Agile Gardening

Onepoint kitchen ready to host Agile Gardening

On Tuesday 11th June, Dahm Hongchai, Corentin Nile and Jord de Rengerve, three Agile coaches, invited 12 participants to discover Agile gardening at onepoint office in Brussels. Agile gardening is for Agile leaders. It propose to experience the creation of a team, discovering team members, aprehending customer needs, working in iterative way, removing impediment for teams, welcoming change, and letting the product go.

Upon arrival in the kitchen of onepoint, the participant discovered a table loaded with plants and decorations. They soon receive their first instructions: build a tiny garden in the 3 pots present on the table. The gardeners accepted quite too quickly to group in 3 people following the team composition imposed by the hosts. It was the first learning of the evening: you can compose your team based on affinities. While they started we asked the gardeners what were their feeling while they entered the room: feeling welcomed, curiosity, happiness. Soon the atmosphere will change, the stress comes in when we ask “who is your customer?” “what are your requirements”. Then the participants felt it was becoming serious. Corentin was the customer, he requested to have harmony in the garden composition. Harmony ? What does that mean ? Nevertheless they continued and composed three nice tiny gardens.

The customer destroyed the gardens

Before the second iteration, Jord gathered the participants in a corner of the room, turning their back to the gardening table. While Jord was giving instructions and attracting their attention with a loud voice and movement, the customer destroyed their garden. The customer was not pleased at all. When the gardener came back to the table they discovered the destruction. Emotions were strong: Anger, excitment, surprise. The customer expressed his unstatisfaction and requested the work to be started all over again. The gardener understood that they had to let it go, that they should not feel attached to the product. Even for the most experienced Agile practitioner, it can be difficult to see a nice garden being destroyed by an unsatisfied customer.

Soon after the second iteration started, the customer disappeared. Corentin had to take care of ordering the pizzas for the diner of the guest. Jord took the role of the subordinate of the customer; he didn’t know well the requirement but insisted that his boss would be satisfied this time. The stress was increasing. The customer subordinate was asking a lot of question while the gardener was busy implementing a second iteration, he tried to make sure the intention of Harmony was there, demanding that the composition was balanced and had a purpose. When the customer came back, the gardener could make sure customer satisfaction was delivered.

The hosts asked the gardener about their satisfaction with the second version compared to the first one: it was quite clear that creating a new one allowed to deliver a more beautiful tiny garden. The host then requested a third iteration; this time, the customer required the gardeners to create a rose garden. But there was no rose available. The gardeners had to plan for the future, project themselves to develop new capabilities for their team.

The three tiny gardens that the participants composed were photographed by a professional photographer, ContrastImage.be, to capture the memory of the evening. “A l’ombre d’une fleur” provided the flowers.

MeWe analysis

MeWe Analysis

After the gardening, the three hosts invited the gardeners to discover themselves and their type of personality by playing the MeWe cards.

“You are attending a Alumni gala diner of your High School, a were important networking event. You met good old friends and several new people at the diner table. You have to introduce yourself to all of these people, including to your good old friends that you didn’t see for twenty years , you changed with a lot of experiences, you have new hobbies compared to when your were attending school. You have to present yourself in a true way, you don’t have to fake or try to pretend to be somebody else.”

Each participant received a deck of MeWe cards. Each participant received for instruction to select thirteen cards bearing personality attribute that they could use to picture themselves while introducting themeselves during the dinner. After they selected the thriteen cards, the story continued.

“The diner is finihsed, you leave the place, while going toward the lift, you see one person that you truly wanted to meet during the evening but you could, this person was sitting too far on the diner table. You will have 30 seconds, just the time of the lift to come back to the lobby of the dinner place, to pitch yourself. Amongst the thirteen cards you selected, choose only 7 cards withthe attributes you would use to pitch yourself in these thirty seconds of lift time”.

After the selection of the seven cards, the hosts asked the participants to pitch themselves to the other participants of the workshop. After the pitching, the hosts requested the participants to face the cards up, revealing the animals hidden so far. Each MeWe card represents one of the four animal: mouse, bear, bull and eagle. The animal which is the most present in the cards selected by the participant reveal the dominant personality of the person. Mice are empathic; they care for others. Bulls are full of energy; they speak fast and want to achieve their one and unique goal. Bears are analytic thinkers; they like to collect information and create processes. Eagles are visionary, creative and risk takers. Learning to recognise yourself and other team members is a key for a productive team.

To discover how to improve the communication between each type of animal, the hosts requested that participants to group by the dominant type of animal they have and asked them to answer to the question “How do you like your colleagues to interact with you?”. Each group then shared with the others which communication method works best with them. Mice need to see that the opinion of each team member is heard. Bears need to be given space and time to think and elaborate on innovative strategies. Bulls need to be given direct and quick instructions, you need to go straight to the point with bulls. Eagles often use the primer “What if …” for sentences, they like to be given the possibility to express their creativity. These elements were gathered on giant posters prepared by Corentin with graphic facilitation technic.

The group picture of the Agile Gardening Meetup

The workshop ended with a long networking session. Onepoint offered Pizza and beverages to all the participants. It was time for all the participants to debrief on what they have learned during these two intensive hours full of discoveries. It was also the time to make new friendship and new connections. After the closure of hte events the three coaches, Corentin, the host, Dahm and Jord gathered their ideas for new workshops. We hope to see you in September for our new adventures.

Communication strategy based on personality styles

As a consultant, I worked for many companies; I visited many customers. After the first icebreakers, I often started to hear “In this team, we have a communication problem”. Even if you leave aside potential source of difficulties as teams which are working remotely or cultural differences, human nature is prone to create communication gaps.

The disc model

Even with a lot of good will, it is not an easy task to close the gap separating birds of different feathers. The human brain is made to push people to gather with people of the same kind. Our mirror cells are inviting us to mimic behaviour and to be comfortable with people similar to us. But you can not lead a ship with only captains or only sailors. You need diversity to manage a successful endeavour and companies need people of different talent. How to prevent these difference in personalities to impair your communication.

MeWe animals

The first step is to recognise the differences and to adapt to the style of communication of the person you are interacting with. Amongst many frameworks, the simplest I found to help people understand the model of communication is the DISC model. The leadership wheel and the 4 quadrant model are two similar useful variations. The concept is similar: people belong to one of the 4 groups. Each group has its own motivators and its own ways of communicating.

I am using these models for 15 years with great benefits. I recently discovered a serious card game allowing to introduce the model in a short amount of time and in a fun way. On Friday 1st March, I organised a workshop in Brussels at Alliance Merode to introduce the model and the serious game to new people. Now the game is being translated in Dutch and French to facilitate its deployment in Belgium and French companies.

Call me to organize a workshop at your place based on the MeWe cards, there is a lot to discover into this serious game.

Practice Team Collaboration by playing a board game – Fri 7th Dec 2018 in Brussels, Belgium

Play the board game Kitchen Rush to practice you team collaboration skills

Map to access l’Alliance Merode cafe – 
https://goo.gl/maps/XrkX4TdWe8T2

When: Friday 7th December  6pm-10pm including a Vegan Korean dinner (10€)

Where: Brussels, Alliance mérode cafe, rue de la gare 44, 1040 Brussels

Registration: Free, contact peopleblendit@outlook.com  to register. Book a dinner for 10€. RSVP Wed 5th Dec 2018.

Detailed agenda:

Welcome 6pm
Game sessions 6.30pm-22pm
Dinner During game sessions – 10€ RSVP 5th Dec2018.
Networking 22.00-23.00pm

Kitchen Rush:

Kitchen run is a fast paced collaboration game in which the players are helping each other in developping a successfull restaurant.

Dinner menu:

Vegan Korean rice and veggies “Bibimbap” if you want to enrol, please send me a message at info@peopleblendit.com RSVP Monday 5th November.
The price for the dinner is 10€; payment is required to validate registration. Free beers and free game sessions.

The meal is taking place during the game sessions but is not mandatory to enjoy the game.

Negocards workshop 8th Nov 2018 in Brussels, Belgium

negocards

Acquire negotiation skills by playing an #OpenSeriousGame

Map to access l’Alliance Merode cafe – 
https://goo.gl/maps/XrkX4TdWe8T2

When: Thursday 8th November  6pm-10pm

Where: Brussels, Alliance mérode cafe, rue de la gare 44, 1040 Brussels

Registration: Free, contact peopleblendit@outlook.com  to register.

Negocards workshop card game

The fundamentals of the negocards:
• Nobody is a born negotiator
• Negotiation is a skill that can be learned
• The negocards serious game allows learning by playing with negotiation best practices.
• Based on cards, best practice reference cards and role-playing session, attendees are learning by practising

The game material is available free of copyright to foster dissemination of knowledge. We recommend people willing to attend the workshop not to read the three last pages presenting the scenarii of the roleplay.

Detailed agenda:

Welcome 6pm
Workshop 6.30pm-20.30pm
Dinner 20.30pm-22.00pm – 10€ RSVP 5th Nov 2018.
Networking 22.00-23.00pm

Post-event dinner: 

egan Korean rice and veggies “bibimbap” if you want to enrol, please send me a message at info@peopleblendit.com RSVP Monday 5th November.
The price for the dinner is 10€; payment is required to validate registration. Free beers and free workshop. The meal is taking place after the event and is not mandatory to enjoy the game.

Negocards workshop 10th Oct 2018 in Brussels, Belgium

negocards

Acquire negotiation skills by playing an #OpenSeriousGame

Map to access l’Alliance Merode cafe – 
https://goo.gl/maps/XrkX4TdWe8T2

When: Wednesday 10th October 6 pm: Welcoming dinner
7.30 -10 pm: Workshop

Where: Brussels, Alliance mérode cafe, rue de la gare 44, 1040 Brussels

Registration: Free, contact peopleblendit@outlook.com  to register.

Negocards workshop card game

The fundamentals of the negocards:
• Nobody is a born negotiator
• Negotiation is a skill that can be learned
• The negocards serious game allows learning by playing with negotiation best practices.
• Based on cards, best practice reference cards and role-playing session, attendees are learning by practising

The game material is available free of copyright to foster dissemination of knowledge. We recommend people willing to attend the workshop not to read the three last pages presenting the scenarii of the roleplay.

The 5 “Why ?” of PMP applied to Agile practice 

Why this article?

I recently wrote a post on online resources to practice for a PMP certification examination. When my wife read this article, she commented that she didn’t understand why I promote PMP everything in my daily practices and services that I sell to my customers is turning around Agile. 

Why introducing PMP in the context of Agile practice?

My company, PeopleBlendIT, promotes the idea that pure Agile organizations don’t exist. Even in the leanest organization, you will find a management board, one of the services like the finance or customer service which is organized in a traditional way.

When dealing with these parts of an organization working in a traditional way, it is useful to know how to structure the project assets. PMBOK remains the best source of inspiration of best practices when it comes to managing a project in the traditional way. And even without dealing with external a non-Agile team, you need to inject Project management best practices in your Agile project.

But why do you need these best practices applied in in an Agile project?

Because when it comes to lead an Agile implementation you still need configuration management to version documents; you still need to manage expectation of stakeholders; you still need to manage the end of life of a product. For these management topics, PMBOK best practices is a reference.

But why talking about PMP certification?

Reading PMP certification examination preparation is a good way to challenge yourself and review your knowledge. Going back to the basics is the occasion to find back the less common best practices that you don’t apply often enough. For instance, you most certainly often go to meetings or even organize meetings. But when was the last time you reviewed the best practices on how to organize a meeting, to be a good host for a meeting.

Doing so is a reminder for me that I need to practice my Agile mash-up skills in which I transform Agile into something more elaborated merging best practices from different project management methodologies.

But why do you need something better than Agile?

You think that Agile is the definitive model, that there is nothing after it? Think about SCRUM of SCRUM, tribes, Spotify, think about SAFe, scaling Agile for large organizations. All these approaches came to solve the limitation of Agile. Release trains in SAFe and story mapping are spin-offs of PMP road-map management. Weighted Shortest Job First, WSJF, is somehow an evolution of metrics like Earned Value optimization technics used in PMP.

If you listen to Lean and Agile Adoption with the Laloux Culture 

Model, you might become as convinced that I am that we need to look at the past to continue to re-invent our future project management methods. For me, looking at the past is digging into my PMP best practices. Looking at the future is finding ways to infuse participative decision making into the organizations I am working with.

 

Online resources to prepare PMP certification

Why ?

I received a comment from my wife when she read this article. Why do you speak about the traditional project management practices since your reason to live is Agile?  I realized that before explaining how to rehearse on PMP topics, I had to explain why PMP practice is essential to elaborate a good Agile practice.

This disclaimer delivered, I can explain you why it is necessary to find online resources to practice for a PMP certification or simply to rehearse your PMP knowledge.

Image result for PMP

Why free online resource ? When you are intensively preparing for examination and certification, it is important not to get you head stuck in a single source of information. You need to relax your brain by looking at the same topic from different angles: reading books, watching videos, taking hand written notes. This is own the memory works best.

It is assumed that if you engage yourself in a PMP certification, you have attended a training and you received a set of books and examination preparation material. Therefore the current web page is looking for the additional stuff: free online resources.

A short list

In the end of this blog post you will find many online resources. Here is a short list, because if you can’t use them all and have to spare your time, you have to go straight to the most useful one.

My preferred ones are those offering a long list of examination question accessible without having to register and those providing explanations for the answers.

https://www.simplilearn.com/pmp-exam-prep-free-practice-test

It provides an interacive test with a countdown of the time, in the end it provides the answers.

PreparePM

https://www.preparepm.com/mock1.html

It provide the answers immediately, you don’t have to pass the entire set of question to get the the answers. It provides only 75 free question, that’s not sufficient to get a decent test preparation

Capm time 150 question final key slide share

It is not the most interactive but it contains the answers and a decent set of questions. The positive point is that being on Slide share, you can print the PDF to work away from the screen and changing your rehearsal practice from the other online resources.

List of the website offering free support

 

https://www.simplilearn.com/pmp-exam-prep-free-practice-test

 

Project Management Professional(PMP®) Certification

https://www.pmexamcoach.com/offers/ddcn7fVC/checkout

https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/pmp-exam-free-oliver-lehmann/id981704212

https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/capm-exam-free/id1011761235?ls=1&mt=8

https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.digit.pmpexamfree

https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.digit.capmexamfree

https://www.microsoft.com/de-lu/p/pmp-exam-free/9nblggh0g09j?rtc=1

http://206-free-pmp-exam-questions.blogspot.com/p/questions-1-20.html

http://www.oliverlehmann.com/contents/free-downloads/175_PMP_Sample_Questions.pdf

http://www.tutorialspoint.com/pmp-exams/pmp_mock_exams.htm

https://www.skillset.com/certifications/pmp

https://proxalt.com/USA/index.php?option=com_freeresource&view=freeresource&Itemid=40

 

https://projectmanagementacademy.net/free-pmp-questions

https://mosaicprojects.com.au/Free_CAPM_Questions.php

 

 

Lessons learned with the sail boat

Lessons learned are team workshops during which a team thrive to identify how to improve the way to work as a team.  In AGILE retrospective meeting team members gather their feedback in 3 categories:

  • Start doing
  • Stop doing
  • Continue doing

Navigating through the AGILE games literature and inspiration for coaching workshop I recently rediscovered the speed boat.

Picture your project as a speed boat going very fast, what anchors are slowing you down ? The format is described in Game storming, a book and online website for brainstorming workshop.

The speed boat lessons learned proposes each participant to categorize their experience with the project in few categories:

  1. The wind, blows in the sail of the boat. It represents all the factors which have been helping the project to move forward
  2. The boat represent the team, the work environment, the team work and /or  the products delivered.
  3. The anchor, as in the original speed boat, represent the forces which are driving the team backward.
  4. The rocks are the dangers ahead. The risk s for the boat to wreck and for the project to fail.
  5. The island represents the goal of the team, where everybody is heading toward.
  6. I added the sun to picture the fun part in the team journey. The sun represents the things which are not essential or not part of the products delivered by the team but that the team loves doing or would love starting doing. It is the sanuk way of working in Thailand.

I created a template that I gave to each participant. I gave 5 minutes to the team members to collect there ideas on their template. I recommend the usage of yellow sticky notes to reduce the time consumed in the collection of the team feedback.

To empower the team to decide what are the positive elements to promote and the most important issues to address, you can propose the team to use dot voting. Each team member is given 5 dots to use to vote next to feedback given by the teams. The issues (anchors, rocks) receiving the more dots are the most urgent ones to address. The positive points (sun and island) which are receiving the more dots are the one to promote in the team organisation.

I also had the occasion once to see the sail boat used in a recruitment. The candidate was proposed to picture his drivers,  assets, blockers, fears, goals and ideals as the wind, board, anchor, rock, island and sun. It think it remove the anxiety of the situation were you are requesting to judge yourself.

In the same way it allowed my team members to share more openly about the team using the boat allegory than the typical  3 categories of AGILE lessons learned.

Heading image Image from  http://www.ironlionperformance.com/blog/2017/4/17/the-monday-mindset-grit