agile journeys

...rants by Asheesh Mehdiratta on Transformation and Change

Category: learning

Are you learning from your failures?

failureIf you are a Star Wars fan, and have watched the latest movie The Last Jedi, you would have been struck by the sudden appearance of Yoda, the ‘Grandmaster’ of the Jedi order, and talking to Luke Skywalker about failures.

Yoda explains to Luke, the Last Jedi, that failure is a good teacher, and we must learn from our mistakes!

“The greatest teacher, failure is.”  – Yoda

In the real world,  some teams will fail at various stages in their transformation journey, and others may falter multiples times, before they finally succeed. It is never an easy straight line from point A to point B.

But as a Leader of teams, how do you treat these failures?

Do you reflect on the failures with the team and have an open discussion without any blame?

or Do you punish them for the failure?

Do you ask the question – What have we learnt from this failure?”

If you are aiming to build self managed teams, who can truly recognize their weaknesses and strengths, then it is important to let them fail and learn from their mistakes. It is important that they can do safe experiments, and design a better outcome, and solutions that delights the users.

To help, it would be good to look at Etsy’s culture of running ‘Blameless postmortems’, which talk about “what” happened? and how we can systematically remove the constraints so that human error can be reduced, instead of ‘blaming’ the person.  This is a powerful shift in the mindset and triggers a behavioral change in your teams.

But if as a Leader, you continue down the path of measuring failures, and then punishing the team, the organization culture becomes risk-averse. Teams will then not be ready to take risks, think outside the box, or have crazy ideas, and it would dampen the innovative mindset and creativity that we all humans possess.  You will never learn from your failures.

Conclusion:

To learn from failures is a key trait for successful teams. Even the famed Luke Skywalker had to be reminded by the Yoda, that failure is the greatest teacher!

So, if you can change your behaviors and are ready to take risks, with known constraints, then you will start looking at failures as learning opportunities and of course Yoda would be really proud of you!

So go ahead and ask your teams to share – what has been their biggest learning opportunity in the projects/products that you develop and support? go ahead and conduct the ‘Blameless postmortems’ and you would be surprised pleasantly.

You can subscribe to this blog , and would encourage you to share your stories and your feedback here.

 

Are you Learning and sharpening your Axe?

learning As you run your daily grind, do you reflect and think about your Own Development? Or do you let your circumstances dictate your agenda? and drown your Development needs? As the famous woodcutters story goes, do you sharpen your Axe? Or do you keep on doing the same thing, same process, same boring steps everyday? Or Do you Take a step back, and Reflect? do you LEARN? and really ask yourself if I have sharpened my Axe or not?

Sharpening my Axe – My 2017 Learning’s

For me, I personally learnt quite a lot during 2017, and build up on my knowledge base, and interacted with peers across the industry.

1. LeSS is more!

It was a pleasure to listen and learn the thinking behind LeSS (Large Scale Scrum), straight from the creators (Bas Vodde) himself, and become one of the LeSS converts ‘officially’  [Certified LeSS Practitioner]. The discussions and the learning’s from Bas, were extremely valuable and opened the realm of Systems Thinking and the organisational inertia’s and how “DeScaling” your organization makes the real difference.

If you have not heard of Larman’s Laws of Organizational Behavior, then you have missed something…..

My desire for LeSS is now more than ever !! 

2. FLOW rules !

The most amazing experience this year was listening to Don Reinertsen, author of FLOW, 2nd Generation Lean Product Development.

I regard Don R as the final frontier in the WHY? Scrum works and what are the pitfalls, and it was great to be able to survive the intense class (face to face) with Don early this year. Don is an inspiration to many of the agile gurus and when you have the grand master himself talking within 2 feet, it is an exhilarating experience!

The jam packed master class answered many of my misconceptions, on Cost of Delay, Cycle Time and simply opened my eyes to the science behind the various agile methodologies.

In the end FLOW has been on top of my mind ever since that class 😀

3. Local Meetups

The local meet ups in Bangalore have a very vibrant buzz, and I could make myself join few AWS and Docker meet ups, which really showed how the tooling is miles ahead, while the corporate honchos are still debating – What is the definition of DevOps ?

🙄  Sad but true!

The community showed that the younger generation has not seen the archaic desktop based applications and are pleasantly exposed to only the continuous delivery model, with continuous deployments on the cloud in matter of seconds. Microservices, MicroApps, Microbots are ensuring the death of monolith Architecture.

Breath of fresh air I must say!

 

My Community Contributions: using my Axe

To contribute back to the community, I had to push myself by signing up to present at 2 different forums this year, which I thoroughly enjoyed.

1. Global DevOps Summit as a Speaker

The exciting trip to Pune took me to the Global DevOps Summit as a Speaker, and allowed me to share my DevOps experiences. It was a pleasure to also learn and understand from the various speakers, how they were moving forward in their journeys.

You can find my presentation and summary notes, if you wish to know what I had presented and learned.

2. Self organizing Gamestorm as a Speaker

As a LeSS practitioner myself,  the self organisation principles always bring great joy to me.

The speaker forum from Scaling Agile Institute offered me a platform to show the ‘self designing’ team formation, as a game. It was an fun filled experience for the attendees and you could feel the high energy, and the belief in them that self organisation is indeed a reality.

You can find my presentation here, and the meetup here.

In the end, 2017 has been an exciting year, full of learning’s and new observations and experiences. I have tried to Sharpen my Axe, and would love to know what have you done to Sharpen your Axe, and feel free to share your learning’s this year.

If you like what you read here, then do subscribe to my blog , and feel free to share your feedback in the comments below.

Fresh Innings !

To my readers, this spot should mark a new beginning, for my rants and opinions on all things active in my world related to agile, lean, devops, change, digital, leadership, and much more,  and (hopefully) frequent than my earlier sputtering’s on blogspot for last 8 years…. Hope to learn and trigger some thoughtful conversations!

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