Saturday, November 29, 2014

Lean tool - Looking at the "acctual" - The Spaghetti Diagram

A Spaghetti Diagram is a good way to visualize the flow in your process. The "plate" for your spaghetti is a top view of your process, whether a layout of the shop floor or your office. The "spaghetti" in a spaghetti diagram is the route taken by the part or operator through the process. Perhaps it's a product being made in a manufacturing cell or the flow of a document through the accounting department.

Friday, November 28, 2014

Achieving DevOps Culture is a Human & Management Problem

Everybody wants to join the DevOps movement. Everybody wants their developers and their operations people to work more closely together and take advantage of greater internal IT harmony with the result of higher agility and a faster time to market.  But how do you get there?Don’t think it’s just about tools, there’s a lot more into it then that.

Thursday, November 27, 2014

A person is a multi-faceted being that changes when in contact with another person.

Ever wondered how to create a more effective communication? Transactional analysis (TA), is a psychology idea that humans are social creatures and that a person is a multi-faceted being that changes when in contact with another person in their world.   It is based on two notions, first that we have three parts or 'ego-states' to our 'personality, and secondly that these converse with one another in 'transactions' (hence the name).Conflicts arise when transactions are crossed – the Ego State addressed to is not the one the person replies with.  

Sunday, November 23, 2014

Setting your new year goals with agile - Happy Agile New Year!!

The last few weeks of the year are already upon us. The end of the year, for many also means a time for a resolution and setting new year’s goals. Let’s reflect on how some basic Agile principles and tools can help us set and achieve our new year’s goals and keeping our resolutions.

Saturday, November 22, 2014

Agile Scrum-ban process presentations

Full kit Presentations and booklets of scrum ban process collected over the web from the finest professionals.

Achieving a DevOps-Testing mindset

DevOps means that there are no walls, no gates, no transitions, and no ceremony between Development , testing and Operations. They are seamlessly integrated (when viewed from “above”) into a single, value delivering, IT entity. In a DevOps world, Test is the pervasive, persistent paste that holds the entire cycle together. In this fast moving environment a mindset of direct and frequent communication, quality in, close collaboration is essential DevOps is that mindset. How do we achieve this collaborative mindset?  

Planning to Introduce scrum and need a short video?

There’s lots of scrum and agile fewer than 10 min videos out there. The thing is that each are presenting scrum or agile from a deferent angel. Some are more scoped on the project aspects , others on mindset or team aspects and such. Obviously when you introduce scrum and you want to introduce it using an online video it will be best to pick the one video that speaks the best your audience. 
Here are few videos I have collected if you need to present scrum under 10 minutes and looking for a good short video to do so.
Enjoy :)

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

The Product Manager vs. Product Owner Dilemma- If only it was that easy

Juggling the external/internal workload product views in an organization can be overwhelming for a person and for an organization and sometimes misunderstood. Those two views needs to be successfully integrated into an agile mindset in a fast moving business environment as we have today. We can all agree that we need both views. 
But how? When is the best time to divide PM and Po role. How? What are the dilemmas and pitfalls and what are the expected areas of responsibilities?

‪Lean Bicycle Factory‬‏ Game - Get this factory in shape

You are the new manager of a factory that needs a new plan! Organize and shape up the factory to make it lean and mean, and above all, profitable!

Monday, November 17, 2014

How to ace the behavioral intreview (As an agile candidate)

Behavioral interview questions are a big part of most job interviews. Employers and hiring managers use these types of questions in order to get an idea if you have the skills and competencies needed for the job.

The rationale is that if they know how you performed in the past it will help give a sense of how you might do in the future.
Agile candidate has specific expected behaviors and mindset you need to consider along with all other techniques which they need to take under consideration preparing to and agile interview.
Here's how you can ace it.

Sunday, November 16, 2014

Open innovation adoption will make the deference between organization failure and success.

Driven by global megatrends such as faster pace that shrinking window of opportunity, less time for cash cows, more open, more transparent and more connected environment increase the need for a more holistic approach to innovation!
Open innovation is the process by which organizations use both internal and external knowledge to drive and accelerate their internal innovation strategy in order to fulfil existing market needs or to access new market opportunities. 
It is a key requisite for innovation success in the future.

Saturday, November 15, 2014

Communicating the impact of time on value - calculating the cost of delay

“Lots of people (especially in the Lean and Agile community) talk a lot about Cost of Delay. We hear it mentioned all the time. But what we don’t see so much of is people actually quantifying it. Seems crazy, doesn’t it? The thing is, most organizations are blind to queues. We tend to focus predominantly on the efficiency of the parts of the process, not the speed of the end-to-end delivery of value. “ Here is affine view over the cost of delay and view exercises and techniques calculating it. 

Thursday, November 13, 2014

Si - AgileSense - Our way to Agile #1

First UP : Have you ever wondered what it is that we’ve been doing in R&D for the last month? 

Our first newsletter will deal with exactly that. We are practicing Agile and using Scrum to create better on-time quality of delivery. 

Well, we’re just starting out, and there is still a lot of hard and challenging work ahead of us. But, hey, it’s the SiSense R&D team -  KATAN ALeNU! 

Here’s how we do it:

Si - AgileSense - #2

Whats's going inside our Agile R&D?

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Get rid of Bad hire!

Sadly, 56% hiring failure is worse than the flip of a coin. If a comparable failure rate happened on the manufacturing floor, the plant would be shut down. 
We’ve all been warned at length about the cost and effect of a bad hire. a bad hire, One subpar employee,  can put a strain on a team, affecting those around them in a ripple effect. 
So how many fails are there? How Mach it costs us? Why it fails? If it fails, how to get rid of it? What should we look for as prevention? …

FLOWer - Kanban Simulation game

Friday, November 7, 2014

Agile performance testing.

While we're moving away from the traditional Waterfall model to Agile methods in software development, like any other activity the performance testing activity needs to be part of an Agile method. 
The goal is to test performance early and often in the development effort that’s because the longer you wait, the more expensive it will become to incorporate changes.
How do we integrate performance testing into agile activities? Here’s a collection of posts from some of the field experts explaining how we can handle performance activities in an agile project environment. 

Managing Technical Knowledge - a key to respond to problems and challenges.

Software engineering is a knowledge-intensive activity and Knowledge sharing is a key to respond to problems and challenges. Companies would want their performance to keep improving from project to project.   Those that know more, have more experience in solving issues, are able to create products of better quality and better return on investment. 
Well, It’s not just the tools that will help out here, its also the ability to coach the organization to share the knowledge and to create the culture of sharing and learning. 

Thursday, November 6, 2014

Free book MVP - Successfully dealing with a rapidly changing environment

The Agile/Lean Coaching Booster  


Change (and adapting to it) needs to become an ingrained habit.

The world around us is changing, and changing rapidly. It is becoming more and more complicated and the pace of technological change is one of the highest in recorded history.
Naturally, this new reality has new challenges. The goals that we want to achieve, for example, can be ever-changing – and therefore seem unachievable. 

To face these challenges, we need strategies that will help us regain a feeling of control over our goals, and help us reach them. We need ideas that will enable us grow and flourish, while at the same time help us face the uncertainties of change. 

The need to develop new strategies and ideas, and adapt to changes, is the root of many coaching processes. Why? Because as coaches, we recognize our coachees' universal need to deal with change. They need to understand what needs changing, and they need to learn how to both preserve their changed behavior so that it doesn't dissipate within a week or two, and how to easily change again, when needed. 

Based on Lean and Agile methods, our Agile\Lean Coaching Booster teaches people how to see change as a habit, and embrace change as a way of life. This book will help people leave their comfort zone, turning dealing with new changes into a habit, they help us change our old habits effectively and quickly, and showing us to do so again in the future.

Lean and Agile methods boost productivity and promote innovation and have been tested (and proven) in real-life situations. They have achieved greater results than any other method so far. The Booster also introduces a framework that helps you coach easier, working together with your coachees towards the goals they developed themselves. 

The Booster is written to be simple and intuitive, showing you how to simplify the complex environment of change in which we live. This makes it easier for us to set goals and establish a vision, and cope with changes. 
Enjoy :)

Monday, November 3, 2014

What is "Agile Coaching"?

"Agile coaching is a 100% client-focused engagement which enables continuous improvement, because the client owns aligned goals and purpose across organizational levels and the people doing the work define the steps towards those." and more... who is this "agile coach"? what does he/she do? what are the required skills? what's a bad agile coach looks like? and more...

Saturday, November 1, 2014

On boarding new employee -You have only One Chance for a Positive Experience

Think onboarding begins on an employee's first day? Wrong , it starts when you first reach out to a relevant candidate.  The way you welcome a potential new employee , onto your process and team will make a crucial first impression and will effect even the motivation and future performance. In addition, managers are often so driven to recruit talented workers that they neglect to think about what will happen once the new hire arrives ready to work. Big mistake. 
Your business should make absolutely sure that new hires feel welcomed, valued, and prepared for what lies ahead.

The next generation of Hiring process

The current model of talent management is recruiting, train, manage, retain and evaluate the performance of employees. In the future smart companies won’t do any of this. Work will look more like a jazz ensemble where hierarchy is replaced by creativity, sense-and-respond, peer-to-peer, collaboration, empowerment and improvisation. This means, as many other changes in our environment these days, the recruiting process itself will also change. From the point of identify the candidates, interviews, on boarding and whatever involves. Prepare to change!

Hiring or get hired? Get stuck in to the digital side of recruitment today!

With more and more job seekers choosing the web to look for jobs, and more and more job sites and job boards specializing in ever more diverse areas, Digital recruitment offers clear advantages over traditional recruitments methods for both recruiters and job seekers. Social media is and will continue to be the way forward for both job seekers and recruiters alike, in the years to come. not being part of it will be a big mistake, big mistake!

A true Scrum team recruits its own members.

A true Scrum team is a full partner, if not THE recruiter, when recruiting its new members. This is a must.

Why? Because when you're a real partner, i.e. you're part of the procedure and the decision of recruiting your new partner, with whom you'll need to reach the targets of the team to which you belong and are committed – this creates a real commitment to selecting the best partner for the team, getting him on board and of course making him feel welcome.
He's yours, you recruited him, the decision was yours and not an order laid down by some out of touch manager or another. Only in this way do you feel committed to his success.

Some of you are probably stunned from such a far reaching statement. But sit down for a moment and keep reading, it's not only far reaching but might possibly be unavoidable. I will go so far as to claim that in such a complex world, filled with changes and decisions, where employees are required to be creative to find solutions to the complex demands of their tasks and to work in independent self organized teams (because there's no other choice) - how is it even possible to imagine that they wouldn’t be the ones to recruit the colleagues with whom they’ll work to accomplish the mission that the company assumes they are committed to (and they are committed to)?
This is similar to ‘goal-setting processes’ as part of a ‘performance review process’ as were defined by many organizations in the recent past and unfortunately still exist in many places today. In the past managers would set personal goals for their workers. Whereas nowadays it’s common knowledge that if the employee doesn't play a part in setting his personal goals they simply won’t be achieved. You can’t impose goals on an employee who doesn’t relate to them, or who wasn’t a partner to choosing them (it’s true that today there are more progressive approaches that challenge even the goal-setting method itself, but you can read about that in Get Rid Of Performance Appraisals!!!). So how is setting personal goals for a worker different from recruiting a team member? I believe it isn’t. How could we impose a new member on the team and expect them to “get along”, or to accept the new member and be thrilled to give him the best onboarding process possible?

Why then, resisting the fact that recruitment is being passed on to the team?

I remember how in the long-gone early 2000s, I published a post as part of the newsletter of the company where I worked, in which I turned management and employees’ attention to the fact that it would be much easier if the Scrum team recruits its own people. As a team that had been working in Scrum for a year or so, it was aware of its own shortcomings as well as the skills team members require in order to accomplish their tasks. Certainly this is the case in a Scrum team that for each sprint has to know, manage, commit and reflect is work and its results towards a high-quality release. Obviously, this team is involved, it’s close to the work and the vision and what's more, in the company’s eyes the team is the one responsible for creating high-quality, working software. The post raised many objections, which were expressed in sayings such as: “But they don’t know how to recruit… They’ll make mistakes… They’ll bring the wrong person… How can salary even be separated from recruitment… How could we reveal the salary to them?” etc.

I think these objections are natural in any situation wherein you lose part of your territory as a manager or professional, one which you were responsible for and even formed a significant part of your organizational identity. If this role is transferred to someone else, what will I do? Maybe. And maybe not. Telling executives, as well as HR, that recruitment is being passed on to the team could obviously raise a lot of anxiety: losing responsibility, fear that things wouldn’t be done right, and probably many more… Anyway when it comes to accomplishing organizational goals it’s necessary to work with this group of people and help them make the transitional into a more team-based, cooperative and advanced work mode, more suited to the modern times that we’re living in. All this must be addressed, in part by new procedures and in part by helping them leave their comfort zone into new and more advanced mindsets and practices.

Will the team know how to recruit?
I have another surprise for everyone: a lot of executives and HR also don’t know how to recruit. They think they do but they don’t. They also need to learn and they also make huge mistakes in recruitment.

Recruitment is something you learn how to do, and speaking of learning, it’s something that should be by my view done as a team. Because the team’s power, opinions and learning from one candidate to the next one is much stronger than that of the individual.
By the way, some companies also reveal the salaries to all their employees, and not only that but the workers themselves set their salaries, and these are actually very successful companies (here’s an example: But that is definitely a more advanced subject for another post.

So why do I insist that the team handles recruitment?

So I already said the first thing which is Because in a world where we expect the team to manage its own affairs, to be responsible and committed to bring results, how could we not give it the full freedom to recruit its members? When an executive recruits, he is in effect responsible for the success. That's the way he’s perceived by his managers, obviously by himself, and certainly by the team. After all, he’s the one who chose the candidate (along with HR and others), from deciding on the candidate’s profile, salary, interviews and deciding to hire, and then he “forces” the person on the group. When the team recruits, they are the ones responsible for the results. Not only is the team a partner, it is in fact committed by its feeling of full responsibility for training the new arrival. It’s similar to my son’s homework: when I'm the one who needs to badger him about preparing his homework they become mine. When he's the one who's responsible for preparing them, they’re his. And so I let go, difficult though it maybe, and refrain from constantly asking him “Have you done your homework?”

I also find immense significance and benefit in the fact that the team handles recruitment in regards to the employee’s onboarding process in the company. The process of the arrival’s acquaintance with his new colleagues and their acquaintance with him starts early in the recruitment process. The team isn’t asked to meet an arrival on his first day at work, but rather already creates the connection and breaks the ice at the interview stags. This makes it much easier for new arrivals and their onboarding in the company. Indeed, there’s nothing better than arriving to a new workplace with a few ‘anchors’ you’re already familiar with. What a relief. Furthermore, a common assumption is that an employee’s initial onboarding in a company is crucial for his future motivation and performance and certainly for his remaining a productive employee for the company ( So recruitment by the team also improves this balance.

This also gives a candidate the ability to form his own impression of team with which he will be working. I think this is incredibly important. After all, recruitment is not a one way street. It also involves “selling” the organization to the candidate. See, the candidate also learns something very important from this process. He becomes more familiar with his future team members. He receives messages of openness and commitment. After all the world isn’t composed only of interviewers and companies, we also want the best candidate to want to come to us.

Some teams do it:

How is it done?
1.       Mindset: First of all the message is that the team isn’t “depriving” anyone else of his responsibility. On the contrary: this is a cooperative process that includes direct communication and team-based decisions between all parties involved. The manager isn’t excluded, HR isn’t excluded, on the contrary they advise the team, teach and guide. Everyone understands what’s happening, the process is completely transparent and consultation is an inseparable part of it. But the responsibility , accountability and “execution” of the process is in the team’s hands, like any other backlog item.
2.       The Scrum team helps define requirements. The Scrum team is completely aware of sprint goals and the method. It determines the position’s requirements and needs as part of an outlook which dictates that the new team member has to have the necessary technical abilities or social and personality related traits.
When it comes to traits, let’s understand – from my experience, when a team member sits with other team members and its leader and they discuss the required qualities of a team member, they are actually discussing themselves. In every such discussion each participant can’t help but look at himself and be reminded of the do's and don'ts in his team. Usually each person will come and present "someone else’s” quality, relating to the person he would like to work with. In fact these are the team’s rules of conduct which are required from each of its members (with some degree of variance).
3.       Coordinating the recruitment process with HR – the team coordinates with HR the process of defining requirements, collecting and sorting CVs and interviewing, and become familiar with the process. In some companies I’ve been in there is no HR at all. So in these cases the team defines the recruiting process themselves.
4.       Sorting CVs – doesn’t matter who does it, usually I see it done by the team manager, because it makes it easier for the team by saving them the need to deal with all sorts of irrelevant CVs that waste time. But I swear it’s not important, of course ideally it would be done by the team. It’s important to stress that this is also a learning process – how to treat CVs, what you can understand from them, what gets screened and what doesn’t, etc.

5.       Summoning candidates for a first interview and an initial acquaintance phone call is done by a team member (or two)

6.       The test:
Writing a candidate test. I’m aware that when the team itself writes the tests, tries it on itself (and afterwards also presents and checks the test) it in effect gets an idea of the difficulty of the test considering the candidate and the team’s needs. This allows the team to improve and change the test according to the feedback received (since the test was written by the team itself) and creates proper content-related partnership for the process of choosing the candidate in light of the required technical skills.
Presenting the candidate with the test, explaining and reviewing it is done by a team member.

·         Building working software
My favorite tests to give are ones whose results can be displayed visually afterwards. Something short which takes the candidate one or two hours to complete, wherein the result can be displayed and discussed. As a Scrum team we try to build software and it’s considered 'done' only when it’s working software, we expect the candidate to also create something that “works”, that can be presented and discussed. And for this reason it’s pointless to let the candidate fill out a paper and review it without seeing the results.

·         The demo of the test results and the discussion
A demo allows consideration of many aspects the candidate views as important. A demo must be accompanied by a discussion lead by a team member. When I accompany a team in recruitment in regards to test-related questions that arose, I always take care to emphasize the discussion. Let the candidate present his work, don’t draw conclusions from the written material, take a deep breath, listen and take in, in this way you’ll convey the message of acceptance and listening along with absorbing information you can later relate in the questions you’ll ask.
In an Automation test developer’s test, for example, we’ll expect to demo running tests, observe them and ask questions related to the candidate’s considerations in developing this way or the other. Maybe we might even be surprised and learn something new? In a DevOps developer’s test, for example, we’ll ask to present a system and ask similar questions regarding the way he chose to develop.

·         The importance of technical discussion:
This meeting creates a technical discussion, which is closely related to the team’s technical tasks. A team member is able to review the most basic communication between himself and the candidate in the closest way possible to day-to-day work, and that’s what we will request him to do. On the candidate’s side, he can recognize initial patterns in the team he is intended to belong to. Furthermore, this empowers the team member who is required to explain, understand and assist in technical matters at the heart of day-to-day work. When you teach and explain, you’re responsible and learn.
The very act of writing and working on the test creates dialogue with others in the team, almost unavoidably, particularly with the manager, e.g. “What do you think? How was he? What was easier for him and what was more difficult? Where do you see difficulties and where did everything run smoothly” etc. – questions which in effect empower the team member.

7.       The interview – I prefer team members interview together, peer interview – it works. It’s true that they don’t really know how to interview but it’s a learned ability. Here too it’s important to consult with others as close as possible to the interview. It’s nice to see, as I do occasionally, how team members get together next to the task board in the team workspace and openly discuss the candidate which has just finished a day of interviews. Since they’re a Scrum team they’re more or less accustomed to creating comprehensive discussions and making decisions.
8.       Lunch with the candidate – its one of the powerful tools I have ever sees in a recruitment of a new team member. it’s preferable that a candidate who passed the test and initial stages will go to lunch with the team. Believe me, I’ve seen this work with my own eyes. There’s no better way for people to get to know each other. It’s a powerful tool that allows dialogue beyond technical details.
9.       A team leader can gather the requirements – but doesn’t have to. He can join at any stage. He can also choose to conduct the technical or last interview. It depends.

10.   Visualize the process. Its easy to use a simple Kanban style board. It’s a good way to get all the team on board, be aware of the status of all candidates and shared the share collective insights. And it’s so simple

In the picture above you can see an example of one of the boards used by a scrum team, reflects the stations a candidate needs to go throe and where everything stands in terms of status. Is visible, not hidden in a manager xls file and it is available for team discussion at any time.

**There’s no problem in arranging a schedule of interview and test + lunch, it’s as simple as any other interview schedule. It’s only a matter of will – you talk to the candidate on the phone, present the test, set a demo date for the test and an interview + manager interview and go to lunch. There’s nothing traumatic about it. And it works, I’ve seen it in my own eyes.

How to guide the team through this process?

Not everyone knows how to recruit, right? So you have to guide and teach.
Obviously the team’s maturity must be considered. But part of a team maturing is letting it take responsibility and fell accountable  for complex matters, one of which is recruitment. This isn’t like a child who crosses the road alone when he’s too young and can’t notice cars or determine their speeds and thus needs his mother’s guiding hand. We’re talking about people who are university graduates (but even if they’re not), opinionated and capable who as part of their maturing in learning Scrum learn something else – how to recruit. If they learned the daily, planning, retrospective, reflecting sprint situation and self-organization, they should also learn this. How and when? Just as any other technique is taught. Slowly and carefully.

In fact I see three ways of guiding the team: Teaching, Mentoring and Coaching.
Teaching in my view includes the theory of how things are done, e.g. labor laws, dos and don’ts, how to interview, what is the preferred process, how to treat someone during an interview etc. Mentoring is in following every step of the execution, being there and mentoring how to do things right through action. Coaching includes asking a lot of questions; encourage insights; bringing people to the state they’re in, empowering them to make mistakes and to act, assisting them reach decisions and insights. All three are meant to help us handle dilemmas.

I find that there are many dilemmas that team members need guidance in. But this is no different from the help that any beginning manager or recruitment team needs, and later down the road in advanced stages and recruitment skills. So it should just be extended – for example, the “merciful” would like to give someone a chance even if his skills aren’t exactly right. So how do you teach them to manage this dilemma and create interest in the most suitable candidate? Or concerns about the interview: How to ask difficult questions? What happens if you disagree with the candidate?

Well, that’s why there’s a coach nearby. Or a very enabling manager. You have to be there, consult frequently, and reach conclusions after every stage. I personally as a manager and as an Agile coach always take care to remain close nearby, ask questions etc. but leave the decision to the team.

The above picture describes an example of a simple tool , intuitively helps team member identify  the ‘right‘ candidate.  It’s visible and allow the team to discuss and understand candidate skills and his a ability to act as a team player according to team expectations.

Good luck and Godspeed