The Guide Board

The Guide Board

Video: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Zz2jktnz1fg

An artefact that supports continuous improvement of practices and interactions within a team, with the same materials as classical agile artefacts.
Full paper: http://mattischneider.fr/agile/guide-board.pdf

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Matti Schneider

May 26, 2015
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Transcript

  1. Matti Schneider @matti_sg #XP2015 The Guide Board

  2. Matti Schneider @matti_sg I now work from within the State,

    modernising the French government. The work I’m about to present was done in my previous startup, over 18 months, as part of the social and cognitive anthropology curriculum I attended after my engineering degree.
  3. We were developing a web application for surgery clinics in

    a team of 3 to 5. Heavily constrained environment (regulations, market access difficulty, dependency on a single investor…).
  4. We relied heavily on artefacts to handle these constraints. One

    in particular helped us survive and strive in this environment, by enabling very fast learning and adapatation.
  5. The guide board. You can notice its physical placement, as

    it is meaningful. We can go back to it later if that’s of interest to you.
  6. After each time your team takes time to reflect and

    adjust behavior (usually, retrospectives), the team creates a “guide” ticket for each rule it decides to adopt to reinforce it strengths and counterbalance its weaknesses. The Guide Board is thus a retrospective outcome artefact.
  7. After each time your team takes time to reflect and

    adjust behavior (usually, retrospectives), the team creates a “guide” ticket for each rule it decides to adopt to reinforce it strengths and counterbalance its weaknesses. The Guide Board is thus a retrospective outcome artefact.
  8. The first guides are trivial. But they answer to the

    kind of issues your team struggles with when it starts. At the beginning, it is about showing the medium- to long-term decisions the team takes regarding its behavior. However, culture is mostly emergent, and both internal and external constraints can change it.
  9. Guides are not forever, and can become obsolete. In such

    occasions, guides are “closed” by putting a sticky note over them, with the index of the iteration at which it was closed. For example, here, the duration of iterations changed on sprint 34.
  10. The team may have a hard time respecting its own

    rules. In that case, the artefact is updated to reflect the difficulty. Here, the team had a hard time limiting its standup to 6 minutes, while it was one of its guides. The guide ticket is thus moved to the lowest row of the board, the “endangered” row. This simple action is enough for the team to adjust its behaviour: it agreed on something, and it is breaking its own promise. If, in the coming iteration, it is still unable to follow its guide, the guide will be closed.
  11. Which is why we did drawings.

  12. We measured the efficiency of this artefact by the number

    of times a debate could be stopped before it actually started, simply by pointing to a guide. Indeed, just like a user story is a “reminder to have a discussion”, a guide is a “reminder that a discussion has been had”. There’s no frustration from a team member in agreeing with him/herself.
  13. Over time, guides become more specific. And a meta level

    is reached.
  14. Some guides impact the usage of the guide board itself.

    (illustration: introduction of the “endangered” row)
  15. Other teams used similar artefacts. Guide Board: idea + representation

    constraints. Very important condition: team has to own the artefact. It’s not a driving wheel.
  16. T H A N K S ! Q U E

    S T I O N S ? Thanks to Nicolas Dupont and Thomas De Bona, without whom none of this would have happened; Sallyan Freudenberg, Arnaud Halloy, Joël Candau and Alistair Cockburn, without whom I wouldn’t have written that paper. Photos CC-BY-SA Matti Schneider. Sea pictures © Nicolas Dupont. mattischneider.fr /agile