At the UX Brunch in Zürich on December 6, 2019 Rahel and I held a presentation and some very engaged discussions on how we as UX professionals ourselves heat-up the burn-out systems we are caught in. Here is a summary including some of the slides of this session.
It’s quite easy to rush through creativity workshops enumerating, rating and selecting ideas to hand-over for later implementation. This article is however about a different kind of creativity, the creativity that comes from gaining deeper understanding – together in a workshop.
Requirements engineering (RE) has a long and successful tradition. While different approaches always existed, RE became optimized for an artefact driven setup where the individuals hand-over documents. Now agile practices spread. They are geared for a team setup where individuals form one “super-brain” based on intensive interaction. The proven approaches from RE suddendly create a lot of friction and bad smells. So, should we forget about requirements?
Getting a performant team needs an investment into the team. Agile inspect and adapt is meant to do the trick. Instead of frantically or stoically pulling a cart with square wheels, a team should be able to spot the fault in the system and improve. Observation: teams surprisingly often do not do so.
On March 6, I had the opportunity to play the burn-out machine game with about 40 agile consultants in Zürich. We spent two hours with engaged discussions and insights about the very serious and highly relevant topic burn-out. We even had a good time doing so. https://www.meetup.com/de-DE/Agile-Breakfast-Zurich/
Here’s the situation: A customer asked us to improve the quality of their core system so that they again can act on the demands of their users and customers in a timely manner. We had a team room at our disposal and we again made extensive use of the walls. It turned out that the team wall made the difference!
An important management tool to improve team performance is the Team Squeezer. It’s really simple: just use hierarchical power and exert pressure to make the development team hurry up. Usually the Team Squeezer backfires.
Let me introduce two characters, Bill and Chuck. To be honest, they are personae distilled from people you could meet. They are especially interesting because of their behavior: Instead of collaborating to let ideas compete they fight to get their ideas into the market. And sadly, they have good reasons to do so.
At the recent Agile Unconference in Zürich I came across the concept of lean agile procurement. The key insight for me was: forget preparing RFPs, rather establish a good relationship with a select list of partners.
If you ever tried to propose an idea to somebody, you have certainly experienced a few personalities, like Joey has in this story. And after having met them Joey, for example, felt the urge to pin a picture of a cake in a sunset to his cubicle walls. For others, this is not sufficient and they have to create a lengthy comic strip.
Installment sales are great. Instead of spending the whole amount of money up-front – and save for it – you simply pay your monthly deposit. Still, someone will have to pay the interest and cover the risk involved, i.e. you, the buyer. Thus you trade the profit of having something right now with the higher costs. Did you realize, that this is an analogy to how we collaborate?