Humor | Quarantine Diaries (excerpt): Pseudo Scrumban for the win!

Quarantine Diaries (excerpt): Pseudo Scrumban for the win!
Yours Truly | April 2020

Perhaps you wonder how to conciliate the desires of achievement of your significant other and the desires of cyber-nonchalance of a pair of young twenty something male specimens… perhaps not. Either way, I would like to share a modest success story, thanks to the delicate introduction of Agile to my family in these viral times.

Context: stuck at home, good project ideas, very different levels of motivation & support, many arguments, very emotional ambiance… in other words, a normal family.

Idea: Wondering if I could put my skills to the test to channel the emotions to avoid future explosion and get somethings done, all in a positive atmosphere. I even imagined potential proactivity, because I am an optimistic individual.
I came up with a completely twisted adaptation of stuff we all know and use, that I call “Pseudo Scrumban”.

Pseudo Scrumban

This is essentially documentation, as the notion of Sprint is humoristic at best in a confined environment. It is probably closer to a Marathon, if not an Ultra Marathon (this is being written on our sixth week).

Document #1 = Maintenance = Chart with list of daily & weekly chores that must be done around the house. Volunteer basis, first come first serve. When something is done, owner writes initial in the date column.

This is managed as its own independent project. Objective is to just get things done and not think about it. Took about 1 week to implement smoothly. Currently works.

Examples of Chores: load dishwasher, unload dishwasher, make lunch, make dinner, trash, recycle…

Document #2 = List of Projects (Pseudo Backlog) = as it name implies, this is the list of projects that are being considered. Each project must be divided into segments or steps (Pseudo PBIs), each corresponding to a post-it.

Examples of Projects: power wash house, repaint bedroom, repaint corridor, repaint stairway, repaint shed…

Document #3 = Projects Kanban Chart = basic, 3 columns: To Do / Doing / Done. When a Project from #2 is approved and ownership of tasks is clear, the post-its are set in the To Do column.

Ceremony = Daily Stand Up = classic, timeboxed, unemotional. Each takes a turn to talk briefly about (1) What was done yesterday (good time to update the Post-Its accordingly, on the fly), (2) What is planned for today (3) Eventual Issues.

Ceremony = AdHoc Meeting = non timeboxed meeting, where emotions are acceptable, to discuss anything.

Bottomline = This was implemented after two weeks of frustration. It took a week to get the Maintenance part up and rolling and it has flown rather smoothly since.
The Projects part worked better than expected, as there has been very little issues since we have been using this. Even the kids told me “wow, that actually works!”.

The Post-Its:

  • helped break down Projects into small and simple tasks
  • these tasks were easier to dispatch according to skills & availability
  • were perfect to adapt to the required flexibility imposed by random reasons
  • showed that a lot of things were getting done (bonus significant other points)
  • reassured that Projects were participative (bonus kid points)

Mens sana“… This has helped us go through these six weeks of confinement without losing our minds. We even have the satisfaction of having done things.

Build your own toolset easily = Design a few spreadsheets and print them out (letter-size works fine), put them on the fridge door with magnets, get some Post-Its (mini for letter-size printouts), set up a time for the Daily Stand Up time and smoothly bring your team to life and enjoy getting things done in a saner ambiance. There is no magic, it takes dedication, but take your time, be very flexible, good luck and stay safe!

Pseudo Scrumban, a family saver! 🙂

Remote | ZDNet Special Feature: Working from Home: The Future of Business is Remote

ZDNet Special Feature: Working from Home: The Future of Business is Remote
ZDNet | Undated

(…) From Fortune 500 enterprises to very small businesses, every organization has been thrust into the future faster than prognosticators dared dream. What factors will determine failure or success in this brave new world of work?

A variety of topics related to “Working from home: the new normal”. Each topic has its article with interesting ideas and perspectives, tools & tips. List of topics:

  • Work from home 101: Essential tools for telecommuting
  • What does the new normal look like post COVID-19? 15 CXOs answer
  • Everything you need to reopen your business
  • How remote working forced us to look beyond the traditional PC
  • Survey: Most US employees are uncomfortable returning to the workplace as restrictions ease
  • How the young workforce is responding to COVID-19 pandemic
  • Your Zoom meetings will be safe and secure if you do these 10 things
  • ZDNet Recommends: The best products for every office
  • Remote-working checklist: 10 top challenges you’ll face
  • Survey: CFOs looking to make remote work, telecommuting more permanent
  • Windows 10 alert: Zoom client can leak your network login credentials
  • I’ve been working from home for 13 years and I’m beginning to hate it
  • 9 remote work best practices from Verizon’s HR chief
  • Working from home on a laptop? Check out these external monitors
  • How one team switched 4,000 staff to remote working in just a week
  • Could COVID-19 change the look of the office as we know it?
  • With everyone working from home, VPN security is now paramount
  • Best video conferencing software for business
  • Coronavirus updates: How COVID-19 is accelerating the future of work
  • 64 expert tips for staying healthy, happy, and productive
  • Build a super-functional home office for $1,000
  • Slow Wi-Fi? 8 ways to speed up your home office network
  • Managing telecommuters? Here are 8 management tips
  • Hardware dilemma: Desktop or laptop with docking station?
  • Working from home? Switch off Amazon’s Alexa (say lawyers)
  • Your home Wi-Fi network is going to be exposed by telecommuting
  • Build a budget home office for under $300
  • Working from home: Cybersecurity tips for remote workers

Author = ZDNet

Remote | Remote Work VS Distributed Work

The crucial difference between remote work and distributed work
Work In Progress Dropbox Blog | April 03, 2020

Remote work is a discipline for the individual worker, but distributed work is a discipline for the entire organization.

Distributed work needs different tools
Distributed work needs a new social contract
Distributed work needs a more agile org chart
Distributed work needs a smart workspace

Author = Anthony Wing Kosner

Inside the Story of How H-E-B Planned for the Pandemic

Inside the Story of How H-E-B Planned for the Pandemic
Texas Monthly | March 26, 2020

(…) The grocer started communicating with Chinese counterparts in January and was running tabletop simulations a few weeks later. (But nothing prepared it for the rush on toilet paper.)

A fantastic read on how a company – H-E-B, based in San Antonio, TX – proactively prepared for the COVID-19 crisis, learning from past experience and focusing on best possible practices at all levels.

Before the Outbreak
Preparing Employees
Command Central
Trying to Keep Up
The Great Unknowns
Lessons Learned

Authors = Dan Solomon & Paula Forbes (Texas Monthly)

Transitioning Teams as a Manager

Transitioning Teams as a Manager
Chase Seibert Blog | September 3, 2019

The manager should try to minimize that uncertainty for the team. Still, it’s natural for people to evaluate whether they still want to be on the team. Why?

Change is Scary
Consistent Message
Build Relationships

Conclusion: Remember that this is a natural time for team members to re-evaluate whether they still want to be on this team. Minimizing change and building trust quickly will help, but it may also make sense to allow mentally for some neutral attrition during this period.

Author = Chase Seibert (Dropbox)