Software Engineering, Project Management, and Effectiveness
“No one can whistle a symphony. It takes a whole orchestra to play it.” -- H.E. Luccock
A colleague of mine that’s been using Agile Results as an individual contributor asked me about how to apply Agile Results to a team as a manager. It’s actually a question that I get a lot, so I figured I’d share the answer here.
On a good note, Agile Results was born for teams. It arose from chaos, madness, and mayhem to drive vision, clarity, and agility for distributed teams around the world. All the practices that apply to the individual, apply to the team – it sets the rhythm, cadence, and clarity to operate more effectively. It works for teams of various shapes and sizes, from software to consulting firms to non-profits to pizza shops. (Side note – A local pizzeria owner I know used Agile Results to refocus and revitalize his team to transform his business and it was night and day. The Rule of Three is his favorite recipe for success
Here are some quick notes on how to apply it at the team / manager level …
Agile Results for Teams
3 Wins for the Week
Identify three wins for the week at the team level. Encourage individuals to identify their three wins for the week. This is Monday Vision.
3 Wins for the Day
Encourage individuals to drive for three wins each day. These are Daily Outcomes.
3 Wins for the Month
Identify three wins for the month at the team level. Encourage individuals to identify their three wins for the month.
One driving theme for the month, such as “simplicity” … something helps move wins forward and give meaning to the month. This is a Monthly Improvement Sprint.
If you have a “ten at ten” meeting (ten minutes at 10:00 am), then you can ask folks what they got done, what they are working on, and where they need help. This gets everybody on the same page fast, helps debottleneck the team, and helps acknowledge the work being done.
Weekly Team Meeting
In the team meeting, go around the table and ask folks to talk about their wins.
Think of it as a “3x3” system.
It's a simple structure but you get a lot of synergy. The big deal is that it helps you flow value in a more fluid way. When you focus on outcomes and wins, you set your eyes on the prize and get out of your own way to unleash the creative force of the team. The team can solve problems and deal with any setbacks when they have shared compelling goals and a way to focus. It’s a learning system and you get better over time.
You don’t have to start all at once. The practices are better together, but if you do nothing else, simply start by identifying three wins for your week. Go for the wins and help people find their fun factor. This is how people really get engaged and find their flow.
40 Hour Work Week
Drive the team to a 40 hour work week baseline. Brains are better when they are rested and relaxed. Use the timebox at the week level to ruthlessly prioritize and focus on flowing value.
Pair people up on the team to rapidly cross-pollinate skills and to spread and amplify success.
Individuals on the team, and you, should reflect on three things going well and three things to improve. Carry the lessons forward and bake them into each new week. This builds continuous improvement.
This may look simple, but the message you are driving is: “Outcomes, not activities!”
This changes everything. You will see folks quickly rise from the weeds and focus on wins.
This should start to build momentum and buzz.
The beauty in all this is that you can easily ask simple questions in the hall, such as, “What are the three wins for the week?”
This drives greater focus, clarity, and the right behaviors .. it’s all about flowing value for yourself and others, with the end-in-mind, and in a balanced way.