Endless Blessings for Your Team

Author: Diana Larsen Comments: 1 Filed Under: Teams Retrospectives Meetings

Recently, I read an interview between Bernie DeKoven (who has aliases as varied as: Major Fun, The Shaman of Play, and more) and Barry Joseph (Associate Director For Digital Learning, Youth Initiatives, at the American Museum of Natural History). While the whole interview is delightful, and I recommend it, I was particularly struck by the game called “The Out Blessing Game” or “Endless Blessings.”

Agile & Retrospective

Author: Diana Larsen Comments: 1 Filed Under: Agile Retrospectives

Steve Berczuk writes a short and succinct article on TechWell describing, “Why Agile Retrospectives are Important in Software Development.” I’m looking forward to reading the comments and responses he gets. More and more I think of Agile Retrospectives as an opportunity for the kind of learning that leads to real adaptive action in complex situations.

An Opportunity: Strategies for Responding to Today’s Unpredictable, Complex and Emergent Environments

Author: Diana Larsen Comments: 0 Filed Under: Agile Teams Coaching Developing People

As part of my commitment to my own professional development, a few months ago I attended a certification training program on effective practices in organizational change and leadership development. Although it required more time commitment than usual on my part, I found the experience well worth it. I would make the same decision again if I had it to do over. So when I heard that the Human Systems Dynamics Institute was bringing its HSDP Certification Training Program to Portland in January 2012, I wanted to share my experiences and how the HSD methodology has positively impacted my practice and my work with my clients.

Recognizing Impediments

Author: Diana Larsen Comments: 6 Filed Under: Agile Teams

Team member: How will we know when we've found an impediment? What do they look like?

Sponsor: How can I know what impediments block our teams' productivity?

Scrum Master: How can I get the team to mention impediments in our daily meeting and retrospectives?

Product Owner: Why is everyone whining about impediments? Why don't we just get the work done?

It's all fine and well to say identify and remove impediments but often we bump up against a stumbling block, find a way around, and make things work anyway without further thought. It's second nature. Moving forward is what's important. And,...

Do Don't Try

Author: Diana Larsen Comments: 0 Filed Under: Agile Teams Retrospectives

Martin Jul writes about a retrospective activity in the post “Retrospectives - Adapting to Reality.” He describes an interesting process for highlighting issues in the Generating Insights part of a retrospective session.

Park Bench

Author: Diana Larsen Comments: 2 Filed Under: Retrospectives

I’ve used “Park Bench” at the end of workshops as a way of reflecting on the day or as a debriefing technique after a training exercise to uncover group discoveries. You may be surprised that I hadn’t thought of it for retrospectives. I was. Luckily, Michael thought of it.

Circles and Soup

Author: Diana Larsen Comments: 4 Filed Under: Retrospectives

Sometimes teams get stuck at the point of “deciding what to do” in retrospectives. Team members may begin to point fingers and describe things that the ubiquitous “they” must do before the team can move forward or make improvements,. This may lead to a team-as-victim, “poor us, we’re stuck” syndrome, or blame and finger-pointing. “It’s their fault we’re in this mess!” Blame kills retrospectives and the perception of persecution stalls any hope of forward motion, so the retrospective leader has to shift this conversation, and fast! Team members also may perceive so much room for improvement they become paralyzed and can’t decide where to start improving their lot.

When victim-talk, blaming or overwhelm surfaces, I reach into my retrospective leaders toolbox and pull out a technique to help teams identify the kinds of action the team can take.

Feeding each other

Author: Diana Larsen Comments: 1 Filed Under: Teams Leadership

I’ve been fortunate to have experienced many great team building moments, activities and events on several great teams. One of the best, involved feeding each other.

In Fearless Change, Mary Lynn Manns and Linda Rising counsel that a pattern called "Do Food" "makes an ordinary gathering a special event" and reference Christopher Alexander’s pattern "Communal Eating." Linda and Mary Lynn note, "sharing food plays a vital role in almost all human societies to bind people together and increase the feeling of group membership." Eating together has a long and documented history in building shared culture.

Generative Collaboration Model

Author: Diana Larsen Comments: 2 Filed Under: Agile Teams

Derek Neighbor’s post about Patrick Leoncioni’s team dysfunctions model prompted me to share a model I developed many years ago for work with self-directing teams. Esther Derby and I use the model as part of our "Secrets of Agile Teamwork: Beyond Technical Skills" workshop.

Draw Deborah a Picture

Author: Diana Larsen Comments: 0 Filed Under: Retrospectives

Deborah Hartmann posted a description of an interesting “Gathering Data” activity. She calls it “Draw Me a Picture”. It sounds like it would be fun and potentially quite insightful. I’m looking forward to trying it out soon. Thanks for sharing it, Deb!