Sunday, November 11, 2018

How (not) to measure employee engagement


Want to measure employee engagement? Here is one way how to do it:

1. Measure by a survey sent twice a year
But what if people just happen to have a bit sucky day when answering? It can cause quite a distortion. 

2. Base it on one question that is: how likely is it that you would recommend the whole company as a great workplace
People might be very engaged on their work and/or in their team, while thinking that overall the company is not as good a place to work in.

3. Score based on NPS grading
Using NPS when everybody knows the valuation behind the numbering distorts the overall grade.

4. Say it is voluntary to answer but give a lot of pressure to get a 100% answer rate
Like, why do stuff like this?

5. If the team score is finally too low, threaten it by certain negative actions
I can't even...

(If this sounds a bit too specific to be a general example and more like a real life experience, you might be on to something)


An alternative I might support would be to:

1. Talk to people often. As a group, and 1 on 1. Pay attention to what people say and don't say. Try to be sensitive for bad signals and ask about them. Have a place where people can leave anonymous feedback all the time. And on top if you like to use a survey use a simple one that is asked often (like every week).

2. Be more specific with questions, but also allow open answers. Have discussions.  And ask rather on past experience then future forecasts.

3. Ditch the fake grades. If you really want to simplify employee engagement to three alternatives, go with bad - neutral - good.

4. If someone wants to opt out of the survey, let them. Maybe they are actually engaged in something important and don't want to spend time to answer on yet another fake survey.

5. Use the feedback to what it is meant for. As a trigger to think and ask for suggestions on how we could improve.

Just want the number? Pick one and declare happy,

Really want to improve? Then Do The Work.


Saturday, October 27, 2018

Should testers learn to automate? is the wrong question



Should all testers learn to automate? Or shift left? Or shift right?

Are the wrong questions.

The correct question is, should everyone in the team do what is in the long run the most valuable thing to do for the good of the team & product & customers. 

The answer to that question is Yes.

This is the question you should be pondering, when thinking about what and how to do stuff. 

This is the question you should be pondering, when thinking what you are best at, and how you can best help the team. 

Forget your role. Forget the hype. 

Instead ask yourself, what should I do now that will in the long run provide most value to the team & product & customers.

Then (learn to) do that. And you are going to do great. Now, and in the future.

Sunday, October 14, 2018

Get rid of hierarchy and get less bureaucracy as a bonus.


I've worked in quite a many places, all having different levels of hierarchy and bureaucracy.

I hate that stuff.

If a team needs a tool that they think will help them to do better work, why do a "request" from some manager not let the team decide?

If a team thinks they would benefit of a new coworker, why let a manager decide who and where to hire and not the team.

If team members think they want some yearly reviews, why not let them do those themselves (or just skip those and do something else instead)?

And if there are issues why not let the team sort them out, instead of waiting for a manager to "do their job".

The more I've worked, the more I've started to think that good teams should just be allowed to do all this. Give them the freedom and responsibility, and expect great results. Lead by providing resources, giving feedback, communicating about the vision. Let the team decide what to do, and how to do it. Let people work to their full potential.

Get rid of hierarchy and get less bureaucracy as a bonus <3

Sunday, September 2, 2018

The way our team's work week works



Our normal work week is currently organised like this:

Monday morning, and the #weeklyStartUp

We start the week with a short 15 minute meeting the whole team (20 people) participates, called "The weekly startup". In that meeting we go briefly through our main goals for the week, and decide in which kind of work groups to solve them. People can themselves decide which goals they want to work with, and based on that we decide our work groups.

This goal list is a one page google doc with 5-10 goals, each written in the format of Do what, in order to get why accomplished.

And the goal list is not meant to include everything anybody is going to work on, just the most important goals. We allow and expect people to engage on various other things too, as long as those won't come with a big expense on the main goals.


Monday-Thursday, we work

Work groups have full freedom and responsibility to plan, implement, test, deploy, and communicate what they believe is necessary to accomplish the goal. I usually encourage each group to:
- create a high level plan of what steps needs to happen so that their vision is fulfilled
- visualize and track work in progress in their preferred tool
- do some mob programming OR then sync often

And we have a set of common ideas for group work.

But in the end it is up to each work group to decide how they want to work.


Friday morning, we #showTheTeam

We have a 1 hour meeting called showTheTeam (STT) that is optional but still each team member participates into. Here each work group shows and tells how the goals have progressed, plus anyone can freely show anything else they have done or learned during the week.


Friday afternoon, some #prePlanning

We have a ~1 hour meeting where we try to come up with the goal list for the next week's startup meet. The meeting is also open for all, and usually about half of the team joins. Here we will discuss and debate what we should work on next, with the help of a google doc we call "The list of things", plus people chipping in with other things they think should be done next.


Weekend

Have fun!

And maybe write a blog post...


Our idea of group work



Our team has a practice of dynamically splitting down to work groups to solve different goals. Grouping happens through our normal weekly process, respecting these common ideas:

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1. Each bigger task or project should be done within a work group of at least 2 devs + qa + ba

Because we believe that in the long run it is through teamwork that we can “deliver fast and with good quality every time”

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2. Work group is created based on (suggested) people voluntarily deciding to work on it, but still ensuring enough competence.

Because being able to affect on what you work on is good for your motivation. And motivation is key.

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3. Work group is responsible for deciding, planning, implementing, and releasing the next most important task(s) on the project.

Giving freedom and responsibility to the people who know best.

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4. Planning is done with whole group; when needed, when starting on the next task(s), or if there is a need to do some planning.

“Plans are useless but planning is indispensable”

Planning within group keeps all inline and provides many perspectives.

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5. It is good to have both consistency, but also some variation on the work group (not always the same, but not always different members either) 

Because focus is important. And variation keeps you fresh and away of tunnel vision.

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