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LAST Conference - The Mickey Mouse model of leadership for software delivery teams

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Leading an agile team can be rewarding and also challenging. It is an opportunity to apply your leadership and vision, and to introduce those the ideas and behaviours that are important to you. One of the main benefits is the opportunity to grow and develop the careers of your teams, and to have an impact wider than your own individual technical skills.

It is also a challenge. Often the skills that got you the promotion, or new job, aren't the ones you need to be successful in the new role. If you are inheriting an existing team, they usually have work in-flight so it’s important to be up to speed with what the team is doing, and whether they are on track for meeting their (now your) objectives. Every team, company, and situation is different, with unique challenges so it is important that you quickly identify where to focus your energies.

I'll outline a framework (with themes and a checklist) for assessing the situation, and constructing a 30 day plan to set yourself, and the team, up for success:

Theme 1: Build the things right (The technical aspects of delivering quality solutions)
Theme 2. Build the right thing (validating the planned deliverables against the desired business outcomes)
Theme 3. Build the right Team (building a resilient, highly engaged, highly skilled team, who work well together and who can efficiently adjust to unforseen changes, whilst still delivering the outcomes)

I believe that a successful agile team achieves a conscious balance between these themes. If they aren't focussed on all three, then they are unlikely to be as successful as they could be.

Against these three themes I'll present and discuss a 6 point checklist that will help the new leader develop a 30 day plan:

1. Business objectives and environment – assess whether the team is doing productive work that aligns with the business needs.
2. Team – build a highly engaged, resilient team that understand their contribution to the larger business outcomes
3. Metrics –continually visualise progress against your goals
4. Stakeholders – build a strong relationship, and clear lines of communication
5. Continual improvement – no team should stand still and no team has reached perfection, so continuously analyse performance and focus on getting better.
6. Budget – understand the financial commitment to help plan activities and team dynamics

The aim of the talk is to be educational, offering up a set of ideas, supported with real-world examples, that the attendees can adopt in their own organisations, to help them and their teams become more successful.

Published in: Technology
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LAST Conference - The Mickey Mouse model of leadership for software delivery teams

  1. 1. The Mickey Mouse™ model for Software Delivery Nish Mahanty @nishmahanty
  2. 2. “Feedback is the breakfast of Champions” Ken Blanchard
  3. 3. Build Things Right
  4. 4. Build Things Right • How do I know that my code works? • How do we work simultaneously on the same application? • Is your code is good quality? • How do I know when we will deliver? • Are we efficient/predictable?
  5. 5. Build Things Right TDD Unit Tests BDD Version Control Branching strategy Continuous IntegrationSCM/DevOps Continuous Delivery Coding standards Static code analysis Progress metrics Cycle Time Lead Time Velocity Estimation techniques Feedback loops Systems Thinking Lean Kanban Agile
  6. 6. Build the Right Thing
  7. 7. • Will people buy it? • How are they using it? • Is it easy to use? • How do they want next? • What is the problem we are solving? Build the Right Thing
  8. 8. Build the Right Thing Product management Lean Startup Teaser sites MVP Application instrumentation Splunk New Relic Customer feedback mechanisms Usability Testing Voting buttons UX Customer Value Prototypes Product Capabilities Startup Thinking Lean Canvas Agile
  9. 9. Build Things Right Build the Right Thing
  10. 10. • How do I motivate a team? • How do we introduce innovation? • What sort of line management structure is best? • How do I set context? • How do I get the right behaviours and skills? Build the Right Team
  11. 11. Build the Right Team Servant Leadership Leadership models Empowerment MVP Collaboration Motivation Autonomy feedback mechanisms Mastery 1:1s Crucial Conversations Coaching 5 Dysfunctions Rewards & Recognition Systems Thinnking Purpose
  12. 12. Build Things Right Build the Right Thing Build the Right Team
  13. 13. Build Things Right Build the Right Thing Build the Right Team
  14. 14. Build Things Right Build the Right Thing Build the Right Team
  15. 15. Business objectives and environment Assess whether the team is doing productive work that aligns with the business needs. • Understand the business, division, and team goals and priorities • Assess whether the team goals support and adequately contribute to the business objectives and priorities • Review and assess the team’s delivery plans and current rate of progress against their objectives • Assess the financial, competitive, and political environment. In particular produce a stakeholder map, and understand who your stakeholder’s “trusted advisors” might be.
  16. 16. Team Build a highly engaged, resilient team that understand their contribution to the larger business outcomes • Set up regular 1:1s to focus on the individual’s needs and concerns, career planning, training needs, work experiences, and align career plans with the project deliverables. Ask for their feedback about the team, organisation, and environment. • Define individual KPIs/accountabilities and align the KPIs with team goals to help team members achieve both the overarching goals and their individual KPIs • Set up fortnightly team meetings.The team should drive the agenda, but include a general Q&A session, feedback on progress, as well discussion and agreement on the team processes and practices. • Set up team building activities. First focus on tasks that build trust and rapport such as XXXXXX . • Start to measure team engagement levels and morale. Start to portray the behaviours that you expect from the team through leading strongly by example with your vision and values.
  17. 17. Metrics Continually visualise progress against your goals • Set up an automated mechanism to generate the metrics that matter for this team, so that the metrics are always up to date, and immediately available. • Start with “quality of product” as a metric. Determine metrics for delivery. I utilise a lot of the concepts from Lean and Kanban, as well as Agile methodology. • Any improvements in the team, processes, or tools are usually reflected as a reduction in Cycle Time or Lead Time, so you can quickly assess the effectiveness of any change that you introduced. • Determine business metrics. Currently, our main metrics are; # net new subscribers (NNS), Net Promoter Score (NPS), Churn, and Revenue. The metrics should confirm progress against the desired business outcomes.
  18. 18. Stakeholders Build a strong relationship, and clear lines of communication • Set up regular 1:1s so that you can communicate progress, and any risks/issues. • Have a clear understanding of what success looks like (and understand your stakeholders expectations of success) to help ensure that you achieve the right outcomes • Discuss and agree what they expect of you, and what you need from them, so that you are aligned in expectations. • Agree on how you will report progress and make sure that the metrics are clearly understood.
  19. 19. Continual Improvement No team should stand still, and no team has reached perfection, so continuously analyse performance and focus on getting better. • Ask the team what they would like to improve (they always know what is holding them back from being more effective) • Run a Value Stream Mapping exercise with the team, looking for opportunities to improve the delivery process to help eliminate inefficiencies from the delivery processes. • Review the tools the team use (hardware/software) and update them as necessary • Introduce regular retrospectives – and ensure you have clear actions out of the retrospectives to help the team to continually improve performance. • Leverage the principles from Lean and Kanban around just-in-time production and the reduction of “waste” and focus on measuring throughput, quality, and appropriateness of the deliverables
  20. 20. Budget Understand the financial commitment to help plan activities and team dynamics . • What are your main costs? Examples include salary, tools and consultancy . What are your inherited commitments ? • What additional resources do you need to deliver the business outcomes? • Keep a close eye on the budget (at least monthly): look for any variations, and ensure that your forecast covers the expected duration of the project.

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