Happy Teams are key to successful agile transformation– Teams’ self-design

Agile Teams' self-design is very important (though not very common) exercise in a large-scale agile transformation. In teams’ self design, team members choose their own teams in a collaborative way. This concept here is that the teams will gel quickly and excel when they are self-designed.

In this session I am going to present my experience with such exercise. I facilitated at least 4 such sessions to help an organization as part of a large-scale transformation. The session is going to explain

  1. Benefits of Feature teams over Component teams
  2. Self-design of feature teams
  3. Pilot exercise of self-design of 2 feature teams.
  4. Large scale self-design of 4 product groups with 30 to 50 members per group.

 

 
 

Outline/structure of the Session

  1. Organizational Context – 5 min
    1. Agile Transformation Context
    2. Organizational Structural changes
    3. Component vs. Feature teams
  2. Teams’ self design pilot – 10 min
    1. 2 Component teams into 2 feature teams
    2. Coaching requirements for newly formed feature teams & lessons learned
    3. Component Guardians
  3. Big bang self-design of 4 product groups – 15 min
    1. Preparation
    2. PO’s Vision
    3. Manager’s Vision
    4. Self-design round 1
    5. Self-design round 2
    6. Self-design round 3
    7. Scrum master selection process
    8. Team Name selection
    9. Working Agreements
    10. Team building activities
  4. Coaching the self-designed teams – 5 min
  5. Lessons learned – 5 min
  6. Q&A – 5 min

Learning Outcome

  1. Benefits of Feature teams over Component teams.
  2. Importance of Teams’ self-design in large-scale transformation.
  3. Process of team self-design.
  4. Ideas and Tips for conducting the Team self-design.

Target Audience

Executives, Managers, Agile Coaches, Scrum Masters and anyone who is interested.

Requirements

Projector

schedule Submitted 2 years ago

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  • Naresh Jain
    By Naresh Jain  ~  2 years ago
    reply Reply

    Interesting topic, can you share more details about the challenges and benefits?

    Also the video has lot of disturbance. Do you have a different video?

    • Nanda Lankalapalli
      By Nanda Lankalapalli  ~  2 years ago
      reply Reply

      Hi Naresh,

      Sorry for the bad quality video. I linked a different one. Hope, this would be ok. I am presenting this topic first time so, I don't have video on this topic. The one attached is to show that I could present :) To give few data points, I speak regularly at Agile Tour, Agile Hyderabad and other local conferences.

      Coming to the question about Benefits and Challenges:

       Benefits of Team self-design:

      Usually, teams are assigned by managers, in which team members may not have a choice. Managers try to optimize around their perception of capabilities of every team member.

      This exercise is to let team members choose their team in a collaborative way. This actually, helps workout lot of team dynamics issues. Since members are the ones deciding whom they want to work with, the motivation is high and the self-organization takes less time. The teams formed this way are expected to gel well.  This way the teams are optimized by their willingness.

      I have seen a case where manager felt that one of the teams formed have mostly junior members and may not perform well, but team insisted that they are confident to catch up on skills. That team eventually out performed all teams.

      Challenges of doing the exercise:

      Putting 30 to 40 people in a big room and facilitating them to form into 4,5 or 6 teams by them selves is not an easy task. Lot of times members don’t split evenly between teams for domain knowledge, technical skills and experience. This requires thorough preparation, perfect execution and lot of coaching.

      Nevertheless, there will be few cases where people don’t get their first choice. These team members need to be coached.

      • Naresh Jain
        By Naresh Jain  ~  2 years ago
        reply Reply

        Video is private. Can't view it.

        Also the topic is very interesting. But what you've described is a million feet overview. I would like to learn more about it. Is there a blog or some link where I can go read more on this topic? 

        • Nanda Lankalapalli
          By Nanda Lankalapalli  ~  2 years ago
          reply Reply

          Sorry for screwing up one more time. Now I opened it up.

          Here is an article co-authored by Craig Larman on the topic and we were inspired by the same:

          https://www.scrumalliance.org/community/articles/2013/2013-april/how-to-form-teams-in-large-scale-scrum-a-story-of


    • Liked Vijay Bandaru
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      Scrum Master Experience Report

      Vijay Bandaru
      Vijay Bandaru
      schedule 2 years ago
      Sold Out!
      20 mins
      Experience Report
      Intermediate

      This presentation brings a different perspective for the Scrum Masters and helps them to become more powerful Scrum Masters through their enhanced soft skills. I am going to cover how the teams evaolve, how the change is resisted, how the teams behave, how Scrum Master can handle all these effective to make the teams deliver working software every sprint continuously.

      The information explained below is from my experience as Scrum Master and Coach. Below are the points that will be covered in the presentation:

      Primarily I am planning to cover the anti patterns that will push the teams back and where the Scrum Master can support the teams with his knowledge, experience and interpersonal skills. For example please find below some scenarios:

      1. In effective sprint planning: Team might miss some of the tasks while doing the sprint planning part 2 so they will anyway identify them during the development of the stories so these tasks take additional time which is not budgeted. So they will have to miss some stories which will impact the sprint goal. So I encourage the scrum masters to collect all such unidentified tasks on a separate colr sticky notes and during retrospective discuss with the team to see how much % of the capacity is gone for that tasks. At the same time are there any tasks in that list can be repeatable tasks (Eg: Code review) so this will help the team to come up with a tasks checklist which will help the teams to do effective sprint planning part 2 

      2. Partially ready stories pushed into the sprint: Sometimes product owners push the stories that are not fully ready and the team cannot say "No" in this case either the story gets changes during the sprint or it cannot be finished due to unknown factors. So Scrum Master to encourage the team to have a proper DOR (Definition of Ready) and get a working agreement between the PO and team so that they will work around it whilst they understand "Responding to change over following a plan"

      3. Cross functional behavior: Team generally does not want to become cross functional because they are fine with what they are. Scrum Master has to bring a change in their thought process and get them agreed to become cross functional. For this it takes time so SM has to also manage the management expectations with respect to set the expectation in the dip in productivity

      4. Pale retrospectives: This is another area where Scrum Master has to provide support to teams and get the liveliness and make the teams high performance teams

      5. Timeboxing: Most of the teams do not respect this important guideline. Again SM has to get the importance of this characterstic in to the teams and get them aligned towards this. So there are some examples which I can quote such as if different people arrive at different timings, how much time is wasted and how many times we need to recap on the points already discussed, how much gap created etc

      6. Stop starting and start finishing: This will cover to complete the stories/tasks that you are working before you pick up something. In general the teams pick up many items at a time and complete them close to 100% but not 100% so this will impact the sprint goal. In such case the SM has to provide inputs to the team to pick as few as possible but close them as soon as possible so this way the value delivery at the end of sprint is guaranteed

      7. Lack of importance for quality: In the hurry of completing the stories the team at times give less or no importance to the quality. So the probability of escaped defects or getting rejection for the stories is high. So the Scrum Master has to educate the teams to strictly define/refine/follow the Definition of Done for each story. I saw many teams having their DOD in the tools like VersionOne but not infront of their eyes. 

      8. I know when I see it: Information radiators. This will be the key for the teams to adjust their pace as per the principle #8. So creating big visible information radiators and updating the underlysing details frequently will bring attention in the team and they naturally tend to adjust their delivery mode as per the requirement 

       

    • Vijay Bandaru
      Vijay Bandaru
      schedule 2 years ago
      Sold Out!
      20 mins
      Experience Report
      Intermediate

      I was part of a Large Scale Agile transformation in my organization and I was one of the Agile coaches there. As part of transformation we have created LeanOps teams to manage the technical debt, production incidents with a focused concentration. This article covers the following:

       

      - Why the trasnformation required?

      - What are the structural changes implemented?

      - LeanOps inception

      - Lean Ops working Model

      - Challenges with the LeanOps

      - How we addressed those challenges?

      - Goal oriented approach

      - Q & A

    • Liked Madhavi Ledalla
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      Will Scrum alone create miracles! Or does it need some best buddies…..Let us understand through a real team story!

      Madhavi Ledalla
      Madhavi Ledalla
      schedule 2 years ago
      Sold Out!
      20 mins
      Experience Report
      Beginner

      Summary of the presentation :

      Scrum is a framework. It just suggests some good practices which are like guidelines similar to the good-to-do things. These practices keep the system moving and are like driving directions that enable us to have a healthy rhythm. Now how is this rhythm of scrum affected by the behavioural ecosystem? The blend of people right from the top management to ground level get affected by this adoption of Scrum and also influence the scrum adoption to a greater extent. This adoption is a journey, and Scrum aids in making this entire journey enjoyable and valuable, of course we need to add some ingredients and some spice to it to make this adoption journey valuable and fun-filled. So in this presentation we would talk about the powerful roles in Scrum and most importantly how to make the environment around it suitable to have a smooth ride.

      This case study is created based on a real journey of the team and the team is still continuing their scrum journey.

      This case study highlights the following.

       Background information
             Project Kick off
             Criticality
            Initial Expectation
            Final Outcome
       Role of organization top-management in this journey?
       How to handle the most important resource-“PEOPLE” in the Scrum journey?
       Some effective ways to clean up the chaos that scrum exposes?
       Learn what are the key ingredients of Scrum?
       How do we spice it up to make the ride a fruitful happy ride?
       Some creative and innovative ways to make the ride a fun and valuable ride!
       How can the master chef, the Scrum Master make this journey a success?
       How to churn the teams to become great teams!

       PS: I can submit a detailed report based on which the slide deck is created to the reviewers. Thank you.

      Agile adoption journey is very challenging and expensive but yet would yield great results if we do it in a proper phased manner with good planning and insight. Scrum, one of the agile methodologies, helps the projects to cater to the dynamics of changing market while delivering high quality software when combined with few engineering practices.

      True! Let us try to understand the ground realities of scrum and then see how its adoption gets effected by the surrounding ecosystems and environment using simple metaphors and then let us take a deep dive into the depth of the realities. Scrum is like a powerful filtration process that allows the filtrate to pass through smoothly while exposing the residues which are the real bottlenecks, impediments, road blocks in a transparent manner. Once these residues are cleared, crystal clear increments of working software could be seen by the Stakeholders. So it is up to the environment around Scrum to act on the realities that Scrum exposes and clear it up as early as possible so that the working software could be delivered faster. If we do not react to these impediments that Scrum exposes, we would be where we were earlier and nothing might get changed!

      Successful implementation of Scrum would need the key ingredients, which are the robust engineering practices like Continuous integration, Daily Builds, Automated build process, Build notifications, Continuous Deployment and Delivery in place to deliver quality software.

      We need to enable and empower the most important resource, “PEOPLE” very carefully all through the journey so that they do not get over churned and break half-way through the ride. We need to add just enough lubricant to make the team vehicle move smoothly. Organization plays a vital role in giving the necessary push as and when required by providing the essential support in terms of the infrastructure and other requirements that would aid the Scrum journey. People who have a positive attitude and who are willing to work with the team on the ground would sustain this adoption process. People who try to create roadblocks along the journey should be handled with care skilfully.

      Now to make the journey really a fun-filled ride, definitely some spice in the form of creativity and innovation is needed to produce the flavor to make scrum tour amazing and an exciting journey that churns good teams to great teams. The three roles of Scrum, the Product Owner, the Scrum Master and Development team should synchronize well with each other to succeed. Most important role in Scrum, the master chef i.e the Scrum Master keeps the Scrum team intact by ensuring that all the ingredients and spices are in proper ratio. The Scrum Master is the magic wand behind the scenes that can enable things really happen.

      The above points would be revelead by going through the journey of a  scrum team that I worked with.

       

    • Liked Madhavi Ledalla
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      Deep dive into RETROSPECTIVES- how do we break the usual norms so that these reflections could be made thought-provoking ones!

      Madhavi Ledalla
      Madhavi Ledalla
      Jerry Rajamoney
      Jerry Rajamoney
      schedule 2 years ago
      Sold Out!
      60 mins
      Workshop
      Intermediate

               Retrospectives are the primary learning, reflection and readjustment techniques on agile projects. A good Agile team is always striving to become better than before. And an effective retrospective enables the team to sieze its opportunity to improve! 

      Retrospectives enable whole-team learning, act as catalysts for change, and generate action.

      R-> Realize where you are and where you want to be

      E-> Engage the teams in fruitful discussions

      T-> Team work to build “We over I” attitude

      R-> Relish the power of Inspect and Adapt cycles

      O->Openness and Transparency to make retrospectives efficient and effective

      In my view, this is not any new concept or a jargon the team needs to really master, but yes in reality sometimes it becomes challenging to keep the momentum lively all times! Over a period of time, we see these symptoms in a retrospective. 

      R-> Repeated issues pop-up

      E-> Engrossing & Engaging discussions are missing

      T-> Team present virtually, loses trust.

      R-> Routine stuff, nothing interests the teams.

      O->Observably gets boring over time.

      To catalyse conversations among team members, retrospectives need to be viewed from a different perspective. This presentaion talks about why the retrospectives efficacy fades off over a period of time and then talks about some very interesting techniques that I used with the teams to make these meetings lively!  Teams need to do out-of-box thinking and appreciate that these short gatherings need not  be done only by using the techniques or methods prescribed in the book but could be done by quoting some situational specific examples that would make the teams really think and speak!

       

    • Anand Murthy Raj
      Anand Murthy Raj
      schedule 2 years ago
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      60 mins
      Talk
      Advanced

      There is a world of difference between the management principles in the era of the Industrial revolution to the current world of information revolution. We need to acknowledge the increasing gap between the way employees are being managed at work, and the way they want to be managed. Many surveys have been done in this area, ending in headlines like “6 out of 10 employees are miserable” and “74 percent of staff not engaged at work.” Dig into these surveys and you’ll see the quality of leadership on top of the list of complaints. The poor state of leadership and management skills in organizations is being driven by a broad range of factors, including but not limited to

      The changed nature of work - More of skill and innovation

      The increasing education of employees - Continuous improvement and learning needs

      The needs of later generations - The more sofisticated needs of the system

      The pace of change - The quick pace of changes

      In the current “rat race”, the management focusses on higher productivity and higher ROI, but they lack the capacity to “motivate” their employees that can take them to the next level of thinking. The "leaders" do not understand the subtle difference between teaching, mentoring and coaching. They use these words interchangeably without realizing that coaching teams can help them to increase the productivity, morale and create great employees resulting in more successful products.

      A new coaching model is required to enable continous improvement with quick feedback cycles that fosters adaptability and innovation.

      Two relevant quotes which I can relate to this issue are

      "It is people who build organizations and not organizations who make people" - unknown

      "Beware of little expenses; a small leak will sink a great ship" - Benjamin Franklin

       

    • Liked Vijay Bandaru
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      A retrospection on a Large Scale Agile Transformation

      Vijay Bandaru
      Vijay Bandaru
      schedule 2 years ago
      Sold Out!
      60 mins
      Case Study
      Advanced

      This is a case study prepared based on a large scale agile transformation happened at a product based company with over 5000 employees across 5 different locations. The transformation journey started with a clear vision and a timeline. There was a detailed plan and management buy-in for this transformation. I am presenting the key details of the transformation in this case study. This case study covers the critical activities carried out as part of the transformation and what went well and what went wrong during the transformation.

      “Challenges” are to be expected in any rapidly changing enterprise in a dynamic and exciting market, and they must be addressed to survive and thrive. The enterprises which stand out and set an example to the rest are the ones which handle these challenges in a different way leaving the foot prints for others to adapt these good practices and benefit out of them.  Healthy organizations continuously learn and re-invent themselves to go from good to great, and this is what we are striving to do.

       This is a practical Agile Transformation case study of an organization.  Our key drivers for change include:

      • Improve platform and gaming availability
      • Reduce feature cycle time
      • Reduce defects in production
      • Develop flexible, multi-skilled teams
      • Produce high value features first
      • Enhance cross site business collaboration

      We started our agile journey during September 2013.  In the presentation the following points would be covered:

      - Why did we choose transformation?

      - What was our roadmap of transformation?

      - What was our approach towards the transformation?

      - What were our challenges during the transformation?

      - Solutions to the challenges that we faced during the transfformation?

      - What tools we have selected?

      - What are the outcomes of the transformation?

      - What is our current status and what is remaining?

      - Any questions and answers