In this issue:
Every year, I provide you three New Year’s tips, to start your year off right. Here are my three tips for 2013:
Tip #1: Experiment.
I’ve noticed that many of my clients and colleagues are looking for “best practices.” Well, how about “pretty good” practices or “practices that might work if you try them?” There’s not much that’s guaranteed in this world except for death and taxes. I’m not ready for death and no one I know wants more taxes.
I experimented this year with this email newsletter, with writing books, with how I write. So far, my experiments are working. That’s because I observed and measured my results.
Tip #2: Observe.
You want to measure or watch the results of your experiments. It’s difficult to experiment if you have no safety net. Automated tests are your safety net for code. Measurements are your safety net for projects and the project portfolio. No matter what, you want to watch for what happens to the people on the project.
What kinds of measurements might you use? On a project, try velocity. Or, how close you are to meeting the release criteria. You might want to measure obstacles overcome over some time. Maybe a team might want to measure how long it takes to finish one running tested feature.
One team looked like they were doing everything “right.” They had a board. They were doing standups. But they had no joy in their work. Why? Their manager was the Scrum Master, architect, and estimator. Their manager was still in command-and-control mode, telling them what to do. If you asked the manager, he said everything was great. If you’d asked the team, they said everything was horrible. Quantitative measurements don’t show you that. Only qualitative measurements such as observation do.
Think about what your experiments. That will drive your observations and measurements.
Tip #3: Invite.
Did you notice I’ve been inviting you to consider changes? That’s what every issue of the Pragmatic Manager does. I don’t beat you over the head with changes. At least, I don’t try to. I make a case for a small change, I tell you a story, and then, I invite you to try something in a small way.
I invite you to consider doing the same thing in your organization. It doesn’t matter if you’re trying to transition to agile, or attempting a much smaller change. People like to be invited. You might have to make a case for the change. Do tell a story. People like that. Build rapport and be friendly. Invite people to walk this path with you, whatever it is.
The invitation will make a difference.
Whatever you choose to do in 2014, I hope you have a healthy and happy 2014.
I invite you to experience coaching and influence to build your leadership skills, in an intensive two-day event.
Gil Broza and I are leading the Influential Agile Leader twice in 2014. You can join us April 8-9, 2014 in Toronto. Or, you can join us May 22-23, 2014 in Edinburgh, Scotland. The super early bird pricing, a 33% discount, expires Dec 31, 2013, so register now.
Any change to how you manage projects is a cultural change. Cultural change is a slow process, and requires change at all levels of the organization. Many workshops and conferences ignore leaders “in the middle.” The Influential Agile Leader is for you, the leader “in the middle.”
We will be helping leaders experience coaching and influence. We have many more tools, including measurement and experimentation to add to your toolbox to help your cultural change.
Are you new to the Pragmatic Manager newsletter? See previous issues.
See my articles page for my articles. If you see one that interests you and you would like me to speak about it, let me know.
© 2013 Johanna Rothman
Tags: change, coaching, experiment, measurement, New Years tip, observe, tips