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Building Collaborative Behavior in Agile Teams


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Improving Team Cohesion & Communication with Applied Improvisational Techniques
Presented by Arlen Bankston & Jessie Shternshus
AgileDC 2012

Published in: Business
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Building Collaborative Behavior in Agile Teams

  1. 1. BuildingCollaborative BehaviorinAgileTeams Presented by Arlen Bankston & Jessie Shternshus Improving Team Cohesion & Communication with Applied Improvisational Techniques
  2. 2. Arlen Bankston • Managing Partner & Co-Founder of LitheSpeed, LLC o Agile & Lean Coaching, Training, Development o Specializing in large-scale Agile adoption • User Experience expert • Lean Six Sigma Master Black Belt • 16 years in the industry, 12 doing Agile Meet Arlen Bankston 2
  3. 3. Meet Jessie Shternshus Jessie Shternshus Interactive Improv Shows and Creative Training Solutions. Diverse work experience that includes companies such as: • Blue Cross and Blue Shield • Fidelity Investments • Living Social • Expedia • Group Dynamics • Innovative Leadership • Creative Problem Solving • Communication through Improvisation • Presentation Skills and Public Speaking Coaching 3
  4. 4. Agenda Today, we will discuss (and experience): • Impediments to Effective Collaboration • Solving Impediments Experientially (Improvisational Exercises) 4
  5. 5. Impediments toCollaboration
  6. 6. The frequent feedback loops in Agile projects make many problematic patterns obvious, such as: • Lack of focus & discipline (lack of visible progress, vague statuses, overlong meetings) • Lack of clear role definitions (missing pigs, talking chickens, assigning ScrumMaster) • Lack of collaboration (no blockers, no huddles afterwards, no shared tasks) How might we address the “soft” problems? Patterns of Misbehavior 7
  7. 7. What are the top impediments in your group? • Brainstorm problems you’ve seen with team communication or collaboration • Prioritize the top two issues by dot voting (a dot is a vote, and each person gets three to distribute as they see fit) We’re going to experience ways to address these top impediments. Exercise – Top Impediments 8
  8. 8. SolvingImpediments Experientially
  9. 9. Taking the Daily Scrum as an example, sometimes facilitation techniques can help: • Speaking tokens – Pass around a stuffed animal, pomodoro timer or other visible item to designate who can talk. • Facing the task board – Focus on the tasks in process, rather than addressing people serially. However, while useful, these aren’t solutions to underlying problems of collaboration. Common Facilitation Tricks 10
  10. 10. Insight gained from personal experience is one of the best ways to help your team members realize: • Personal communication traits & idiosyncrasies • How these traits impact the effectiveness of their communication with others • How to improve team collaboration (in the Daily Standup or elsewhere) by addressing root causes of dysfunction Exercise Goals 11
  11. 11. Process: • Teams will create wheels with their names arrayed around it on paper wedges. • The wheel is spun and the selected person has to… Debrief: • Pay attention to what others are saying, rather than forming your own thoughts • Prepare your own message beforehand so you don’t have to be distracted during others’ Wheel of Fortune 12
  12. 12. Thankyou!
  13. 13. 15 Contact Me for Further Information Arlen Bankston Executive Vice President Jessie Shternshus Owner, The Improv Effect On the Web: "I only wish I had read this book when I started my career in software product management, or even better yet, when I was given my first project to manage. In addition to providing an excellent handbook for managing with agile software development methodologies, Managing Agile Projects offers a guide to more effective project management in many business settings." John P. Barnes, former Vice President of Product Management at Emergis, Inc.