Competing Against Top Testers

This was the first ever global software testing competition and the European qualification round was held online on June 13, 2014.

The Software Testing World Cup (STWC) is an event for testing practitioners to show off their skills and compete with other testing professionals. It brings the testing craft into the spotlight and gives the profession a competitive event on a global scale.

Last year a proof of concept of STWC was run with 16 teams. This year is the first full scale competition running on all six continents with a maximum of 250 teams per continent. In the European qualification 250 teams participated. From Ericsson Finland Kjell Lauren and Tomi Juslin participated together with Ismo Aro and Toni Kortepohja from Omenia Oy as Team Bug Circus. 

stwc2

We joined the competition in order to challenge ourselves by doing something completely different than what we are doing on daily basis, to find out how good testers we are, curiosity, fun, and of course fame & glory.

SOFTWARE UNDER TEST

A few minutes before the actual competition started the participants got the link to the software to be tested. It was a product that creates demo accounts and reports for small businesses. Our mission was to investigate and report on the current stability of the system. The latest addition to the product was a function that emails out invites to the demo account and to a customer center to view the demo accounts. The customers’ primary concern beyond the email function was to have the system tested on as many devices and screen sizes as possible, but having the Apple devices as primary focus. Additionally, a login account should not be able to see locations created by other login accounts. Load and performance testing were out of scope during the session. Also security testing had a low priority although this was one evaluation criteria in previous qualifications.

THE COMPETITION

The competition time was in total three hours which did not leave too much room outside the test execution, bug reporting and writing the test report. It started with the judges and customer representative presenting the System Under Test (SUT) on the live YouTube channel. After the SUT presentation the judges were available for answering questions of the teams and keeping the teams informed with important information.

In the beginning we struggled to understand what the SUT was supposed to be used for and how it really should work. It took us quite some time to figure it out. The SUT was quite unusable and a specialized application, in our opinion not very adequate for a three hour testing competition. We were struggling with the basic features quite a long time and not focusing on the main features we were supposed to test. Even creating and managing accounts to test the mailing functionality was quite a challenge for some of us. Not to mention the user settings functionality which turned out to be quite buggy too.

pie_stwc

Division of found issues per area.

During the competition the found bugs had to be filed in HP Agile Manager, in which some of the teams found a bug making it possible to copy reported bugs from other teams. Each team had to prepare a test report, including the status and how that was achieved as well as how the testing was performed. In total, our team filed 28 bug reports. During the competition a total of 3169 bugs from 250 teams was filed.

 

 

 

We also had an active supporting group of colleagues cheering for us throughout the whole competition; mostly from the sauna and palju (a hot tub). The results are not yet available; they will be announced by end of July 2014.

LESSONS LEARNED AKA AFTERMATH

Preparing for a short three hour competition is not that easy when you have no clue about the SUT or what is required to be tested. From the previous qualifications we noticed the SUT can be a web application or a downloadable application doing just about anything. Also thinking about load, performance and security testing it requires special tools to be able to execute those tests. One thing is for sure, the SUT used in this kind of competition should be at least on some stable level so that the teams could concentrate on testing the features customer requires, not struggling with the basic functionalities.

We had agreed beforehand that one of us will follow the live YouTube channel and one is responsible for the test report leaving two guys to concentrate fully on testing for the whole time. This split of work worked quite well. In the future it would be good to add a couple of short debriefing slots to be able to better focus and change strategy during the competition.

For testing technique we chose exploratory testing to cover the different areas of the application. It was the right choice as there was no time to create any automated tests. We used also a variety of platforms and browsers to gain coverage of the application and see how it worked on different devices with different screen resolutions.

It turned out that writing the test report took more than the 30 minutes we had reserved for it. One hour would have been needed to write a good report. One major input for the test report was the bug reports, which we categorized when writing them. This made writing the test report easier as the info was already available. At the end we didn’t have the time to review the written reports, what would have been needed to make them even better. So at least this is something we need to improve for the next time.

Based on the feedback and comments from the previous qualifications we decided to be co-located in the same room. This turned out to be a perfect choice and helped a lot as we were able to discuss and show each other’s screens all the time.

The overall feeling from the event was really positive. Three hours of full concentration is very exhausting but at the same time the excitement keeps you trying even harder. And YES, we will participate next time, too. In the end, it was about challenging us, sharing knowledge, learning new things, working and having fun with great people.

THE ROAD TO VICTORY

The Software Testing World Cup is split into two parts: the online continental preliminary/qualifying rounds and the world cup finals during Europe’s greatest Agile event of the year, the Agile Testing Days 2014. The winning team from each continent will be invited to the finals. Up to 8 teams, watched by an international crowd of testers, will fight for the global crown of software testing.

The continental rounds are done locally and online. The final round is done on the spot and will be supported with online and offline media presence (live streaming, audience, stage, etc.). It will be the social highlight at the Agile Testing Days on November 10, 2014, followed by an award ceremony during the popular MIATPP Award Night.

Further Information on Software Testing World Cup (STWC)

  • The official STWC site. Here you can find the rules, Frequently Asked Questions, prizes, winners etc.
  • Twitter stream
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Product Ownership Evolution, part 3

This is the final (?) post in the series of Product Ownership learnings and conclusions as I have them learned so far. It has been a while since part 2, but there is an obvious reason for the long silence period. I have been thinking and trying to understand 2 fundamentals in product and service development at scale:

  1. How do you scale up?
  2. What is the real purpose of Product Owner when connected to previous?

Scaling up is scaling down

It is more clear than ever that large corporations who try to introduce new hope in means of Agile, Lean or systems thinking into their operations will fail. There are several reasons for this, the most obvious ones are connected to business at scale. 21st century knowledge related work (and business) does not require “economies of scale” or “cost optimization”. Neither does it need resource optimization towards existing business but rather building on great people. When you put people doing the value work in the center, directly confronting the customer, you`ll soon understand that two teams will be able satisfy the customer better than two divisions. Of course these teams are special teams: they are consisting of people who have “special powers”. They eat and bite the work at hand easily, they understand the business as they are natives in it, they love their work and they want to share success. In short: their values are different from what traditional corporations possess. The biggest obstacle for achieving this is power. Static organizational structures try to keep existing power structure untouched. Scaling down requires power distribution, not power decentralization. This is the main reason scaling agile is mission impossible for most of the big players. I will write more about power distribution and knowledge work in coming posts.

Product Owner is always a proxy role, that is not needed at all when business at scale is understood, designed and applied correctly

When people are in the center we are moving into new era: people business. Why on earth someone would like to introduce any delay between needs and their fulfillment? When power in the organization is dynamically and evolutionary distributed, most of the proxy roles disappear. I believe this will (and shall) happen to Product Ownership and it will happen to many other coordinating and decision-making roles as well. The final stage of the evolution in the Product Ownership is to realise extinction: the work is distributed between people and therefore this dysfunctional role is not existing any more.

-Henri

Posted in Agile Thinking, agileHR, Behavior, Change, Leadership, Product Owner, Transformation | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Radical Movement

We are in people business. In the heart of knowledge work are people, their intellectual, social and emotional capabilities. This “assett” cannot be led by traditional methods. New skills and abilities are needed. World needs more soft aspects; it is more important to discuss about safety than new process or way of working. This change is more fundamental than any what we have seen previously in modern business environment. Actually this is the true survival of the fittest. The ones who understand and are able to do this will have definite competive advantage. Big amount of people on their side.

I have been asked what and how we do this in different communities? How do you make sure that people are going into right direction? You don`t! When group of people move towards something new there are many different paths. What is important is that we share enough common understanding about where are we aiming. Moving towards something better as a group is something we call Radical Movement. It is not very radical as such, but for conventional thinkers it might feel like it. Here are some characteristics how we think:

  • We move as a group, not as individuals
  • Individuals are respected and listened to by everyone
  • We need together decide if we want to set new vision
  • A common good is more important than individual needs
  • Thinking big means thinking others first
  • Moving from “what is in it for me” towards “what is in for us” and “what is in it for the world”. Keywords here are empathy and compassion.
  • Life is great!

When collectively improving on thinking and in our behaviour, the quality of life for everyone moves to new level. Isn`t that one of the main purposes of our existence?

 

Posted in Behavior, Change, Fun, Leadership, Myths, Radical Coaching | Tagged , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Self-Evaluation and Performance Review

What if combine two things with different purpose into one and the same activity?

combine_formPurpose of Self Evaluation

If I want to improve, grow capabilities, expanding knowledge, challenge behavior, utilize my greatness and in short become a better person it helps to know about myself. Create an awareness of my strength and what I have a desire to improve. In order to succeed being a better person motivation is equally important. Awareness and Motivation is key. As I am more likely to find motivation to change something I identify, it’s more important that it’s my own finding, rather than it’s the absolute most critical one. That is the idea with Self Evaluation.

self-assessment_Homer The purpose is to support you to develop yourself by building self-awareness while maintain motivation to improve.

Purpose of Performance Evaluation

In its best form it’s to find out if all my efforts paid off. Did I get the result I wanted? Any corrections to do to perform better? BUT that is not how it is used most of the time. The most common purpose of performance evaluation is for the employer to set salaries.

Combining the two

So, what is happening if we combine those two in the same activity and dialog with your salary setting manager? I am asked to do a self-evaluation which is the base for performance evaluation which is base for my salary setting. Knowing this self-evaluation is affecting my money – of course I end up in the sell-mode. Time to make a good impression! Not only for the money, it’s also to get my manager to trust me, let me work on interesting assignments. Good for me if my manager knows I’m great.

Normal-distribution

NOW, let me add another observation: In order to base the salaries on the performance evaluation the company sometimes come up with the idea that the result must be according to a certain distribution, i.e. there can only be a certain percentage of top-performers, great-performers and average performers. This have an interesting effect on the self-evaluation and performance reviews.

This is what’s happening

  1. I evaluate myself on the very positive side because I know this affects my salary and my possibilities to work with interesting things. (The purpose is no longer self-development and improvement)
  2. The manager can comment and reflect but as it is an self-evaluation I have the last word and I will hold on to my view.
  3. Now the manager have to bring this self-evaluation and compare it against all others self-evaluations and check it against the company’s distribution of performance reviews.
  4. It may (understatement) turn out that there are too many top and great performers so the manager have to go back to the employee (me) and tell that: “- You thought you were good in this but actually you are NOT.

Result:

  •  No benefit from the self-awareness (as you are in selling mode)
  •  No fair performance evaluation as it is relative to your colleagues
  •  Motivation is probably gone when your manager is telling you are not performing as you think

What will the company gain with a process where you have to tell people they are not so good as they think!? How is it good for the company to let the self-evaluation be useless? Wouldn’t the company perform better if we all thought we were top-notch-great?

TEAM_toppick_cropTo win the World Championship, is it a good strategy by the coach to tell the players that they are not so good as they think they are? Is that how to create a winning team?

Conclusion:
Mixing self-evaluation and performance review into the same activity will most likely have a negative effect on performance.

(There are probably no companies that have this setup, but if they do, I hope they re-think before all talent people are gone.)

/Johan

Posted in agileHR, assessment, awareness, Change, communication, Evaluation, Leadership, Organizaition, Performance Measurement, self-awerness | Tagged , | 2 Comments

Some thoughts about self-assessment

I googled for some ready made question sets about the subject, but could not find any “full set” that would suit my needs. So, here is a collection of questions that You might find suitable for You.

The questions are divided to two parts; first part of the questions are only for You to answer. The second part is a basis for feedback.

I personally tested this set in a “safe environment” with one colleague i trust (we actually answered all of the questions together). Now i have a clear vision for what i should continue on and what i should stop or change.

Here goes:

1. Questions for you to answer about you:

1.a Identify what you like most about your current job

1.b What accomplishment and achievements are you the most proud of this year/period/etc? (It really does not have to be done 100% by you)

1.c Identify the components of your job you would like to change or eliminate. Why?

1.d Can any of those things you want to eliminate or change be translated into a goal for you? List.

2. Questions for yourself AND others

2.a Participation and contribution to the team/community?

2.b Impact on others?

2.c Key development areas?

It took me & my peer 2 hours to answer the questions, and i think it was time well spent.

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Are YOU lean? – The Lean Driving Test

Lean Awareness in Driving

crazy-car-driver

Transforming to Agile and Lean is far beyond changes in methods and processes. It’s equally, if not more, about changes in behavior and culture. A  organizational change or process change is not enough, changes in our self as individuals needs to happen sooner or later. The culture is built on behavior by individuals.

DriverTypes

Well, have you transformed in to a Lean behaving person?

Consider yourself as driver in one of the four cars A-D:

Driver in A:
You are driving exactly as the speed-limit prescribes. No matter if it would be possible and safe to go much faster – you stick to the plan (speed limit). You are still in command and control, a sense and adapt lean person will try to run faster as long it’s not jeopardize safety(or risking a too expensive fine).

Driver in B:
You try to use your engine’s power and the car’s brake capabilities as much as possible. Your go as fast as possible in every second, you try to stick as close as possible to the bumper of the car in front of you. You will have the highest top speed (very occasionally) of all cars at the road. This feels very active and requires you to be on your toes and take active operative decisions every second. You are optimizing on resource usage. You believe pushing the most out of the engine and your brakes is equal to get to your destination as fast as possible. You are one of those that creates congestion and queues out of nothing. The risk to make the system collapse for hours due to car crashes is substantial increased . 

Driver in C:
You avoid to use the breaks. You try to push the engine just enough to leave room between you and the car in front of you so you don’t need to hit the break on the complete journey. Your car is going roughly at the same speed all the way. If the car in front of you keeps the limit, that will be your speed as well. If the car in front of you goes faster – you will. You will keep a distance just to even out the changes in speed the car in front of you might have. You know that the fastest way to get to the destination is not about speed it’s about not to break and keep all cars around you in a steady flow. You got it!

Driver in D:
You just have to rush and overtake C so you can get to the queue a bit earlier and by that gain exactly one position in the queue. You feel the urge to constantly change lanes in queues because the other one seems to go just a bit faster. Too bad all cars going to arrive later to their destinations due to traffic jams and accidents.You are sub-optimizing your own speed at expense of others. The overtake will force others to break, it builds queues, jams and accidents. All cars, including yours, will go slower (but you will arrive ahead of that lazy D-driver). Changing lanes (like moving work from one queue to another) will only increase the queuing time.   

- Are you a Lean behaving driver?
Posted in Agile Thinking, assessment, awareness, Fun, Leadership, Lean, Organizaition, Processes, Risk Management, Transformation, Way if Working | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , | 7 Comments

Another Workshop in introducing Lean&Agile…

PaperArtist_2013-04-25_18-13-15_resizedToo many workshops are held these days with the aim to introduce Lean and Agile ways of working. There are two issues with that, first L&A is not only about ways of working, secondly the aim must be a real gain or a real problem to solve. Lean & Agile as no value on it’s own.  A customer will never pay any extra for a product developed in a certain manner based on certain values, they will pay for the value the product and supplier is giving them.

The problem often arise in the end of such a workshop when there shall be a number of actions created. (Typical for this types of workshops is that it’s success is measured as number of powerful actions) The actions is then often aimed at transforming  into Lean operations or get teams working agile. This without reflecting on the real purpose. What is the expected result from team using scrum? What is the result an organization want to see by adapting a Lean mindset?

Not all Lean & Agile workshop is problematic, it can be very good for education, inspiration and adapt principles and values. When it come to seek actions I recommend to focus on the actual problem or wanted results. Here are some examples on workshops where finding applicable actions is more likely both to find and to be successful:

examples_draw

  • WS on setting goals and targets in-line with lean values and principles
    The lean aspect on this is how we set goals on values and results over performing actions. How we set targets based on throughput and value creation instead of resource utilization. How to avoid that KPI’s drives unwanted behaviors. How we as a leadership team can set the principles and parameters for KPI’s but letting the organization set the values.
  • WS on boosting teams performance using agile
    From Agile and Management 3.0 we can add a lot around motivators for team, self-organizing, what does a high performing Team Environment look like. How should management treat a team to get the most out of it. Team charters and soft characteristics that makes team to hyper perform.
  • WS to increase quality
    From Lean we can learn the stop-the-line mentality, shorten every feedback loop. Look into the journey to Continuous Deployment via Continuous Integration and Continuous Deliveries. In XP we can learn test driven development and a bunch of other tools. 
  • WS on improving a leadership team’s ability to build a good organization
    Applying the high performing team methods and values we derive from agile teams into the leadership team. Lean concepts as pulse meetings and gemba tours, how can they be used? 
  • WS on to get the most out of project managers in an agile development organization
    What is it the teams and development organization needs to get support
    ith from a project manager in an agile environment? Why is it important and what needs to change to get from  “Command, Control and Planning” to “Sense, Adapt and Scenarios”?

…. And on and on, the list can be long.

The recommendation in two statements:

A Workshop in Lean & Agile is for inspiration, education and adapting principles and values

 A Workshop to improve organizations, operations and ways of working should target the wanted result or issue to improve.

PaperArtist_2013-04-25_16-14-13_resized

Posted in Agile Thinking, Change, Coaching, communication, Framework, Leadership, Lean, Organizaition, Processes, Transformation | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Radical Coaching -The Ultimate Gemba

Agile and Lean touches values and principles. However, this is not enough. There is more than meets the eye: people, their emotions and feelings. Radical Coaching is targeted exactly towards this; we need to address our inner self and be able to encounter each other as humans and unique individuals. This approach will provide to us an safe environment where we can start to investigate and understand each other in a new way, and where we can continue to work together with much deeper understanding about us. This will result to a situation and environment where we mutually build and work towards something positive and good. It is the essence of continuous improvement, effective workplace and other aspects that will make the great difference.

“A growing and long-living community which is targeted towards the activists of the organization. The goal is to support and empower individuals, teams and organization with change by new means. One sentence to describe it: The Ultimate Gemba!”

We have been busy. Not “busy, busy” but enthusiastic and involved. The reason is simple, we have started to understand how to move into next level. Learning from past, looking into future but living in the moment. When we look at the world around us it is becoming clear: It is happening now, the new paradigm movement. Movement around leadership and coaching that is based on discussing and listening. Person meeting person, out from the roles and structures. To be honest, this is something way bigger and more fundamental than anything I have witnessed before.

In practice we always start with new (small) group with an intensive session. They usually last 48 hours and require intimacy and devotion. We use some simple models and few basic building blocks, like:

Safety. Without safety there is no trust. Trust means mutual approval: both entities allow each other to enter closer. Build safety in. 

Love. Without caring there will not be world-class products and services. If craftsmen do not love their work there is a small probability that it will be a success. Love is all you need.

Enthusiasm. One needs to be active. Emotions spread around so make sure you have plenty of good emotions around you. Try to keep the spirit of child in you.

Miracles. They are the good deeds we sometimes do. More generally miracle is a positive change towards something better. Miracles only happen in dogma-free zone.

How these intensive sessions are then constructed? For individual: in order to embrace change you have to be ready and willing to take new insight into you. This can be helped through intensive training and deep discussions. This happens always in safe context and positive environment. For group: it is good to have a good mixture of people from different areas, ages and demographics. Group dynamics are shaped in 48hour intensive sessions that are led by trainers. After first session the journey actually starts. We support our growth with Spotify playlist (the same songs that we use in the trainings), Google+ community and of course with refill sessions and intensives. No one is left alone and we help each other out.

This is how “managers” meet with “developers”. This is how “testers” understand “coaches”. It is all very natural, logical and it all fits nicely together. Radical Coaching is about You and Me.

-Henri

Posted in All, Change, Coaching, Leadership, Organizaition, Radical Coaching, Transformation | Tagged , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

The Myths with Alignment

At the moment there is lot of talk within in our great company of the need to align ways of working and tools across the organization.  Alignment is the new black, always political correct to argue. I think it comes from the desire to become a great systems thinking company that makes us scream for alignment. But is alignment a step in right direction? How is alignment really used?

It’s time to look closer at alignments, here are what I like to call “The Alignment Myths”

The Alignment Myths
    • Alignment Translates to “same way”
    • Alignment of Processes Save Costs
    • Alignment Makes Organizational Hand-overs More Efficient
    • Alignment of Tools Saves Costs
    • Alignment Gives Flexibility
    • Alignment Makes All to Work in the Best Way
    • Alignment Makes Control and Decision Easier

Myth: Alignment Means “same way”
Not that much a myth as it is an interpretation issue. Alignment wouldn’t be bad if it meant “make things work together”. Quite common though, is the interpretation that aligning ways of working means working in the same way, not working in different ways and align those. Alignment of tools interprets as using less number of tools, not that many tools shall work smoothly with each other.

Those myths exists mainly because the interpretation Alignment = “decide on ONE process and ONE tool”.

Myth: Alignment of Processes and Way of Working (WoW) Saves Costs
It might, but the real question should be “Does alignment create value?”

What we are learning (slowly) from the lean industry is that optimizing on value and performance (speed, throughput) have a greater meaning than optimizing on costs. At least both cost and value must be taken into account.

To illustrate:

The simple Alignment Justification Formula 

Product A is best developed with method X and creates value as AX
Product B is best developed with method Y and creates value as BY 
Coordination cost of this two different methods is Z 

Letting Product A be developed with method Y (AY) gives 
less value than AX (similar for product B) 

The calculation needed to justify an alignment:      
          AX+BY-Z < AY+BY (or AX+BX)

In words; If the coordination cost is less than the in-efficiency for using a non-tailor made process - Don’t align!

Too often this calculation is ignored and it is assumed that if Z is minimized it is beneficial.

Myth: Alignment Makes Organizational Hand-overs More Efficient
This is partly right, the hand-over may be more efficient but will we create more value? What makes this a myth is the assumption that an efficient hand-over will lead to an efficient development. This is often argued when several flows goes across two (or more) organizations. If everything coming into an organization does that in a similar way it will be more efficient to handle.

The receiving organization (Org.2) sees a great benefit if all flows in the previous step is looking the same as it will be easier to understand and structure the own work. That is correct, it will be easier for the organization, but as the structure above is according to the resource view, it will be an optimization on resources over value creation. In worst case all products may suffer but management of Org2 will sense a gain of efficiency.  Again, check the alignment justification formula!

Myth: Alignment of Tools Saves Costs
If we all can use just one tool we just have to buy one license. Here again we are looking at costs without reflecting on the value a tool is creating. Everybody understands that it’s probably substantial more than one tool required so usually the aim is to reduce number of tools. Let’s look at it from another angle: If it still is a lot of manual work in daily operations then we probably have too few tools. Why not aim to add some?

Myth: Alignment Gives Flexibility
If all teams are working in the same way with the same tools it will be easy to move people around.
Well, if we move people between teams, what will the real issue with performance be? Most likely will the impact from establishment two new teams (“moving from team” and “moving to team”)  overrule the impact from having different tools and methods. If you are a professional in what you are doing you will adapt to processes and tools faster than adapting to your new teams culture and personality. In practice you don’t have more flexibility as it isn’t the bottleneck – team and people are.

Further more is alignment preventing flexibility for making adaptations in processes and ways of working as they need to be hand shaken with several practitioners, often with another view on good adaptation. This myth is not just false it is even exactly the other way around - Alignment prevents flexibility

Myth: Alignment Makes All to Work in the Best Way
This assumes there is one best way of doing things. Most likely what’s best for one situation or product is not necessary best for another. A best way is that it is not necessary a good way, it’s just best.
If we believe in the lean way of improving, there is always a better way and the crucial thing is to have the system for systematic improvements (Kaizen) in place to iterate into a good way.
It is a high risk that the iterations will take longer time when all adaptations and changes must be aligned with all operations - Alignment may slows down continuous improvements

Myth: Alignment makes control and decision easier
A reason mentioned is that steering boards and control function must understand and be able to compare the different operations within the company. As alignment implicates that instead of working in exactly the way a certain work stream requires, it is working according to a trade-off suitable for several work streams. To make it easy and smooth for the management of the work streams but more complicated and inefficient for the people in the work stream. This is optimizing on the support function instead of the value added main flow.

Is it more important that daily life is easy for management or easy for the people working in the value creating flows?

Alignment of values and principles
Well, that’s the alignment that probably makes sense!

Conclusion

  • Alignment in the meaning of making all different ways of working and tools to work together is good
  • Alignment in the meaning of working in the same way, using the same tools is madness
  • Consider value creation, not only cost savings to avoid complete madness. (simple alignment formula)

Picture by tamara

Posted in Agile Thinking, Change, Coaching, Framework, Leadership, Lean, Myths, Organizaition, Processes, Transformation, Way if Working | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , | 4 Comments

Definition of Done for Coaching?

Wikipedia phrases Definition of Done as follows:

The exit-criteria to determine whether a product backlog item is complete. In many cases the DoD requires that all regression tests should be successful.

Probably based on this I have lately been in discussions related to Coaching and DoD. The question that has been put on the table has been: what is the Definition of Done for coaching i.e when coaching is not anymore needed? I have been pretty confused about this and have been trying to think why this kind of angle seems to be very important to some people.

My conclusion is that when someone sees Lean-Agile transformation as a methods and process change this thinking also reflects to coaching. In general a process change has start and end stages. Then you apply the new process for a while and change it again (if there is seen a need). In this perspective I try to understand that this question might be natural to some people who think this way.

For me this is also clear indication that these people have not fully understood the change that Lean-Agile brings to the organizational mindset and culture. In reality the practices/process part is merely a tool that supports bigger, more fundamental change in organizations and especially how they are led. This is the key part that needs to be understood in its entirely before real change can happen. Agile is by nature empirical and has built-in the thinking of continuous improvement. How could continuous improvement have DoD?

Yet another viewpoint is traditional role thinking in large organizations. Usually process thinking implies that role descriptions are described in detail:

Top management must ensure the job responsibilities and authorities are clear defined and communicated to all level of people within the organization (ISO 9001)

Our organization has had a bit different approach into this. We have defined coaching based on the understanding in general agile and lean literature and put focus on the continuous communication and discussion, which is complemented with the nature of complex adaptive systems: you are not able to model it. Nor are you able to document what is a definitive role description for coaches.

To nail it: some people might see coaching as supporting activity during a process (Agile) change. This implies that Lean-Agile thinking has not yet fully reached these people. It is a warning sign to the organizations and to change this we have to apply more coaching.

Coaching is key asset and absolutely critical for modern R&D organizations to succeed on a long term. Coaching brings the values and thinking into the picture and helps organizations and people to overcome traditional process thinking. Many aspects of coaching touch the soft part of systems and organizations: how people interact and how could they continuously improve.

How it is in your organization?

Posted in Agile Thinking, Change, Coaching, Continuous Improvement, Leadership, Lean, Transformation | Tagged , , , , , , , , | 8 Comments