Yesterday I attended TDC.
It was fun to see so many from the software development community in Trondheim turn out all at once.
I also had a short talk about better ways to work, focusing on delays and feedback – especially how it’s more central to knowledge work than we think.
Here’s the slides if you’re curious (PDF):
201210 TDC Better ways to work
Update: I added a few slides for a talk at the office – see extended version (pdf) if you like, containing a few more links/ reading tips.
What is an operations review (ops review)?
To do an ops review is to take a look at your team or organization:
- driven by data
- involving management and business, up- and downstream in value chain
- look at the whole, i.e., all kinds of work
- look at both value/ benefit and cost
Why should you do ops reviews?
- create a culture of openness and trust
- create shared understanding across different stakeholders
- it’s about learning
- teaching senior exec’s about the business
If you visualize more you get more agile.
Tom Wujec had an excellent TED talk on 3 ways the brain creates meaning.
- Use images to clarify ideas
Visual shapes, physical space, colors, motion help us create mental model, more understanding
- The act of engaging, being interactive enriches mental model
- Augment memory by creating persistent, evolving views
Let’s say you have a task board for a software development team, either a physical one or a digital one shown on a screen as a dashboard. Let’s say it’s visible in an office so that everyone on and outside the team sees it several times a day.
- People in and around the team gain a shared mental model, a shared understanding.
- People interact with the board as things change, including upstream and downstream stakeholders. A visible task board creates more engaged stakeholders.
- A task board is persistent and evolving, and becomes a new visual, domain-specific language of sorts, where the domain is the reality of the development team.
This language is a more abstract, high-level language, and enables much more effective thinking, communication, and collaboration.
A software development team communicate and collaborate better the more they visualize the work.
How can you visualize more to gain advantages like that? Here’s a few examples:
- Let workflow on task board be closer to reality
- Show different types of work differently
- Let a status screen display a virtual task board permanently
- Are you working in a traditional waterfall project? Regularly print the latest version of the project plan (and progress) and put it on the wall.
- Show more policies like DoDs, increase transparency
- Are you doing CI or continuous builds? Create alerts or alarms for failures, include status on status screens.
- Show problems and impediments clearly
- Do you share status on sales, bugs, product upgrades, project progress, project backlog etc in monthly or weekly meetings? Make status visible for everyone at anytime via screen or paper.