Friday, July 31, 2015

The lion value system ...

When I was working reviewing More Agile Testing for Janet Gregory and Lisa Crispin, there was a whole forum of discussion which was running parallel to the book creation.

One topic we explored though was getting the balance right.  Everyone knows one of the great things about agile teams is that they interact and they talk about issues as they come up.  They're highly social.

However at the same time, there are stretches where people need to focus, and be uninterrupted for a time.  How can you get the balance right?

Back at Kiwibank we had an interesting system - our team had worked hard to think about what our "tribal identity" was.  In the end we thought of a lion as a mascot - because they represented the courage, ownership and attitude which we felt was core to what we wanted to achieve as a team.

Each of us had a little plush lion on our desk.  When you needed to be left alone, he was placed strategically to tell the rest of the team (although new people would have to be told this rule quite quickly as they'd be forever asking "what's with the cute lion" to the person who expected to be left alone).

People weren't allowed to have this lion on display for longer than half a day without explaining - it was there to be used as needs be.

Likewise if we had a meeting, and there was something you needed someone to know was really important about, and you might need them to listen to (especially if you weren't the loudest voice in the room), you'd bring the lion with you to the meeting.

In a way, the lion represented a kind of social contract between team members, and it's something I'm looking back at and wondering if it's worth (and fun) implementing on my new team ...

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