What does agility feel like -- a new approach to goal setting

If we examine traditional goal setting methods, like SMART, we see that we've been encouraged for over 30 years to make sure that our goals are Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic and Time Based.  The theory being that if our goals meet these criteria, we will be more like to actually achieve them.  From there, we take the actions necessary, we measure, and ta-da! we achieve our goals.

Only, in a large number of cases, we don't quite get there. A few things can end up happening:  

  1. We get tired of pursuing the goal and give up
  2. We pursue the goal, but can't quite seem to achieve it, even though we know what we want and how to get it
  3. We achieve the goal, but find that somehow, the results are not what we thought they would be

Examples abound both in our personal lives and in organizations.  We work hard to get a promotion, only to find that we aren't satisfied with the new role.  We commit to a healthy lifestyle, only to give up on it after a couple of weeks.  Organizations set goals for improvement, and don't achieve them, even though everyone did the right thing.

What if we are actually motivated by how we think achieving a goal will make us feel, rather than by the achievement itself?  So really, when we were working for that promotion, what we actually wanted was to feel powerful and capable (even if we weren't conscious of it).  We thought that the promotion would make us feel that way, but it didn't.

Human beings are uniquely motivated by feelings -- we do things that we think will make us feel good, and avoid things that we think will make us feel bad.

What does this have to do with agile development you ask?  Well, in my experience as a coach and a ScrumMaster, I've watched teams struggle to adopt agile practices (even though they seemed to really want to) and I've watched team members resist implementing practices that have obvious, undeniable benefits, and wondered what the barriers were.  The common thread in all of these teams seems to be the lack of understanding of how they want to feel on an agile team -- ultimately the "what's in it for me?" is missing for them.  It's like leaving the "so that" off of the user story.

It's not enough to just want to "be agile".  We have to know why we want to be agile, and specifically, what we as individuals will get out of an agile transition.

In this workshop, we will use user stories as a basis for setting goals, with a particular focus on using the "so that" to identify how we as team members, want to feel when work on an agile team.

 
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Outline/structure of the Session

The session will be run as an interactive workshop with time for both large and small group (or individual) exercises and brainstorming.

  1. Who am I, and what I do
  2. Goal setting theory -- why it's important to know how we want to feel
  3. Identifying your role -- as a team member, and a human being
  4. How you've felt on teams -- the good, the bad and the ugly
  5. Redefining goals that you'll be inspired to stick with
  6. Creating stories for your team
  7. Declarations, actions and next steps

Learning Outcome

  • Learn how to use user story format to define goals and objectives for an agile team, with a focus on identifying what's important to each individual
  • Understand how different people want to feel when they are on a team, and learn how to adjust goals and actions to accommodate individual motivations
  • Participants will take away some "team stories" that they can use as the basis for a discussion with other team members

Target Audience

Anyone working on or with agile teams -- could be especially useful for coaches, managers and ScrumMasters to take back to their teams

schedule Submitted 1 year ago

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