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    Agile 2 is here - the new iteration of Agile

    Agile 2 is here. It has been in the works for a while and from what I can tell there has been some sharp and experienced minds involved in that work. It is in many ways a retrospective, but also a way to look at the great failure that is Agile. A failure that originates in the division of visions and the ideal becoming absolutes. Agile 2 hope to change that and it is a great ambition that have my wholehearted support.
    In the case for Agile 2 the statement is that one of the issues with the original is that it lack the inclusion of leadership. I agree with that as well as to note that the developers do not always enjoy what is referred as Agile in many organizations. The fracture of the Agile community and then the stagnation into a fixed perception almost to the point of worship also resonate with me.
    This is by far the most common experience for me when meeting with organizations. A will to move towards Agile, but a methodology that is fixed in its ways and lack the component of leadership and steering. I also find the interpretation of Agile to be heavily reduced when facing the opposition of reality, leading to an ad hoc situation that is damaging and frustrating to the people involved.
    At first glance Agile 2 seem to be on the right track. I look forward to seeing where this will go and how it will challenge today's Agile community. Hopefully the Agile community will adopt their own methodology and embrace this new input to evolve their way of working.
    I support the work of Agile 2 and I hope you do too.
     
    Agile 2 – THE NEXT ITERATION OF AGILE
    AGILE2.NET THE NEXT ITERATION OF AGILE  

    How to write work ads - 6 tips on how to attract the right people

    As a consultant I see many work ads. Some are good, but a lot of them are almost to the point where I wonder if the people writing them know what they are asking for. It takes a while to write a work ad, so not only are you wasting your own time, but that of those who are looking for work as well. So here are my five best tips on how to write good work ads to get the right people for the job.
     
    Describe the problem you need solved Don't add buzz words Have a person that knows the craft write the ad Be honest about your work process Don't ask for unicorns Set tiers internally and price accordingly  
    1. Describe the problem you need solved
    Most ads are just a big list of qualifications required, but very few actually describe what you need. Asking for certifications and extensive experience in a very specific field is a sure way to narrow the field of applicants. It does not however ensure that you can get the help you need. A certified scrum master or project manager can still be completely useless, while an uncertified person can be a miracle worker. Describing the problem also ensures that you can follow up and see if the person you hired actually could solve the problem you specified.
    To some people this is very difficult, because it implies a problem and not everyone can admit that there is a problem to be solved. The thing is though that all work ads are requests for help due to a problem. It may be that you are understaffed, or that there is a competence missing. It can also be that you need help to organize or create work processes. No matter the need, just state what it is that you need help with and you will have a much better chance of getting the right person for the job.
    2. Don't add buzz words
    As a consultant I can easily read between the lines and when I see an ad stuffed with buzz words I know that this is a bad position. There are certain combinations like "Agile Mindset" with "dig in where needed" that I know means you have a chaotic workplace. Other combinations like "comfortable talking to steering groups" and "team player" means that you will be thrown under the bus frequently.
    Anyone claiming that they work in an Agile way in a large scale company don't really know what Agile is and throwing in DevOps, SAFe, full stack x or made up words like "Scrum Manager" does not make it better. In act I often skip ads that are keyword stuffed with nonsense or where I can clearly see an underlying hint of a bad work environment.
    Make sure you know what you are talking about and be up front with the situation you are in. Most of us experienced consultants have worked in very bad condition, and we make it work. I just want to know what I am stepping into rather than wasting my time and yours.
    3. Have a person that knows the craft write the ad
    I have seen ads that so clearly are written by people who have no idea what that role really will do. I understand that it is often managers or HR people that write the ads, but I suggest you let the people who know the trade write it instead. Not only will the ad suffer less from #1 and #2 above, but you can also define the actual work much better.
    Having the person I will replace or work alongside write the ad will ensure I get the right information. This is because that person want the very best for the job so the ad will be aimed towards that. I will get the tools, disciplines, work processes and characteristics described properly and without nonsense.
    4. Be honest about your work process
    Everyone has crappy work processes. It is a fact and there is no need to pretend otherwise. Just be up front about just how bad your process is and most applicants will be fine with that. If the requirement process does not work or you have constant change in your iterations because no one can actually commit to anything, that is actually fine. Most of us work that way every day of the week, and we make it work.
    If I know what I am getting myself into, then there is less chance that I will feel like you lied to me and I will stay longer. If you claim you work according to Scrum and it turns out you just have an ad hoc process with stand-ups, then I will probably not be very happy. This is often very difficult for managers and HR, which is why you should use tip #3.
    Simply telling that you are trying to work in a more Agile way, but that you are struggling a bit due to the fact that your organization is still project based with a long tradition in ITSM is enough. Or that you are in a transformation phase so things are a bit shaky while you figure things out will do wonders.
    5. Don't ask for unicorns
    This is the biggest source of amusement for me and many other experienced consultants. Mixing roles as if you were doctor Frankenstein and then asking for 20+ years of experience for minimum wage. I have actually seen ads that ask for longer experience than the technique or tool has been around, which means they failed with tip #3.
    When you define roles, then stick to one discipline and don't mix things. The more things you mix in, the less focus you will get in that area. If you combine opposing types, like "Scrum Manager" or "Developing Scrum Master", then you will not get both at 100%. One will be dominating at 80% or more.
    An easy way to avoid this is to use the color coding on this page. Mark the requirements you have put in with a color and then see how many colors you get. If you have two colors, then you are splitting the work into two disciplines. Three or more, then you are asking for a unicorn. Secondly you should look at the roles and see how they match up.
    A Scrum Manager for example have both Scrum Master and Manager in the same category, but they are opposing in work direction and empathy. Managers work upwards with focus on finance, while scrum masters work downwards with focus on people. Developing scrum masters have conflict in focus. Scrum Masters are extrovertly focused where content switching is natural, while developers are introvertly focused and content switching will hurt their work capacity.
    Work is often hard enough as it is and people burn themselves out far too often when working in just one discipline. Combining them increase that risk a lot and if you care about the people you hire you should avoid putting them in that situation.
    6. Set tiers internally and price accordingly
    Finally, don't ask for unicorns or highly experienced people and offer peanuts. I rarely care about the financial side of things because I value other things and I love helping people, but if you ask for someone with special abilities or long experience, then understand that you get what you pay for. Asking for a lower price makes sense, but don't ask for a senior or someone with expert capabilities and offer them half or a third of what they normally cost.  You will just end up getting a junior with basic skills rather than an experienced unicorn...
    I suggest you set tiers internally for all roles you have, or need. Grade then according to experience, competence, workload and then match them towards the value they provide. Make it into a five tier grade where tier 1 is the highest and tier 5 the lowest and every time you make a new ad, define what tier you are looking for. Not all ads are aimed towards tier 1 applicants, in fact I would say most are not. So just make sure you know what you are looking for and then price it accordingly.
     
    Final thoughts
    Writing ads are difficult, but the cost of getting the wrong person for the job can be far worse. You also scare away a lot of good applicants if your ad is considered bloated, dishonest or if you send out danger signs because of an unfortunate combination of keywords. Even if the ad is for a temporary position you want to make sure you get the right person, so put some effort into the ad. If it is for a permanent position, then it is very important that you put your soul into it.
    I know a lot of people think that you will just put something together for the ad, and then we do the real recruitment during the interviews. The downside to that is that you may already have lost the unicorns or that perfect candidate with the ad.
    So make it good.

    Atomic UX Research - band aid for poor documentation strategies

    Atomic UX Research. Sounds like something amazing, doesn't it? Something that will fit right into the modular design and development processes in Atomic Design. Unfortunately it is just a fancy name for having a proper documentation strategy for UX Research made up by UX Designers who work in poorly structured workplaces.
    When I first read the article "Foundations of atomic research", I had no idea what the person was talking about. Was it a process, a content strategy or maybe even how to present the findings. I looked up the Atomic UX Research further and found the article "What is Atomic UX Research?" and it seemed like it was all about how to organize the documentation of the findings.
    I watched the video (added blow) where Daniel Pidcock try to explain this new, revolutionary way to organize data, and I was both amazed and a bit disturbed over the fact that the audience actually seemed to agree with this nonsense. The reason I felt that way is that there is nothing in this new made up word that have anything to do with UX. It's just common sense on how to manage documentation. Any documentation.
    Anyone working with research should know that you always connect current research with relevant research that it is related to. It is also standard practice for anyone working with research to add metadata to make the research findable in different situations. Anyone working in UX research, especially towards the web, should know that data get old very fast and loose relevance very fast.
    That is not how you work with any form of documentation that is supposed to be alive. If you make UX research then that data is ever-changing as you continue to learn and experiment. This does not warrant a new way of working, you just need to start working the right way. Proper documentation is always a part of research, as is traceability so you can understand where the conclusions come from and how you used it to formulate new theories to be tested.

    The Atomic UX Research suggests that you should divide the research into smaller bits and then tag each type with metadata. The idea is that by doing that you can discover other data that is related to your research. If you have hundreds of theories going at once in multiple teams, or you want to bring in similar research on other systems or services then maybe that would be useful.
    Then again, if you have that many experiments going, then the volume of data would be immense and you would have no way of knowing what data would be relevant. You would spend a ton of time on matching old experiments that probably will be obsolete as the design have already been updated since it was conducted.

    This is the image used to illustrate the four main parts of the Atomic UX Research. Note that the structure start with the Experiment. Now it may be implied, but an experiment should be tied to a theory. What are we trying to prove and why do we think this is worth exploring should be the starting point for all research. While I think this may be implied, for me this is where this theory fails.
    By having the theory as the highest level, all experiments fall under that theory. All theories are built on previous learnings so while there is no problem having the information structure dividing the content beyond experiments I think that if you ensure you have your theories in order you would not see many insights related to multiple theories at the same time.
    Even if you have an additional level of information for insights you would not have multiple conclusions. The conclusion would be tied to the theory we are working with based on the result of the experiments we run to test that theory. In the event that we make findings not related to the theory we are testing, this would be marked in the conclusions as separate theories to explore at a later date.
    My take on the Atomic UX Research approach is that instead of inventing new names, you should start working with research properly. UX Research follow the same basic structure as every other research field. In order for any research to have the desired effect you need to formulate theories, conduct experiments to test that theory, analyze the result and finally take what you have learned and form new theories and of course activities to improve the service or product you are doing UX on.
    The result is documented in a searchable tool with metadata and connection to previous theories that support the decision to make further testing of the current theory. You do not need a new methodology for it, just follow the standard research praxis that has worked for many, many years. Doing random exploratory testing is not research. It is exploratory testing/discovery.
    Atomic UX Research = UX Research.
     
     

    IBM breaks up into two companies - splitting into two market leading companies

    Last week IBM announced that the company would be moving some of its lower-margin lines of business into a new company and that IBM itself would focus on higher-margin cloud services. This comes after a long effort by IBM to diversify away from its legacy businesses.
    IBM will list its IT infrastructure services unit, which provides technical support for 4,600 clients in 115 countries as a separate company with a new name by the end of 2021. The new company will have 90,000 employees and its leadership structure will be decided in a few months. This new company has no official name yet and is referred to as NewCo in IBM's marketing and investor relations material..
    In a press release IBM state that they "will focus on its open hybrid cloud platform, which represents a $1 trillion market opportunity," while NewCo "will immediately be the world’s leading managed infrastructure services provider."
    During an investor call, CEO Arvind Krishna, who replaced Ginni Rometty as CEO in April, acknowledged that the move was a "significant shift" in how IBM will work, but he positioned it as the latest in a decades-long series of strategic divestment. Krishna also said that IBM’s software and solutions portfolio would account for the majority of company revenue after the separation.
    IBM, which currently has more than 352,000 workers, said it expects to record nearly $5 billion in expenses related to the separation and operational changes.
     

     

    Ikea introduce Buy Back Friday - will buy back and resell your Ikea items

    Ikea is making a bit of a splash recently with them announcing that they will not do the regular Black Friday sales and instead will buy back and resell products from their customers. This initiative called Buy Back Friday will happen in 27 of 31 markets globally between November 23rd to November 29th.
    When the rest of the world get ready for the biggest marketing campaign of the year, Ikea chooses to focus on a little different approach. The Buy Back Friday will focus on sustainability and not only will it reduce the number of things that are thrown away, it will also allow people to get some furniture at a pretty low cost. The fact that you get store credit for the things you turn is also a great way to give people a bit extra before Christmas.
    Personally I think this is a great example on how you can have great marketing while also making a good impact on the world. Ikea get two thumbs up from me.
     
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