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Exercise:: The mythical benefits of Multi-Tasking

Many people are great multitaskers... why isn't everyone?  Well it may come down to the perceptions of the actor - not the observer.  I've been asked for exercises that will demonstrate this benefit perception dissonance.

Quick Overview

Time three people perform simple tasks (sequential): recite the alphabet, count to 100 by 3s, name the colors of the rainbow in order 3 times.  (one sequencing task at a time - measure the cumulative time of all 3 tasks)

Now introduce a Switcher (4th volunteer) when they call out "SWITCH" the people change task (the person reciting the alphabet, switches to pick up the counting by 3s, who switches to naming the colors, who switches to the alphabet, etc.  The Switcher should have at least 4 switches before the crew finishes all tasks.  Measure the cumulative time.

I suggest they perform the task visibly in front of the observers, by writing on a whiteboard their task.  This allows for the whole group to share the experience, and observe…
Recent posts

The 3 Laws of Clown Nose

Agile Games conference is a laboratory of  experiential experimental education - also know by the name learning.

Having supplied the clown noses to the conference for a few years now, I'm setting down the laws - the behaviors one can commonly observe in correlation to the clown nose phenomenon.

The  (3)  Laws of Clown Nose

1- Clown Nose has Inertia, people desire for our clown nose (culture) to remain the same, to stay consistent - why?  I feel it's because "fitting in", that desire that many of us have is going to be easier if the cultural expectations remain constant.

2 - Once applied - one does not discuss Clown Nose.  This law comes from deep within the Matrix, "there is no spoon" - not from Fight Club. [ hat tip to Richard Kasperowski ]

3 - Clown Nose results in oppositional forces to unique and challenging behaviors.  Not always equal and opposite as in physics, yet the stronger the clown nose (cultural norm), the more equal - your results may vary.



New…

Committed Sardines Game

The Committed Sardine By Ian Jukes 
A blue whale is the largest mammal on earth. The adult blue whale is the length of 2½ Greyhound buses and weighs more than a fully loaded 737. A little known fact is that a blue whale is so large that when it decides to turnaround, it can take 3 to 5 minutes to turn 180 degrees in the opposite direction.

As a result, some people have drawn a strong parallel between blue whales and our school system. It just seems to take forever to turn them around. There as some people who just don’t believe the public school system can be turned around.

But compare the way a blue whale turns around (slowly) with how a school of. . . Sardines – which is the same or even greater mass than a blue whale. . . A school of sardines can almost turn instantly around – how do they do it?

The answer is simple. If you take a careful look at a school of sardines you will notice that although all the fish appear to be swimming in the same direction, at any one time, there will b…

Team Performance vs CI Check-in

What - if any - is the correlation of the frequency and style of Continuous Integration "check-in" and team performance in Software Development?

Should these two behaviors be linked in any way?  I believe there will be a high correlation - pondering if it has been studied.

Why should these two behaviors have a positive correlation?  Because they both reflect collaboration, and commitments to the goal.

Dave Farley's post
Continuous Integration and Feature Branching got me pondering this...  read it and let's discuss.
See Also:
2017 State of DevOps Report authors Dr. Nicole Forsgren, Gene Kim, Jez Humble, Alanna Brown and Nigel Kersten

Trunk Based Development - a style of CI that works for Agile.

A Game of Experience - Scrum

Presented in OpenSpace at Agile Games 2018 for FUN and Feedback.


This game design is not focused where you might assume - at training people how to "do" Scrum.  The inventors of the game, Tim Snyder and Derek Lane, are focused upon the experience of Scrumming, the group dynamics of being a scrum team.  The game has been designed, and is being refined with the objective of allowing groups of people that know how to do Scrum, to experience some of the Ah-HA moments that mature Scrum team learn after many, laborious retrospectives.  By compressing the group dynamic into a game with the glorious "happen-chance" cards causing random, yet all too common software development events, playing this game for a few hours can give you the deep insights that may only be achieved after months or years of real-life time developing products.  Learning doesn't require time... * Al Shalloway.

One of the core questions Tim & Derek have been pondering:  How does one gain experi…

What is your Engagement Model?

Jim Harter states in his article from Gallup:
According to our recent State of the Global Workplace report, 85% of employees are not engaged or actively disengaged at work. The economic consequences of this global "norm" are approximately $7 trillion in lost productivity. Eighteen percent are actively disengaged in their work and workplace, while 67% are "not engaged." This latter group makes up the majority of the workforce -- they are not your worst performers, but they are indifferent to your organization. They give you their time, but not their best effort nor their best ideas. They likely come to work wanting to make a difference --- but nobody has ever asked them to use their strengths to make the organization better.
Is this analysis a cart and horse locating problem?  Do we need better diagrams of which comes first?
When we get performance management right, engagement will naturally rise. Performance management is a trailing tool (not a leading indicator or …

The Case Against Scrum's Sprint Practice - Another Look

In the excellently written article  Dark Scrum:  The Case Against the Sprint, Ron Jeffries' does a wonderful job of explaining a common problem of Scrum's mainstay practice, the Sprint.  As I read the article I could only think of many managers I've seen over my years that didn't trust Scrum, the teams, or the coaching to deliver.  And feeling pressure to make deadlines imposed from little information (desire more than empirical evidence) had reverted to past heavy handed pressure techniques to make a deadline.  After all it was their career that was on the line.

To summarize (and you would do better to just click the link and read it):  As an exercise in explaining the inverse of "Good Scrum", Ron uses the term "Dark Scrum".  In this inverted world, Ron makes the case that the Sprint is a bad practice, because a manager expecting the common faster progress (Jeff Sutherland's statement “Twice the Work in Half the Time”) will demand that result.…