A Scrum Kickoff…

Let's vote !

Usually when I start an Agile “Mission” my first concern is to understand how the company works. How the different business departments collaborate together.

A few months ago I was just in this step. I met 30 people from all departments of the company. And so I was there with plenty of feedbacks wondering “How will I use these information”.

Basically I just asked them to explain me their job and how they contribute to a project within the company. I also asked them what works well and what are the main problems.

The Presentation

I wanted them to understand the big picture, and wished to do it in an active way with the opportunity to introduce Scrum. I already had plenty of usable Scrum slides, but wanted to avoid a “Me speaking, them listening” effect; even though my mom used to say I have a beautiful voice ;-)

The first part of the presentation was to list what works well within the company, and what can be improved. For such exercise, it’s important to insist on what works well, because we still want to continue working that way right ?! Moreover, a long list of “negative” things can create immediate demotivation. So I had 4 slides: 2 with “Positive things” and 2 named “list of possible improvements”.

So to summarise I wanted this meeting to be:

  • A feedback on the study period
  • An introduction to Scrum

And I wanted the participants:

  • To be active
  • To live the method

The Process

I started the meeting by giving to one participant a bunch of green and red post-it notes. Then, I asked him to take one of each and pass them to his neighbor. I was intentionally very directive and I was (secretly) tracking the time they took to complete the procedure. It took them 124 seconds to have all the post-it notes distributed to the participants.

Secondly, I asked each of them to write ‘Yes’ on the green post-it and ‘No’ on the red post-it. Then, I began my presentation. Every time I would announce a positive thing, they were asked to vote if they agree. The same exercise was done with the ‘list of possible improvements’. The participants had to raise a ‘Yes’ or  ‘No’ post-it to vote. I saw this technique used in conference by Henrik Kniberg and by Claude Aubry.

The next slides of my presentation aimed at Scrum topic. A few slides were thought provoking like: “Agile is a magic method and will solve all my problems”.

The vote + those kind of slides led to interesting discussions.

At the end of the presentation I asked them if Scrum was clear for them, and once they answered “Yes” I told them that they just did one sprint and that we will start the second sprint right away. They were a bit surprised ;-)

from 124 seconds to 42 seconds using Scrum

So I explain them that the sprint 1 took 124 seconds which was unfair from me of course because they were not aware ;-)

Therefore, I proposed them do a second sprint.

Objective of sprint 2 was: ““Perform as quickly as possible”. The user story to do as a team was: As a presenter, I want each participant to have one green post it notes and one red so I can use it to have them vote”. They had 5 minutes of preparation, then they had to give me the “Go” to start implementation. At the end of this sprint, the result was : 42 seconds. Waouw ! Only one third of the original time.

One funny thing did happen, one participant proudly told me “Hey look I have 2 green and 2 red !”. He thought he had reached another objective. However, as a client, I had no added-value to have a participant with 2 greens and 2 reds.

It was a nice opportunity to introduce the “do just what your client asked then stop” concept.

So this simple process was for me the opportunity to introduce them to:

  • self organization
  • the “inspect and adapt” concept
  • the user stories
  • the restrospectives
  • Working with 5-9 people teams
  • the “do just what your client asked then stop” concept

Quite powerful isn’it ?

If you have any thought or any comment about this, feel free to write me or to leave a comment



Ps: Post written listening to Mixtapes – Hope is for People

This content is published under the Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-Share Alike 3.0 Unported license.

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