle with knowing in what ways it is useful to change and how they can best reduce resistance and help support growth in themselves and others.
Please have a look at the information, and contact us if you are interested or have questions!
I mentioned the webinar from our colleague, Lasse Ziegler, in this webinar, about Leadership in complex environments, and I recommend you have a look at that one to get an understanding of the leadership styles mentioned briefly in my webinar.
This blogpost will give you insights into starting a Scrum team, with a recording from the webinar and some additional information to support you with this journey.
As with Scrum in general, starting a team is easy to understand but difficult to master. I presented a webinar on this topic where I wanted to run you through the finer points of starting a team. Starting a team is not just explaining Scrum and proclaiming: “Go!”. It is a process in which the level of complexity needs to be evaluated in order to determine the right approach to move forward. Will Scrum really benefit you? Once this has been established it’s time to get into the nuts and bolts. I discussed what steps need to be taken in the first few weeks and what to expect while establishing a healthy team.
Since we are progressively stepping into a world where remote collaboration is becoming the standard, I created the opportunity for Q&A during the webinar where we discussed some interesting questions regarding remote collaboration as well as other pain points. This can be heard in the recording of the webinar.
For those who missed the live session, don't panic! Here you can find the recording, and it is also available on YouTube. Have a look and feel free to share with friends and colleagues. If there is anything we can help you with regarding this topic, feel free to contact us.
We would also like to share a few links that may be of interest to you. We have a Scrum start-up package for kicking off new Scrum teams, and this link gives you some insights into this service. We would be more than happy to walk through with you how we can help support your teams. Please keep in mind that e.g. the Team Kickoff can be done every now and then with the teams, and we strongly recommend this e.g. after summer vacations or winter breaks.
As we mentioned in the webinar, if you want to take your basic learnings to the next level, we recommend Certified Scrum Master (CSM) training. At agile42 we are currently running this training remotely, and dates can be found from the listing.
For more on the topic of team dynamics, you can always book sessions with a coach, and if you want to learn how to support your teams with this, please have a look at the Advanced Certified Scrum Master (A-CSM) training or the Advanced Team Coaching Course (ATCC) where you can boost your own skills. These trainings give you, as an Agile Coach or Scrum Master, valuable support to help you with your teams.
We have all kinds of support for the Agile teams, and many of the steps that I listed in the webinar are services we can provide, so please connect with us and we would be more than happy to help.
One of the main aspects of any agile transformation program is cultural change. During times of working from home it’s even more important than ever.
Based on the 1st ORGANIC agility principle, “Increase Cultural Awareness and Coherence”, the main challenge is how to understand your organizational culture and how to create coherence based on shared principles without losing diversity.
In this webinar I shared my experiences of using the Competing Values Framework, developed by Robert Quinn and Kim Cameron at the University of Michigan. This framework gives us a model with the purpose to help change agents identify effective ways of diagnosing and changing culture in order to enhance organizational performance.
I am pleased that the topic of the webinar got so much attention. We had people listening from all over the world, and so many questions that unfortunately we ran out of time. We hope that we can continue some discussions with the participants in the future. It was fun and great that the audience was engaged in the topic with comments throughout the session.
For those who missed the live session, don't panic! Here you can find the recording, and it is also available on YouTube. Have a look at it and feel welcome to share it around with friends and colleagues. If there is anything we can help you with regarding this topic, feel free to contact us.
If you are interested in the Organizational Scan for your organization, feel free to look into our OrgScanStarter Kit. This is a good starting point to understanding the culture of your organization. More details about the OrgScan can be found here. Don’t hesitate to get in touch!
To learn more about ORGANIC agility, you can have a look at our webpage. We’re continuing to run the Certified ORGANIC Leadership® Foundations (provides CAL1) sessions remotely, so get in touch if you think this would be something for you and your organization.
If you are interested in reading more about ORGANIC agility, you can buy the ORGANIC agility book from Amazon.
We have more webinars coming up, and the previous ones listed on our website, so please have a look at them here. More webinars!
It was great to have so many people attending my webinar “Building blocks for a resilient organization” on April 23rd. The subject seemed to be resonating with a big audience and I want to thank everyone for their engagement and questions and especially to the many who got back to me through Linkedin or email: it looks like the community of people who get passionate about ORGANIC agility is growing day by day.
Here you can find the recording of the session, also available on YouTube: have a look at it and feel welcome to share it around with friends and colleagues.
In an era of global challenges, volatile markets and exponentially faster changes, the slow response of decision making and hierarchies makes organizations more vulnerable. Obsessive focus on processes and structures derives from the common mistake of thinking of organizations as machines rather than thinking of them as organisms, social networks of thinking individuals who care about doing a good job.
A new way of thinking about leadership and decision-making is necessary. Instead of a rigid framework you rather need guiding principles to apply in different contexts: don’t copy what someone else has done before and instead find your own solution.
In this webinar, I gave an overview of the building blocks of ORGANIC agility: the leadership framework, principles, tools and practices that help on your journey. With these, you can create an organization that can organically grow and adapt to challenges of the future.
The ORGANIC agility framework allows different kinds of agility to grow in different environments, instead of imposing a single model on everybody. In this way, it is possible to map existing capabilities to market demands, and evolve following trends, as opposed to implementing a specific organizational blueprint, which might have become irrelevant by the time it is finally implemented.
The first element is the Leadership Framework. It is often the entry point for organizations, both because usually, leaders in organizations have been fighting the uncertainty of the markets for long enough to have an instinctive grasp on complexity and because engagement at the leadership level increases the probability of positive results. There are three key aspects to ORGANIC Leadership: first, it sees leadership as a capability rather than a role. Second, it can be combined with and recognizes multiple leadership models that are out there in the world today and sees their value in context, placing particular emphasis on the complexity-informed models. Finally, this is the only current framework that combines situational awareness, leadership attitude, and organizational culture in order to improve effectiveness with the minimum of resistance, and it is presented alongside an intervention model that can facilitate the transition to a different kind of leadership.
The second element is a set of five principles, which play the role of scaffolding alongside the leadership framework. The principles represent different degrees of complexity and different intervention needs. Scaffolding, in this case, reminds us that the principles are not rules that are meant to be followed forever. There are different kinds of scaffolds: some support the construction of a building whose future shape we already know, some provide nutrients for growth to happen, and some completely disappear once they are no longer needed. The same applies to the five principles: once they have been fully integrated into an organization and become part of its DNA, explicit reference to them is unnecessary.
Principles come associated with tools, the third element of ORGANIC agility. They are meant to help the translation of theory into practice and make complexity manageable. Understanding the present condition, establishing fast and diverse feedback loops, and exploring multiple options are all essential.
Remember to sign up to the upcoming webinar, continuing on the same ORGANIC agility pattern. The upcoming webinar takes place on May 22nd. More details and signing up. To learn more about ORGANIC agility, you can have a look at the website.
Moving to remote work is a huge challenge for many organizations. It can feel slower and harder than working in an office. So why is it that some organizations seem to actually run better remote?
Well, it turns out that working remotely is just exacerbating the challenges we all face. Those organizations that are thriving have learned to address those challenges, so working remotely isn’t as problematic for them.
The great news for teams practicing Scrum is that you already have the building blocks in place. Now, doubling down on those Scrum Fundamentals can actually turn this difficult time into a turning point on your teams.
Let’s explore how Scrum helps alleviate the pain of the three most common challenges: Communications, Alignment, and Adapting and Pivoting.
Challenge #1: Communications
Communication is a key part of getting work done. However, remote work makes communication slower and more difficult. This, in turn, slows down the ability for work to get completed.
A Scrum team is small and cross-functional, containing all of the skills and knowledge needed to complete valuable work. The underlying reason for this is communications channels. The number of communication channels required to get work done increases exponentially as the team grows. We can see how quickly complexity grows in the diagram below.
To calculate the exponential growth in lines of communication use the formula: c=n (n-1)2
A properly-formed Scrum Team addresses this problem in 3 ways.
First, the small number of team members allows for fewer communication channels. Second, the cross-functional nature means the team rarely has to pull more people into the circle to complete work. Thirdly, the dedicated nature of the team means that there is as little wait time as possible, making those channels more efficient.
Simpler communications channels means that Scrum teams have more options to reduce the complexities of remote work. It is much simpler to schedule synchronous communications like Zoom conversations. It is also far easier to pay attention to Slack channels with just a few people in them without getting distracted by constant interruptions.
In remote-work situations, every communication is a bit harder and a bit less efficient, even if your team is experienced at working remotely.
Look for ways to move to more synchronous communication when possible
Reduce matrixing and cross-team dependencies to lower the total number of communication channels to complete work.
Challenge #2: Alignment
People are busy, but moving in many different directions. Many organizations rely on managers, directors, and team leads to keep teams aligned. This can work well, but one of the most common complaints we hear from these leaders when teams move to remote work is that they lose connectivity and that makes it far more difficult to provide that coordination.
Scrum provides just enough structure to allow a team to run without external coordination. The Sprint Goal sets a direction for the sprint. The Sprint Goal should not be to do work, but to achieve an outcome. This lets all team members make fast implementation decisions in the moment by asking themselves: “Does this action take me closer or further away from the Sprint Goal.”
The items in the Sprint Backlog should describe product capabilities that will help the team reach the Sprint Goal. Backlog items like “A logged in user will be able to submit a help request to technical support through their portal” are implementation agnostic. This gives the team the flexibility it needs to pivot if they discover that their expected implementation isn’t feasible without getting approvals or coordination from outside of the team.
Create Sprint Goals that describe valuable business outcomes the team can use as a North Star for the Sprint.
Team members should make decisions asking themselves if it takes them closer or further away from the Sprint Goal.
Backlog items should be flexible enough to allow the team to coordinate the implementation internally.
As the saying goes: large ships turn slowly. The same is true for the large, important projects and initiatives that many organizations work on. As we move to remote working and the world around us changes more and more rapidly, the inability to adapt becomes a significant challenge for companies.
Scrum asks teams to create a potentially shippable product increment every sprint. This means that an increment of the product is built, tested, integrated, and ready to deliver if it is deemed valuable and complete enough to ship. Traditionally, the “value” of the increment gets all of the attention, but the “complete” side of the increment is just as important. When the increment is complete, it is easy to pivot to new work or features without the challenges and waste of leaving work partly done.
Keep in mind that what applies to the team also applies at the program and portfolio level. Most organizations optimize their projects for starting many all at once. This means that many large efforts stretch over months or even years, making it difficult to pivot when necessary. Rallying teams around small increments that complete in a sprint or two lets the whole company pivot quickly.
As much as possible, focus on bringing the sprint’s increment to a full close to be able to make large pivots each sprint if needed.
Apply the same principle to your program and portfolio. It doesn’t help if your teams pivot quickly but the business doesn’t.
If all that sounds like it’s very far away from where your teams are today – don’t panic! Taking even a small step toward any of these items will help your team and your organization. If you make even one improvement per Sprint, imagine where you’ll be in a year.
And remember, if you’re a Scrum Master, a Coach, or an Organizational Leader, it’s not all on you to fix things for the team. Another Scrum Fundamental is that the team can lead the charge in their own improvements too.
As an old boss once told me, “You’re doing great! Do better next time!”
Be sure to watch the webinar recording of this topic, available here and on YouTube.
The world is in turmoil. As we all find ourselves challenged by situations we never thought we would face, more and more people are turning to complexity for understanding. This epidemic has managed to make the complex, vulnerable, interconnected states we all exist in more visible than ever, but it has also made us think about the future and its potential in new ways. In order to support increasingly pressing questions on the subject, a panel of experts on complexity came together, including Alicia Juarrero, Ann Pendleton-Jullian, Dave Snowden, and Valdis Krebs.
The resulting discussion took place in a 90-minute free webinar that attracted more than 2000 registrations. Some were not able to attend, and others would like the opportunity to listen to the dense conversation again, so we are happy to be able to share a recording of the webinar with you, in the hopes that it will be able to help you in your challenges.
The recording of the webinar is now available.
Just like the webinar, access to the recording is free of charge. The panelists and organizers, who donated their time to make this possible, would like to ask you to contribute a donation to the Red Cross COVID-19 emergency appeal instead.
agile42 enables leaders and their teams to create a resilient organization and a sustainable change process. We equip them with the tools they need daily to grow the business and foster the right organizational culture.
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