Agile Coaching: The Robots Are Coming!

For a team to perform at the highest level they need the right culture.

Too many teams focus on Agile rituals (like story points and burndown charts) without understanding Agile principles (like self-organising teams, fast feedback and delighting customers).

I believe that every team deserves an experienced coach. To help with this i’m creating an AI product to coach Modern Agile and Lean Startup principles.

Modern Agile

I call it Zenboard. (Demo here).

Here are a couple of examples of what it does…

1. If there is too much work in progress then Zenboard will suggest that you help with that before starting something new.

2. If you start work on a card and it has no details then Zenboard might say, “Not clear what’s required? Conversation beats documentation”.

The secret sauce

1. Create good habits. A key driver of habits is variable rewards. Zenboard embodies variable rewards by sometimes giving simple praise (Good work!), sometimes giving a nudge (How can you get user feedback for this?), and sometimes staying quiet.

2. Timing matters. People are most open to nudges when they are at a pause point, such as having just moved a card into “In progress”.

3. Context matters. Different nudges are relevant depending on wether a card has just been created or is just being moved to “Done”, for example.

4. Conversations matter. We prompt face-to-face conversations where possible. We want people immersed in the team, not the tool.

5. Not just text. Pictures and memes have more impact than just text.

The future

This is just the start. We have big plans to improve our AI coaching!

What do you think? Leave a comment below.

To get started with Zenboard visit our Github page.

 

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Modern Agile made easier

I love Modern Agile.

Modern Agile

I wish that more teams understood it, so i’m buiding a tool to help. It’s called Zenboard.

Here’s how it works…

1. Make People Awesome: collaboration

One of the best ways to make employees awesome is collaboration. Zenboard makes it easier to see where collaboration is needed.

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It’s more flexible than Trello and easier to use than JIRA. (Demo here).

2. Make People Awesome: coaching

Zenboard features AI coaching. Here are a couple of examples…

(1) If there is too much work in progress then Zenboard will suggest that you help with that before starting something new.

(2) If you start work on a card and it has no details then Zenboard might say, “Not clear what’s required? Conversation beats documentation”.

There is no substitute for a human coach, but AI can give simple nudges that promote good habits and a healthy team culture.

3. Experiment & Learn Rapidly

Of course, you need to make not just employees awesome but customers awesome. For this you need to experiment & learn rapidly. You need to focus on outcomes rather than outputs.

Zenboard gives visibility to desired outcomes.

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Zenboard’s AI coaching guides the team to experiment & learn.

4. Make Safety A Prerequisite

Future versions of Zenboard will let people flag safety issues.

5. Continuously Deliver Value

Coming soon. Zenboard will report on the outcome of past work, so it’s clear to the team if they are successfully delivering value or not.

To sum up

Zenboard doesn’t have all the answers, but it can move your team in the right direction.

Caveat: Zenboard is a work in progress!

Do you have an idea for how Zenboard can help with Modern Agile? Leave a comment below.

Give your team superpowers with this awesome team board

Your team can achieve great things.

You don’t need the world’s most talented individuals, but you do need great teamwork.

Leicester famously won the Premier League with teamwork, not individual talent.

You need laser focus, deep collaboration and “user-centricity”.

Zenboard is a new team board that makes all of this easier. (Demo here).

Here’s how…

1. Laser focus

Tools like Trello and JIRA focus on tasks, but businesses are more interested in features and outcomes. Zenboard makes it easy to visualise features and desired outcomes as well as the associated tasks.

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Having a clear goals isn’t enough though, team’s also need an easy way to organise their work.

Zenboard is simpler than JIRA and less restrictive than Trello (and other Kanban boards).

2. Collaboration

Zenboard’s layout makes it easier to see where collaboration is needed.

But Zenboard goes further: AI coaching. Here are a couple of examples…

1. If there is too much work in progress then Zenboard will suggest that you help with that before starting something new.

2. If you start work on a card and it has no details then Zenboard might say, “Not clear what’s required? Conversation beats documentation”.

These are simple nudges that promote good habits and a healthy team culture.

3. User-centric

Zenboard gives desired outcomes more visibility.

Screen Shot 2018-01-01 at 13.59.28

Focusing on outcomes instead of outputs opens more doors for experimentation and learning what your users really want.

This is a key part of the Lean Startup and Modern Agile movements.

Don’t worry if you’re unfamiliar with Lean Startup or Modern Agile, Zenboard’s AI coaching will guide you in the right direction.

To sum up

Zenboard doesn’t have all the answers, but it will move your team in the right direction – focused, collaborative and user-centric.

Caveat: Zenboard is a work in progress!

News: what WON’T change in the next 10 years?

Jeff Bezos says the most important question is, what WON’T change in the next 10 years?(As opposed to the more commonly asked, “what WILL change in the next 10 years”).

What won’t change for news in the next 10 years?

  1. People will still want fresh content on demand
  2. People will still want content that resonates with them
  3. People will still respond to simplicity, unexpectedness, credibility, “concreteness” (not abstractness), emotion and stories. (Made To Stick).
  4. People will still want to feel part of something bigger. (Start With Why).

The most important question you should be asking

From Jeff Bezos via TechCrunch

I very frequently get the question: ‘What’s going to change in the next 10 years?’ And that is a very interesting question; it’s a very common one. I almost never get the question: ‘What’s not going to change in the next 10 years?’ And I submit to you that that second question is actually the more important of the two — because you can build a business strategy around the things that are stable in time. … [I]n our retail business, we know that customers want low prices, and I know that’s going to be true 10 years from now. They want fast delivery; they want vast selection. It’s impossible to imagine a future 10 years from now where a customer comes up and says, ‘Jeff I love Amazon; I just wish the prices were a little higher,’ [or] ‘I love Amazon; I just wish you’d deliver a little more slowly.’

How quickly does the news industry change?

The landscape shifts every two weeks. Here are some of the changes up to August 2017…

What have i missed?

The potential of personalisation

How much could personalisation increase engagement?

Here is my best guess at engagement for 100 stories on a typical news homepage. (I estimate that relevant stories have a CTR of 15% as opposed to 10%).

  • 30 stories relevant tag/category. 4.5 interesting
  • 70 stories not relevant. 7 interesting
  • TOTAL: 11.5 interesting

With a mix of personalisation and curated:

  • 60 stories relevant tag/category. 9 interesting
  • 40 stories not relevant. 4 interesting
  • TOTAL: 13 interesting

That’s an increase of 13%. I’ll update the numbers as i continue to gather data.