May 8th, 2013 (Scott’s Table)

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1. How do you describe Agile?

– Fail fast
– Start with stories- humans like stories
– Lean – get results in front of people as fast as possible
– Customer driven
—who are the customers in your context?
– Lightweight
– Try Lean Coffee
– An interesting problem, and the generalization makes a lot of sense
– Do civil engineers do a lot of projects that are information based or are adaptable?
– Buildings iterate less well, where is the iteration?
– Examples: A map, a budget
– Iterate: the plan WILL change
– As a ___ I want___so that ___
-structure for stories includes protagonist and goal
– Provide value

2. McDonald’s Theory/Social Hacks

– The McDonalds hack see
– Useful if discussion is deadlocked, or team needs to get unstuck
– Propose something bad then you can get a response, get people to commit
– Posting bad information (to draw out good information)
– Devious trait
– Name Tags with trivia to jumpstart conversations/team building idea
– Adjusting expectations
– Lean coffee
—the structure of lean coffee is a form of social hack
– Personality trait? Learned skill?
– “I’m just a dumb XYZ but…”
– Parenting
—-lots of tricks parents learn
– Names and memory tricks
– Icebreakers, conversation starters (a lot of facilitation/teaching tricks are social hacks)
– Breaking an impasse
– Listening

3. How do you get your creative flow going?

– Pomodora technique
– Should I be doing something? Yes or No? No? Don’t lie, just do it.
– Find your sweet spot (early morning, quiet times)
– Have to feel safe to create
– Self-shaming works to get going
– the “Cone of Silence” (a traffic cone outside the door means don’t interrupt)
– just getting started is the hardest part, momentum matters a lot
– other people – interacting with others, socializing and discussing to get creative flow going
– making opportunity (you have to create your own opportunities for creative work, this is the hard part!)
– get enough sleep (manage your needs and stress)
– long term investment in creative collaborative space

4. How do you work with other groups to determine backlog priority?

– User requirements gathering
– In Scrum, needs to be one person
– Use Lean to get stories up to customer

5. Writing stories for multiple audiences

– Have customer draw out what they want
– EPIC- can be broken into smaller stories
– Scott uses Pivotal Tracker to track
– stories change when the user is presented with a prototype (e.g. screen mockups)
– manage expectations
– the cost of coding is high (iterate the ideas first)
– customers tend to be unengaged at the ‘coding’ phase
story -> picture -> functionality

6. Getting kids interested in STEM
– Coder dojo
– Lego robotics
– Mind storms- Lego Robotics “building a robot”
– Make it fun and relevant
– Chemistry teacher makes it a little dangerous (teens like that)
– dangerous experiments (encourage their inner pyromaniac)
– Must be learner driven (if they don’t control their own engagement they won’t be interested)
– “We lack a ‘moonshot'”
—disagree, our moonshots aren’t as well known, and are less ‘personal’ than e.g. an astronaut
– unstructured?
– exciting
– visibility of the job?

7. What makes a good LeanCoffee topic?
– Relevant to participants
– Something someone is curious about
– How do I (??) so that I can (???)
– collecting topics (during the week note when you have good lean coffee topic thoughts)
– Ice Breakers
– Engagement
– Something people have a stake in
– “How do you…” (asking good journalism questions) Perhaps these tips apply:
– Good questions lead to good stories
– catharsis (but be careful of too much dumping)
– some good questions are based on relationships (asking for help with a problem, sharing thoughts, story telling)
– genuine (artificial topics don’t do well, contribute based on your own true interest in discussion)
– multiple P.O.V.s
– Sharing
– diversity
– a wide variety of styles, focuses, topic range,
– specific question vs broad prompt,
– opinion with commentary vs asking for help.

8. Best LinkedIn groups for Agile resources?

– LinkedIn is a little business-y (not that agile)

– Alicia is moderating this group: Agile Project Management (non-software)
– She is finding this question popping up across LinkedIn groups- Agile Alliance, Agile Project Management; will try to direct to Agile Project Management (non-software).
– Agile open NW
– Agile is a ‘toolkit’
– Variety
– “Scrumbut” (i.e. “we do Scrum, but….”)
– Lean Coffee!