Focus on People

A little while back, I commented on LinkedIn that organizations, more and more, seem to be forgetting about focusing on people first and foremost. It’s been on my heart to talk more about that.

The Agile Forefathers wrote the Agile Manifesto back in 2001. Yes; ponder that for a minute – 22 years ago they wrote this. Software peeps and organizations have been using Agile for awhile now – all proclaiming to be proponents of “people first.” Yet, here we are in 2023 and many organizations are still running technology projects just like we did back in the 1990’s. But it doesn’t have to be that way. Let me give you an example where focusing on people first gives you the results you want later.

I know this isn’t “apples to apples” with your adult, professional agile career and team, but it drives this remarkable point home. Beautiful and I have had challenges with getting our sons to get their chores done. We’ve tried charts, reward systems, taking things away – all the usual parent stuff. Then, just coming out of an amazing Agile Refresher course at work, it dawned on me that “giving them ownership” had to be a part of this.

I created Kanban Board Version One. (I had to move to Version 2.0 as the first board was too small, then Version 2.1 as the sticky notes were falling off the wall.) I sat the boys down and I first shared with them a little about what I do at work. I wanted to build some “maybe he knows what he’s talking about” with them. (Maybe it helped; maybe I know what I’m talking about. LOL; they probably didn’t care about that part.) I talked with them about the Kanban board, then had THEM start creating the cards for the board. I got them to talk about how they, together, owned the board and the chores. They seemed to be excited about creating the cards. We posted the board and started using it the next morning. Was it perfect? Has it been perfect since day one? No. (Is your Kanban or Scrum team perfect? I know the answer is “no.”) But have we had more success than in the past? Yes! Many mornings the boys “Kanban through their morning.” They engage and work with each other in an excited and engaged fashion. Also, they end up having time to do what they want before school. This is all because:

– They own the system.
– They can see exactly what they have to do.
– They work together to get it done.

We even do a Retro on the weekends. Beautiful, once, tried to inject new chores onto the board “mid-sprint.” I “protected the team” and said, “errrr, no. We have to wait for retro. The boys have to have a say.” I fully support my beautiful wife, but she and they saw how this is a team decision – not just one forced on them – and everyone during the retro agreed to the desired additions. They are kids, but letting them be vested in the process – focusing on them as people – has made a big difference.

Now, I’m not saying your Agile Team is like a bunch of kids. (or, hmmmm, am I? 😉 ) — but if you feel like it’s a fight to get things done, or, if you just feel there is a better way to have success with your product, I beg you to ponder – are you focusing on people first? Do! I promise you, the magic will happen.

Product Thought of the Week – Start Today

My Son Loves Obstacles – Picture by Me.

What are you as a Product Person, Owner and/or Manager, going to do today to bless and serve your people? Your Customer; your Team. Start with people and everything else will just magically happen.

I was only going to post a “one-liner” to LinkedIn today. But, then the Spirit moved me, saying this is too important to “just post a one-liner.” With that, fingers crossed, this will be quick hit post.

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Product Thought of the Week – Does It Work

Discount Code Product Feature from Travelocity

Does your Product Feature really work end to end – especially in the hands of the customer?

My family and I recently did an epic cross country road trip. Not related to this post, I had many epiphanies about many things – one being our Country; our roads, little and large towns, and people generally seem to be in much better shape than they were when we made similar trips back in 2015. But, I digress. During this road trip, I needed to book hotel rooms. So, the “Roaming Gnome” came to mind (marketing did its job on me) and I surfed over to Travelocity.

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