Mirror Mirror On The Wall

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About 30 people in a lean startup context, with about one third coming from various internal departments and two thirds from external parties, assembled to completely overhaul the digital experience—website and apps—from a major Dutch company.

Only recently the group is complete, storming towards their goal. Each individual brings her or his own view on agile and lean, resulting in a potpourri of practices, each trying to find the best way to get going.

To streamline all these efforts and embed organizational and practical feedback loops, the group conducts a series of values-based Agendashift experiments. A six week cadence of Agendashift surveys provides the input for regular ‘retroprospection’. The first survey has just been completed.

Based on the survey’s results, a single lean style ‘A3 Mirror’ distills the essence of the first survey. Next survey is in a couple of weeks, and allows the team at large to check their progress in specific areas.

The results of the survey fall into two categories:

  1. Tops
    • key areas that the team sees as their strengths;
    • a simple copy the survey’s prompt.
  2. Tips
    • key areas that can improve the team’s way of working;
    • phrased as “instructions” in order to turn observations into action-oriented language—just like in the patterns of a Pattern Language; and
    • the source for three key objectives to bring focus on what matters most, and candidates to be turned into a limited set of Objective & Key Results.

Wishes for future revisions of Agendashift and the A3 Mirror:

  • generate the A3 Mirror directly from the survey results, facilitating continuous retroprosection or learning;
  • include vector-based charts in the A3 Mirror;
  • maybe just one or two key points per Top and Tip for each of the six focus areas in order to make it even more terse and comprehensive;
  • include a timeline of [[Flower Chart]]s to see the team coming to full blossom.


Flower Chart

Somehow, I always have disliked radar charts. They connect unassociated dots and I find them antique remnants from the past millennium. They yearn for a fresh new look. Pondering and visualizing, I came up with the ‘”’flower chart”’’. The unfolding of the flower shows its gradual development, adds the time laps or ‘Zeitgeist’ to it.

The examples below use the six values of [http://positiveincline.com Mike Burrows]’ [https://www.agendashift.com Agendashift], ”’value-based delivery, change, and leadership”’, based on Agile, Lean, and Kanban.

Depth Flower Shu
Depth Flower Ha
Depth Flower Ri


Supporting external evidence

The Universe on Agile

This just in, a [http://www.tut.com/inspiration/nftu Note from the Universe] captures the essence of agile:

Start it; you don’t have to be fancy.

Keep moving; you don’t have to go crazy.

Visualize; you don’t have to admit it.

See the end result; it doesn’t have to be material.

Expect miracles; they don’t have to be huge.

Pretend you’ve arrived; you don’t have to dance on tables.

And above all else, Martien, have fun.

This is why you started it, right?

Life, what a trip
:—The Universe

Okay, okay, Martien, they can be huge and you can dance anywhere you like… but you might rethink the frilly tutu.

Rehearse to boost adaptive power

Image: Business Insider » Why star US Gen. Stanley McChrystal eats only one meal per day

General Stanley McCrystal from the U.S. Joint Special Operations Task Force in [https://hbr.org/2015/08/what-companies-can-learn-from-military-teams HBR » What Companies Can Learn from Military Teams]:

I still believe in rehearsals, but I’ve learned they have a different value. When I joined the Army Rangers in 1985 we’d rehearse airfield seizure operations—we’d parachute in wearing night vision goggles, and take the field. It’s a pretty complex thing, and we’d do it over and over. We’d have contingencies in case things went wrong, but we were always trying to make things as foolproof as we could.

The longer we did it, the more I realized the value of rehearsal was not in trying to get this perfectly choreographed kabuki that would unfold as planned.

The value of rehearsal was to familiarize everybody with all the things that could happen, what the relationships are, and how you communicate. What you’re really doing is ”’building up the flexibility to adapt”’.

I’ve never been on an operation that went as planned.