#personalkanban and #definitionofdone

During the Jan session of PK flow and tasks,  Bob had a thought:

“We use Kanban and Scrum at work. And we have definition of done written down.  I am sure to benefit more by writing down a definition of done for tasks in my PersonalKanban board”

“Sure, why not?” I responded quite enthusiastically.  He knew the principles behind visual tools, had just not created a personal board for himself.  There were others in the session who were new to the concepts of kanban and definition of done.

Thus I had an opportunity to deliberate with this phrase. “Definition of done” exhibited  proudly near a teams’ card wall is a self directed indicator of the quality of work. It is represented at a goal, deliverable, user story or at a task level. It enhances accountability, promotes dialogues and well intended interactions.

How does an individual translate this board to maximize interactions and usage?

For example, a backlog item or a goal could be:  “Lose / Gain xx pounds this month”.

The associated tasks may vary from: Gym visits, drink liquids, avoid xx, eat 123, follow abc diet. A blocked item could be “rains this week -missing gym”

But let us say there is a clear intent behind the backlog item (or goal) of “Lose / Gain xx pounds this week” like:

-Become healthier, reduce sugar craving, brisk walks in nature, improved breathing – which are often unspoken / unsaid or not made visible.   A simple well formed “Definition of Done”  reflects this intent.  It is a wholesome qualitative reflection of what we intend to do. The tasks then are its quantitative representations; Tasks in blocked column require constant monitoring.

Maybe abc diet is not the one if healthy weight change is the goal.  Brisk walks might need a sunny days and a good friend.  We reach out to a friend to check their availability; we plan accordingly; We are able to position ourselves to “conquer that task”; Brisk walks tell a story of improving health, even if no weight change has happened. We know our strategy to choose a sunny week and that kind friend was a “win”.

IMG_3291Intentions help us strategize better. Now, the board is user friendly and fun to use. We are creative beings – We have staged one man shows since our dreamy childhood and it is upto us to bring that joy of creativity into our daily lives!

Caveat:  Just  be sure the board does not remain “still and silent”. If the board does not flow or if you are not interacting  with it minimum once or twice a day – then it has become static and something is being missed. Or maybe you are just downplaying your capabilities and need challenging tasks. It is probably time to revisit some of the backlog items!


#openspace: conversation and a conflict resolution tool #Agile #Scrum #

After about 30 minutes of introduction from participants I was still not ready to discuss Agile and the theory behind it. This was our first meeting. I wanted to delay diving immediately into discussing what I knew about Agile as a practitioner, and a coach.   I wanted us to discover about each other, endure conversations,  engage in discussing topics that brought us together – like change of career, transition in personal and professional lives, wanting to learn and know more etc.

Thus as a perfect immersion to a collaborative environment,  I decided to model the rest of the afternoon on “open space”.   Each session was for 10 minutes, with 5 to 7 minutes of talking followed by Q&A. We had 5 minutes between each session for regrouping, preparing.  Everyone had to attend and was not offered the option to be a bumble bee or a butterfly!

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Participants were encouraged to negotiate and move a talk to another slot so that they could maximize their attendance. A few sessions were not attended. The host may have been disappointed, but also learned that not everyone had solutions to topics, and that was not a failure. We added these topics to our backlog. Thus by immersing in multiple back to back sessions, people learnt more about each other, offered to help, discovered areas of potential collaboration.

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Participants also learnt how a modification of open space could be used to resolve conflict. By making topics anonymous and gauging interest by dot voting, team leads could facilitate open space around topics, thus eliminating the need for a topic owner.

PersonalKanban and Presencing: #agile #scrum #coworking #firecatstudio

Current trends gaining traction in leadership coaching about mindfulness, compassionate listening, and conscious consumption prompted me to combine these practices and host the Firecat First Friday coworking session in the following format:

1. Becoming present-  Participants gathered to “becoming present” thus preparing themselves to focus and articulate their vision for the year.

2. Creating personal backlog (a brain dump of sorts) – Using words and sketches participants generated stories that define their expectations of the coming year.

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3. Communicating the personal backlog- Once the stories were visualized, they had to find a partner and share their intentions. When listening, individuals were encouraged to make gentle eye contact, to not provide feedback, avoid forming opinions, be open to stories being told, show empathy and kindness. While speaking individuals were encouraged to narrate with pride, believe their thoughts and avoid self criticism .  Each person had to repeat the cycle at least 5 times to enable self direction, articulation, and gaining confidence about their vision.


4. Regroup for presencing- A second iteration of presencing enhanced their ability to feel and accept their heightened awareness about wants, clarity about intentions, and shift in perceptions.

5. Discover Personal Kanban and create boards- The presencing method, creating and communicating the backlog enabled participants to create / design physical board that resonated their current wants. Since most of our participants were solopreneurs, entrepreneurs  and WFH professionals – relating Kanban and Kaizen to what they already do in their professional lives made complete sense.

Session feedback- Listening is hard. Listening without forming opinions is painful. Listening without providing feedback is evil!

Self direction is necessary to be self organized and be accountable.  Maintaining a Personal Kanban board shows a high level of self-respect and an ability to strategize based on the patterns of flow.

Work that needs to be completed might be messy, but requires attention.

The biggest lesson of all:  We probably just opened a can of worms!! :):)