A Lack of a Shared Understanding

I am so glad we all agreeEarlier this week, I facilitated a backlog refinement meeting.  In the past, the team was used to all of the requirements being completed (in advance) by the analysts. The delivery team would then execute on those requirements. The problem, of course, was no shared understanding. We came into the meeting with everyone agreeing they were on the same page.  That was true for about 15 minutes. The more we talked, the more they realized they were looking at things from individual perspectives.

At the beginning of the meeting, we had less than 10 user stories, from an analyst's perspective. By the end of the meeting, we had a prioritized backlog with over 100 user stories at different levels of granularity.  It's not perfect and it's never done.  But, it's a start.  For the first time, developers and testers were engaged at the beginning.  At LeadingAgile, we call this the Product Owner team.  When the highest priority stories get to a "ready" state, they will be pulled into a delivery team's queue.  Until then, we need to answer some of the more complicated questions, mitigate risk, and achieve that shared understanding.

Image Source: Based on hand drawn image from Pictofigo

Post-It Note T-Shirt Contest

The Idea

It seems like every time I deal with a customer, I have a backpack of painters tape, Sharpies, and Post-It notes.  When I was recently working with Pictofigo on the new Agile Process poster, I had an idea of a new product with original Pictofigo artwork.  I thought, why not have a contest where everyone could benefit from crowd-sourced ideas?

Just answer the simple question:

If you could WEAR a Post-It note, what would it say?

Post-It Note T-Shirt 1

The Post-It note will be on the left pocket and will be roughly 4x4 inches in size.  What would you want to appear on the post-it note?  Make it count! Size is very limited.

Post-It Note T-Shirt 2

The Post-It note will be on the center chest and will be roughly 10x10 inches in size.  What would you want to appear on the post-it note?  I really like this one.  Would you write the Agile Manifesto?  Would you want a team rule like "No cooking fish in the microwave"?  Would you just have a giant light bulb?  You tell us! Tell the world!

Contest Rules

  1. Please list your ideas in the comments section.  You may enter as many times as you wish.
  2. Please add a link to the contest in a post on your favorite social networking site (Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn...)
  3. Two winners will be chosen at the end of the month (March 2012).
  4. Each winner will receive a free t-shirt (their choice of size) with their winning submission.
  5. By submitting your ideas, you give us free license to reproduce it on a Post-It Note T-Shirt.

That's it!

Good Luck!

If you want to just buy an "Lightbulb" idea T-Shirt, I have them at CafePress.


Agile Process Posters v2.0

Agile Process Poster I am happy to announce the collaboration with Pictofigo has resulted with a new Agile Process poster. The new process poster includes product backlogs, sprint backlogs, and user stories. We have these posters in three sizes and they come in both male and female styles.  Want to hang some original artwork in your team area, while helping people understand the standard Agile process?  Check them out!

Pictofigo Promotion

I've been working with Pictofigo for a few months now.  I give them ideas for drawings I think others would find helpful.  In turn, I get access to some pretty cool (and original) stuff.  It's quid pro quo at its best. There are currently over 900 drawings available for free on the Standard Pictofigo site.  In addition to those, there are 13 Premium items.  These items range from a few free desktop wallpapers to Scrum posters and traditional project management posters.  What's the difference and why pay for stuff?  The standard site has drawings at 72 dpi resolution, perfect for a blog, website or presentation.  The Premium site has drawings at 300 dpi resolution, suitable for print or products.  Yes, I do offer links from my site to CafePress, if you want printed posters.  But, the actual high resolution drawings are available if you want to print out a few posters at a lower overall cost.  I got a notice today that Pictofigo is going to run a half off promotion on their premium content.  Because I like to encourage and support entrepreneurs, I wanted to write this quick post.  If you're in the market for some original drawings, look them up.  They are constantly iterating on the site so check back often.  If you have an idea for a drawing or poster, give them a shout.  If you want, you can send me the request and I'll forward it along.  To be clear, I am not Pictofigo.  I merely love what they do and want to see them succeed.

HT: Pictofigo