Responding to a co-located/fully remote/hybrid article

I read Should Your Organization Be Co-Located, Fully Remote, or Hybrid from Scrum Inc. It’s nice to see the agile community starting to accept that co-location isn’t necessary to be an agile team. (I’ve been on a team for many years with people in multiple locations and it never stopped us from doing Scrum. We even figured out how to make in person agile games remote. A few takeaways/responding

Feedback

I really like this quote

Uncollected feedback is perishable; the longer you wait the less reliable it is

Many years ago (even before doing Scrum or remote.), I noticed that people had trouble recollecting what they wanted to contribute to the retrospective. They were quiet at meetings and didn’t remember problems not fresh on the mind.

I solved this by putting a shoebox and post its in a common location. This let the team put in their thoughts right as they happened.We had someone organize the post its by topic and used the retrospective time to discuss them.

Over time, that shoebox became electronic. But the benefits still stand. Real time opportunities to record those thoughts. I really like the perishable quote and am sharing it with my current team at our next retrospective!

Purpose of an office

The article lists the following benefits of an office. It was interesting reflect on how much of this applies to me and my troubles over the last 15 months. The table shows my thoughts on them both for work and the high school robotics team I mentor

Item from articleWorkRobotics
Collaboration, communication, and the sense of belonging that comes with colocationI’m not sure. It’s definitely good seeing people, but my team has been distributed for years. So a lot of my connections were with people not on my team anyway.Definitely. The kids noticed how much they feel not being able to hang out, have team dinners, bond over dodgeball, etc
A place to work away from the distractions of homeYes! This is one of the problems I’m having. (I put not having a good physical work space in this area. A subpar work environment is certainly distracting.)Some of the students share rooms or have distractions on calls.
Creation of physical products and use of specialized tools n/a – our tools are computersDefinitely. Not having access to the lab, tools, robot greatly limits what can be done.
Space for gatherings and training While I don’t need to see my teammates every day/week, we do all meet in person on occasion. In person meetings allow for more flexibility and cross training
A need to directly interact with customersn/an/a
A place to focusAnother one for me. I only have so much energy to focus at home. It’s less than 8 hours worth which isn’t even enough for a day let alone fun things after work. I also notice, I can’t carry as many thoughts in my head at home.Not sure.
The status and stability a physical location conveysn/an/a

Sustainablility

Another quote I found interesting:

Working more hours to get less done is not a recipe for success. 

For most of the weeks of the pandemic, I refused to work more hours. (I made an exception for the a month and there was a high cost. I’m still recovering to get myself to the point I was at the week before I made that exception.) I got less done but it wasn’t from more hours.

Most of my colleagues get the same or more done at home. They should be able to to telecommute forever! I am not one of those people. At the office, I have a desk so I can see more stuff at once. I have two monitors so I can work faster. I can hold more thoughts in my head

And also

There will be times when after-hours work will be needed. These need to be the exception – not the rule.  

I agree with this. And I made that monthlong exception intentionally. Also my employer passed the “test” of it being important. I worked one weekend day in exchange for a comp day. So at least it was my employer’s time too, not just mine.

I hear a lot of people say “since I’m not commuting, I can work more.” I strongly disagree with this. I used my commute time productively. I read the news in the morning and a computer book on the way home. (My computer book reading is also down because my at home energy isn’t available when I have time to read now.) Commuting time belongs to me, not my employer. It being gone isn’t a reason to work more hours.

Hybrid workspace ideas

The article also lists some ideas for hybrid work. My thoughts on those

IdeaResponse
Have designated team days for in-person workWe did that when we were a colocated team with telecommuters. (Monday was the day nobody could telecommute.) I consider this a crutch that we long moved past. Luckily we became a multi-city/time zone team after I no longer needed that crutch!
Institute policies to fight ‘Zoom Fatigue’ and burnoutThe article suggests holding 10 minute breaks between meetings. I’ve had meetings 9:05-9:55 for as long as I can remember. So meetings i control do come with those breaks.
Always hold team events in virtual conference spaceThis one we didn’t quite do. We did have people at the same site connect from the same room rather than everyone being at their desk. But everyone did contribute equally. It wasn’t most people in one room and a handful alone at home.
Publish all meeting notes in a visible space which can be accessed remotelyEverything is electronic. While we do publish notes, we aren’t an async team though.
Only use virtual whiteboardsDefinitely! The only time we used physical whiteboards was for pairing when the two people involved happened to be in the same location.

[2020 devnexus] metrics that matter

Speaker: Joel Tosi @jdojoandco

For more, see table of contents


General

  • Finishing on time doesn’t matter if do wrong thing
  • Can’t just say happy; need to know how much costs
  • Who cares about metrics: managers, product owners
  • People tend to measure what is easy to measure
  • Goal is to make people happy (and make money)

Bad metrics

  • # people trained as measure of agile transformation
  • measuring just a piece. Doesn’t matter how fast deploy if deploying wrong thing. Sub-optimizing

Simple metrics

Good place to start if have no metrics now. (but not always good metrics)

  • Number of defects
  • Velocity
  • Lines of code
  • Number of teams (not x% transformed b/c y teams have done it)
  • Code coverage. (bad if game system: ex: tested all getters/setters to increase)

Notes

  • Easy to collect
  • Doesn’t tell customer impact, right or usable
  • If don’t have insight, can help

Directional Metrics

Take time to capture

  • Increase in code coverage
  • SQALE (from Sonar)
  • Reduction in % of defects
  • Cycle time
  • Deployment frequency
  • Average time a bug takes to get fixed
  • Number Checkstyle violations over time
  • Size user base

Notes

  • More sustainable. Ensures not killing team in meantime
  • More depth
  • Still not measuring impact to users

Impactful/Economic Metrics

  • Reduction of cycle time for a delivery that mattered
  • Systemic cost reductions
  • Stopping bad ideas

Notes

  • How do we get rid of noise in the system
  • People need to agree to do these types of metrics
  • Need psychological safety. Must be safe to be wrong

Process Behavior Charts

  • You deliver value with a system.
  • A stable system will continue to deliver outputs within a range if you do nothing different.
  • Goal is not to react to noise.
  • Process Behavior Charts help separate signal from noise
  • Need to understand what measuring
  • Chart data in a time series
  • Calculate the moving average
  • Calculate the upper/lower bounds by multiplying by 2.66
  • Introduce change and continue to measure

Supporting Knowledge Work

  • Better decisions if faster access to info
  • Onion – team, manager(s), business, execs. Who can answer a question. How many levels need to go through

Books

  • Measures of Success: React Less, Lead betteer, Iprove More – Mark Graban. Covers health care.
  • Understanding Variation – The Key To Managing Chaos – Donald J Wheeler. Explains why 2.66 and more complex charts
  • Principles of Product Development Flow – Donald G Reinertsen

My take

Good talk. I like the interactivity to supplement the slides. I was thinking it would be more concrete. But I liked what it was actually about. I hadn’t seen process behavior charts before and found that particularly interesting.

[2020 devnexus] mothering a dev team

Speaker: Valarie Regas @ValarieRegas

For more, see table of contents


Wardley Maps

  • For more: https://medium.com/@swardley
  • Map/graphic inspires more confidence than strengths/weaknesses/opportunities/threats matrix or list of steps
  • Customer is anchor point – your gol is your users
  • ex: Y axis is value chain visibility
  • ex: X axis is evolution. goes from genesis (ex: in house custom solutions) to commodity (stuff can outsource0
  • Links between nodes are dependencies

Examples/Lessons

  • Must have only one anchor point
  • Everything shouldn’t link to everything else
  • Need midtier examples – something between “hello world” and enterprise software
  • Disney trip example! ex: fastpasses, pack, dining. (time bound events). Y axis dates and X axis is person doing
  • Chore chart leading to donuts. X axis is people again. Used pictures for four year old.
  • Work project with y axis as time needed to do. X axis is status (planning to completed)
  • All show movement from beginning to end, shows components clearly and shows how to get from one to another

Other axis ides

  • Cost
  • Complexity
  • # people needed

Other notes

  • There is software as well. Can make whiteboard version or electronic one.
  • Can use for sprint planning.
  • Valarie creates the maps independenly

My take

I hadn’t heard of Wardley Maps. Interesting idea. I *love* the Disney example. I have planned a trip to Disney World. What a project. Also, loved the how to make PB&J sandwich reference. I enjoyed that when I was a kid. I like there was a lot of Q&A. (I noted this last year too)