Table of Contents:
Appendix 1: Learning and Organization Development Checklist
This is a brainstormed check list of the things that get in the way of the development of our organization.
■ Reduce required billable hours ratio (80% or even less)
■ Make time for learning and spreading what is learned
■ Gamify the work and learning opportunities
■ Encourage exploration by the individual and the team
■ Each team member shares their expertise
■ Encourage lateral (silo to silo) communication
■ Develop communities of practice as a resource to the organization (not a way of usurping the organization)
■ Integrate learning and improvement objectives in the daily work
■ Schedule recurring point to share the learning of all the department
■ Consider online database with searchable metadata tags
■ Job rotations, specifically to interfacing or depending departments
■ Special assignments for individuals to develop new skills / knowledge the organization will need in the near-term future
■ A career development plan for team members that is used act to as if learning and improvement matter create an environment that does not punish failure — but ensures exploration of what happened and why. Baseline expected analytical / statistical tools for the department and team members
■ Act as if learning and improvement matter, do not pay lip service
■ Create an environment that does not punish failure — but ensures exploration of what happened and why. Failure is not a good thing, nor a bad thing.
■ Baseline expected analytical / statistical tools for the department and team members
■ Identify teachers / coaches within the team to develop these skills throughout the team
■ Create knowledge sharing networks for dissemination of learning
■ Develop a culture of questioning. It is okay to say I don’t know
■ Those that know should not tell, but coach, ask questions, point to places to look and evoke answers from within the student
■ The work is learning. Encourage learning beyond the daily, and present activities of the job
■ Set up a library or virtual library for the organization - of books and other material that applies to the organization
■ Frequent lunch and learns
■ Frequent work reviews / critiques a la retrospectives
■ Mental or thought experiments
■ Develop an environment that grows a common lexicon and shared mental models
■ Prioritize learning, slow down to allow it to happen, include learning in work estimates (time & cost)
■ Team members teach team members
■ Abolish sloganeering
■ Develop corporate culture that values learning and sharing
■ Managers are teachers and coaches
■ Embrace continuous learning in the culture
■ Organization subsidized or reimbursement of education - degrees, no degrees, certifications
■ 360-degree feedback for employee evaluation
■ Display organization objectives and associated metrics for all to see, monitors or other physical boards
■ Encourage learning beyond the daily, and present activities of the job
■ Develop and implement a mission, vision, and value statement that is actually supported at all levels of the organization.
Appendix 2: Clues! Signals!
The material below is the result of a collaboration with John Cutler, known as @ JohnCuttefish on Twitter. The document started out as a list posed by him, and he was looking for people to comment on it. Upon seeing his list, a bunch of ideas came into my head, and I started adding to it on the Google Drive location. As fast as I was addiing content he was approving of the updates. To me this is another great example of how people can connect to make interesting and perhaps helpful things.
■ Might as well do [some extra thing] while we [do the original thing]
■ We don’t want to have to revisit [some decision]
■ While we’re waiting on [some blocker], let’s start [something new]
■ It would probably be more efficient if we ...
- Doubled up when things should be consecutive puts depending tasks at risk of rework and unable to adapt to actual outcome
■ It’s too early to [some interaction with users/customers]
■ If we bundle these things together we will get [some efficiency]
- Over 80% capacity we are looking at larger delays for small difficulties - queueing theory
■ We don’t all need to be in the room for [some decision]
■ We can “get ahead of it” by [a series of handoffs]
■ Well [some person] is the only person who can do [some task]
■ It doesn’t work now, but it will work when [some future task is done]
- How do you know; if you are incorrect, you find out way too late and are unable to respond
■ If we have a little downtime, we might as well try to fit in [another task]
■ We’ll have to wait on [some person] to make that decision
■ It’s the right thing to do but [some excuse masquerading as pragmatism]
- Not looking at long term consequences - lack of systems thinking
- Lack of courage; our team does not feel comfortable saying things that “rock the boat”
■ We just need to “lock down” [some specification] and then we can...
■ Just this one time let’s [some cut corner] and then we’ll fix it, hopefully
■ We need to do this to close [one deal]. But I’m sure it will apply elsewhere...
- See the prior items
■ Oh, I’ll just do this on the side. That way it will not be micromanaged...
■ Oh, this doesn’t need UX [or QA, Ops, etc.]
■ So we have this [side project]...can you attend the meeting to [plan in secret]?
■ Oh, we can’t risk [trying some valuable goal]...
■ Oh, you can’t test [some feature] because [some perceived limitation]
■ We need individual owners otherwise [some inability to track/punish]
■ This is too big for one sprint, so we’ll do phase one now and....
■ I’m pretty sure I can represent the customer in this case...
■ [Some effort] is too big to fail. We need to get this right...
■ We need some quick wins because [normal wins take too long]
■ And then [some other group] can maintain it, right?