What a line managers job is – up front and center!!

I had the pleasure of helping out with the facilitation of a hackathon at our regular Learning day (#WMRlearning Day) yesterday.

We started out small by just arranging an 8hr hackathon – start at 10am and finish at 6pm (ish). We were very nervous for about 3 mins when the main conference hall for our learning day was empty but slowly about 19-20 people showed up.

After the pitching session we had 4 clear ideas.

1. HAL 2000 – making a voice interface on your laptop

2. A conference room locator (interactive map)

3. A FriendShare APP where you could simultaneously play the same song among friends (over spotify)

4. An automated interface update generator using an eclipse plugin.

Small but promising- everyone seemed  to be commited and engaged to come back at 17:30 and show what they had achieved.

We observed that the newer engineers gravitated towards the cooler suggestions like the FriendShare idea and HAL2000.

There was a really good mix of high school interns, new employees, systems expertise, test expertise and subsytem product guardians.

During the day we checked in on each of the teams to see how things were going – all seemed well except for 1 major impediment where a team were not allowed to get hold of the conference room maps of the building. An impediment that did not stop them.

17:30 came and all reassembled (however some we had to call a few times – they said they just needed “5 for minutes”!! ). Everyone had smiles on their faces and without even being asked the first team started demoing their work.

Without going in to too much detail, noone was able to finish their task completely but they still had great fun presenting what they had done. The enthusiasm and engagement was infectious.

We laughed, we giggled we asked how much they learned, would they continue with the idea, would they do it again.? All answers were enthusiastic, positive and HAPPY.

When the hackathon ended those left in the room reflected that we had not seen such JOY in a long long time and Asked ourselves why we couldnt see this sort of enthusiasm everyday.?

Isnt this exactly what our job as line managers is? Make it so that people are happy to come to work, that they enjoy themselves and feel that they want to contribute and make things work despite obstacles and impediments.

I had been following what Jurgen Appelo was stating in his Management 3.0 and his “Happy Melly” ….. But there it was right in front of me ….. It was quiet remarkable so I wanted to share.

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Can we Really “deploy” Toyota Kata in Software Development?

I have been struggling with this for a few months now. I tried the PDCA Toyota Kata with my team and it really was so very very akward and seemed so unnatural that it became very contrived and died out very quickly.

My colleagues are using it and talk it up a lot but when I talk to individuals in their teams they mention “hmmmm its not really fitting in with Thought work”

I spoke to our In house Agile coach and he suggested we define a Kata for ourselves …. Yes nice idea  – where do I start?

I put my worrying and procrastinating aside for a while as I was getting nowhere.

But look what I have found …

http://blog.crisp.se/2013/05/14/jimmyjanlen/improvement-theme-simple-and-practical-toyota-kata

I just loved it and it gave me renewed energy. THIS seems so practical and something the teams will be much more comfortable doing. It seems so simple. I will try it ( and of course report back 🙂 )

Thank you (as always) Crisp!

Continuous Deployment – But what does it really mean?

firstlinemanager

So here we are, over 2 years since Ericsson started its transformation to a Agile/Lean company and we will now start deploying to a customer in the U.S. every 3 weeks.

“HOOO HAAAW” As AlPacino would say! This is really exciting, why? Because now instead of talking the talk we now have to walk the walk.

In the two years since we started out on this journey, we have achieved an awful lot but we were starting to hit the glass ceiling of old style Program/Project Management Thinking and it started to become a little demotivating and frustrating ( for both the teams and lower level management).

But now there is an opportunity. We have to start deploying every 3 weeks and in order to do this we MUST change how we plan and develop our features and manage our product,… there is no hiding – we are very exposed…

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