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20 Continuous Learning Initiatives for Agile Teams

I have made this presentation for the GOTO Nights meetup on 07.11.2017 in Copenhagen, Denmark.

https://www.meetup.com/GOTO-Nights-CPH/events/243940988/

Abstract:

These days many large companies are experiencing various types of transformations (from waterfall to agile, from agile to scaled-agile, from a CMMI-world to a light-weight governed world, from a PMO organization to something else, and so on) in their IT and/or software development organizations. All these transformation efforts need to be supported by continuous learning tenets. As a popular example, agile transformation needs a culture change that fosters continuous learning. As another yet concrete example, Scaled Agile Framework (SAFe) that is fully or partly embraced in large Danish/Global companies such as Lego, Nordea, SimCorp outlines certain initiatives such as Communities of Practice, and advises the ScrumXP teams to try Team Inside-Outs and Book&Coffee Breaks.

In this talk, we will visit 20 tangible continuous learning initiatives that can be applied to agile teams. All these methods are used with three different teams on a scaled agile (SAFe) setting, during the last year, hence you will also get information from the trenches on how such initiatives are perceived. My intention is, after this talk you will be able to try something new with your teams that would hopefully cause a good change.

This talk may seem to target agile coaches, scrum masters, development managers, etc. who can influence their teams and lead by example. In reality, any software development professional can benefit from the numerous ways of continuous learning and contaminate their teams with the new good habits.

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20 Continuous Learning Initiatives for Agile Teams

  1. 1. © 2017 20 CONTINUOUS LEARNING INITIATIVES FOR AGILE TEAMS ENDER YÜKSEL, PHD SENIOR SCRUM MASTER, SIMCORP
  2. 2. © 2017 GREETINGS 2 Ender Yüksel, PhD Sr. Scrum Master, SimCorp Proud member of the first generation of Scrum Masters in SimCorp, contributing to the scaled agile transformation of the product division. Serving cross-functional, cross-located, multi-national, and polyglot agile software development teams. • If you haven’t ALREADY done so, • Introduce yourself to the people sitting next to you 2
  3. 3. © 2017 E. Yüksel, 20 Continuous Learning Initiatives for agile teams @enderyx3 GREETINGS FROM SIMCORP! Following slides, courtesy of Malene Krohn.
  4. 4. © 2017 FROM BECOMING TO BEING AGILE
  5. 5. © 2017 E. Yüksel, 20 Continuous Learning Initiatives for agile teams @enderyx KEY DECISIONS TWENTY YEARS AGO THE EVERGREEN SYSTEM ALWAYS FULLY INTEGRATED EVERY YEAR 2 YEARLY RELEASES NO CUSTOMER MORE THAN 2 RELEASES BEHIND MORE THAN 20% OF REVENUE INVESTED IN R&D NO CUSTOMER WITHOUT MAINTENANCE
  6. 6. © 2017 E. Yüksel, 20 Continuous Learning Initiatives for agile teams @enderyx ANOTHER KEY DECISION SIMCORP GOES AGILE GLOBAL EVERGREEN ACCOUNTABLEINTEGRATED AGILE AGILE AGILE AGILE AGILE AGILE
  7. 7. © 2017 TOO MUCH FACTORY OUR ROADBLOCKS (SOME OF THEM) COMPLEXITY IN OUR PROCESSES AND TOOLS INCREASING CHANGE RESISTANCE MISSING REQUIREMENTS AS BOTTLENECK
  8. 8. © 2017 Faster Time to Market THE DESTINATION Higher Quality More Value Higher Employee Satisfaction
  9. 9. © 2017© 2017 THANK YOU! NOW, LET’S GET TO KNOW EACH OTHER BETTER
  10. 10. © 2017 E. Yüksel, 20 Continuous Learning Initiatives for agile teams @enderyx11 SURVEY
  11. 11. © 2017 E. Yüksel, 20 Continuous Learning Initiatives for agile teams @enderyx12 START WITH WHY • Why do that? What’s the purpose? • How do you do what you do? • What on earth do you do? Kudos to Simon Sinek for the concept, though I distorted it a little bit.
  12. 12. © 2017 E. Yüksel, 20 Continuous Learning Initiatives for agile teams @enderyx13 WHY
  13. 13. © 2017 E. Yüksel, 20 Continuous Learning Initiatives for agile teams @enderyx14 WHY
  14. 14. © 2017 E. Yüksel, 20 Continuous Learning Initiatives for agile teams @enderyx15 WHY
  15. 15. © 2017 E. Yüksel, 20 Continuous Learning Initiatives for agile teams @enderyx16 HOW Promote a culture of continuous learning, in which leaders encourage employees team members to take time for professional development, provide resources (equipment, materials, opportunities, etc.) for them and lead by example
  16. 16. © 2017 E. Yüksel, 20 Continuous Learning Initiatives for agile teams @enderyx17 WHAT • Just a little bit patience…
  17. 17. © 2017 E. Yüksel, 20 Continuous Learning Initiatives for agile teams @enderyx18 WHAT TO EXPECT FROM THIS TALK? • Something new • Some takeaway for you • Inspiration • Real life experience • Kudos to Joanne Perold Warning • Agile is all about learning (and adapting to new learnings), however the learnings in iterations, reviews/retrospectives, inspect&adapt sessions are NOT our topic today • Continuous Learning is NOT a buzzword
  18. 18. © 2017 E. Yüksel, 20 Continuous Learning Initiatives for agile teams @enderyx19 WHAT I EXPECT • Co-creating knowledge • Ensuring two-ways knowledge sharing • Brutally honest feedback (bonus if you can also formulate constructively) • So that I can reduce my blind spot in the Johari Window • Being able to inspire you so that it is worth your time and effort • Number of participants x Duration of the presentation = Number of hours that is at stake Last but not least, have fun and enjoy the good company! Image credits: http://communicationtheory.org
  19. 19. © 2017 E. Yüksel, 20 Continuous Learning Initiatives for agile teams @enderyx20 ICEBREAKER STORY Story of Zog, the keenest dragon in the school! Zog by Julia Donaldson and Axel Scheffler, Alison Green Books. Many thanks to Efe (5) and Deren (2) for lending me their beloved book. by Julia Donaldson and Axel Scheffler
  20. 20. © 2017 E. Yüksel, 20 Continuous Learning Initiatives for agile teams @enderyx21 Zog by Julia Donaldson and Axel Scheffler, Alison Green Books. Many thanks to Efe (5) and Deren (2) for lending me their beloved book.
  21. 21. © 2017 E. Yüksel, 20 Continuous Learning Initiatives for agile teams @enderyx22 Zog by Julia Donaldson and Axel Scheffler, Alison Green Books. Many thanks to Efe (5) and Deren (2) for lending me their beloved book.
  22. 22. © 2017 E. Yüksel, 20 Continuous Learning Initiatives for agile teams @enderyx23 Zog by Julia Donaldson and Axel Scheffler, Alison Green Books. Many thanks to Efe (5) and Deren (2) for lending me their beloved book.
  23. 23. © 2017 E. Yüksel, 20 Continuous Learning Initiatives for agile teams @enderyx24 Zog by Julia Donaldson and Axel Scheffler, Alison Green Books. Many thanks to Efe (5) and Deren (2) for lending me their beloved book.
  24. 24. © 2017 E. Yüksel, 20 Continuous Learning Initiatives for agile teams @enderyx25 • Let’s not spoil the whole story •So, what do we learn from Zog, so far? •Discuss in Pairs Pro tip: Ever wondered why facilitators often ask you to discuss in pairs? - Divide&Conquer: More people can express their opinions - Fairness: Not only the loud ones be heard, but also the silent ones - Energizing: Some action is needed every 15-20 minutes - Increased focus - Not but not least, make time for the facilitator
  25. 25. © 2017 E. Yüksel, 20 Continuous Learning Initiatives for agile teams @enderyx26 HERE COMES THE LIST THAT YOU HAVE BEEN WAITING FOR But let’s create/improve the knowledge together, and learn from each other Note: For convenience I tried to group the list, please speak up if it confuses you or if you think that the grouping can be improved
  26. 26. © 2017 E. Yüksel, 20 Continuous Learning Initiatives for agile teams @enderyx27 1. READING GROUP READING • Have a goal • For instance, We want to learn scaled agile, agile at scale, nexus, less, spotify model, etc. • Focus on short but essential reads • Articles, manifestos, Henrik Kniberg style books • Send the reading material in advance, and ask for some prep (not only reading, but also the parts that were most interesting) Do you have alternative ways, suggestions, tips, tricks? We would really like to hear! Example: Agile Reading Group (Kudos to Poul Mejlsted for leading the efforts) • Before the agile transformation (December 2015 – August 2016) • Small but very interested and motivated audience (mostly devs and tech writers) • Meeting every second week, for one hour • Materials: videos from conference talks (wait for #9), book excerpts, wiki articles, assessment tests, online resources, short books, white papers
  27. 27. © 2017 E. Yüksel, 20 Continuous Learning Initiatives for agile teams @enderyx28 2. BOOK & COFFEE CLUB READING • Prescribed by SAFe • Extended coffee breaks • Topics that the team is trying to master • Example: Book & Coffee Club (June 2017 – ongoing) • Small but very interested audience (members of two scrum teams) • No video conference, computers allowed (thus not straightforward for cross-located teams) • Once per iteration (every second week), for half an hour • Materials: Primarily books, sometimes books supported by articles. • It helps a lot to form a library in advance. • Also, helps to have a cosy crner with comfy couches and a decent espresso machine • Prepare excerpts from books.
  28. 28. © 2017 E. Yüksel, 20 Continuous Learning Initiatives for agile teams @enderyx29 Another example, from Rasmus Christian Kaae
  29. 29. © 2017 E. Yüksel, 20 Continuous Learning Initiatives for agile teams @enderyx30 3. SHARING GOOD READS READING • Share the good reads on • Yammer • Slack • (Good old) Email • Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn • GoodReads.com - Also helps you broadcast what you are reading these days • Print excerpts and leave it close to the espresso machine • Some places to look for good reads • HBR, Medium, Inc., Mashable, TechCrunch
  30. 30. © 2017 E. Yüksel, 20 Continuous Learning Initiatives for agile teams @enderyx31 GUT CHECK I am so fond of reading and, I have done and have been doing all the initiatives you just mentioned. Likert Scale image credit: surveygizmo.com Gut Check idea credit: Dean Leffingwell, SAFe Summit 2017
  31. 31. © 2017 E. Yüksel, 20 Continuous Learning Initiatives for agile teams @enderyx32 4. TEAM INSIDE-OUT KNOWLEDGE SHARING • Suggested by SAFe • A team member (or shared ones such as architect, ux) preps a presentation or flip-chart • It can also be an external presenter, no need to be religious on ”inside- out” • E.g. ”we will soon start using ATDD, and Kim has experience with it” • Example: Team Inside-Out (June 2017 – ongoing) • Small but very interested audience (members of two scrum teams) • Once per iteration (every second week), for an hour • Video conference for cross-located teams, and recording the session for the ones who missed
  32. 32. © 2017 E. Yüksel, 20 Continuous Learning Initiatives for agile teams @enderyx33 5. EXPERIENCE FROM OTHER TEAMS/COMPANIES KNOWLEDGE SHARING • New members joining, from other teams/departments or even their companies • Members went on rotation, or lent out to other teams • Learn about other framworks, practices • Giving a hand to other teams is not only being kind and helpful, but also new learnings
  33. 33. © 2017 E. Yüksel, 20 Continuous Learning Initiatives for agile teams @enderyx34 6. COMMUNITIES OF PRACTICE KNOWLEDGE SHARING • Suggested by SAFe: http://www.scaledagileframework.com/communities-of-practice/ • Self-organizing groups that discuss best-practices, new topics, etc. • Wenger, McDermott, and Snyder provided the core ideas for the theory of CoPs in 2002. Here is how they define it: - A group of people who share a concern, a set of problems, or a passion about a topic, and who deepen their knowledge and expertise in this area by interacting on an ongoing basis • And here are some characteristics: - Proper agenda, decision making authority, open community, suitable rhythm, passionate leader • Examples - Profession (role-specific) CoPs: SM, RTE, PO/PM, TEST - Specialty CoPs: Telemetry, Static Code Analysis, Functional Language Developers, User Experience
  34. 34. © 2017 E. Yüksel, 20 Continuous Learning Initiatives for agile teams @enderyx35 7. BROWN BAG SESSIONS KNOWLEDGE SHARING • I classified as Knowledge Sharing, but most often it can be a way of Internal Training • Traditional way, have a presenter/speaker • Try Video Brown Bag Sessions (and everyone in the room can have lunch) • Don’t forget to air out the meeting room afterwards! • Example - We watched Mike Cohn’s video trainings in a series of video brown bag sessions, with the members of our agile release train - Although anyone could watch it on their own, a significant proportion of the colleagues showed up - it is a win-win, especially when the calendars are tight - Don’t forget to leave room for fruitful discussions in the end Image credits: http://www.rirealtors.org
  35. 35. © 2017 E. Yüksel, 20 Continuous Learning Initiatives for agile teams @enderyx36 GUT CHECK Knowledge sharing is part of our culture at work we do it by many ways Likert Scale image credit: surveygizmo.com Gut Check idea credit: Dean Leffingwell, SAFe Summit 2017
  36. 36. © 2017 E. Yüksel, 20 Continuous Learning Initiatives for agile teams @enderyx37 8. MEETUPS MEETING THE COMMUNITY • Talking about Meetups in a Meetup
  37. 37. © 2017 E. Yüksel, 20 Continuous Learning Initiatives for agile teams @enderyx38 9. CONFERENCES MEETING THE COMMUNITY
  38. 38. © 2017 E. Yüksel, 20 Continuous Learning Initiatives for agile teams @enderyx39 10. THOUGHT LEADERS MEETING THE COMMUNITY …
  39. 39. © 2017 E. Yüksel, 20 Continuous Learning Initiatives for agile teams @enderyx40 GUT CHECK You took the time to come here and listen to this talk, network with peers, and expect to learn something new. Of course you deserve a 5 in this one! Likert Scale image credit: surveygizmo.com Gut Check idea credit: Dean Leffingwell, SAFe Summit 2017
  40. 40. © 2017 E. Yüksel, 20 Continuous Learning Initiatives for agile teams @enderyx41 11. INTERNAL TRAINING TRAINING • Courses • On-the-job training • Mentoring / Coaching
  41. 41. © 2017 E. Yüksel, 20 Continuous Learning Initiatives for agile teams @enderyx42 12. EXTERNAL TRAINING TRAINING • Training from vendors - Or even universities • Certifications • Online Training
  42. 42. © 2017 E. Yüksel, 20 Continuous Learning Initiatives for agile teams @enderyx43 13. JOB ROTATION TRAINING • Employee Learning • Opportunity to expand knowledge and impact • Learn about different parts of the organization • Employer Learning • Learn about the employee’s strengths • Achieve a flexible and knowledgeable (T-Shaped?) work force
  43. 43. © 2017 E. Yüksel, 20 Continuous Learning Initiatives for agile teams @enderyx44 GUT CHECK I proactively seek for internal/external training, and try to make use of my new knowledge/skills as soon as possible Likert Scale image credit: surveygizmo.com Gut Check idea credit: Dean Leffingwell, SAFe Summit 2017
  44. 44. © 2017 E. Yüksel, 20 Continuous Learning Initiatives for agile teams @enderyx45 14. TRAINING OTHERS LEARN BY TEACHING • Docendo discimus • Examples - Teaching the basics of the programming language we use, to another team, so that they can at least debug - Teaching testers some IDE and commands that they can do more before creating defects - Training newcomers, even though they don’t join our team
  45. 45. © 2017 E. Yüksel, 20 Continuous Learning Initiatives for agile teams @enderyx46 15. BOOKS CRAFTSMANSHIP • Make sure you have a favorite craftsmanship book that you give your new colleagues
  46. 46. © 2017© 2017 THANK YOU FOR ASKING THE FIRST* QUESTION! 47 * Non-trivial With compliments from
  47. 47. © 2017 E. Yüksel, 20 Continuous Learning Initiatives for agile teams @enderyx48 16. E-LEARNING CRAFTSMANSHIP • PluralSight • Khan Academy • Coursera • Udemy • EdX
  48. 48. © 2017 E. Yüksel, 20 Continuous Learning Initiatives for agile teams @enderyx49 17. DOJO CRAFTSMANSHIP • Suggested by SAFe • Not only for coding • One computer, rotate the opeartor (every 10 minutes) • Whole or subset of team
  49. 49. © 2017 E. Yüksel, 20 Continuous Learning Initiatives for agile teams @enderyx50 18. STEP OUT OF COMFORT ZONE DOMAIN KNOWLEDGE In case you need some inspiration (celebration of Windows 95 launch): • Comfort Zone = Zone of slow growth • Agile Team, try pulling a feature out of your comfort zone Article credits: “If You’re Not Outside Your Comfort Zone, You Won’t Learn Anything”, Andy Molinsky. “Learning Outside Your Comfort Zone”, Maryellen Weimer.
  50. 50. © 2017 E. Yüksel, 20 Continuous Learning Initiatives for agile teams @enderyx51 19. ASK OTHERS TO TEACH YOU DOMAIN KNOWLEDGE • Especially teams that generally work in other areas, or product owners • Quantify benefits • Invite others • If possible, record the sessions • Contribute e.g. - Document your learnings - Maybe update the wiki - Ask lots of questions, let the one who teaches you to also benefit from this
  51. 51. © 2017 E. Yüksel, 20 Continuous Learning Initiatives for agile teams @enderyx52 20. STUDY GROUPS DOMAIN KNOWLEDGE • Especially when you really need to learn something fast, efficient, and collectively • You can use the previously mentioned techniques - Find relevant trainings - Ask an expert to give you a crash course - Allocate time to regularly meet and reflect on learnings - Try to make use of the new knowledge as soon as possible • Don’t be afraid of making mistakes
  52. 52. © 2017 E. Yüksel, 20 Continuous Learning Initiatives for agile teams @enderyx53 GUT CHECK I know that planning and estimating work will be much smoother if I can learn more my domain knowledge Likert Scale image credit: surveygizmo.com Gut Check idea credit: Dean Leffingwell, SAFe Summit 2017
  53. 53. © 2017 E. Yüksel, 20 Continuous Learning Initiatives for agile teams @enderyx54 MVP: MINIMUM VIABLE PRESENTATIONReading •Reading Group •Book & Coffee Club •Sharing Good Reads KnowledgeSharing •Team Inside- Out •Experience from Other Teams, Companies •Communities of Practice •Brown Bag Sessions MeetingtheCommunity •MeetUps •Conferences •Thought Leaders Trainings •Internal Trainings •External Trainings •Job Rotation Learnbyteaching •Training others Craftsmanship •Books •E-learning •Dojo Domainknowledge •Step of Comfort Zone •Ask Others to Teach You •Study Groups
  54. 54. © 2017 E. Yüksel, 20 Continuous Learning Initiatives for agile teams @enderyx55 GUT CHECK Score Assessment 9 – 10 Totally room for improvement 11 – 15 Totally room for improvement 16 – 20 Totally room for improvement 21 – 25 Totally room for improvement 26 – 30 You must be kidding  Gut Check idea credit: Dean Leffingwell, SAFe Summit 2017
  55. 55. © 2017 E. Yüksel, 20 Continuous Learning Initiatives for agile teams @enderyx56 PRO TIP: HOW TO APPROACH EMPLOYEES THAT ARE NOT INTERESTED No time for that! I learned everything I need to know! It is a distraction from our business objectives! Listen Each person’s subjective experience of the situation is always “true”, seen from their perspective ExplainUncover lost information Talk Ask for help Inspire
  56. 56. © 2017 E. Yüksel, 20 Continuous Learning Initiatives for agile teams @enderyx57 PRO TIP: HOW TO APPROACH EMPLOYEES THAT ARE NOT INTERESTED No time for that! I learned everything I need to know! It is a distraction from our business objectives! DON’T • Try to “educate” • Tell that s/he reacted inappropriately Short Term • Be fair • Calm down the person, with finding common ground and similarities Long Term • Encourage personal development
  57. 57. © 2017 E. Yüksel, 20 Continuous Learning Initiatives for agile teams @enderyx58 WHAT TO EXPECT? - REVIEW • Something new • Some takeaway for you • Inspiration • Real life experience • Kudos to Joanne Perold
  58. 58. © 2017 E. Yüksel, 20 Continuous Learning Initiatives for agile teams @enderyx59 RETROSPECTIVE
  59. 59. © 2017 E. Yüksel, 20 Continuous Learning Initiatives for agile teams @enderyx60 RETROSPECTIVE • I would also love to hear the traditional way • What was good? Things that I should continue doing • What was NOT good? Things I should stop doing • What can be improved and how? • I would very much appreciate receiving feedback (we can talk after the presentation, or you can email to eny@simcorp.com ), THANK YOU!
  60. 60. © 2017© 2017 THANK YOU! 61
  61. 61. © 2017© 2017 AND THANKS TO 62 Sanem Yüksel Efe E. Yüksel & Deren S. Yüksel (for lending me their book, Zog) My former and current scrum teams: ¡Ay, caramba!, Hakuna Matata, Money Makers. And scrum of scrum teams: Front Office, IBOR Pexels.com for all the stock photos. Kahoot.com for the surveys. Everyone in the GOTO team! All these great people, that inspired me and/or helped with the content, organization, and promotion: Axel Scheffler Dean Leffingwell Frank Olsen Henrik Kniberg Hugo Ludbrook Ingrid Gran Stiansen Julia Donaldson Joanne Perold Malene Maegaard Krohn Poul Mejlsted Rasmus Christian Kaae Simon Sinek
  62. 62. © 2017
  63. 63. © 2017© 2017 LEGAL DISCLAIMER The contents of this presentation are for general information and illustrative purposes only and are used at the reader’s own risk. SimCorp uses all reasonable endeavours to ensure the accuracy of the information. However, SimCorp does not guarantee or warrant the accuracy, completeness, factual correctness, or reliability of any information in this publication and does not accept liability for errors, omissions, inaccuracies, or typographical errors. The views and opinions expressed in this publication are not necessarily those of SimCorp. © 2017 SimCorp A/S. All rights reserved. Without limiting rights under copyright, no part of this document may be reproduced, stored in, or introduced into a retrieval system, or transmitted in any form, by any means (electronic, mechanical, photocopying, recording, or otherwise), or for any purpose without the express written permission of SimCorp A/S. 64

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