Isn’t Scrum not about doing daily standups?

Yeah right… and Management 3.0 is only about Kudo Cards and the game Moving Motivators?

I don’t know if you know Scrum? Scrum is a framework that makes it easier to deal with complex projects. It is based on three very important principles: inspect, adapt and being transparent. Every serious scrum master would shiver when you would say: “Scrum is just about doing daily stand-ups.” The daily stand-ups is just a practice, a practice that supports inspect, adapt and being transparent.

Continue reading here

How do you create pain? – How to get change started

I live in The Netherlands in a small village a couple of kilometers from the city of ‘s-Hertogenbosch. When you grow up in The Netherlands, you most probably will have learned to ride a bike, because it is very convenient to know how to ride a bike here: a flat country with bike lanes everywhere . Additionally, when you live in a small village, it is also very convenient when you know how to drive a car. Most villages only have just a small supermarket and the connection to public transport is simply not that great.

My girlfriend is not from The Netherlands. She joined me quite recently and she quickly realized that it is important to be able to ride a bike to get around, to refresh her driving skills, to learn Dutch, to build up social relations, to get to know your way around: a lot of things she needs to adapt to quickly.

At this moment she just focuses on one thing… refreshing her driving skills. She knows all the things mentioned above are important, but commuting daily via public transport for almost four hours “hurts” the most. Therefore, she gives priority to something that is important and urgent because it pains her the most.

It is the same in organizations. If it doesn’t hurt, you won’t change. – (c) familymwr494

Many of you will have been participating in some kind of transformation program, will have worked as a change agent, or maybe you were involved in some kind of important project. It probably often happened that resources were not available as you would like, or that other people didn’t cooperate as you would like. When you asked management or other team members: is this project important? They all will have said: Yes, very important because… whatever. But if you would have asked does it hurt somewhere because this project is not progressing as expected, they probably would have said: “uh… now… you know… well… uh…”

In his book Leading Change, Kotler describes eight steps for managing change. The first, and one of the most important steps, is to create a sense of urgency. He describes nine ways to create an urgency level. The first and most powerful one is to create a crisis by allowing a financial loss, exposing managers to major weaknesses vis-à-vis competitors, or by allowing errors to blow up instead of being corrected at the last minute. The reason this one is so powerful is because it hurts. There is money involved. Now, as one of my friends always says: “Never waste a good crisis”.

ADKAR is a method created by Prosci. They researched organizational change, and believe that change is a cumulative product of the personal change journeys of each individual within the organization. The first condition, the A, that you need to experience is: Awareness of the need for change. The second condition is D: Desire to participate in and support the change. The desire represents again the pain that you have of the current situation. If there is no desired change, then you won’t change although you are aware you need to change. According to Prosci, if any of these five conditions are weak, the change will stall and fail.

Creating urgency is good, making sure that people realize the project is important is good. However, when people or organizations feel pain because a project is not done, it is one of the best motivators to start change or a project.

How do you create pain to realize a change in your organization?

How To Manage Three Remote Offices

This blog first appeared on the site Collaboration Superpowers, click here to view blog.

I don’t want to implement the Spotify-model!

Spotify is cool, Spotify is hip, Spotify is epic, Spotify rules or whatever you call it nowadays. In the last month I heard three (serious) organizations saying they want to implement or copy the Spotify-model and I know some organizations are working on implementing it as we speak.

Why? I don’t know… I didn’t ask. My “fault”. However, when you a take few minutes (27:40 to be exactly) to watch the next video you can imagine why.

I watched them a while ago and I thought: Wow this is cool! Wow this is hip! Wow this is epic! Wow this rules or whatever you call it nowadays. I wanna work there! But moving to Sweden, leaving everything behind did not fit in my plan at that moment (still doesn’t by the way).

Something else.

I am facilitator Management 3.0 (M30) and part of M30 is Complexity Thinking. I believe an organization is a complex adaptive system (CAS) because it consists of people that form the organization, which shows complex behavior while it keeps adapting to a changing environment. Or simple: the behavior of an organization is hard to predict and it’s structure can be difficult to understand because it is all about people. When I talk about structure I am not talking about the official HR org chart, I am talking about all the communication lines, people working together from different departments etc.

It is hard to deal with a CAS but there are some guidelines. I am not going to discuss all of them in this blog, just the one that relate to I-want-to-implement-the-Spotify-Model-case.

  • Use a diversity of perspectives, to handle a CAS you should use different models/frameworks. Don’t just use one silver bullet. There is not one silver bullet. So assuming the Spotify-model will solve all your problems won’t work. The Spotify-model is just one model, you should use different models;
  • Steal and Tweak, the most successful complex system is constantly copying and tweaking, it is called Nature. To be handle a complex system you look around, steal an idea, tweak it and experiment with it. Stealing the Spotify-model is a good idea, but don’t forget to tweak it. Understand you need to tweak it!
  • Expect dependence on context. I attended a few years ago a talk of Ken Schwaber, he refused to give answer on question like how do you do this or how do you that. His argument was that most time people will blindly copy the practice and it will fail. What worked for him, doesn’t need to work for someone else. As Ralph Stacey says in his book Complexity and Organizational Reality: “Any relationship anyone identifies between a management action and an outcome could have far more to do with a particular time and place where the sample is selected than anything else.”

The fact the Spotify-model works for Spotify is because it is their model, a result of years of experimenting. A constant Agile Mindset, inspect and adapt and be transparent.

They end the second video with the statement “Culture is the sum of everyone attitude and actions”, as we all know every individual is different, it is not possible to copy the Spotify-model to your organization.

So don’t get me wrong, the Spotify-model is super cool (that is what they say nowadays, just checked it with my daughter) and many organizations can learn from it. But, don’t copy it, use as inspiration, steal-and-tweak ideas and use it to start experimenting new things.

What do you think? Let me know your thoughts while I am listening to the music that I uploaded to Google Play Music, a super cool feature 😉

“Hey you facilitator! Did you ever think about what you want to learn yourself?”

classroomAny of you perhaps recognize the following? “Hi all and welcome to this training/workshop, my name is Clause Santa and before we start, I would really like all of you to write down your learning goals/challenges/what you expect to learn/what you want to take home with you/etc.”  When you are lucky, the trainer will come back to these notes further on in the training. I also attended some trainings where the trainer did not even come back to these notes. More important though, I often questioned myself “why does this trainer doesn’t write down his own learning goals/challenges/what you expect to learn/what you want to take home with you/etc.?”

One of my values is to treat other people like I want to be treated. Is it fair that you, as a trainer/facilitator/coach, ask the attendees to think about what they want to learn and you don’t have to think about it yourself?

I had an interview with a potential customer a few weeks ago. It was for a role of interim manager. They immediately scheduled several interviews, which I really liked. You can’t hire someone based on one interview, not even a contractor. During one of the interviews, someone asked me the question: “What do you want to learn here?” As an interim or a consultant you can present yourself as the one-who-knows-everything, but I don’t believe in this strategy. I believe most organizations hire professionals; well educated people with relevant experience. Will you as an interim be able to solve all their challenges in just a few months? Challenges a group of smart people have been facing for years? I believe not, you can help get the show on the road again, but so there are always many things that you as consultant/interim/coach/facilitator can learn from the other. There also will be many learning opportunities for you and the people around you because of the situation you are in and finding out about the place where you want to get. Learning how to start solving complex challenges in the exact environment of a customer. I really liked the question and I explained her the things I was seeking to learn. So next time you are invited to a potential customer, ask yourself the question: what can I learn here. Or simply ask the potential customer: what can I learn here?

xpdayslogo-webA few weeks ago, we did a talk at the XPDays 2015. We defined the goal of the session and what we wanted the audience to learn. We were challenging people to use different thinking models outside of their normal business to help solve challenges. However, during  the preparation we also asked ourselves the question: “What are we going to learn from this?” Note that exploring some nice pubs in Mechelen was not the main goal ;). Our goal was to learn from the audience, how they solved issues that we encountered in the past as well. And man did we achieve that! Many companies are trying to find ways to make their people learn, to instill innovation in their processes, to teach the outside world why things are not as easy as they seem in the agile world and how to review people fairly. I believe it even should be a standard question in every Call for papers document “What will you learn from this talk/session yourself?”

MartieImageAndrea and I facilitated a Management 3.0 training last week in Amsterdam. It went quite well and we got some good feedback from the attendees. The first day, we asked them to write down some of their challenges (and we sure did come back to those challenges 😉 ). However, I forgot to set explicit learning goals or challenges for myself this time. It would have been easy, as this was one of the first workshops in a range as a facilitator: I want to find out if I am really able to share the Management 3.0 vision with passion and energy. Next time you facilitate a workshop, share your learning goals or challenges as a facilitator with the attendees as well. It puts you on the same stage. The people in the group can help you as well by reaching those learning goals and providing feedback to you during those days together.

At the XPDays 2015, I was talking to a friend and he told me that his team is now defining a Definition of Done (DoD) when they start with a consultancy project. I liked that idea, to make it transparent in an agile way what the customer can expect. I believe that part of the DoD should be what you will learn. You could argue that the customer doesn’t want to pay you for your learning but why not make it explicit? As I described above, you should (and will) also learn from the project. Try to make it explicit what you would like to learn.

Shakespeare play being performed at CourtMaybe you could argue that at one moment you did a training/challenge so often that you can’t learn anymore. As you already could guess… I disagree. Actors sometimes perform plays or musicals for months or even years. In the beginning it is all about finding each other, getting used to each other and finetuning the play. However, at one moment they start focusing on small items and every performance gets a different focus. For example, the group agrees to focus on intonation and diction one evening, the next evening they focus on emphasizing talking soft and loud and the next day they focus on how they move around on the stage. They keep learning and improving themselves in details and specific aspects.

I believe that every professional should keep on learning. You should always be able to answer the question “What did you do to become a better professional“? So next time you facilitate a training or get a new assignment, think upfront and share what you want to learn. It will gain you respect and people will help you to achieve what you would like to learn.