Monday, August 20, 2007

The Leadership Summit - Session 1 - A Vision to Die For

The Leadership Summit
Notes from Session 1 - A Vision to Die For, Bill Hybels

Vision must be owned. Ownership is the most powerful weapon in casting and maintaining vision for your organization. It's the painting of the picture that brings passion out of people. It ties into purpose – a sense of destiny beyond to 9 to 5.

Hybels referenced the book of John – Being an owner vs. just a hired hand.

"I am the Good Shepherd. The Good Shepherd puts the sheep before himself, sacrifices himself if necessary. A hired man is not a real shepherd. The sheep mean nothing to him. He sees a wolf come and runs for it, leaving the sheep to be ravaged and scattered by the wolf. He's only in it for the money. The sheep don't matter to him." - John 10:11-13

Hybels challenged us to ask ourselves, "At my current workplace, am I the owner of the vision, or the hired hand?" Do I pray for it, protect it, volunteer for it. Owners of the vision will sacrifice deeply. They will be high capacity workers.

Hybels then referenced a group that was an owner of a vision. On March 7, 1965, a group of civil rights marches left Selma, Alabama for Birmingham. They made it as far as the Edmund Pettis Bridge. There they faced state troopers and county sheriffs armed with billy clubs tear gas and bullwhips. The lawmen attacked the peaceful protesters and drove them back to Selma. This event became known as Bloody Sunday. Owners of a vision will be willing to die for the cause.

Out vision is so important. It should be bold, faithful, honorable, and clear. But vision needs to be owned by the people in our organization.

How do we do this? For some Type-A leaders who live on blazing a trail and calling back to everyone to follow their lead, it's a four letter word: P-R-O-C-E-S-S. Without process, we defeat every one left out (which is everyone but the leader).

There are three steps in the process for vision ownership:
1. Vision Formation
There is the top-down approach (bad), or the team approach (good). The top down approach is so often taken because it is quick, but doesn't take, doesn't hold.

The recommendation on the team approach was to have an offsite, with the focus being the question "What should our organization look like in five years?" It may feel slow or inefficient, and to some quick-acting leaders like "swimming in peanut butter." But this builds community, value and more likelihood of ownership. The team members may not always have their way, but they at least need to know their ideas have been considered.

2. Vision Refinement
Make a first draft of the vision. This crystallizes it, even in draft form. Take this draft to the groups at the next level out, trying to get different types of groups, feedback. Ask what's clear, what's confusing, what excites you, what scares you. The goal is to come away with a crystal clear, compelling vision.

3. Vision Declaration

Introduce the vision in front of leaders first, asking if it is clear and compelling. The declaration is not a solo effort, but a team activity.

Great leaders know that more time in the vision casting process increases ownership. Vision leaks, but don't berate the workers for this. Use any tactics to keep refilling the vision. And remember to celebrate progress.

Monday, August 13, 2007

Meeting Rules for Daily Stand-Up / Daily Scrum

For the team:

  1. Arrive on time or early.
  2. Be ready to say what you did yesterday and what you plan to do today.
  3. Keep your report specific, precise and short in order to help the meeting end within 15 minutes.
  4. Listen to other team member's status in case it might relate to your tasks or impact you.
  5. Don't interrupt people when they are talking.
  6. Don't agree to decisions or action you don't understand. Ask questions and insist on answers when you need clarification.
  7. Note the tasks or action items you volunteer for.
  8. If you raise an issue or question that can't be resolved in a minute, ask to discuss with the parties involved after the meeting.
  9. For those calling in, be sure to start your report with "This is [your name]."


    For ScrumMasters:

  10. Be sure to have (or have access to) your relevant information (the sprint or product backlogs, the software being developed, or the project, requirements or design documents and code)
  11. Be sure to have (or have access to) the phone numbers of any team members who you are conferencing in.
  12. Be sure to have scheduled the recurring meeting and invited all appropriate people
  13. Be sure that the invitation includes the relevant information, such as meeting location, project site URL, and conference number.
  14. Be sure the invitation subject line is specific (for those involved in multiple projects).
  15. It is your job to keep the meeting focused and starting and ending on-time.
  16. It is your job to know why and how scrum works. Look for teachable moments in the daily scrum.

Thursday, August 02, 2007

Why Scrum Works

Just finished the book Project Management with Scrum, and it is excellent.

Here a great overview quote from the forward:

"Gary Convis notes that Toyota's sustainable success comes from an 'inter-locking set of three underlying elements: the philosophical underpinnings, the managerial culture an the technical tools. The philosophical underpinnings include a joint [worker] , customer first focus, an emphasis on people first, a commitment to continuous improvement...The managerial rooted in several factors, including developing and sustaining a sense of trust, a commitment to involving those affected by first, teamwork, equal and fair treatment for all, an finally, fact-based decision making and long-term thinking.'

Scrum works for all the same reasons. Its philosophical underpinnings focus on empowering the development team and satisfying customers. Its managerial culture is rooted in helping others achieve their goals. Its technical tools are focused on making fact-based decisions through a learning process. When all of the factors are in place, it's hard for Scrum not to succeed. - Mary Poppendieck"

From Agile Project Management with Scrum (Microsoft Professional).