Archive for category Lonely Planet

Opportunistic Boards


Sometimes you just don’t have wall space.  You may be at the mercy of the building police, who sternly forbid such outrageous acts as using blu-tac on a blank wall to boost productivity – or you may just be somewhere that doesn’t have walls, and you need to think and plan.

What do you do?  You get opportunistic.

Here’s a few innovative boards we’ve seen around the traps:

Mark and Gus, at 40,000 feet, on an A380 Airliner:
A380

Agilistas in an activity-based-workspace, who improvised with a shower curtain:
photo (3)

Spotted: Bankwest, Perth

Use a pole:
Opportunistic board

Spotted: Lonely Planet

Use a window:
board on a window

Spotted: Medibank

Horizontal board on a desk (we weren’t allowed to put anything on the walls) – with half-sized cards.

P1060027

spotted: If we tell you, we’ll have to kill you

What have you seen used as a board?

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What we said vs. what we did


Are the stories that are talked about in planning always the ones that actually get played during a sprint?  In an ideal world they are, but seldom does a sprint run according to the ideal.

This team was getting a lot of work done, but still seemed to have cards left over at the end of a sprint.  Were the cards taking longer than expected?  Were additional cards being added?  No one could quite be sure.

One of the team members came up with a solution.  After the team had agreed the stories that would be played for the upcoming sprint, he took a photo of the cards.  This provided a visual record of what the team had agreed would be done.

It was stuck up next to the backlog and as cards were completed they were ticked off on the photo.  At the end of the sprint it was easy to see what had got done, or not, out of the planned cards, and which new cards had been added  into the sprint.

This is a great example of a team member taking matters into their own hands and using their own visual language (photographs) to come up with a fresh take on planning.

Spotted: SPP development team

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The Naughty Corner


At Lonely Planet, it’s not just software development teams that use big visual indicators.  In this hack, the guidebook commissioning team wanted to be very clear just what they were working on at any given time.

Here you can see what’s in pre-planning, currently being contracted, which books authors are researching and writing now, what’s in editing, at the printer and has just hit the shops.  Also visible at a glance is what is blocked right now – there’s a special naughty corner for books that can’t be researched due to civil unrest.  No authors in Libya right now!

I particularly like the little magnetic book covers that they use – visual language everyone involved in publishing can understand, and much more durable than paper and blue tack.

Thanks to Dave Carroll for this hack.
Spotted: LP Commissioning Editors

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Who knows what?


A self-serve training plan.

The team that I work with runs a complex process involving many steps that require specialized knowledge for each step.  Their aim is to have everyone skilled up on all the steps, and avoid single points of failure.  It was pretty hard for team members to know who knew what, and we needed to be sure when Christmas holidays came along that the few people left knew enough to keep the process rolling.

They came up with a visual to solve this. This grid lists all the steps in the process across the top, and all the members of the team down the side.  A half circle means that person has learned the task, two half circles means that they know it well enough to teach someone else.  And the little avatars across the top next to each step show who the expert is for that step – and therefore the best person to go to with questions.

As well as being a self-serve training plan – it’s easy to see what each person does and doesn’t know and therefore make sure they learn new steps – it also highlights areas of risk.  In this picture we can see that the last step, with only one person knowing how to do it, shows up a pretty big risk if that person is away.

 

Below, you can see this “self serve university” at a massive scale. This time it covers more than 100 niche skills, and 80 people. The principle is the same: people can mark each skill with either “I know this skill”, “I want this skill” or “I can teach this skill”.

self serve uni

 

 

Spotted: SPP Content Desk, Telstra Contact Solutions

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Highlighting Process Glitches


“We wanted a way to notice recurring patterns in glitches.”

This team gets through an enormous amount of work which requires many hand-offs with other departments.  When there’s a glitch in a part of the process, the team member adds a little red sticker to a card, often with an accompanying note about why there was a glitch.  If a story accumulates a few of these, we can see it’s in trouble.  Also, the little stickers are an excellent reminder for retro, where we have a chance to talk about how to address any larger issues that might be driving them, or even use “5 whys” to delve into the root cause of glitches.

Spotted: Lonely Planet

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