Bad News Message Delivery

There are two ways to convey bad news to someone (whether it be their personally tied to them, i.e., their performance or their team at large).

Option #1

You screwed up, you failed, this isn’t working out, it’s time for you to move on.

Your best (is that what you called it) wasn’t good enough.

Option #2

Here’s what you’re doing well, here’s where we’re going to help you with and here’s what we need from you to help us get there.

The Difference?

Option #1 assigns the problem and throws it at someone’s feet (doesn’t matter if it’s right or wrong).

Option #2 recognizes the problem, acknowledges the person and puts the onus on both the leader and the individual to get better and turn it around.

Or simply put – one reinforces the negative, while the other seeks to learn from it and become better.

Your Morning Scrum is killing your Team’s Dynamic

I’ve had this conversation with many a person before, but it bears repeating one more time.

Someone popularized the concept of a morning SCRUM to get everyone off to the races, ready to go on the day’s work and had some good success with it.

And it does work.

When everyone is in the office at the same time.

When everyone is starting at the same time.

When everyone has not yet started the day.

When you have a team that is comprised of late owls, early risers (that’s me), remote workers in different time zones with some people in the office or unavailable you need to come up with a different solution.

It can’t simply be – “We’ll schedule it for when the last person gets into the office” OR “If you are remote, you keep working while the rest of us meet.”

Both bad options that reduce the value of your SCRUM.

I don’t have the answer, but I know what you need to look at…

  • What are we trying to get from this morning SCRUM?
  • Who needs to be there?
  • What can work in place of it?
  • Why are we have it?
  • Do we need it every day?
  • How can we generate similar, ney better value from trying something different?

Answer those questions and the morning SCRUM might not be the answer to your problems.

The Confusion in Coaching

We all coach, every day.

Helping our kids be better.

Working with our parents.

Getting the most out of our team.

Working with our peers.

At some point, someone gives you that title of being a coach (maybe believe that you helped them over some mythical hurdle).

But therein comes the confusion, because the end goal is never for the coach to become the “great imparter of knowledge”, but really their goal is to learn as much as they are giving.

The Sprint Kick-Off

Sprints are meant to roll-over from one to another, backlogs become unpacked, priorities reset, work assigned, new tasks created and the engine revs up for another lap around the track.

But what if you don’t know where you are going?

How often do you jump into a car having no idea what’s happening or where you are going?

Not very often.

How do you get your team on board with what is being delivered in the next sprint?

Sit them down at your next stand-up for 15 minutes and walk them through the goals and contingencies if things go well or sideways.  If they are behind, give them a kick, if they are ahead, let them know.

But don’t let the next sprint be a roll-over from the last, kick it into high-gear with everyone knowing what they are doing when they are doing it and what is expected of them.

When you don’t do this, the result is no one knowing where the sprint begins or ends (which isn’t the point at all).

The Key to a Successful Morning Stand-Up

The Leader of the Stand-Up knows what everyone is doing before the call begins.

Very simple, often ignored.

Stand-Ups are not about what is in the queue or what is showing red on the Kanban board, it’s about what is coming next and what the team needs to be moving towards.

A Stand-Up where everyone repeats what is currently in their task queue is a waste of a stand-up and an interruption to everyone’s deliverables.

The Leader of a Stand-Up must come in already knowing what people are working on and where they are going to next.  From there, creating value from a stand-up is easy…

  • Jeff, I see you’ve done all your work, Donnie needs help with these tasks to hit our goals.
  • Mary can you focus on bugs for the rest of the print.
  • Jane, we have this work coming in the next sprint, can you begin designing that.
  • Jack, we haven’t done much performance testing can you queue that up before handing off your code.

Now that’s a successful stand-up that adds value to anyone’s day.