This post is my live blog from KCDC. For more, see the 2021 KCDC live blog TOC
Speaker: Sarah Harper
Why work gets stuck
- Work moves through the system until it gets stuck in a phase
- We like to think of things as a process problem. However, often a behavioral issue (not like major HR leve problems)
- Reasons: someone out sick, not enough people know how to do something, blame testing
- Agile black holes!
- Detrimenta to process and team morale
- Not obvious what problem is
- examples: deployment, business requirements, code review, qa
- Biggest black hole is the backlog
Back hole theory
- Any work status which acts as a “holding pen” for work items will eventuallly turn into a black hole
- Once enough are blocked for same reason, all future items will becme blocked
- It becomes acceptable for things to get blocked there
- No work appears to be done to outside observer – unclear who working on or what it is up to
- Queue busts – something wrong and swarm around it. Teams decides to focus on something like a customer service queue.
- Eceeed WIP limits
- Blocked column
- Too much in “done” or “ready” columns
- Long staging cycle time
- Exercise: everyone got a piece of paper with three anagrams and people raised their hand as solved
- One one side, first two not soleable. One other side, first two easy. Then same third one.
- Taught first group learned helplessness.
- Trained to give up.
- I tried X times to change this
Locus of control
- Exercise: how much control do you have over weather, food you eat, comute, home, projects at wor, team member participation. (Scale of none to all)
- Think about what under control
- Don’t blame others for things can control
- Be alert when someone says can’t/imposssible
- Don’t try so can’t fail
- Fear of looking bad
- ”give to X because X can do fastest” – setting team up for failure if that person can’t do it.
- That person becomes busy and a black hole
- ”You miss 100% o the shots you don’t take”
Somebody else’s problem and the bystander effect
- Brain edits it out because someone ese’s problem
- Everyone ignores
- May or may not actually be someone else’s responsibity
- Bystander effect – assume someone else will take charge
How spot black holes
- If have to scroll in a kanan board, have a black hole
- Not obvious
- Excercise: think about your kanban board For each of these principles
- Figure ground – foreground vs background. What see vs ignore. Showed optical illusion of face/vase. Usually digital boards have a white background so white cards disappear into background. Can make a different color to stand out. Also, if something has a date contraint or a high priority, add contrast.
- Common region – when obects located in same region, we perceive them as being grouped together. If everything looks the same, can’t tell. Change blocked cards to a different color
- Similarity – thinks that look the same are assumed to be the same.
- Proximity – things close together appear to be more related than things spaced farther apart. This is more of an effect than similiarity
- Continuity – Elements on a ine are considered more related. Lines follow the smoothest path.
- Focal point – watever stands out visually will attract and hold our attention
- Closure – we try to find recognizable patterns
- Just noticeabe difference – hard to see Jira dots for how long in state
- Idea: have blocked work in a different color, in a lane on top. So you can see status blocked in.
- Avoid too much color
Escaping back holes
- Have team talk about problem
- Visualize future state and take action
- Use a physical board or customize digital board as much as can
- FInd an influencer on team that will give good feedback and help team accept idea
- Queue bust (swarm around problem)
- Root cause everything
I learned a lot at this session. I like how it was different than a lot of agile talks. I have a bunch of things to take back