Agile Australia 2011 - Be the change you seek

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In this presentation Nicholas Muldoon shared how Atlassian's culture has evolved over time to provide individuals autonomy, mastery and purpose. This was presented at Agile Australia 2011.

In this presentation Nicholas Muldoon shared how Atlassian's culture has evolved over time to provide individuals autonomy, mastery and purpose. This was presented at Agile Australia 2011.

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  • Innovation is the foundation of every product success story.\nInnovation will propel your business and silence your competition.\n\nAs a product owner I know that a culture of innovation is crucial to the long term success of a product.\n\nOver the next thirty minutes we will look at four broad areas:\n- to start, why product owners should be setting aside time for innovation\n- then we will explore what motivates people and how we can support a persons desire to innovate\n- we will take a look at various approaches to innovation, those used at Fortune 500 company’s all the way down to Startups\n- finally, we will rip apart Atlassian’s innovation program as a case study\n
  • PAUSE - ALLOW PEOPLE TO READ\nFirst, I must stress that innovation doesn’t just happen. It’s not like a big lightbulb suddenly goes on above someones head and BAM we’ve got a new product in the market. Not at all.\n\nInnovation starts with a company culture that supports new ideas, encourages experimentation, accepts mistakes and can execute a plan to get that idea to market.\n\nThis culture will evolve and adapt over time to fit with changing norms and circumstances. \n\nMost important ideas take a long time to evolve. It is unusual not to see collaboration between a number of people. When it comes to execution there will be a person keeping the idea on track and activities progressing. This person is a champion for innovation within the organisation.\n
  • Traditionally a conduit from the customer to the engineer, and back.\n\nAs a PO you need engineers driving innovation so give them freedom\n- engineers shouldn’t be satisfied with just taking cards off the wall\n- customers shouldn’t expect everything built to spec\n - customers aren’t always aware of all of the possibilities\n- it is collaborative, the customer should want (indeed they need) input from engineers\n - When the team is listening to the customer, challenging them and learning about their core needs the customer is more likely to get an innovative solution.\n\nA PO needs to facilitate this, taking feedback from both to manage the backlog effectively. \n\nGeoffrey Moore talks of crossing the chasm from early market success to broad market penetration. \n- We need to invest in innovation to cross the chasm\n- We need to invest in innovation to avoid becoming stagnant in the market\n\nI need to influence the team so that they are producing something useful and valuable for the customer.\n
  • Aligning the team with the goals and vision of the product is one thing, enabling them to provide innovative solutions is another. To do that we want to look at motivation, I am trying to influence, not control\n - reiterate the long term vision and short term goals in the sprint planning session influences and guides engineers R&D time\n\nExplain:\n - Extrinsic (carrot/stick) - everything outside the person (promotion, remuneration, praise) - clear rules and solution\n - Intrinsic - within the person (interest, learning, enjoyment) - creative problem solving for innovative solution\nthe desire to do things because they matter, we like it, because it is important.\n\nSymbiotic. Difficult to have a high performance team in the knowledge age without some intrinsic motivators. ‘Pay people enough so they are not worrying about money, so they can focus on the task at hand’\nDan Pink, author of Drive, talks of autonomy, mastery and purpose. \nautonomy - urge to direct our own lives\nmastery - desire to get better at what we do\npurpose - yarning to do what we do in the service of something larger than ourselves, get better talent\nProviding your people freedom and self direction, responsibility and a clearly articulated purpose is one sure way to motivate them. This builds upon a fair salary and opportunities for promotion, without which intrinsic motivation is unlikely to succeed. \nAs an aside, if you have not seen Dan Pink’s talk at TEDGlobal 2009 I recommend you Google it.\n\n
  • The Toyota Way includes an approach to production that is innovative and drives further innovation. It is probably one of the best examples of team members taking small steps to make big improvements. \n\nAt Toyota any team member can stop the assembly line when they see an opportunity to improve the manufacturing process. This approach is called kaizen or continuous improvement. Over time these many small steps have a compounding effect on the performance of the entire system.\n\nEG\n\nBack in 1948 3M introduced 15% time for their employees - all employees. This was time set aside for employees to think, experiment, play and learn. Over the decades a number of new products were born from the 15% time, notably Post-It Notes in 1973 (Arthur Fry). Commercialised in 1981. \n\nPopularised by Google 20% time which is provided to engineers. Think *autonomy* as an intrinsic motivator.\n\nFedEx, Facebook stole for their hackathon (plus Acconex). \n\nMore recently Facebook announced hackamonth, a program where groups of engineers can pitch an idea and if selected they are given one month to bring that idea to fruition. Grew out of Hackathon which was a 24 hour coding session.\n
  • Small steps encourage innovation, which builds a culture, which impacts teams\n\nBring customers into the office or get out of the office. When visiting a customer take an engineer, they will learn so much about the problem while watching the customer in their daily activities.\n\nShare the backlog and priorities with customers. Solicit their input and challenge them to explain value.\n- Publish sprint reports so that customers can follow progress and help influence direction.\n- Encourage customers to collaborate with one another, to discuss problems. Listen & learn.\n\nInnovation Games - of which there are many - are a fun and quick way to explore a problem with customers.\nYou can select a game which will assist you in reaching a desired outcome, be that a feature prioritisation, strategic vision, persona ... etc. This approach can be employed in any organisation and is a great place to start.\n\nIn an innovation game we played with customers it was interesting to note the height of the anchor as that represented how much it was weighing down the customer in ‘getting things done’.\n\nThere does not have to be a company environment that allows or permits change. There should be no cost to taking the small steps, unlike the drastic measures where real money is on the line.\n\nBe prepared to measure the success of these steps so that you can encourage further, larger strides towards developing a culture of innovation.\n
  • I thought I would share what we do at Atlassian to provide perspective. We’ve been at it for a while now and refined it a few times. Caveat - it won’t work for everybody.\n\nStarts with values\n- one of our values is open company, no bullshit\n - everyone has commit access, collective code ownership\n - clear communication and collaboration on our wiki\n- another value is be the change you seek\n - we encourage people to challenge one another\n - don’t just tell me it is wrong, show me why your idea is better, for example...\n\nFexEx (2006), 20% Time (2008), Innovation Team (2010) - (Top Down)\nPublic Backlog (2004), O.O.O. (2007), Innovation Games (2009) - (Bottom Up)\n\nInnovation Team\n- wasn’t a huge success as 20% time for every engineer works better than 100% time for some\n- did manage to build multi tenancy into our products when product teams said it couldn’t be done\n - be the change you seek - proved it could be done, showed the product teams how it was done\n\nOften starts in FedEx and ‘graduates’ to 20% Time.\n- Atlassian Translations is a great example\n - a crowdsourced localisation effort, atlassian products, over 1/4 million keys translated, around 40 languages\n\nKeep in mind each has a different desired outcome\n\n(Be the change you seek; Build with heart and balance; Open company, no bulls***; Play, as a team; Don’t **** the customer)\n\n
  • I am not giving you the five steps to long term product success. I am stressing that you need to develop a culture that supports and encourages innovation, and if your boss has little appetite for change then start with some small steps. \n\nTaking the first step requires courage.\n- Start by playing an innovation game with your customer.\n- Your team or organisation needs to have a change champion ... that is you!\n - embody the values of the organisation\n - show people rather than telling them\n- If you are not willing to make mistakes you will never be creative and come up with something original.\n\nInfluence outside your sphere through collaboration and cooperation.\n- Give people the freedom to excel, let your people meet their potential.\n- Your colleagues will ask “Was there value in this? Would we do it again?”\n- Measure so you can demonstrate.\n\n\nThink back to the quote on the first slide from Edison - I have more respect for the fellow with a single idea who gets there than for the fellow with a thousand ideas who does nothing.\n\nBe the change you seek.\n\nThank You.\n
  • Thank you.\n\nQ&A\n\n
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  • first off, hands up if your organisation has a formal innovation program today?\nan innovation program should have a defined outcome\nthere are many plenty of ideas floating around, but execution is the key\n\nwhat is your innovation program trying to achieve?\n\n
  • It is a combination of both.\nMust have fair and equitable extrinsic motivation to support intrinsic motivation\nExtrinsic motivation is those things which are beyond the control of the individual.\nIntrinsic motivation is when the individual is engaged through an interest in the task at hand, often when they enjoy the task, and can control the outcome \n
  • Hands up who knows of Australian software company Atlassian? Okay... (overview or pass)\n\nAtlassian kicked off our official innovation program in 2008\n\n
  • 3m launches a 15-percent program back in 1948. Today this is available to every employee.\n\nOthers\n- Google 20% time popularised this, engineers only\n- Facebook Hackamonth introduced 2011, engineers only\n\nAtlassian\n- 20-percent time - 2008, engineers only\n- Take one day every week, or save it up for a week at a time\n- Deliver something in a product\n- Common to spike in FedEx and ship in 20% Time\nPitfalls - feel it is a right, not a priviledge\n
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  • Atlassian Innovation Team\n\nSuccesses:\nMulti tenancy in all core products to scale SaaS platform, lowering costs\n\n
  • Greatest success is when employees are so connected to your company, through both extrinsic and intrinsic motivation, that they devote their own time to innovation projects\n\n2 hours on a Friday night for 12 months - new product, launched last week\n- kickstarted by an individual, grew into a skunkworks project, got ‘funded’, launched\n
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  • An innovation program doesn’t just happen.\n\nStack the odds in your favour by undertaking these simple steps:\n
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  • Successes\n\nConfluence Automatic Language Detection - find the locale from the browser and set the application to use that automatically\n\n
  • Based on a recent survey of 66 Atlassian developers it looks as though 20% time is not being taken.\n \nRespondents perception of 20% Time frequency: Average of 8.4% Time taken.1\n20% Time recorded on Tickspot: 1.6% Time.2\nRespondents think that "most" of actual 20% Time taken is recorded on Tickspot.3\nEACJ records 205 20% Time projects, with 57 projects that have been released.4  \nActual utilisation of 20% Time should be between 1.6% Time and 8.4% Time.\n\n
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Transcript

  • 1. Be the change you seek Nicholas Muldoon (@njm) Product Manager, Atlassian
  • 2. I have more respect for the fellow with a single idea who gets there than for the fellow with a thousand ideas who does nothing. “ ” Thomas Edison
  • 3. • Engineers listening • Elegant solutions • Products people love As a product owner...
  • 4. Extrinsic & Intrinsic • Promotion, Salary • Enjoyment, Learn • Symbiotic
  • 5. Drastic Measures • The Toyota Way • 3M 15% Time • FedEx Days
  • 6. Small Steps • Get O.O.O. • Public backlog • Innovation games
  • 7. @atlassian • FedEx • 20% Time • Innovation Team
  • 8. Be the change you seek • Take the first step • Influence • Measure
  • 9. Nicholas Muldoon http://nicholasmuldoon.com/ @njm Product Manager, Atlassian Images sourced from: #4 http://www.gogamestorm.com/ #5 http://www.flickr.com/photos/3m_infectionpreventionsolutions/5029915708/sizes/l/in/photostream/ #6 http://www.brainpickings.org/wp-content/uploads/2009/07/dan_pink.png #7 http://www.flickr.com/photos/superoni/2453295401/sizes/o/in/photostream/ #8 http://www.vejauan365.com/wp-content/uploads/2010/10/step.jpg