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Short Story of Expectations and Realities

Transparency - Let others see it too

Provisional Influence

Scrum with Kanban

Open Doors - PM Network

Short Story of Expectations and Realities

Categories: Insight, Planning, Strategy

Getting ready for a nice run outside on the trails. It is finally cold again and all is frozen. The snow is on its way. I thought to myself, this is going to be great. Though it has been warm lately, it also means its muddy. Certainly, a fun time for what it is, but happy for it to be frozen.

And how cool is this going to be? Cold and refreshing, tree covered trails, snow, early Saturday morning; what could be better! Got the dog ready, geared ourselves up and hit the trails!

We left, heading out on our excursion. As we carry on, I realize its a bit colder than expected. Also, for some reason, my dog was not having it. Normally, a cold weather running beast, but today, seemed to be pulling along a dog sled behind me. I'm thinking, hmm, not what I planned the run to be like.

Then the snow came. This is awesome! Just what I wanted. Quickly, the snow picked up and soon it was stinging my cold face and I couldn't see as clearly, especially due to the steady pace of the run.

At this point, my face is stinging, I'm dragging my dog behind me (not literally, don't worry), and I can't see. All that, but I'm still loving it, in the way only true passion and commitment will allow us too. But when all was said and done, we both finished the run, felt great, ran the distance planned and in a more than respectable time.

How does all of this relate to us as professionals?

While we are planning, the vision seems so clear. As we begin executing and moving forward, we start to realize that reality provides a new clarity to what we once thought was a clear vision.

Stick with it because while you may think you are struggling in some aspects, you can be excelling in others. There will be uphills, but there will also be downhills. There may be potholes or rugged pathways, but there will also be smooth ones. Take what's in front of you for what it is and continue moving forward, even if it takes more effort or is at a slower pace.
 

Posted on: January 18, 2020 06:06 PM | Permalink | Comments (10)

Transparency - Let others see it too

When we think about transparency and the work that we do, there is a consideration of what that might really mean. And whereas transparency refers to clear visibility, it can also act as a reflection of the team. Quite an interesting paradox.

Under the definition of Transparent:

readily understood; characterized by visibility or accessibility of information especially concerning business practices"

How, then, can we become transparent? Let's dive into a few different areas.

Interactions

We can be transparent in the way that we interact with others.  There are different aspects of interactions;  who we interact with and how we interact with them.

Much (if not all) of the decisions that are made are done so through conversations. There is a required effort in not limiting interactions within the team. Take time to expand the interaction tree to create a bridge of communication with outside influencers, downstream participants, and/or other stakeholders.

In creating this dialogue, there is more to just the doing part. Once the bridge is there, engage with the individuals in a way that affords them with a feeling of understanding, rationale, insights; with a general feeling of inclusiveness.

Inclusiveness

Decisions won't happen in a vacuum. We want to project a culture of inclusivity in the organization and within the team. Create a dynamic so that all feel welcome in the team and team room. Feed the culture with success stories, challenges, rationale, and decision points. Share a sense of the what's, the why's, and he how's. Provide greater insight into the team more so than what cards on a wall will give. Garner and sustain a level of comfortability in and around the dynamics of the team.

Availability

Information is only as good as the distance it travels. Information availability is not just important at the team level, but outside the team as well. By making information available, it lets everyone into the happenings behind the scenes. There are several avenues to take in making this happen. Simply making information available does not solve the issue. The information needs to be digestible to the audience.

A common approach is to create and showcase a dashboard as a method to highlight data from the team in a variety of charts and matrices in an effort to provide the consumer a rolled up, easy to read, visual representation of the team's current state. If the team is using a physical board, be sure to explicitly invite others to the room or space to see it, though, by having a digital depiction provides broader access is not constrained by geographic location. 

Accessibility

Information can only support and fund decisions of those who can see the information that is available. Even if the information has been made available, if others cannot find or access it, any potential positive impact is lost. Take the efforts necessary to ensure that the environment and permissions are configured appropriately.

Conclusion

Creating a culture of transparency is not an overnight or simple process. Maybe in theory, but in practice, there are many facets to undertake as a mechanism to truly growing transparent opportunities inside a team and within an organization. It is another aspect of change, and change can be a bumpy road. With courage, trust, and respect, we can navigate those bumps together and come out on the other side stronger and much better positioned for sustainable success. 

Additional Reference

Please, also, see an article I wrote on transparency that was published in PM Network entitled Open Doors

Posted on: January 06, 2020 08:38 PM | Permalink | Comments (10)

Provisional Influence

Categories: Leadership

Influence: ”the act or power of producing an effect without apparent exertion of force or direct exercise of command”

When we think about influence, it is something that is almost intangible. Intangible in that it [Influence] is a by-product of some other action or effort. More likely, a collection or string of actions that may go unnoticed individually, but leave a trace of sub-conscious impact.

With the exponential expansion of social media, the perception of influence has seemingly broadened to encompass a variety of actions in an effort to explicitly garner that influence. And now with a measure or scale of an individual’s influence attached to their profile, brand, or [self] worth, it affords new opportunities to exercise available mediums to enrich the rating.

It is interesting to now consider how we look at what influence is and means in reference to its Merriam-Webster Dictionary definition above. Should it change? Or are we incorrectly using the term as a descriptor of something else?

What is influence to me? Influence is an individual sharing their story of growth with me as a reference and motivator. Influence is seeing those around me learning and growing in their respective teams or role. Influence is my dog continuing to run right by my side while running through the woods not realizing the leash had become detached :) (That may be debatable, but I had to sneak that one in there. Just happened today)

Where does quality into the measure? How do we put a measure of quality on an individual's thoughts or reactions? Do we project our intentions against another person's actions?

Whatever influence means to you is what influence is. It can be attributed to one’s mental attitude, their fortitude, their mindset, and/or their experiences.

Posted on: January 03, 2020 04:20 PM | Permalink | Comments (9)

Scrum with Kanban

For those of us who work with Scrum, we may have already begun to blend in practices to better foster efforts or adoption within our specific environment. I'd bet that it is not a far stretch that some of this blending is with Kanban practices, whether knowingly or unknowingly. Practices like a Kanban board, setting WIP limits, and creating Sprint Goals. 

And so with that…

It was recently announced that Scrum.Org will officially release a Scrum with Kanban course. This course will also offer a certification path. The intent is to teach individuals to use Kanban practices within a Scrum framework. 

As they prepare to make the course generally available, Scrum.Org has created the Kanban Guide for Scrum Teams, which can be found on their website in the Kanban resources section. There is also a podcast available on the new announcement with some further insights. 

"Kanban’s practices don’t require changes to the Scrum framework as defined within the Scrum Guide, making them complementary for software delivery teams to further guide their empirical and adaptive processes. Unlike standard Kanban classes, Scrum with Kanban will show Scrum Teams how they can introduce additional practices from Kanban, while continuing to work within the Scrum framework."

It is great to see the recognition of the adoption landscape and the adaptation to continuously deliver valuable content and resources to the community. 

What are your thoughts? Is this a good move and valuable offering to the community?
Do you…
Plan to continue growing alongside the community?
Read the guide, possibly look to take the course and certify?

References:

https://www.scrum.org/resources/blog/scrum-kanban-building-bridges-not-walls
https://www.scrum.org/courses/professional-scrum-with-kanban-training
https://www.scrum.org/resources/scrumorg-introduces-scrum-kanban-course-enabling-greater-transparency-among-development
www.scrum.org/resources/scrumorg-creates-scrum-kanban-course
www.scrum.org/resources?search=kanban
Posted on: March 10, 2018 08:17 AM | Permalink | Comments (19)

Open Doors - PM Network

Categories: Communication, Leadership

I want to share with everyone hear my article in this months PM Network, 'Open Doors' (March 2018, page 25). It is an article on the importance, value, and benefit of transparency in project management. 

How do you use transparency in your projects? 

(Click on below to open article)

Open Doors

Posted on: March 03, 2018 08:28 AM | Permalink | Comments (11)
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