Workshops in June

But first, some of what they said about this week’s 2-day Wholehearted:OKR workshop:

  • Loved the focus on outcomes
  • Insights on end-to-end strategy for Agile implementation
  • Learned how to design the process in practice
  • Great new facilitation exercises
  • Lots of new things to try
  • Strategy deployment for Agile ways of working
  • Highly interactive, great mix of presentation and activities

To our surprise, the majority of participants (albeit a self-selected and possibly unrepresentative group) would choose the 2-day online format again – that’s two full days online. We thought that the long-arranged Deep Dive workshop (June 8-9 below) would be last time we would offer this format but we may have to reconsider!

And so to June…

June 4th (2 hours from 10:00BST) Strategic Mapping with Outcomes

This standalone workshop is based on the string of three exercises from the Mapping session of the Deep Dive workshop. There are no prerequisites, but it’s one of two natural followups to the popular Learning the Language of Outcomes workshop. Also, if you’ve attended Agendashift workshops before January last year, it’s your chance to try Option Approach Mapping (the exercise formerly referred to as Reverse Wardley Mapping). No quadrants or clusters will be (ab)used in this workshop!

Limited spaces left.

June 8-9 (2 days, 09-00-17:00CET), Agendashift Deep Dive: Coaching and Leading Continuous transformation

They said a 2-day online workshop couldn’t be done, but (as demonstrated above) it can! We will of course be offering other online formats for our flagship workshop – 8 sessions over 4 days for example – but this way it is at least easy to schedule. Either way, it’s with new content designed especially for online.

For this one and the one below, the Agendashift Delivery Assessment is given as prework so you’d be advised to book at least a week in advance.

June 17 & 18 (Two 2-hour sessions from 16:00BST/11EST): Learning the Language of Outcomes

These are happening with increasing frequency, enough that we can put them on at different times to suit participants in different time zones. June’s will be for the Americas, here meaning that it will be late afternoon UK time – I won’t be checking passports!

June 25th (2 hours from 10:00BST): Stories, hypotheses, and A3

Another short standalone workshop and a natural followup to Learning the Language of outcomes.

This workshop is a standalone Elaboration session from the Core and Deep Dive workshops kicked off with a fun new exercise taken from the Impact! and Wholehearted:OKR workshops. As per Right to Left (of which the audiobook edition came out only last weekend), we move easily between stories of various kinds – including but not limited to user stories and job stories – and hypotheses, then develop them Agendashift-style with our Experiment A3.

Hope to see you at one (or more!) of these, and keep an eye on the events calendar for July and August, a couple of exciting things in store for Asia and the Americas.


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Two months in

Correction: Two months, not three. Feels like longer! And let me now (May 15th) preface it with something I posted yesterday on Facebook and LinkedIn:

I have fully embraced this online thing. Not for the first time, 3 continents – this time Europe, Asia, and Australasia – were represented in my workshop this morning, and the thought of doing that by plane like I used to suddenly appalls me. Even putting to one side the shielding issue (I have a vulnerable family member), that kind of travel will for me and I guess many others be the exception, not the norm, perhaps forever. And no bad thing either

It’s three two months since I got back from an Agendashift Deep Dive workshop in Malmö, Sweden. Arriving home after midnight, I gave the house a miss and headed straight to the “studio” (a nicely-converted double garage, my office by day and self-contained living accommodation for us when we have carers in for our daughter) and a week of solitary quarantine. Comfortable enough but weird! A couple of weeks later the UK was officially in lockdown, but for my wife and I the strategy was already clear: for our medically vulnerable daughter’s sake, catching the virus wasn’t an option.

I’m well used to working from home and am well set up for it. I’m fully reconciled to travelling very much less than before, if at all. I’m embracing a strategic shift here: instead of holding out for a return to how things were, Agendashift is (to borrow a phrase) digital by default. If physical presence is the exception (and perhaps a rare one), we design for online first.

Those Powerpoint decks? Screen-sharing a slide-based presentation over Zoom isn’t a great look, and the transitions between that and conversational group work is jarring, to put it mildly. They’ve been relegated to design documentation, just a tiny and steadily diminishing fraction of slides finding their way into other, more collaborative media. Out with my material, in with your shared workbooks.

In some ways it’s liberating. In the past week or so I’ve done whole workshops without sharing my screen even once. Similarly, a whole meetup without slides, live-chatting a few prepared quotes, links, and instructions for breakouts – definitely doing that again!

There will be things that I’ll miss about the old way, but having concluded that it’s a fool’s errand to try to replicate it faithfully online, I’ve moved on. Online is different. We’re making it work. We’re taking advantage of its advantages (and they’re real), minimising its weaknesses (yes they’re real too). We’re digital by default, online first, and honestly, that’s ok.

PS: While we’re here (it’s kinda related, in that the tech of online transported me temporarily to New Zealand), I was interviewed for the Joekub podcast early morning UK time last Saturday. Listen to it here:

And a nice bit of feedback:

I also have a friend who loved the podcast, bought Right to Left and she said she would start explaining agile in a different way now 😀

Related:


Upcoming workshops (all online of course)

With yours truly unless otherwise indicated:

For the latest workshop and speaking events check the Agendashift events calendar.


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New online workshops added to a reorganised portfolio

Update 20/4: Make that three new workshops, with dates for the first two (the third is currently private-only):

There are additional dates for Learning the language of outcomes also.


Rather than post the next installment in the Doing Agendshift Online series this week, it seemed sensible to wait until after next week’s public workshop and after that share some of the new things we’re trying.

Meanwhile, far from using this enforced period online as an excuse to withdraw, we’ve been working hard to round out the overall offering. The result: twothree new short training workshops (both of them online-first of course), triggering a reorganisation of the portfolio.

One wholehearted engagement model, three workshop families:

  1. The transformation strategy workshops that we’re best known for
  2. The outside-in strategy workshops that take us deeper into strategy deployment  – still highly compatible with Lean and Agile but less about them
  3. A set of complementary short training workshops, more skills-focussed than organisation-focussed

With the twothree new short training workshops, Mapping with Outcomes, Stories, Hypotheses, and A3 and Implementing your OI-SDR (more on those in a moment), this structure doesn’t seem like overkill. Here’s the relevant bits of sitemap:

The workshops:

  1. Transformation strategy – Core, Applied, and Deep Dive:
  2. Outside-in strategy – OI-SR (the generic platform on which the other two are built), Impact!, and Wholehearted:OKR:
  3. Short training workshops – one to two online sessions of up to 2 hours each:

The twothree new short training workshops

We’ve been doing Learning the language of outcomes online since last summer (see the calendar below for dates, with more added recently). The first of the three new additions is a natural follow-on to that:

It covers the following:

  • A quick reprise of Plan on a Page, the simple visualisation used in Discovery
  • The “string” of exercises defined for the Mapping activity, each exercise valuable both in its own right and for making its successor easier:
    • The Cynefin Four Points Contextualisation exercise, introduced under the pseudonym Option Approach Mapping
    • Option Relationship Mapping, previously known as Reverse Wardley Mapping
    • Pathway Mapping (User Story Mapping meets Reverse STATIK)
  • An introduction to Changeban and its simple kanban system for managing a portfolio of experiments

Then comes Stories, Hypotheses, and A3. In framework-speak, this is Elaboration as standalone workshop. This covers:

  • Stories, authentic situations of need, and hypotheses “hard” and “soft”
  • Just-in-time option selection
  • Generating and selecting solution ideas
  • Framing solution ideas as hypotheses
  • Developing solution ideas with the Agendashift Experiment A3 Template
  • Portfolios of experiments

Its first public outing will also be in June:

The third addition, Implementing your Outside-in Service Delivery Review (OI-SDR) complements the strategy workshops. It’s about how you set yourself up for success, before or after the strategy workshop – ie groundwork or follow-through – or as a standalone exercise in organisation design. Its agenda will resonate with anyone who has read Right to Left:

  1. Thinking in circles:
    • Interlinked circles of responsibility
    • Concentric circles of alignment
  2. Metrics:
    • Performance measures
    • Health indicators
  3. Stories, hypotheses, and experiments:
    • Framing for maximum learning
    • Focussing for maximum leverage
  4. The nuts and bolts of the OI-SDR meeting:
    • Agenda:
      • Outside in (customer & environment first), then
      • Right to left (outcome first)
    • Protocols, participation, and preparation

Initially at least, we’ll be offering this workshop only privately before deciding whether (and how) to make it available publicly. Do this workshop with your colleagues and you will be well on your way to implementing your own OI-SDR successfully. With that, you will be building into your organisation design some powerful expectations: that experimentation will always be happening, that the strategy will be advancing, that service continues to improve, and that intelligence and insights will be shared – all of this in a structure specifically designed to create leadership opportunities and to cause misalignments to reveal themselves.

Finally, a reminder that we make all our workshop materials available to partners for use with their clients. It’s easy and inexpensive to join; details here.

Upcoming online workshops

All online, and all with your truly (Mike Burrows) unless otherwise specified:

For the latest workshop and speaking events check the Agendashift events calendar.


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Doing Agendashift online (4 of n): Ideal, Obstacles, Outcomes (IdOO)

The time to take a close look at 1) your strategy and 2) your ways of working is now. You need to do those together – integrated, wholeheartedly, no half measures. The place to do it is online. We’re here to help you.

This is #4 in a series of unspecified length, covering ways you can do Agendashifty things online (we have plenty of practice). And here, we really get to the heart of things.

Followers of this blog will know that 15-minute FOTO is our Clean Language-inspired coaching game, one of the highlights of any Agendashift workshop. You might even have guessed that this would be the 15-minute FOTO installment. You’re not wrong exactly, but first let’s see it in context.

Here it is in the Discovery session of the classic Core, Applied, or Deep Dive workshop, chapter 1 of the Agendashift book:

Idoo-Discovery

Same workshops, same book, but session/chapter 2, Exploration:

Idoo-Exploration

And now the Wholehearted:OKR workshop, different book (Right to Left), and the session Outside-in review (I):

Idoo-Wholehearted-OKR-outside-in-review-I

And session Outside-in review (II):

Idoo-Wholehearted-OKR-outside-in-review-II

Even if 1) the slides didn’t give the game away already and 2) I told you that there are two different flavours of 15-minute FOTO here and that sometimes we use a different tool entirely, you’d have no trouble recognising that there’s a pattern here.

I’m calling that pattern IdOO:

idoo-2020-03-25

Doing IdOO online

See the past installment 2. Celebration-5W to understand how we facilitate online at least one of the ways we can can establish some business context ahead of any reflection.

See 3. The assessments for how participants prioritise the assessment prompts on which they will reflect. For Discovery, it’s even simpler: just share the Agendashift True North (see the Resources section below).

Then (and you’ll find these questions in the True North deck):

  • When this is working at its ideal best for you, what’s that like?
  • And when that’s happening, what new stories could you tell?

Those questions work really well 1-2-4-All style as described in the assessments installment – individual silent reflections followed by pairwise, table group, and debrief conversations (a good test of your breakout room skills if you’re using Zoom).

That’s IdOO’s Ideal reflection part done. Easy!

To identify Obstacles:

  • What stops that? What gets in the way?

(See also The language of outcomes: 2. Framing obstacles)

Again, that’s straightforward enough. And again, 1-2-4-All works really well, except that this time those obstacles will need to be captured somehow when the conversation gets to table group level. Google Docs works great, but you’ll want to get documents set up and distributed ahead of time.

To generate Outcomes, you could just ask these questions with respect to the obstacles just captured:

  • What would you like to have happen? (or your favourite equivalent)
  • Then what happens? (asked a few times perhaps)

Even online, that’s temptingly easy. That would however be a huge opportunity missed. Instead of you asking the questions, how about your participants coach each other? That’s what 15-minute FOTO does, and both editions of the game (Lite and Classic) have versions specifically tailored for online use.

In some ways the online version is more efficient, with everyone joining in to help with the scribe’s task of capturing outcomes, clients as well as coaches able to refer to the notes (these roles rotate by the way). Especially if you’re facilitating it for the first time, don’t be afraid to join in – the Lite edition in particular includes a familiarisation phase.

Next time (not Monday, it being Easter) we’ll look at different ways those generated outcomes can be organised online.

Resources

All of these are open source (CC-BY-SA):

Become a partner for both the integrated workshop materials and the ability to administer the assessments described in the previous installment.

And the two books:

Upcoming online workshops


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Doing Agendashift online (3 of n): The assessments

The time to take a close look at 1) your strategy and 2) your ways of working is now. You need to do those together – integrated, wholeheartedly, no half measures. The place to do it is online. We’re here to help you.

This is #3 in a series of unspecified length, covering ways you can do Agendashifty things online (we have plenty of practice).

Here we look at Agendashift’s assessments, which have been online since the beginning. If ever you’ve been surveyed by email and Excel, you’ll know why we do it online; if you’re still doing it like it’s 1999, shame on you!

You can easily adapt the advice given here if you want to use the assessment for coaching purposes. Considerations for online workshops:

  1. How & when to send out the survey
  2. Delivering the survey debrief
  3. Facilitating the followups

That last consideration is a big enough topic that it will spill over into the next installment. Here we’ll cover things specific to the assessment itself.

1. How & when to send out the survey

I’ve not written about the assessment tool as much as I could and should – quite apart from its specific role in the workshop of helping people to identify areas of opportunity, it does a great job of setting the tone for the workshop or coaching engagement. And it’s a door-opener!

In its wording, we’ve taken great care to avoid prescription. People don’t respond well to anything that feels like coercion, and dialling back on the jargon means that it works in a wide range of contexts (some of our best experiences have been outside of technology teams) and opens up the broadest range of possibilities.

Some partners have reported good results from capturing survey input through a facilitated group exercise. Personally, I don’t do that, for fear 1) of sucking the energy from the room and 2) of depriving ourselves of the widest range of responses. That said, conducting the survey via a series of private one-to-one conversations does work really well.

Doing it one-to-one when you’re physically in the same room, handy tip #1 is to open the survey’s sharing link in a private browser window (an ‘Incognito’ window in Chrome). You slide your laptop over to your counterpart, they sign themselves up, and you take notes as they provide “as little or as much commentary as they like” as they complete their assessment. Online, just share the link – via Zoom’s chat feature, say – and have them complete their assessment whilst sharing their screen. Easy!

Tip #2: If you’re surveying a lot of people, and only some of them are through these one-to-one conversations, ‘tag’ the sharing link for each population group so that you can slice and dice the results afterwards. We find that leadership teams (for example) tend to score the assessment more strictly (lower, in other words), making them a good baseline for comparison with other groups.

For those larger populations, here’s a typical email invitation:

At the link below is the prework for <event>. Before you begin, decide on a scope – your team or something bigger – and stick to it; trust me that any differences in scope or scale will be not be an obstacle when we review the full survey results together.

If any of the prompts strike you as particularly important for discussion, please ‘star’ them when you get to the review page at the end. We ask that you limit yourself to a maximum of 6 stars, eg 3, 2, 1 for your top 3 priorities or 1 star each across 6; the tool will warn you if you go over this limit.

Please do your best to complete by <date> to give us time to print the handouts with the survey results. Thank you!

I like to send this out a week in advance. Of course for online workshops we won’t be relying on the printed handouts referred to in the last paragraph so the timing is slightly less constrained, but still you want to allow enough time both for responses and for a polite nudge or two if you’re not seeing the expected response rate.

2. Delivering the survey debrief

This part hardly changes. The debrief is already done via a browser-based report designed for projection, so just share your screen and you’re away. It’s a single page app that responds to your keyboard, mouse, or presentation clicker. The report starts high level – the aim being to get everyone comfortable and recognising their own data – and finishes on the prompts with the widest range of scores, where you’ll have the interesting discussions.

Tip #3: Remember the “brief” in “debrief”. Better too fast than too slow; participants will have plenty of opportunity to interact with the content afterwards.

Tip #4: Remember that it’s not your job to provide a diagnosis but to facilitate a conversation. Calibrate any commentary carefully. Agreement on outcomes is the most powerful for enabler for strategic change that we know; it’s why Agendashift exists, and the assessment and the followups are designed with that in mind. Don’t undermine it!

3. Facilitating the followups

Group work starts with prioritising the assessment prompts, each table group choosing a shortlist of prompts for further discussion, prompts that help to identify areas of opportunity. 5 prompts per table group works well.

I like to facilitate this 1-2-4-All style:

  • 1: On their own, silently, participants choose their top 3
  • 2: In pairs (or threes, as necessary) , a conversation to arrive at a joint top 4
  • 4: In table groups, agreement on a combined top 5
  • All: A quick whole group debrief

Each of those steps suitably timeboxed.

Tip #5: if you’re using breakout rooms in Zoom (a great feature), remember that anything you’re sharing on-screen will disappear when participants move to their pairs, threes, or table groups. Clear instructions and the availability of all necessary resources are both essential. To that end, each page of the debrief (the one below, for example, or the pages designed for printing) has a shareable URL.

Screenshot 2020-03-25 09.06.37

What happens next isn’t specific to the assessment and I’ll save for next week’s installment what turns out to be a key pattern and well worth covering on its own. So watch this space!

Two things to leave you with meanwhile:

1. Ways to access the assessment:

  1. The Agendashift global survey, with a mini (18-prompt) version of the assessment
  2. The free trial – also the mini version, surveys limited to up to 10 people
  3. Through the partner programme, access to the full range of templates (including the main 42-prompt assessment), size restrictions removed:
    1. Engage one of our partners to administer a survey on your behalf; most would also be delighted to do the surrounding facilitation
    2. Become a partner yourself  – access not just the assessment tool but all our materials too

2. Upcoming opportunities to experience Agendashift online:

 


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Doing Agendashift online (2 of n): Celebration-5W

The time to take a close look at 1) your strategy and 2) your ways of working is now. You need to do those together – integrated, wholeheartedly, no half measures. The place to do it is online. We’re here to help you.

This is #2 in a series of unspecified length, covering ways you can do Agendashifty things online. Here we look at Celebration-5W, the exercise I’ve used at or near the beginning of nearly every workshop I have conducted in recent years, and (accordingly) the exercise that opens chapter 1 of the Agendashift book. It’s open source (CC-BY-SA license), one of several such resources you can access here.

From the Celebration-5W page:

Celebration-5W is the first of Agendashift’s Discovery exercises. We have now made it available under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike license; not only can you view the deck here (embedded from Slideshare), you can request the original source .pptx files for incorporation with your own material or adaptation to your needs.

Celebration-5W is a time travel exercise, typically focussed on a celebration several months into the future. It is typically used at the start of a workshop, retrospective, or chartering exercise to create some shared business context. Everything else we go on to discuss should in some way help us to achieve the things we identify here.

You can see it in action 6 minutes into the video on the 15-minute FOTO page.

Celebration-5W is easy to facilitate online. Just as with doing it in person, there are two main considerations. The technology may have some influence on your choices:

  1. Is this a whole room exercise, or do we work in small groups (table groups in person, breakout rooms online)?
  2. Fancy template, or “Put your paper in portrait mode, the five headings down the page”?

Doing this in person with 6 or more people, I have a strong preference for working in table groups, debriefing each group one at a time afterwards if there aren’t too many of those, a small number of groups volunteering otherwise. This way, you learn a lot from the alignment (or otherwise) of outputs. That said, some facilitators report good experiences doing this as a whole room exercise, so take your pick. Online, your level of comfort with managing breakout rooms will no doubt be a factor (and I’ll mention some gotchas next time), perhaps favouring the whole room experience.

Working in person, I have used Mike Haber’s template ever since he contributed it. Doing it in person isn’t an option right now, but for when that opportunity returns it’s easy enough to draw by hand, and the Celebration-5W Dropbox includes pptx and pdf files you can print (I print them on A3 paper).

Online, a couple choices:

  • Replicate Mike’s template in your favourite online whiteboarding tool (eg Miro)
  • In Google Docs (or equivalent), the 5W headings – Who, What, Where, When, and Why – down the page (or pages or docs plural, for multiple groups)

I like Miro, but given that this is usually the kickoff exercise, I stick with the option familiar to the most people, Google Docs. In fact, in the Agendashift Online workshop (see below), Zoom and Google Docs is all the technology needed for the entirety of the first two-hour session.

All pretty straightforward, so give it a try! Including how access the Dropbox, there’s more on Celebration-5W here.

I leave you with some upcoming opportunities to experience it online:

Next: Doing Agendashift online (3 of n): The assessments

Celebration-5W-template-2019-03-v1


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